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Riverboat Gamblers 

With the Vacancies and the A-10s. Monday, May 24, at the Beachland Ballroom.

The reasons to avoid choosing the touring rocker life are numerous and well known. No money, no future, etc. But one of the less frequent reasons raised by nagging family and girlfriends is the back-of-the-brain fear of real physical harm. If it ain't some drunk whizzing an empty at your noggin, your own bandmates could get overly sauced and swept up in the revelry, swing around, and smack the micstand square in your gush, knocking out some teeth. That's exactly what happened to Riverboat Gamblers bassist Patrick Lillard at a San Francisco show last October; it resulted in six and a half hours of reconstructive surgery and forced them to cancel the rest of that tour.

But they're already back on the road -- back from a European tour, actually. So besides that resilience (or stupidity, depending on whether you're a mother), the band deserves credit for releasing one of the best rock recs of last year, Something to Crow About (Gearhead), a tornado of flailing guitars, gang vocal choruses, and wise-beyond-their-beers rhythm shifts. Sprung from a Denton, Texas emo scene that still bows to hometown heroes At the Drive-In, the Gamblers grew frustrated with the increasing prog push of that burg and put a whippin' to any remaining ties. Theirs is more like the sound of tanked teens kicking up gravel as they peel out of the drive-in, B action flick exploding away behind them.

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