The Ex files

Posted on 16 Mar 2006 at 8:31pm
By Gilbert Garcia Pop Music Critic

Queer punk trio Ex-Boyfriends make Dallas stopover following SXSW gig



EX-ES IN TEXAS: From left, Daly, Ohnesorge and Harb play a free gig at Bar of Soap on Friday.

They may have gotten together as the result of breakups, but San Francisco’s Ex-Boyfriends are no rebound band.

Formed by queer buddies Colin Daly and Chris Ohnesorge after splits with their respective bands, Ex-Boyfriends fine-tuned a catchy formula, thanks to Daly’s biting anti-love punk anthems. Straight friend Peter Harb rounded out the power trio, leading to the group’s tellingly titled debut, “Dear John,” released last month.

Never have heartbreak and bitterness sounded so fun. Staying in the range of the three-minute kick in the pants, the Ex-Boyfriends’ hyperactive pop are tight little wonders.

Unabashedly ’80s retro, the band strike a blow for cleverly written songs. Daly’s vocals range from the impassioned cries of Robert Smith to Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo’s anguished eruptions. Satisfying tell-offs, smart songwriting and boy-crazy energy make Ex-Boyfriends a group worthy of attention from queer and straight punk fans alike. Tailored like an updated version of Radiohead’s “Creep,” the band’s most radio-ready song, “Well, William,” is infectious ballad about addiction, sour romance and, after a cathartic crescendo, finally calling it quits.

Coming off their showcase at Austin’s SXSW Music Festival, the lads should be in prime form. Check them out. Unlike the real thing, this is a visit from an Ex-Boyfriend you won’t dread.

Bar of Soap, 3615 Parry Ave. March 17 at 8 p.m. Free. 214-823-6617

SXSW SUGGESTIONS

For the uninitiated, the best advice is to avoid driving to Austin for the last two days of the South by Southwest, which ends on Saturday. Over the past 20 years, the music portion of the festival has transformed itself from a local showcase to becoming the mighty Kong of music conferences where giants of the biz and not-yet-famous bands from around the world descend upon the Texas capital.

Good luck trying to see any live performances. This year, wristbands sold out in one day. And each year, the festival is an over-capacity nightmare. But if you have strategy with lots of “Plan B” ideas, you can make do.

If you must go, opt for lower-profile gigs. If someone like Courtney Love’s daughter is playing her first gig, maybe that unknown cover band from Rhodesia with the maracas and ukuleles is a better bet. Otherwise you’ll be stuck outside, craning your head as you watch from the sidewalk.

Here are a few queer artists and queer favorites playing Austin this weekend.

FRIDAY
Roseanne Cash: Town Lake at Auditorium Shores. 8 p.m. (free)
Princess Superstar: Elysium, 705 Red River St. 9 p.m.
Ana Egge: Momo’s, 618 W 6th St. 10:30 p.m.
Elefant: Buffalo Billiards, 201 E 6th St. Midnight.
Ladytron (DJ Set): Karma Lounge, 119 W 8th St. MIdnight
The John Popper Project: Opal Divine’s Freehouse, 700 W 6th St. 1 a.m.
David Garza: Copa, 217 N. Congress Ave. 1 a.m.
SATURDAY
Dressy Bessy: Habana Calle 6 Patio. 709 E 6th St. 7:30 p.m.
Rhett Miller: Stubb’s. 801 Red River St. 9 p.m.
Morningwood: La Zona Rosa, 612 W. 4th St. 9 p.m.
Lisa Germano: Eternal, 418 E 6th St. 10 p.m.
Boyskout: Lava Lounge Patio, 405 E 7th St. 10:30 p.m.
Sarah Bettens: Trophy’s, 2008 S. Congress. 11 p.m. (free)
Martha Wainwright: Eternal, 418 E 6th St. 11 p.m.
Lady Sovereign: La Zona Rosa, 612 W 4th St. Midnight
Suzanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet: The Drink, 325 E 6th St. 10 p.m.
The Pretenders: Stubb’s, 801 Red River St. 12:30 a.m.
Gilbert Garcia

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 17, 2006.

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