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The Regulars

Phases and Stages BY JIM CALIGIURI

February 2, 2002: American People, Meat Purveyors

After breaking up more than a year ago, the Meat Purveyors are back pickin' and grinnin' their way into Austin's heart. The only obvious change appears to be the hairdo of singer Jo Walston, who now possesses a bouffant worthy of B-52's Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. This was only the band's third gig since regrouping, but it proved that the local quartet hasn't lost any of its punky bluegrass charm and prodigious musicianship. In addition to favorites like "Tallboy," "The Morning After," and "More Man," they pulled out new material, including a number about trucker's speed that fit well with the group's screwy stage patter. There were the covers as well, including Ratt's "Round and Round" and Abba's "S.O.S," featuring guitar work by Bill Anderson and the expansive mandolin playing of Pete Stiles. It's like the Meat Purveyors never left. The American People followed with a set that was in a totally different direction musically, yet was equally unpredictable. Although they've been playing a great deal recently and finally getting some of the recognition they deserve, this was reportedly their last local show as lead singer Mike McCoy will soon be returning to the wilds of Kansas. An unfortunate situation since the American People's brand of earnest pop, a melodic combination of garage, jangle, and punk offset with a heavy dose of Farfisa, is all but unrivaled in these parts. McCoy led them through a raucous set that got more unruly as the night wore on thanks to all the farewell shots and beers flying onstage. Yup, just another Saturday night of conflicting emotions at the Hole in the Wall.

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