Monday, October 16, 2006

Well, they can't say that Two Gallants have had it easy their whole lives anymore. Having once been ridiculed by some terrible hack of a poet on Pitchfork Media as pretentious West Coast indie rockers who knew nothing of the 'enraged sheriffs' and 'luckless roustabouts' about whom they sang, the SF indie punk/folk duo gained a measure of street cred in Houston last Friday. Street cred they'd probably rather have left for someone else.

Seems an out-of-control, chip-on-shoulder law officer decided to treat a routine noise complaint more like a kick-in-the-door drug factory raid. Somewhere in the midst of getting accosted on stage for no apparent reason, taking the brunt of excessive force (including a few doses of a taser gun), being cuffed, and being thrown in jail along with several fans and friends on trumped-up charges, I have a feeling that the Gallants might have picked up a few more insights about the plight of oppressed minorities in the South. Perhaps Mr. Howe will keep that in mind if and when he reviews their next album.

But seriously. The video of the incident is evidence of what a bizarre and disturbing scene it was. One cop trying to show a whole crowd of college students and skinny, twenty-something indie rockers who was really running the show. There was the requisite defiance in the face of authority and cursing out the pigs, but that not withstanding, Officer Rodriguez had no business making like Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse and trying to take on the whole room himself. Dealing solely with management surely would have sufficed.

But he may learn that the hard way as he mistakenly tasered a fourteen-year-old boy who was at the show with his father and 12-year-old sister, something which generally doesn't go over well with the community at large, the media or the legal system for that matter. A few publications seem to buy the police department's story that the officer was in danger, but the vast majority of outlets seem to side with the band. This time the enraged sheriff might just get his due.

Publications of all stripes have picked up the story. For God's sake, even the right-wing nuts over at Free Republic seem sympathetic with the band. That can't bode well for the Houston Police Department.

Meanwhile, in what must have been a stab at ironic humor, Pitchfork followed the news of the Friday's chaos with an MP3 of Two Gallants' Las Cruces Jail.


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the Two Gallants are able to move on from this incident. Back in 1983, the pop group Bananarama were booed off stage in NYC for lip-synching a song. Lip-synching was quite common back in the day, even more so in the UK, where Bananarama are from.

Most people thought after that, it would be the end of Bananarama's career in the US. But the trio pressed on and in 1984 they had their first US top ten hit with "Cruel Summer". And in 1986, they went to #1 in the US with "Venus". In 1988, Bananarama were entered into the Guiness Book Of World Records for having the most charting hits of an all-female group (29 hits in the UK!). And this year, 23 years after getting booed off stage, their song "Look On The Floor" went to #2 on the US Billboard Dance Chart.

I hope that Bananarama is a role model for the Two Gallants. While the Two Gallants may be down and out now ... success may just be around the corner for them.

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