Friday, June 30, 2017

Flat Duo Jets at Hill Country Barbecue Market

John Michael Dexter Romweber was born in Batesville, Indiana, and played in his first band, Crash Landon & the Kamikazes, at age 11 while attending junior high school. He later teamed with a drummer and the two musicians became the Flat Duo Jets, naming themselves after hearing Gene Vincent speak about his Gretsch Duo Jet guitar. The Flat Duo Jets began recording in 1985 and relocated to Athens, Georgia, where the band was featured in the film Athens, GA: Inside Out. The Flat Duo Jets moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and then split in 1999 after eight albums. Romweber subsequently released solo albums and formed the Dexter Romweber Duo, which for a time included drummer Crash LaResh, who performed with Romweber in various outfits from 1995 to 2005. In the 2008 documentary It Might Get Loud, Jack White played the Flat Duo Jets' version of the traditional "Frog Went A-Courtin'" for Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and U2's The Edge, and discussed the impact that the Jets had on him and his music. In 2009, a documentary about Romweber's musical journey, Two Headed Cow, featured testimonials from White, Exene Cervenka of X, Cat Power and Neko Case. Flat Jets Duo's most recent album is 2008's soundtrack from Two Headed Cow.

Dexter Romweber and Crash LaResh reunited, this time as Flat Duo Jets, tonight at Hill Country Barbecue Market, playing rootsy garage rock and roll from America's south and borrowing generously from traditional blues, rhythm & blues, rockabilly and country. The sparse guitar/drums arrangements created spine-tingling eruptions that were abrupt, coarse, and blazing. LaResh, ostentatious with his multiple tattoos, bleached blond dreads and oversized sunglasses, forcefully played his drum kit while standing, and seemed to be energized by the mad riffs and deep grooves played by Romweber. Romweber, on the other hand, dressed more conservatively in an opened white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, seemed consumed by his playing and nothing else, as he played nearly the entire set with his eyes closed and his back to the audience. Romweber sang soulfully and tenderly, yet kept his vocals as raw as his guitar playing. Romweber spoke little, except at the end when he begged off playing an encore.