Volcom Tour Featuring Riverboat Gamblers and Valiant Thorr | 09.05.07

rbg1By the time they finished their very brief set, the entire front row of fans was soaked with the band's sweat.






Creepy Crawl, St. Louis

LOUD is the first word that comes to mind when trying to capture the Volcom Tour featuring co-headlining garage punk rockers Riverboat Gamblers and Valiant Thorr. Upon a friend's recommendation, I thought I'd check out these two bands on the verge. After all, Valiant Thorr was recently listed as the "#2 Band You Need To See Live Before You Die" by Alternative Press, and Rolling Stone proclaimed the Gamblers as one of the top Five Bands that Broke Through at the 2006 SXSW Festival. But I wanted to see for myself.

Formed in 1997, the Riverboat Gamblers built a local following and busted out of the Denton, Texas college scene. Their tunes are catchy, anthemic and crammed full of pure rock n' roll energy. On this muggy Wednesday night, though, their sleeves were pulled up to reveal the fresh cuts of constant touring and life on the road. The Gamblers were also forced to struggle through the "new" Creepy Crawl's murky sound system, while the stage lighting was so sub-par that, at a point, one of the guitarists even said, "Can I get some light up here? I can't see anything."

Given all these obstacles, Riverboat Gamblers tried their best to deliver the show they're known for. Onstage, singer Mike Wiebe could not be contained, his only leash being the length of the microphone cord. Guitarists Fadi El-Assad and Ian MacDougall joined bassist Patrick Lillard (and a rotating cast of drummers) in cranking out one fist-pumping crowd pleaser after another from their breakout Gearhead Records release, Something to Crow About, and their most recent release on Volcom Records, To the Confusion of Our Enemies. By the time they finished their very brief set, the entire front row of fans was soaked with the band's sweat.

Valiant Thorr took the stage next and kept the hungry crowd going. I didn't think it was possible that they could be LOUDER than Riverboat Gamblers, yet somehow they were. But the crowd ate it up. This is definitely a band that does not take itself too seriously – after all, it dubs its legion of fans "Thorriors" and encourages them via its Web site (with step by step instructions) to paint the band's logo on old jean jackets and don them in support. Actually their precise words are, "Put that bad motherfucker on your back, grow your hair out, and keep rock and roll dangerous." 

I really cannot think of a better way to sum up this evening of punk rock debauchery. Oh, and yes I woke up with a headache. | Amy Burger

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