Allen Oldies Band

Pub date May 13, 2008
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW The Allen Oldies Band delivers a reckless tornado of classic hits, a retro dance party of Sham-tastic proportions. But don’t make the mistake of considering this Austin, Texas, ensemble a mere cover band. The Oldies have amassed a cult following built on the strength of a talented group of classic session players, sprinkled with a heavy dose of punk-pit sensibility. They have punctuated the beginning of South by Southwest in their hometown with an infamous 9:30 a.m. breakfast shindig replete with French maids serving jalapeño pancakes. They will play literally anywhere — but they will not play just anything. From "Wooly Bully" to "It’s Not Unusual," the Oldies are resolute in their mission to bring the dance tunes of yesteryear to your doorstep.

Allen Hill dreamed up this raucous, plaid-blazer-clad army of fun. Hill is a bit of a musical raconteur, a de facto spokesperson for the retro Austin scene who fronts his own combo with feverish enthusiasm and wisecracks. Wearing a tuxedo and tennis shoes, Hill rushes from one end of the stage to the other, employing a tongue-in-cheek goofiness with the group and the audience, recalling Louis Prima at his best. Always looking to spread the message of party rock, the Oldies are no strangers to either the wedding or corporate event circuit — please book three months in advance — and have played backing ensemble to the likes of Chuck Berry and Archie Bell. Lest their paying gigs sound too staid, the Oldies have the indie cred of a live WMFU album, Live and Delirious (Freedom, 2006). While their trips outside the Lone Star State are not as frequent as their fans would like, they are finally set to grace our fair city with a dose of hyperactive twistin’ tunes.

ALLEN OLDIES BAND With the Barbary Coasters. Fri/16, 9:30 p.m., $6.
Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. (415) 923-0923,