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Daily Texan: Two Hoots and a holler Local band inspires jitterbuggers

BYLINE Ron Eid - 09/25/1992

If you happen to get to a Two Hoots and a Holler show early at a place like Hole in the Wall, you might notice the audience acts a little strangely. Groups of people come in, walk straight to the tables in front of the stage, rearranging and pushing them away from the stage to make a dance floor. Two Hoots takes the stage, lead singer Ricky Broussard strikes his guitar and the room comes alive. Many in the crowd move to the dance floor where partners render ^- with what appears to be effortless precision ^- skilled interpretations of the West Coast swing, the shag and the jitterbug. With dancers whirling in front of the stage, Broussard leans into the microphone and begins delivering a whirlwind of music that seems to come from somewhere in the wide-open spaces of the Southwest in the early '60s, jumping in the air, wringing the neck of his guitar and wailing song after song in a voice driven with emotion. Every show for Two Hoots means an enthusiastic performance. Even when the pace of the crowd slows (^[That's okay. If you're not gonna dance, we got plenty of slow songs,^{ Broussard cajoles, sending even more people to their feet), the band plays with such intensity that the interest within the crowd, even among the followers, never wanes. Two Hoots plays its own brand of South Texas roots rock, influenced by the Clash and Roy Orbison alike. ^[Just don't call us rockabilly,^{ says bassist Vic Gerard. Although they write most of their own music, the band have been known to cut a mean cover, churning out tunes like My Generation or California Sun. The band churns them out with their own rebel bent. Before starting the band more than eight years ago, Broussard played in a gospel oul revue with his brothers in San Antonio. Gerard and drummer Chris Staples played together in Chaparral, Hell's Cafe and Three Balls of Fire before joining Broussard in Two Hoots and a Holler 3 1^!2 years ago. Today, the trio preserves the garage roots style of hell-raising rock 'n' roll. This has given it the reputation of being something of a nostalgia band, a charge the band disputes, saying the themes in the music haven't changed in the last few decades. ^ that act out all this anger, but there was a lot of anger back then . ... When I was younger I saw a picture of my brother standing next to a '56 Buick, and I said, 'I want to be just like that.^{ In his song, Fifty Miles Away ..., he refers to today's anger-bangers as ^[all those phonies on MTV. ^{Two Hoots and a Holler is anything but fake. And maybe the anger is what Staples is talking about when he says, ^[We're not just a party band. There's a lot going on when we're up there, a lot of emotion.^{ And the emotion comes out in every show, drawing an enthusiastic crowd, one that wants to dance. Two Hoots is frequently accompanied on stage by people like Charlie Sexton, John ^[the X-factor^{ Reed, Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos and Pete Gordon, who plays for Mojo Nixon and plays like the Killer himself. ^[Pete can play anywhere he wants,^{ says Broussard. The spontaneity of Two Hoots makes it seem like anything could happen at one of its shows. Like that time last year at the Hole in the Wall , when an admiring drunk climbed on stage and began to sing. Deciding to contribute more to the show, he reached for Broussard's guitar and tried to strum it. Broussard shoved the man off stage, threw off his guitar and yelled a warning to the stumbling drunk. The crowd backed away from the stage-rusher, who was still struggling to his feet. He stood up and looked at Broussard, who then jumped into the crowd after him. The would-be Hoot sobered up quickly and realized he had gone too far. He ran out the front door with Broussard right behind him. Gerard, not surprised, shrugged to Staples and the two maintained a back beat. About five minutes later, Broussard returned, unscathed but still visibly pissed, jumped on stage and strapped on his guitar. He charged the mike and finished the final verse of the song with more ire than ever. Part of the bickering that goes on about Austin's live-music scene centers on whether to praise or criticize the audience's connoisseur-like appreciation for music. Brett Campbell, a free-lance writer from San Antonio, distinguishes between the Austin audiences at coffee shops and the crowds at bars where people go mainly to dance. Campbell commends the coffee-shop crowds because they ^[sit quietly at the tables and lean forward in their chairs so they can hear better. I've even heard people shushed for talking during the show.^{ He says he's never heard anyone shushed at a Two Hoots show. From the very first song, the dance floor is busy and the band is jamming. These are some authentic guys.

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