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words and photos by Keith Marlowe
Riverboat Gamblers @ The Studio
Brooklyn rock'n'roll wrecking ball Ex-Humans opened the show at the The Studio at Webster Hall on Septmeber 2nd with their fast, hard-hitting songs that blend punk and rock. Most of the songs they played can be found on their just released, self-titled album, on Rob's House Records. I asked Todd (bass) how it was to play with the Gamblers, "It's a blast. We're good friends with those guys, and it's always great to see them. We were all worried after Ian's accident, so it's awesome to see him back onstage again."
Ian's accident (he was hit by a car on his bike last October) had sidelined Riverboat Gamblers after the release of their latest album, "Underneath the Owl," on Volcom Entertainment, but as anyone at their show at Webster Hall Studio show last Thursday will attest, Ian and the band are back and stronger than ever. Their set included all the elements that make a classic Gamblers show: gang-vocal choruses, razor sharp hooks, drinks flying, and of course vocalist Mike Weibe jumping and climbing all over the stage and hanging from anything that looks like it might hold him. They played a wide range of songs from all their albums, and a new song, tentatively titled "What are you waiting for?" The show ended with Mike hanging from a light rack and dropping the mic into the crowd for them to sing along, before letting go and singing while being passed along on top of the audience.
I caught up with the Gamblers backstage (and missed several of the opening bands... sorry dudes) and at Manitobas after the show. I asked Ian if he feels fully recovered from the accident, "I feel like I'm all the way back now, yeah. It took awhile, but I'm at 100% now." And if he wears a helmet when he rides his bike, "Usually,... I know I should wear it all the time," he told me with a grin. I talked with Mike and Ian about the tour. Mike told me that as he gets older, he's learned to appreciate the bands success and moments on tour more. When I asked what some of those moments from the Warped Tour were, they both went on about how great it was to play with Fear and spend time with Lee Ving. "I had this conversation with him in San Diego, he told me about starting out, before punk really broke, what it felt like when it was on the cusp of exploding, how exciting a time that was, how different it is from now. That's the kind of thing that makes all the sacrifices we experience to stay on the road worthwhile," Mike said. "Yeah," Ian agreed," he told us about booking at a club and he would slate Fear as the opening band and then they would just blow them off the stage." "That's the closest I'm ever gonna get to touch that, another time, that has just had so much impact on the music that came after," Mike said.
Kevin Cole from the Turbo AC's is a good friend of the Gamblers and came with us to Manitoba's after the show. He told me about a Gamblers show at the Knitting Factory a few years back. "I was on my was there and I found some bags outside a costume shop, they were throwing out all this stuff, so I show up at the gig carrying this big bag of costumes. I passed it out and some of it was kids costumes, so Mike comes out wearing a jr. fireman's helmet, their merch guy was dressed as GI JOE, the band took turns wearing this giant white afro wig, it was totally nuts." Mike laughed, "Yeah, that really made the show."
The Gamblers have been busy since Ian's recovery. They spent all summer on the Warped tour, are going to be touring Canada with Pennywise this month (that tour already hit Starland Ballroom in NJ), heading down the West Coast and across the Midwest to Chicago to play the Riot Fest, and from there they are going to Europe on the Eastpak Antidote tour. When they finally get back to Austin in December they will have toured non-stop for over seven months, and plan to get into the studio in January to start working on their new record. They also have a song "Don't Bury Me, I'm Still Not Dead," on the upcoming Rock Band 3.
more pictures from the night...