Written by Samuel Barker
Dec 20, 2008 at 10:00 PM
ImageThe question I kept asking myself at the conclusion of this show is “How in the hell did you go all this time without checking out Scott H. Biram?”

Both times my band played the Vortex last year, I saw flyers for Scott H. Biram hanging up. He looked like the kinda guy who would roll around my hometown in his truck raising hell. I knew a few Scott H. Biram’s…just none were smart enough to pick up a guitar and channel that into song. A good word from the Vortex staff was all it took to make me add one of his shows to my “2008 To-Do List.”

I missed the Houston show Biram played the night after Thanksgiving because I was visiting family in the Beaumont area. That led to hitting up an intimate Billy Joe Shaver show. So, I made the trek out to the place where my intrigue to see Biram began, The Vortex.

Before the set, Biram was around the venue. A friendly, unassuming man, who spent most of his time hanging on a couch, drinking beer and talking to patrons of the bar. A normal man out having a good time. Not the man who tears up the highway criss-crossing the US, not the man who survived a horrendous car wreck, not the one-man band noise machine from Austin, TX, just a guy hanging around.

All of that changed when he stepped on stage and sat in front of his wall of amps, rivaled only J Mascis. He ran a good 30 seconds of auctioneer gibberish to get the mic set, somewhere in there seemed like a one sided attempt to get a girl…”That’s a compliment where I come from.” Then, he stomped on his amplified board a few times to count off and it was on for the next 90 minutes.

Biram weaved between originals, old blues songs that inspired him and folk songs from the past. With his old Gibson archtops, Biram brought a gritty, sonically assaulting performance that took stragglers at the bar by surprise and led them over to see what the noise was all about. With the aforementioned board, slides, harmonica and a board of pedals, Biram kept it all flowing and had something for everyone.

It shocked me that Biram has been around for so long and I’ve never ran across him before this night. Rather than be sore about the lost time, I figured I should feel lucky for getting in on the game now, right before his new album comes out. No better time than that to get on board. I picked up Graveyard Shift after the show and it was a mainstay on the car radio throughout holiday travels. Do yourself a favor and check out Biram when he hits your town.