D.I. Live in Houston TX

Author: Nick Kress

D.I. Promo PosterJuly 2nd was a wild Wednesday when D.I.,and the motley crew of mischiefs that accompanied them, lit up Walters Downtown in Houston, Texas. Walters Downtown or “Walters” as any self-respecting, native concert goer would call it, has definitely earned its place as one of the finest, more intimate venues this flat, sprawling map has to offer.

The illustrious sudden re-migration towards the punk scene may have arrived just in time to keep this great place in business and has helped them remain, if not gain, more clout among Houston venues. D.I. performed on the same stage as bands including The Dead Milkmen, Black FlagCro-Mags, and 7 Seconds, just to name a few. D.I. are self-proclaimed “legendary O.C. punk rockers” whose name has developed a cult following, and acquired new generations of fans throughout the decades. They played arguably the most famous Adolescents song, “Amoeba” which really got the crowd singing along and is a case in point on how they continue to appeal to new generations with the song appearing on GTA5.

The lineup this evening was chock full of Texas bands opening for their idols. The bill included A.S.S., Garbage Dump, Land FillTalk Sick Brats, and of course D.I. It’s never fun to slam bands, but the two bands named after heaping holes of environmentally-unfriendly filth sure lived up to their names. ASS or A.S.S. as they were referred to when opening for D.R.I. about a month prior were easily one of the best bands to perform, although surprisingly played first which really created a lull through the middle of the showcase. This writer was able to catch up with the guys in A.S.S. after their set and found out that they’re not exactly local. The band’s members span across the vast map that is Texas. When asked where they hail from, they typically just reply with, “We’re Texas boys”.  Though their sound closely resembles that of the crossover/thrash genre. The fact that all the band’s members are from separate areas gives each person a unique flair when applied to their individual sound and performance. The lead guitar player, for example, appears as if he’s straight out of a Norwegian metal band complete with hair windmills and over the top guitar antics, while some of the others are shirtless, tattoo-ridden, and look like they play for the Cro-Mags.

This brings us to the waste-themed bands. Both Garbage Dump and Land Fill were an unfortunate waste of time, unless one is in need of a lesson on what not do while performing. The crowd thinned significantly as soon as the quality of the show fell. Both the bands were noisy, sludgy hardcore that exemplified very little talent. One of the singers couldn’t even keep up with his band, who lagged on tempo and noticeably messed up several times. He had to use an overwhelming amount of reverb to help fill in the gaps from running out of breath and it looked like he may pass out at any time. Backing vocals are another crucial characteristic that Garbage Dump and Land Fill completely lacked. Both bands also showed very little enthusiasm, were very sloppy, and just about blew everyone’s ear drums with their constant guitar feedback between songs. There are bands that power through their sets with no breaks and use techniques like feedback as transitions, but both Garbage Dump and Land Fill would use feedback for ridiculous amounts of time as if the drummers forgot that they need to click off the next song. One of the singers even called out his own band for taking so long between tunes proving none of them seemed to be enjoying themselves.

If a band’s bad negative mood is apparent, a positive connection between them and the audience is almost impossible to achieve. The majority of the mob took this time to enjoy a smoke on the patio and save their hearing for D.I., and Talk Sick Beats that brought the energy level back up. The Sick Brats, as they are commonly referred to, are a 3 piece band. Two thirds of the trio play in a locally- popular, Texas punk band called MUHAMMADALi. Their bass player, “Dirty Jeff”, is very well known in the  HTX scene. Jeff, along with their frontmanpercussionist, provided a consistent, roaring backbone while the drummer undertook main singing duties and the other two provided occasional backing vocals.  As the Sick Brats brought moral back up and people began to trickle back in, the air was thick with anticipation for the headliner.

photo 2D.I. took the stage quickly. They did a sound check together which comically happened to be a Ted Nugent song. After playing about a third of the cover, they immediately ripped into an impressive medieval melody which was believed to be originally composed by Beethoven. The band’s lead singer Casey Royer spewed political and social qualms over this song with no singing, but mostly allowed the band to shine. It became quickly apparent that D.I. are well practiced, tight musicians. This show was number 16 on a grueling, nonstop, 20 date tour. They sounded great, but it was obvious that Royer had begun to lose his voice. The bass player Edie Tartar did a fantastic job of harmonizing with Royer and really helped cover up his fading voice. Casey intentionally did quite a bit of spoken word like lyrics that were easier to hear than his singing. Most of the material, particularly the speaking parts, were very politically driven.

As the band’s intensity grew, the relatively small crowd almost immediately burst into a violent circle pit, jumping on and off stage, singing with the band, and stage diving.  The security was very relaxed unlike most venues making Walters the ideal venue for the hardcore punk outfit.  Of course it wouldn’t be a D.I. show without such signature songs like “Richard Hung Himself” and “Spiritual Law”, featured on the Slayer album,Undisputed Attitude, an epic homage of covers by their influencing predecessors including other pioneering punk and hardcore groups like Minor ThreatT.S.O.L., and The Stooges!

Along with A.S.S.Talk Sick Brats, and the other interesting bands, D.I.  Provided a freshly energetic, yet nostalgic experience that even included a few tricks up their sleeves. As it turns out, it’s no coincidence the band has several songs covered by Slayer as they are apparently very close to them. Slayer‘s late guitarist, Jeff Hanneman who passed away May 2nd, 2013 was roommates with D.I.‘s merch girl, bassist for Nashville Pussy, Tracy Almazan. During their heartfelt dedication to Hanneman, D.I. invited Tracy to the stage for an intense performance before timidly reporting back to the merch booth. Between the mixture of Punk rock icons both local and international, amazing sound produced by long-time Walter’s sound man, Terry, and raw energy, this experience was well worth attending.

From the mid 2000’s it was Walters on Washington until Washington Avenue was gentrified. This change was the epitome of out with the old and in with the new.  After the seemingly now phased out Walters fortunately decided to relocate, it was interesting to see what fate had in store for the infamous, newly relocated small venue. The new Walters slowly but surely begun to become a safe haven for Punk Rock. In fact a near majority of mid to large-scale punk shows now occur at this venue. Walters was really able to find a great niche and with bands like D.I. who are affiliates of the likes of Social Distortion, Agent Orange, and the Adolescents,  By the Barricade will surely be bringing you coverage from there again soon.

Keep it on Bythebarricade.com for more punk rock interviews, reviews, articles, and photos! Also, “Like” By the Barricade on Facebook to never miss a post. If you liked this article check out:

Interview with Jim Lindberg of Pennywise

D.R.I. hometown show review

Punk Rock Bowling 2014 review

Dos (Mike Watt & Kira Roessler) Review

Black Flag‘s Victimology Tour review

Nick Kress

Author: Nick Kress

This classically trained music guru has played guitar, drums, bass, and vocals in various bands throughout the duration of his life. Currently, Nick is a guitar instructor who has a serious passion for punk rock, and an even stronger will to write!

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