Rank and Revue Austin TX Vol 2 Issue 29 03/04/2004
Spiders, International Playboys
Thursday, March 4

It’s unusual for me to leave my couch on Thursday nights, but the opportunity to catch a rare weekday set by the Spiders was not to be missed. The Spiders have been one of my favorite local bands since I first sw them two-and-half years ago, when I stood slack-jawed at 710 and let my beer get warm while watching Eric Shaw play guitar. Most of their in-town shows happen on the weekends, when I’m on the other side of the bar.

I did arrive rather late, to the sounds of the final couple of songs of the International Playboys’ set. The raucous groove and enthusiastic hollers that followed encouraged me to pick up the CD after the show, which in turn convinced me to never miss this band again. These guys must be the coolest fucking band ever to break out of Missoula, Montana. The ten songs on the CD are all over the place, from southern-fried cock rock to Toilet Boys-style trash glam…almost jarring on record, but I’ll bet they’re a killer live band. My friend Shua described the lead singer as “Joe Cocker, Punk Rocker,” which tells me all I need to know.

A shot of Powers later (OK, two shots), the Spiders took the stage. I had promised Marianna that I would rock out with her up front, but I opted not to join her on the actual stage, where she knelt for the entire set (Ow!). The Spiders do have a knack for drawing the crowd forward. Is it the rock-solid rhythms of bassist Karl Toft and drummer Gary First, the ear-searing solos of brilliant guitarist Eric Shaw, the dazzling range and rockstar prowl and swagger of front man Chris Benedict (both of the latter, by the way, get extra special credit for not accidentally concussing Marianna with a guitar)? Yup…but the whole of the Spiders experience is even more than the sum of its extraordinary parts. Like the opening band, the Spiders draw from a broad range of musical influences, distilling them into a distinctive and complex sound. Oh hell, don’t take my word for it…go see them. Their SXSW showcase is at Room 710 on Wednesday, March 17, at midnight. Do yourself a favor…and rock out for me.

--Lisa Graves