Monday, June 08, 2009
Chug-A-Lug - The District
From the District Weekly - (6/03/09)
When the White Stripes and the Black Keys grabbed attention beyond the shores of their Great Lakes, audiences marveled at the primitive strut blasting from a set of drums and a fuzzed-out guitar. These bands could tour in a sedan and rock the hell out of any-sized stage, while Austin native Scott H. Biram could tour on a bicycle. The self-proclaimed “Dirty Old One-man Band” plays a mean country-blues like a sleep-deprived Son House driving the General Lee, blazing through barren landscapes of tumbleweeds and asphalt with a mouthful of chaw and a belly full of speed.
For many people, the idea of a one-man band is a gimmick of technological prowess, best left to boardwalks or any other surface that can support an up-ended hat. Part manic sideshow, part split-brained ingenuity, the songs rise to the surface in the most unadorned of musical expressions while the performer breathlessly juggles a thousand responsibilities. Without an additional set of hands, the performer is forced to convey the message in a fit of self-reliance, beholden to no one and compromising very little—no scheduled rehearsals, limited phone calls and no sharing of groupies.
Shrouded in a trucker hat and muttonchops, Biram is a fierce performer releasing the strength of a thousand strings through one battered Gibson, his hands alternately strumming and picking behind his charcoal-filtered growl, singing of fast women and faster cars. At the same time, his amplified left foot fulfills the drummer’s role, ingeniously making the most of a nearly involuntary action. He is a modern troubadour, beaten by the road but determined to get in a few licks of his own.
As the sound of permanence buzzes around the Queen Mary (who gets a tattoo on a ship?), Biram will churn his chug-a-lug guitar for the early-rising, ink-stained masses. His sound is the accumulation of a thousand years of hard-drinking storytellers, reliant solely upon themselves and enough gasoline to get to the next gig. Few people have the coordination to accomplish such a feat, let alone say something worthwhile; Biram gets it all done with one limb to spare.
SCOTT H. BIRAM PLAYS THE DRIVE-IN STAGE WITH LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS, POLICE AND THIEVES, GIZZELLE AND MORE THE INK-N-IRON FESTIVAL THE QUEEN MARY 1126 QUEENS HWY LONG BEACH 90802 SAT $7-70 INK-N-IRON.COM
Chug-A-Lug @ the District