Legendary Shack*Shakers perform at Gypsy Tea Room on May 22, with Honchie and Fishboy.
When the Legendary Shack*Shakers took the stage at 2003's South by Southwest, I stood in the front row wondering why everybody had just taken a giant step back. Ten seconds into the set, I figured it out: These guys are some sadistic sonsabitches. Lead singer "Colonel" J.D. Wilkes squawked and hopped around like a chicken that had been shot, and guitarist Joe Buck and stand-up bassist Mark Robertson flashed menacing smiles as if the crowd were Thanksgiving dinner. The band tore through 25 nonstop minutes of the most devil-inspired country music I'd ever heard, and as the last song reached its peak, Wilkes grabbed me by the hair, shoved my head into his crotch and screamed the next five lyrics straight into my skull. I haven't encountered that level of insanity at a concert, well, ever--and if you haven't seen LSS yet, make your way to the Gypsy, where the band plays after Denton's not-quite-so-psychotic Fishboy. Have a good time, but for God's sake: Watch out in the front row.