If known solely for his work with the legendary punk rock trio The Minutemen, Mike Watt's rock 'n' roll reputation would be secure. But after the death of guitarist D. Boon brought The Minutemen era to a close in 1985, Watt persevered and eventually formed another acclaimed trio, Firehose. And since going solo in 1994, Watt has continued to make impressive music while collaborating with a virtual who's who of alternative rock.
In 2003, Watt became the bass player in the reformed Stooges and participated in the band's first performance in two decades. Technically, Watt is still a member of the Stooges, but these days he's out touring in support of his recently released fourth solo effort, Hyphenated-man. Like his previous albums, Hyphenated-man is a semi-autobiographical narrative that plays out like an impromptu opera. The musicianship, of course, is beyond first-rate, as Watt and his trio since 2005, The Missing Men, flail the hell out of thirty songs in just under an hour. Inspired by the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch, each cut is much like the paintings themselves, exquisite and ugly at the same time. At 53, Mike Watt shows little sign of slowing down or settling on any single genre. There are very few musicians with his drive or fortitude.
And yet, somehow, he finds himself in a supporting role on this bill. The headlining slot belongs to soul revivalist Eli "Paperboy" Reed, who joins Watt on this one-off bill because both acts are in town on this night, en route to Austin's South by Southwest.