Dark Meat has spent the past two years touring the country and honing its raucous, psychedelicized tunes, which manage to somehow evoke the immediacy of late-'60s Stooges, early-'70s mind-warping guitar expeditions and the anything-goes spirit of a Parliament show. With more than a dozen members, the band's Flaming Lips-esque live shows -- complete with a full horn section, choreographed backup dancers and goofy outfits -- caught the attention of many at this year's South by Southwest indie-music throwdown in Austin, Texas.
It was the second time at the festival for Dark Meat, and frontman Jim McHugh says the band couldn't have done better.
"South by Southwest was a business venture, and we've been through the trenches enough to view it as such," says McHugh, whose delivery of the band's cataclysmic, fever-dream songs gives the massive collective a fiery focal point. "We got a lot of attention, and I'm thankful for it ... but all of the press focused on the spectacle. I can't blame 'em -- we were pretty spectacular in that sense of the word, just being destructive and insane, and being really over the top. But only a few people focused on the music. Y'know, the Stones had a horn section, and nobody focused on that or thought it odd back then."
One particularly raucous night in Texas found the band performing The Stooges' classic album Funhouse in its entirety, with the face-painted McHugh harpooning his mic stand into the club's ceiling while fending off irate bouncers with a monitor.
Starting out as two roommates jamming on Neil Young songs in the fecund musical college town of Athens, Ga., Dark Meat soon ballooned into an impossibly vigorous, sprawling band, which made its public debut in October 2005. Loose recording sessions culminated in the 2006 album Universal Indians, released on the Athens-based Orange Twin label and named the year's best local album by alt-weekly Flagpole.
The tastemaking label Vice Records, home to bands like the Black Lips and Chromeo, snatched up the group earlier this year. Vice re-releases Universal Indians with some bonus tracks on CD and vinyl on April 22, and will also put out Dark Meat's sophomore album later this year.
Dark Meat with Italian Ice, Bad Faith Compromise and Frozen Hellsicles. 8 p.m. Tue., April 22. Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave, Garfield. $7. All ages. 412-361-2262 or www.garfieldartworks.com
- All drumsticks 'n' thighs: Dark Meat