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Bubbapalooza Day 1 at the Star Bar kicked off early, around 8. Slim Chance got up and sang a little homecoming number before stopping, “You know, they have a lot of good country bands in Austin, but they ain’t got no convicts! Ladies and gentlemen, The Convicts!” he annouced as his old band The Convicts climbed on stage, reunited after nearly a year while Slim studies psych in Texas. They broke into their classic covers and classic originals and had everyone singing along. “Like riding a bicycle” noted Slim at one point and you’d have thought they’d been practicing every week. The crowd yelled for more but Slim said “Sorry, folks, we got five more bands coming. I’ll be back in September.”
Caroline and the Ramblers drafted John, the guitarist for Slim, to play drums as the Ramblers’ drummer had injured his back at the 11th hour. As usual, Caroline has the best voice in town. As usual, they need to play more often.
Crown Electric from Kentucky did early Elvis style rockabilly-country stuff, complete with Elvis-style leg shaking and big hair. Good, but a little overdone on stage performance.
The Billygoats got up to a packed house - too packed and I retreated downstairs for air. But when I came back up they were doing some excellent country with a Tex Mex blues spice.
While I was downstairs I chatted with Big Mike about life, Kingsized and the Star Bar. “We’re totally retooled, whole new sound, maybe do a show in June” he said of Kingsized.
“It’s like church, folks show up twice a year, Easter and Christmas but here it’s Elvis Death Day and Bubbapalooza. Except at Church they don’t brag that they go all the time. Here these Highlands people come in and say “I come here all the time. I love PBR!” and I know I’ve never seen them before.”
Black Top Rockets got up next, saying Hasil Adkins was delayed. They did a fabulous set of their usual super genuine rockabilly with Johnny Knox smokin’ on the guitar. That boy can seriously play.
They called it quits, saying Hasil would be there any minute. Many, many minutes later (around 2:30 AM) Hasil appeared on stage with an acoustic guitar and drum kit. He proceded to make a bunch of racket, beating the drum with the guitar head from time to time and singing weird songs like “oo ee ah ah” and other semi-abstract vaguely-rockabilly-based numbers. Racketbilly, perhaps it should be called. For some reason the small crowd loved it, but by that time they were a bit intoxicated and ready for any form onf entertainment. After a few numbers, with him getting ever more irritable and abusive toward the drum kit, I gave it up. Degenerate DC stayed behind and said he lasted a couple more songs before throwing his guitar at the crowd, followed by the drum kit and stormed backstage. Billy Ratt said he’d be right back while Earl salvaged his drums and John Dunn tuned the guitar, but it was enough for our other reporters who hit the road. We talked to Billy Ratt the next day and he said Hasil did a few more numbers but we didn’t miss much and Billy had done so much to get him to play, including putting the man's shoes on his feet FOR him, that even he was a bit dissappointed.
Saturday it was another long walk to Little 5, arriving at the Star Bar late and missing a couple acts I’d wanted to see but early enough to make it another 6 hour night.
The Backsliders were on first, from Chapel Hill. I didn’t think much of them, too poppy and modern for my strict old school and rock influeced country diet, but the crowd liked ‘em.
The new owner of the Star Bar, formerly the owner of the Local 50 in Chapel Hill, got up between each band and babbled drunkenly, grinning ear to ear and occasionally tossing an empty beer or cup into the crowd. I hope this does not fortell of any changes to the joint, as Degenerate Press cannot afford to build our own damn bar yet!
Steam Donkey from Buffalo piled onto the stage and did some counry with a little Western Swing hint. Their fiddle player literally gave me cold chills - he must have the fastest fingers north of the Mason-Dixon. He did a solo medley of classic bluegrass and classical music that had everyone howling in appreciation. The rest of the band joined in for a medley of country covers sprinkled with bits of rock and pop from the likes of The Who and the Dead. Excellent stuff.
Jim Stacy wandered in, “I just got back from Ozzfest,” he said to Billy Ratt and I, “I’ve never been to a rock show and CRIED. Flawless.” It was a show I would have liked to have seen but didn’t want to pay for, or deal with Lakewood, or miss Bubba, but if anyone wants to send in a report please do!
$2 Pistols did their usual set of supreme ol’ school country, every song a heartbreakin’ killer. The lead singer has the best country voice I’ve heard and has such a humble stage presence you can’t help but cry in your beer.
I found it ironic that a festival originally put together to spoof corporate festivals had a corporate sponsor. I found it doubly ironic that some of the money went to a foundation that reasearches cures for cancer, amongst other things, when the sponsor was CAMEL CIGARETTES! With all the coasters, posters, lit signs and crap blaring CAMEL in my face at every turn I felt like I was at a show IN a pack of cigarettes. And I don’t understand why the fest NEEDED a sponsor in the first place. It was “SOLD the hell OUT”, as the sign read, on Friday night and Saturday was just as crowded.
And now, back to our program.
Truckadelic stuck play lists on stage that could barely be contained on a single sheet of paper so I knew I might not last the set, particularly since that was around 1:30 AM, but I was ready for them to get cranked up. And crank they did. Full bore country punk in their usual style with a few new numbers in addition to the expected ones. John Dunn was sporting a brand new mohawk that made him look startling like de Niro from Taxi Driver.
“Thieves, dopers, junkies... some day a real rain’s gonna come and wash all the scum off the sidewalk.” Travis, from Taxi Driver
And down in the gutter will be Truckadelic, playing their asses off to the rest of the scum!
My feet couldn't take any more and I gave up sometime around 2:30 and caught a ride home.
Sunday was the opening day of the season for the Temple of the River God and a few degenerates showed up and sucked down enough antifreeze to make the water temperature tolerable, forcing us to miss Bubba day 3 so if you went send us a report!

The anti-Star Wars mail has been pouring in. It’s pretty much agreed by all adults that it’s a complete disaster. Of all the stuff I’ve read this is one of the most telling:
"I've yet to be as impressed with any of his CGI characters as much as the variety of aliens he provided in the Cantina in episode IV."

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