Texas-born Kevin Cahoon aims for sneering rock but ends up with electric showtunes
Kevin Cahoon and Ghetto Cowboy
Anchor C Records
In the musical theater, the road from stage performer to rock star is rarely traveled. For Houston-born Kevin Cahoon, however, it’s been a natural progression. On and off Broadway, the queer Cahoon earned accolades for performances in “The Rocky Horror Show” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Jumping from rock-opera to real-life rocker, Cahoon formed the band Ghetto Cowboy. The group’s debut album, the glammed-up “Doll,” finds Cahoon still very much in character.
If one song could sum up the feel of “Doll,” it would be the title-track opener. Along side a driving beat, Cahoon addresses past acquaintances: “I am the freak / I am the fag / I am the little one you couldn’t stand,” his voice dripping with contempt. Cahoon is clearly enamored with his New York digs and his Broadway life, as songs like “Fashionista” and “Mirrorball Prophecy” depict. Perhaps unsurprisingly, production on “Doll” makes these tracks sound more like showtunes than typical rock songs. In spite of screaming electric guitar, lyrics remain crystal clear, with Cahoon’s affected sneering never impeding his perfect elocution.
At just under a half-hour for 10 songs and assorted mini-skits, “Doll” comes up short, but it’s an interesting tease nonetheless. Already, Cahoon’s second career is earning attention across the U.S. And while wordy songwriting may be the weakest element of “Doll,” Cahoon’s attitude and presence loom large on this all-too-brief debut.
Emerging in the late ’80s from the unlikely landscape of Cleveland Nine Inch Nails spoke to shy, aloof young men (who today would be tagged as followers of the eyeliner-wearing emo genre). Marrying pop structures and nihilistic lyrics with the noise of ’80s techno-thrash, singer-songwriter Trent Reznor immediately became the de facto leader of the ’90s industrial wave. Over the decades, Nine Inch Nails has become less aggressive but just as powerful as last year’s intense “With Teeth” showed. Expect Saturday’s Dallas show to be an aggro roller coaster.
Smirnoff Music Centre, 1818 First, Ave., June 3 at 7:30 p.m. $23.75-$58.75. 214-373-8000.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.