Casually odd and completely cool. Why do we like this band so much?
I first ran into them as the opening act for surf guitar king Dick Dale for a gig at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip in Las Vegas. I did not even want to be there. Long story. But despite my jaded, bad attitude I was sucked in right away.
Since then I have seen the band a few times at various venues around town and they have never sucked. I keep going back. Even when the gig starts at midnight in a totally dive bar called the Bunkhouse in a very dicey part of Downtown Vegas.
So, what are they about? I’ve tried to distill it down into something that makes sense and the best I have come up with is is Patsy Clyne fronting the Clash on the set of a Spaghetti Western directed by Quentin Tarantino. Songs range from stuff like “You’re Mine” in which the protagonist chains her boyfriend to a basement radiator and feeds him scraps, to an ode about a truck-stop waitress whose ample posterior hangs over the adjacent table when she bends to serve food called “Get Your Butt Out Of My Food” to a “love song” called “Del Toro” about a guy burying his girlfriend alive which ends with the line “Cuz breaking up is hard to do.”
I know, right?
After that first gig the only musical touchstone i could come up with was ‘80s cowpunk pioneers Lone Justice. But when I got to sit and talk with them, none of these 20-somethings had ever heard of that band. The best way to describe everything from the people to the personalities is “casually odd.” Not odd as in “look at us. We’re weird. You’ll like us cuz we’re weird.” More like odd as in “this is who we are. We like it and maybe you will, too. And maybe not.”
They have an odd sense of humor. On a gig last Halloween, the band decided to dress up as “cowboys and Indians.” So everyone showed up in un-PC, stereotypical, bad movie Native American attire except the guitar player who wore a football uniform. I’ll leave it to you to figure that out.
Jason Aragon (bass), Courtney Carroll (drums), Andrew Karaza (guitar and vocals and a carpenter by trade who built his own guitar) and Paige Overton (vocals, guitar and trumpet) have been at this awhile. Their MySpace page dates back to 2004. They are increasingly touted as one of the best live acts n las Vegas but they don’t play very often. They have a FaceBook page but are not real active. In other words, they are doing nothing “by the book.” And I think that is what I love about them. They’re weird. But they’re real.
Last note. In a slightly earlier music biz era, this is a band that would not have been “allowed to exist.” Paige is a powerful and utterly captivating singer. When record companies were in charge some exec would have signed her to a deal and ditched the band. But, here’s the rub… There is a long list of bands where just that happened and once separated, neither the band nor the singer with the star presence ever did anything of note. This is one of those magical cases in which the band would be nothing without this particular singer and this singer NEEDS this band to really shine. And The Clydesdale seems to really get that.
Check out the videos for a band interview and some live clips
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