Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dax Riggs Might Be a Vampire

What is it about New Orleans natives and their obsessions with preternatural creatures? Louisiana-bred Dax Riggs seems to be no exception, and in fact, may be a vampire himself.

Exhibit A: The guy doesn't age. Watching him onstage last night at Mercury Lounge in his trademark white T-shirt and jeans, it was hard to imagine that the baby-faced singer/songwriter is in his late 30s—and that Acid Bath first hit the scene in 1991.

Exhibit B: Virtually all of Riggs's songs touch upon grand themes of redemption, sin, life and death, usually pointing out the slight subtleties between the latter two. [See: last night's throwback track, Deadboy & the Elephantmen's "Stop, I'm Already Dead."]

Exhibit C: Like any other charismatic undead character, Dax Riggs controls a cult-like stable of minions. An eclectic bunch to be sure (and not a void of beardos, as predicted), the audience reacted to even the slightest gesture from their leader—including a round of hollers for a simple mic check. Unfortunately, the devoted were also a bit misguided, like the dick in the High on Fire jersey who insisted on spending the entire night with his hand in the air recording the show on his Nano. Really buddy, I'm sure it's not the view everyone behind you was paying for.

Riggs didn't disappoint his followers in any way on Saturday night. Kicking things off with "I Hear Satan" from his brand-new album, Say Goodnight to the World, he stuck to a set rooted in new songs, plus those off of 2007's hypnotic We Sing of Only Blood or Love. Favorites like "Night is the Notion," "Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain," and "Living is Suicide" were followed by renditions of newbies "Let Me Be Your Cigarette," "Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes" and the sexiest cover of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" ever made. Elvis may have had the pelvis, but Riggs is set with those pillowy lips and often sings like he's delivering a sloppy kiss.

New tracks sounded fuller with his tight backup band; older tracks were sped up with kicked-up urgency. And though Dax Riggs's songs don't tend to break the three-minute mark, the hour-long set went by so quickly that some were undoubtedly left disappointed by certain exclusions.

Me? I would've killed to hear "Radiation Blues." Maybe I'll find out if he plays it tonight during his second gig at Mercury Lounge.

I think I've been glamored.

More amateur live show pics can be found here