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SCOTS grease up the gig

Turner Hall, Milwaukee, October 9, 2008

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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Digging up the ghosts of American music and slingin' chicken at them is a greasy gig, but someone has to do it. Fortunately, hillbilly slicksters Southern Culture on the Skids have been on the job for more than 20 years, laying Link Wray licks and cornball wit on giddy, sweaty audiences the world over.

Early on, the show was marred by muddled sound, but the sound - and band intensity (perhaps slowed initially due to an admitted overindulgence of summer sausage) - improved in short order. The group's latest effort, the covers disc "Countrypolitan Favorites," has been out for more than a year, so SCOTS spent a lot of time on the hits and obscurities of their back catalog.

The band, armed with an extra guitarist, ripped and roared through hip-shaking favorites Banana Puddin' and Daddy Was a Preacher, But Mama Was a Go-Go Girl, and instrumentals such as Run Chicken Run. With Halloween approaching, SCOTS was kind enough to bring out the rowdy "Zombified, their demented contribution to the "Blood Feast 2: All You Can Eat" musical score. Other highlights included Rick Miller and Mary Huff's almost gentle take on T-Rex's Life's a Gas and wild romps through 69 El Camino and Soul City.

The band capped the evening with a hell-bent, hooch-fueled version of the Louvins' classic Great Atomic Power.

Local trio Bleed opened the show, ably making their rough and raw way through blues, R&B and garage classics like crank-addled cavemen with chainsaws.