The enduring power of rockabilly is that it's rock 'n' roll in undiluted form. The dark menace and raging lust that early rock only hinted at were the foundations of every rockabilly backbeat and echoey hiccup. But it took a clique of maniacal '80s rockabilly revisionists like the Cramps, Flat Duo Jets and Tav Falco and the Panther Burns to remind the punk audience what true punk was all about.
As the leader of Flat Duo Jets, Dexter Romweber established himself as an unhinged backwoods wild man and a live performer of frightening intensity. Now on his own, Romweber expands his reach without toning down the ferocity. Whether tearing through breakneck rockabilly ("15,000 Lives") or rumbling surf workouts ("Do the Lurd!!!), Romweber reminds you how exciting such simple and well-worn music can be when it's executed by a committed and masterful hell-raiser. Listening to Chased By Martians, you find yourself constantly checking the credits to find out which ones are the originals and which ones are the covers. It says something about the authenticity of his approach that his own tunes sound like obscure classics, and the old songs he digs up sound like his own compositions.
If for no other reason, though, Romweber deserves favor for taking one of The Who's lamest singles, "The Seeker," and recasting it as a vintage Sun Records track. He may not be the most politically correct guy around, but he obviously believes in recycling.
Scheduled to perform Wednesday, February 20, with Bob Log III. Showtime is 9 p.m.
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