Scott H. Biram at the Palace: Still Drunk, Still Bluesy

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In a bigger city, Saturday night’s events would have posed a problem: do I see the all-ages punk show, or the basement-bar blues show? In, say, Portland, this would require figuring out Google maps, bus, bicycle or car transportation, parking arrangements, designated-driver negotiations, etc.

But because this is Missoula, the venues sit about four blocks apart, so I hopped on my bike and managed to catch most of both. God, I love this town.

Locals Swamp Ritual and the Magpies and touring Seattle punks Slatwall and Ol’ Doris were lined up at Zoo City Apparel, where before the show, several of us pre-gaming degenerates stood around trying yoga poses and sniffing eucalyptus in the parking lot. We party hard in this town.

Swamp Ritual kicked off the show, and made it through the set of excellent heavy two-piece metal despite equipment malfunctions and a broken bass string. They handled it with good cheer.

The Magpies took Zoo City’s fancy new wooden stage next, and why have I never seen this kickass rock ‘n’ roll band before? I need to see them again.

Some of my geek buddies had just about wet their pants talking about gritty pop punkers Slatwall before the show. I was not disappointed, though I did not wet my pants, for the record. Slatwall play with a great earnest melodic drive that people still call the “Midwest” punk sound, but I’d say more rightfully belongs to Northwest punks these days. I hope Slatwall enjoyed their first visit to our fair berg.

Last was Ol' Doris, and I'm told it's even better than when I saw the band at the Dark Horse a couple years ago opening for Tacocat and Smokejumper. I’ll have to take other folks’ word for it, because after Slatwall I strolled over to the Palace, where Warren Jackson Hearne Aran Buzzas, Restavrant and Scott H. Biram were lined up for what was sure to be a trashy, whiskey-soaked evening.

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I found my way in just as Biram, the highly esteemed one-man Americana band, was starting his second song, sitting at a kick-set and pounding out bluesy country tunes new and classic, per usual, and a cowboy-booted crowd was dancing around. Several of Biram’s standard fans—the kind of guys in black bandanas whose patched-out hoodies declare love for both Austin Lucas and Los Crudos—stood around in reverence. Biram started around 11 p.m. and went until bar time, playing a lot of songs off his latest record, Bad Ingredients.

I have mixed feelings about Biram. On one hand, he’s a helluva talented musician and sings songs that are earnest and true about tough living and screwy relationships. I played Bad Ingredients all last fall and thought wistful feelings about fellas.

On the other hand, he sings stuff like "whore, you're gonna get what's coming to you."

I cannot resolve my love of drinkin’ songs with my loathing of misogynistic themes in one evening, so I opted to just sing along to “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” like I wanted to. Thanks for that, Biram.

This story was updated Monday at 12:45 to reflect the correct opening bands on the Biram bill.

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