Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Roky Erickson - Rock & Roll Hotel - 11/12/12

The band slipped in, with the stage barely lit, picked up their instruments and began a slow chord progression with a hint of the old Bo Diddley beat.
It picked up, they began singing. And then, to the right of the stage, but just off to the side, he appeared. Large, with a wild mane of hair and that beard. The energy in the room shifted abruptly. Intensified. Bo Diddley was a Headhunter. (Hey Bo Diddley.) He stepped up onto stage and was ceremoniously handed his guitar. And it began. A chaotic, intense, primal, exploration of that perilously thin line between mid-60's psychedelia and blues-drenched prog rock. The lights stayed dark. Roky's face, hidden in shadows (except when the iPhones flashed), was hard to read. At times it looked like he was going through the motions.. but there, just under the surface, was that voice - rough, sure, but still recognizable. He played little from the Elevators (no "Baby Blue", no "Levitation"), and the hits were saved for the encore, a short but brutal "You're Gonna Miss Me" and a rattling version of "Two Headed Dog." It was all over far too quickly. As I slipped back out into the light rain and rode my bike home I couldn't shake that image of him, standing to the side of the stage before the show began, like a surfer about to dive into the ocean. But content, for the moment, to let the waves lap around his feet. It was a bit like this: