Best Of SXSW : The Biters

During my time on at MOKB, I’ve awarded the Best Rock Band in America title to, in order: Marah, The Hold Steady, the Avett Brothers and The Black Keys. Mere minutes into The Biters’ sweat-soaked set at The Jackalope on Saturday, I knew the belt was destined to change hands again. How did it happen? The old-fashioned way: the Atlanta-based quartet took the stage in that oppressively hot room on 6th, counted it off, and took it.

Remember when rock stars looked like rock stars and not sullen Radio Shack employees? Well, the biters look like Joan Jett’s delinquent brothers, right down to the matching haircuts and tattered jean vests. Yes, you read that right: jean vests. So when you and Heidi Klum are wearing’em this summer, feel free to blame The Biters, along with everyone favorite Venusians, Valient Thorr.

And act like rock stars? This band positively oozes attitude, the kind that makes people afraid to sit on public toilet seats. Let’s just say that if sneers were currency, singer Tuk and Adnan Khashoggi would be golf buddies. And don’t get me started on drummer Joey, who grabbed the 2011 Ginger Baker award for regifting mid song and not missing a beat.

But an outfit doesn’t get to be the Best Rock Band in America on the strength of denim, attitude and projectile vomit alone. The Biters have great songs, but classifying this band as power pop really doesn’t do them justice, especially given their subtle co-opting of punk, glam and hard rock. A few spins through the All Chewed Up EP (get it here) and you’ll recognize influences (including such heavies as Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, KISS and the Bay City Rollers), but it’s all in the service of peerless pop songs. Pop songs that’ll be stuck in your head long after the hangover subsides.

Finally, You gotta deliver the goods. And believe me, you, The Biters leave it all up on stage. At a point in the festival when most bands were phoning it in, The Biters played with precision and urgency that’s pretty rare under the best of circumstances. Truth be told, they played every song like their very existence depended on it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Best Rock Band in America. The Biters.

MP3 : The Biters – Born To Cry

The Biters on Tour
3/25 – Fullerton, CA – Slidebar*
3/26 – San Francisco, CA – Thee Parkside*
3/27 – Sacramento, CA – The Hub*
3/30 – San Jose, CA – Blank Club*
3/31 – Reno, NV – Lincoln Lounge
4/01 – Portland, OR – East End*
4/02 – Seattle, WA – The Comet Tavern*
4/03 – Boise, ID – Gustos*
4/04 – Salt Lake City, UT – Burt’s Tiki Lounge*
4/05 – Fort Collins, CO – Surfside 7*
4/06 – Denver, CO – 3 Kings Tavern*
4/07 – Colorado Springs, CO – Triple Nickel Tavern*
4/08 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown*
4/09 – St Louis, MO – Cicero’s*
4/10 – Memphis, TN – Murphy’s*
5/19 – Indianapolis, IN – Rock Lobster*
5/20 – Milwaukee, WI – Quarter’s Rock N Roll Palace*
5/21 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen*
5/22 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class*
*w/ the Booze

  • Joanne B, That’s me

    March 25, 2011 [ 1:59 pm ]

    Baltimore LOVES Biters

  • I bite

    March 25, 2011 [ 4:59 pm ]

    Dude, I totally 110% agree. the drummer rejected his stomach contents 6 times and never missed a beat. You couldn’t even tell. Tuk said something about it on stage and I thought he was joking. They were so damn good at that show you’re speaking of it made me want to sell everything I own to give it to them just for being them. All three shows I saw were simply amazing. The first, which got me hooked, was in a space with a stage the size of a bathroom where they killed it even though center mic was going in and out and Joey broke his bass drum playing so hard. The next was at Scoot Inn, the same place and show where things came to a screeching halt for one girl punching band. the band had just played 2 hours earlier in the phone booth and now had a real stage to play with and owned it. To go from cramped as a tour van size stage to a huge stage in 2 hours and make it look like that bigger stage was small was something else. hmmm tiny stage to bigger stage in 2 hours has to be a portend, right? And they aren’t uber rock stars and cocky. They are humble and nice as hell and there’s a lot of joking and, well dare I say, fun when they play? But what it boils down to is are the songs. I’ve seen thousands of bands. Some good, most not so much. Some huge, some small and unknown. But no matter who it is, they have to have great songs. The Biters have that covered and from what I can see, it’s just getting better. This is not a band getting by on a look or a trend. Nobody looks like they do, but it’s not a gimmick or shtick. They just are who they are. It is real because the whole thing is real. I saw trashy punks, gorgeous girls, tatted and pierced guys and old fuckers all loving it. There has to be a Back to The Future busted Delorean near their practice space in Atlanta with the last dates set at 1977 and 2010. Or maybe all the lost souls from that era found a place to reside since they still had something to say. But I digress, it is the damn songs. Those damn great songs. The newest EP is top to bottom 7 songs of brilliance. Add that to what they did starting April of last year and I swear there is not a dud in the bunch. I bought all three EP’s, on itunes because I needed to hear what they had immediately and they said they couldn’t carry their merch tub. Or forgot, who knows. Tuk must have Bolan, Bert Bacharach and Rick O’Casek blood in him. I would say that every label in the world should be lining up and begging for them to sign. Though, it looks like they’re too busy touring to even take a meeting. Then watch out world.(Dream mode) Say goodbye to mopey ass Alt Rock. The kids will no longer have to listen to dads old records to hear a real rock band. They’ll have one for themselves. Girls will tear down their teen dream posters and put a Biters up in its stead. The guys will all have a tiger on their back and join bands that play rock again. We’ll see SG’s and Les Pauls and Marshall stacks on stages everywhere. Nickelback will go back to Canada and a new NAFTA clause will go into effect whereby no rock band from Canada may enter our charts without passing a RnR history test.(end dream mode) Oh what could happen if these guys get exposure. This is the band you see at SXSW and years later, when you see them in an arena, you can say I knew them when.

  • MarkFromReno

    March 26, 2011 [ 1:23 pm ]

    Also, agreed! And they are playing here in Reno this week as it happens. Really great power pop, truly powerful and catchy.

  • 11 Bands to Check Out in 2011* | Pop Culture Has AIDS

    March 31, 2011 [ 8:50 am ]

    […] Thanks for the tip: My Old Kentucky Blog […]

  • HairbrushJohnson

    April 4, 2011 [ 1:11 am ]

    I’ve seen the BITERS play about 20 times and all I can say is…this band is as real as it gets. Not, “ABOUT as real as it gets” either. I mean, AS REAL as it gets. Their songs get better with each release. The shows get better with each one I see. When I asked myself, “who’s gonna be the next band to really give a generation an identity?”. Biters march front and center into my world and refuse to step aside. I love seeing this band. It gives me hope that there are still some kids out there ready to carry the torch.

  • c rex

    April 14, 2011 [ 6:59 pm ]

    ha. i 120% TOTALLY DISAGREE. maybe they learned some life lessons or something in the 2 weeks between when you and me saw them, but i caught the show at Thee Parkside when they opened for Davila 666 and they totally sucked balls. it’s kinda impossible to tell whether they take themselves seriously or not but i think they do, which is unfortunate. it’s like foreigner meets motley crue meets vampire weekend and everybody gets the same nikki sixx haircut and tight jeans.

    they do ooze, but it’s wanker that these dudes are oozing. can’t imagine what i may have missed at sxsw but they lost it before making it to the west coast. or maybe you just have really bad taste.

  • margi

    February 10, 2013 [ 3:53 pm ]

    CREX you TOTALLY SUX! YOU ARE OOZING WITH NERD!

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