Golden Boy holds court at Beer­land

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360BETS - By Joe Gross jgross@states­man.com; 912-5926

You might not guess it from see­ing one of his in­spi­ra­tionally flail­ing per­for­mances with the Golden Boys or as a solo act un­der his own name, but John Wes­ley “Wes” Cole­man works hard and takes his craft se­ri­ously.

His new al­bum, “Bad Girl Goes to Jail,” should be out in a few months on the well­re­spected Goner Records la­bel. Its fol­lowup, “The Last Don­key Show,” recorded with one­time Texan and garage rock star Greg Ashley, is in the can as well. No word yet on where that will end up.

Cole­man’s last solo al­bum, “Steal My Mind,” was re­leased in Novem­ber.

His band the Golden Boys has re­leased four al­bums since 2005, in­clud­ing two last year. Cole­man’s also work­ing on a novel, “Jim Now,” the chron­i­cles of Jim Mor­ri­son had he not died.

The Lizard King would be “writ­ing jin­gles for com­mer­cials,” Cole­man says by phone. We’d meet in per­son, but he’s on his shift at Sal­va­tion Pizza. “What I would love to do is pub­lish this book and do a tour where I do a read­ing dur­ing the day and play a show at night.”

Cole­man isn’t fond of down­time. He’s play­ing (or, in the case of Mon­day night, host­ing) six nights of shows at Beer­land. “A Week of Wes,” ac­cord­ing to Beer­land booker Max “Max Dropout” Mee­han, with a va­ri­ety of acts play­ing the shows with Cole­man and his band.

“I just love play­ing as much as I can,” Cole­man says. “It’s like go­ing on tour and only play­ing at one spot.”

It sounds ab­surd. “When he came to me with the idea, he was kinda wasted,” Mee­han says. “He said, ‘I wanna play ev­ery night for a week,’ and I don’t think he thought I would go for it. I liked the idea. It seemed so stupid it might work.”

Mee­han says it also helped that Cole­man’s mu­sic works in a num­ber of con­texts. The Golden Boys moved from equal parts noise and melodies rem­i­nis­cent of the Band’s more rock­ing mo­ments to some­thing a lit­tle more straight­for­ward and rootsy.

“The first time I saw Wes was a pretty early Golden Boys show, when (orig­i­nal drum­mer) James (Arthur) was still in the band,” Mee­han says. “Wes was all over the place and James seemed re­ally mad at him. At one point, he fell over while play­ing and his head landed in­side the hole in the front of James’s kick drum. James started to kick it re­ally hard, like, try­ing to hurt Wes. All I could think was, ‘This is hor­ri­ble and amaz­ing at the same time.’”

We’ve all calmed down a bit since then, but Cole­man has be­come some­thing of a re­nais­sance man of the rock id­iom. Acous­tic psychedelia, roots rock, blown-out noise, pop songs — Cole­man can do it all.

Most of the time the back­ing band will in­clude for­mer Strange Boys drum­mer Matt Ham­mer, Bad Sports multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Orville Nee­ley, Golden Boys or­gan­ist Nathan Ar­beit­man and Jeremy Steen from the Flesh­lights on bass. But at this rate, any­one could be up there.

Mon­day, Cole­man hosts Beer­land’s usual karaoke night, but Tues­day’s gig is one of the garage-y sets, head­lined by prim­i­tive rock ma­niac the Reverend Beat-Man with sets from John Schoo­ley and oth­ers. (It’s an early show, with bands start­ing at 9 p.m.)

On Wed­nes­day, Arthur’s new band James Arthur’s Man­hunt — think the Golden Boys if they had stayed the course on the noise thing — plays a set on a bill that in­cludes Cole­man’s crew and or­gan-driven soul-rock act A Few Nice Things.

Thurs­day is nois­ier stuff, with Coma in Al­giers, Fol­lowed by Statis and the new­est it­er­a­tion of At­tack For­ma­tion, sim­ply called the For­ma­tion. Fri­day is punkier garage with Flesh­lights, Bass Drum of Death and the Bad Sports.

Cole­man opens the Fri­day show, fol­lowed by Flesh­lights, a Mis­souri act called Bass Drum of Death and Texas garage stars Bad Sports. Look for Co­manche Club, Light Me Up and more on Satur­day.

Cole­man says pa­trons who come on mul­ti­ple nights will hear some­thing new each time. “I have about 40 songs I can draw from, and I might make a few up on the spot,” he says. Few peo­ple have heard ma­te­rial from “The Last Don­key Show.” “We had a horn sec­tion and lots of honky-tonk boo­gie pi­ano,” Cole­man says.

“I wish I could have fig­ured out a hip-hop bill for Wes to be on,” Mee­han says. “I’m sure he would have been great on that also.”

James Brosher Amer­i­cAn-StAteS­mAn

John Wes­ley ‘Wes’ Cole­man plays a di­verse col­lec­tion of mu­si­cal styles with the Golden Boys as well as solo. Next week, he’s the king of Beer­land for six nights of per­for­mances.

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