By Richard Lynn, www.supersecretrecords.com.
Photos by Liz Buhay
The Motards just played their first show in two years, and probably their last, at Emo's in Austin, Texas. The show took place for a couple of reasons. First, Mortville Records just released a CD of rare and unreleased songs recorded in 1993 and 1994. These recordings capture the energy, roughness, and sloppiness of the first album. Motards fans will love it.
The second reason was to give a proper farewell to this band that was so important to the Austin scene in the mid-1990s. When the band broke up in 1997, it felt rushed. It was a sudden thing that just didn't seem right. Dave Head and Paul Johnson now live out of town, in Chicago and Beaumont (Texas), respectively. Toby Marsh is moving (to Mexico to open a record store), and this was a chance to play together one last time. And besides, Motards fans have been begging for another show for years.
Both stages at Emo's hosted bands leading up to the headlining Motards. Mangyna, Toby's punk cover band, played on the outside stage first. They were great, playing with a lot of energy and obviously having fun. The Put-Downs, Paul Johnson's post-Motards band, played next and previewed several strong songs from their upcoming full-length. Finally, USS Friendship (ex-Fuckemos) followed and pounded out their signature pseudo-doom songs. Bands playing on the inside stage included the Pink Swords, Camarosmith, and Ignorance Park.
Finally, it was time for the Motards. The energy in the room was evident as old and new scenesters debated which songs the Motards might play, how long they might play, or if they would play any encores. In fact, there were people at the show that I don't think had been seen in these parts since the old Blue Flamingo closed down. The room was very full, and it felt as if everyone held their breath as the band took the stage. It then erupted in applause and yells as The Motards began their first song of the night, "Drunk Girls." The set list follows:
"Drunk Girls" / "Zombies"/ "Misanthrope" / "I'm a Criminal" / "Driving Me to Drink" / "Nowhere" / "Spare Change" / "Yu Love Mexico" / "Johnny Tremain" / "Make You Pay" / "Self Destructive" / "Put Me Down" / "Why Am I Even Here?" / "Alien Autopsy" / "Crazy" / "No No the Girlfriend" / "My Love Is Bad" / "Hangover" / "Fast Song" / "Bad Reputation" (Joan Jett)
John Motard threw himself all over the stage while Dave Head continually struck his familiar back-to-the-audience, feet-wide-apart pose. Toby jumped around with a never-ending smile on his face. Suzanne ripped the drums apart, and Paul definitely was having fun as he, too, couldn't seem to stop jumping around while he played. In short, they were having fun. And that was the best part of the show for me. It wasn't like a reunion show where they didn't really want to be there; this was a proper send-off for Austin's most important punk band of the last decade. The band members didn't show any hard feelings or petty jealousies. They were just having fun. The band members, especially John, were continually showered with beer thrown from the audience. They didn't shrink away like a lot of bands do. They smiled and took it. They understood it was a compliment.
We may not see another band in these parts like the Motards for a long time. But on that Saturday night, everything was right in our world. The Motards had that something that made you sit up and take notice when they played live. There was also a factor of danger at their shows that you don't get at today's shows. Today's bands are generally bland, safe, boring, and definitely not dangerous by any stretch of the imagination. The Motards were just a bit dangerous. They gave you a feeling that just about anything might happen at one of their shows.
As we staggered out of the club after the closing song, drenched in beer and sweat, everyone was smiling. The show lived up to the hype. I'm glad the Motards played again, but now I already miss them again. That's one of the dangers of playing a reunion show - the possibility it will leave fans with fresh new wounds from realizing your favorite band broke up. But I wouldn't trade this show for anything. Hopefully it will inspire today's bands to pick it up a bit and give us some excitement. Or, maybe, there was a kid in the audience that is now inspired and will go out and start a new kick-ass band. We can hope.
So, there it is. It was fantastic. Forgive us guys if we keep bugging you to do another reunion show?.
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by Liz Buhay of Austin Celebrity Profiles,
Beer showers through the musky air as The Motards begin their set of their reunion show Saturday night at Emo's in Austin, Texas.
Similar to the years when The Motards played almost every fuckin' weekend, I didn't know what to expect of the show - which always made seeing them so fun and exciting. What kind of craziness was John going to do? What kind of craziness was the audience going to do?
"DRUNK GIRLS TURN ME ON!!!" Fists pump in the air to the beat. The audience screams the lyrics to the first song as John, shirtless, as usual, but also sporting a baseball cap with the word "Fuck" on it, starts jumping around from one side of the stage to the other. Every time he approaches the edge of the stage, he becomes the target for the beer- throwing audience. And the crowd smiles as John retaliates with the beer in his hand.
YES, this is definitely the return of The Motards! The band to end all bands! The band that would make the world unsafe for decent people everywhere! The band against which all future bands would be measured? The Motards!!
In the mid-'90s, you never missed a Motards show here in Austin. They played almost every damn week: parties, dive bars, clubs, backyards. They not only opened for bands like the Rip-Offs, New Bomb Turks, Teengenerate, The Dwarves, The Registrators, and Guitar Wolf, they also played with the numerous great local bands of that time. Their shows always turned into a big party! A destructive party, maybe, sometimes? most of the time. Dodging beer bottles and vomit was quite common, with people drunker than drunk singing along to songs like: "Hangover," "Bombs Away," "Crazy," "Driving Me to Drink," and "Self-Destructive." The audience always became part of the show!
As usual, tonight, the audience knew every song. As soon as Paul, Dave, or Toby started playing those first couple of chords or Suzanne started beating those drums, the crowd would roar with approval. When The Motards started playing "I'm a Criminal," (my personal favorite too) the crowd exploded! People around me started spitting the lyrics at John, who was singing and taunting them at the same time!
Yea, maybe the songs were a little rusty, but the fun and energy was still there! At the end of the show, our voices became sore, and our clothes were soaked in beer. For most of us, The Motards will always remain in our drunken, blurred memories.