Written by Waqar Jamil
Feb 07, 2005 at 08:00 PM
ImageAfter wrapping up a boisterous evening at Food Not Bombs, where area locals gather to share food with Houston’s homeless community, the buzz under the bridge was all about the show at the Southmore House. For a few years I’ve been seeing many a bikes in our autocentric city with stickers that says “This Bike is a Pipe Bomb.” For a while I didn’t know that the sticker was referring to one of Florida’s best punk bands, but that changed after I met a few of the bikers at a monthly event here in town called critical mass, where the Fat City Bike club rides together for fun and to reclaim the streets.The enchanting evening began with a high energy assault by Houston’s own Carter Brown, as area bike kids joyously jiggled to fun guitar riffs layered onto a powerful and driving rhythm section. Carter Brown’s poppy rock sound was very tasty but also had a tenacity that was scary, as the three-piece channeled their rock energy through their bodies and violently onto their instruments.

Jumping up and down, the musicians shook the stage and smiles were abound in the giddy crowd. It felt great to be in a scene where people go to shows and hug each other and talk to each other, instead of being stand offish and anti social, which is funny because one of Carter Brown’s songs was about not wanting to be touched. Either way it was evident that the community is strong and these people actually care about each other.

Saw Wheel, an acoustic duo, went on next. Saw Wheel is the second best act I’ve seen so far in 2005 (second only to Houston’s own prog ska troupe King Louie and the Monkeys). Two charming young men with their acoustic guitars started a fire that kept everyone warm as we all gathered round.

The singer, a burly guy with a husky voice, evoked memories of Bob Dylan and Springsteen as he sang ballads that put the proletariat on a pedestal. One of the lines that will stick with me was a song about how he told his dad that unemployment is the only reward for a job well done. These songs are very appropriate given the high unemployment these days. Songs of working class life always have a special place in my hearts, and the guy had already won me over because he had an AVAIL t-shirt on.

The music itself was gorgeous as the accompanying guitarist would double the simple chords while squeezing in quick leads, that reminded me a lot of the more somber styling of Son Volt and a personal Americana favorite My Morning Jacket. Needless to say I was blown away, and I highly recommend that you guys get out there and catch a Saw Wheel show whenever they’re in town, or you’re up in Austin.

After the evening was well under way, the anxiety was still lingering because everyone knew that they were there mainly to see This Bike is a Pipe Bomb. This Bike is a Pipe Bomb put on an extremely fun and caffeinated show. Kids started circle pitting and jumping around everywhere, while more lazy appreciators of the music stood back trying to absorb the energy.

The three piece from Pensacola, Florida reminded me of Shotwell and Against Me, but also had a very deep witty punk style that reminded me a lot of Jello Biafra. Songs about riding bikes, and skate boarding, flew under the cliché radar, due mainly to the folky jig style of music. I think by the end of the set everyone one was dancing and sulking in the merriment. Later on I got a chance to talk to the people in the band, and they were very kind people. We went and had dinner and talked about Veganism, and how Pensacola’s claim to fame used to be having the highest population of albino squirrels, but now some other city has knocked them down to a lowly second. Well I think Pensacola has a new claim to fame: This Bike is a Pipe Bomb.