Sometimes a little dab really will do ya.
And in this case, the dab was found at the Casbah on Monday night and came in the form of a blazing 30-minute set from Austin’s (by way of Abilene) Micah P. Hinson.
Billed as the opener for Scottish indie rockers the Twilight Sad, Hinson made the very most of his half-hour.
Taking the stage promptly at 9:30, Hinson came out firing, opening with the barroom rambler “Take Off That Dress for Me,” from his 2010 release, Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs. All but one of the songs in the brief set were taken from that album.
Hinson was a charismatic host between numbers as he recalled bits about their bittersweet origins. Ranging from the tale of a cocaine-using American Gladiator who lost his son in a police standoff to the irony of receiving career-bolstering generosity at the hands of his nay-saying, abusive, racist, wife-beating grandfather, Hinson was perfectly and charmingly strange.
Dressed in a hat, black-rimmed glasses, a brown leather vest and faded jeans, Hinson expertly slow-played the shamefully sparse crowd into a lull with his unassuming, fractured drawl, before whacking us all with a chorus or phrase that was as loud and frightening as it was heartfelt.
I first heard of Hinson when his version of “Yard of Blonde Girls” was included on the Dream Brother: The Songs of Tim and Jeff Buckley compilation. While his version is impeccably measured and exquisitely askew, it was that voice that drew me in and made me hit repeat a dozen or more times. That voice promised something -- something unconventional and wise beyond its years. I had always wondered if seeing him live would ruin that.
Armed with only an effects pedal and a well-worn guitar adorned with stickers that said things like “F---You – I’m Batman” and “This Machine Kills Fascists,” Hinson completely delivered on that initial promise of aberrant wisdom -- and then some.
And really, I think that’s all anyone could ever ask for.