Drunken brand of southern rock

This Thursday, NYC's undersized Mercury Lounge plays host to two of Australia's tallest rock talents, Tim Rogers (You Am I) and Tex Perkins (Beasts of Bourbon, Cruel Sea.)

You Am I had the biggest cheer squad, but the zealots always barracked for Perkins. Perkins' band, The Cruel Sea, had solid commercial success in the late 80s and early 90s, playing tight, determined rock, like a post-pop INXS. When I was in Melbourne, half the bands in half the pubs were trying to sound like The Cruel Sea. Unfortunately, the other half were trying to sound like Tex's other project, The Beasts Of Bourbon.

The Beasts weren't terrible by any means. "Dropout" is a corker. They played a rousing, drunken brand of southern rock that occasioned flashy hyphen-rich adjectives like:

Might I suggest "American-Gothic Grog-Rock"?

Gothic as in uncivilized. Sticky-carpet pub rock, jugged-up feral blues, over-ripe flannel, unkempt hair, Peter Jackson smokes.

Perkins' displays his musical influences with all the artfulness of a Hard Rock Cafe. Tom Waits, Cash, Cohen, Nick Cave, Hank Williams, The Allman Brothers,, ACDC, ZZ Top, Eddie Vedder. Not the greatest voice, but tons of charisma, enough wit, and a carousing everyman quality that gave birth to a woeful generation of "I can drink, I can brood, my oath I can do that" front men.

Perkins never took himself too seriously. His whole sinner-savant desperado thing always seemed something of a jape to me. But a lot of blokes seem to have underestimated its irony, and mistook his fuck-off confidence for truth or genius. He is apotheosized by certain Australian males, as a lifestyle prophet of sorts, on an almost Jim Morrison level.

Pepsi Sheen isn't Australian, and maybe isn't a bloke either, but this is the breathlessness I'm talking about:

Those dudes that passed out rockin to Tex, when they got up, they listened to Tim. You Am I are a rock band in the vein of The Who and The Kinks. Loud and sharp, smart and versatile, and not afraid to go soft, as in "Heavy Heart" and my favorite, "Please Don't Ask Me To Smile." Maybe Tex and Tim are like Brad Pitt and the other guy in Fight Club, Jekyll and Hyde, but instead of confronting the emasculating alienation of contemporary man through outbursts of raw violence and anarchy, they just get along and have a couple pints and knock out a few good tunes.