Texas Hippie Coalition/Eve To Adam–The Roxy, Hollywood, CA 8/11/13

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Two bands with very different images—but both capable of rocking very hard—stopped by the legendary Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles in the midst of their Highway Robbery nationwide tour.

ETA_0269You think Sunday night is a tough night to gig? Then try playing not just on a Sunday night, but also playing a set list filled with songs from an album that is still a month away from being released! The reality is that very few people in an already sparse audience will have heard any of the songs, which makes it a tough mountain to climb for a band looking to impress. Oh, and throw in for good measure that the band is from New York, and the gig is in Los Angeles, which means they’re far, far away from hometown fans and friends.

Those were the obstacles placed in front of , but the band was both fearless and enthusiastic in their bid to win over the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.  consists of brothers Taki and Alex Sassaris on lead vocals and drums, respectively; Gaurav Bali on lead guitar, Luis Espaillat on bass and Adam Latiff on rhythm guitar.

ETA_9843One of the benefits of being a music journalist is getting advance copies of new releases. ETA’s new album Locked And Loaded is a fantastic hard rock album, but aside from the band and crew, I was probably one of the few in The Roxy who knew that.  That didn’t stop all five members of ETA from playing as if they were in a big arena, performing to thousands of people who knew each song. (They have advanced one song and video from the upcoming album: Straightjacket Supermodel, which, judging from the reaction from the audience, has been seen by quite a few people). The band also threw a bone to the crowd by doing a rocking cover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell, which inspired one young lady to climb up on stage and show off her dancing skills, much to the amusement of the crowd and band alike.

TexasHippie_0680Headlining band had an advantage in that their current album, Peacemaker, has been out for a year. THC boasts one of the most unique front men in all of rock in Big Dad Ritch. BDR, as he is known, is a mountain of a man, both in physical size and attitude, and a one-of-a-kind mic stand fashioned to look like a double-barreled shotgun completed the image. His band mates have a similar scruffy, Southern outlaw attitude.

The band couldn’t have picked a better opening song: Hands Up, with BDR drawling “I’m the king of Texas, for those who don’t know me. We’re the band of outlaws, call us THC.”

TexasHippie_0667Founding member, bassist John Exall, guitarists Wes Wallace and Cord Pool are all masters at their instruments, as is drummer Gunnar Molton.  In fact, one of the highlights came as BDR introduced each band member, after which they would take a solo. Wallace and Pool may be young (Pool looks all of 15 years old) but man, can they shred! Molton doesn’t look much past his teen years either, but he can pound the drums like you’ve never heard.

As one might imagine, THC’s songs are loud and aggressive. Pantera meets Black Label Society meets Lynyrd Skynyrd–“Red Dirt Metal” is what the guys in THC call it. The glitz of the Sunset Strip may be far from the small town of Denison, Texas, where THC began, but definitely won over plenty of fans on that late-summer Sunday night in Hollywood, California.

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