When Dallas punk band Nervebreakers were setting up to play a rare show at Club Dada last Saturday, you could have mistaken them for any other reunited classic rock group. Lead singer T. “Tex” Edwards in particular, in all of his strikingly hirsute glory, looks like he could front a typical, bearded southern rock act. Edwards has, in fact, made his share of country rock over the years, specifically during the 27 long ones that separated the Nervebreakers from themselves while they were dormant.
Edwards even once contended that the Nervebreakers “never really were just a ‘punk-rock’ band.” It would be fascinating to have heard in real time how the band stumbled upon its sound following the demise of The Idiots, or Mr. Nervous Breakdown, or any of the handful of ’70s acts out of which the Nervebreakers evolved.
The band still matters, however, because they are not a classic rock act, and by the time they get to the song “Girls Girls Girls Girls Girls,” it becomes painfully obvious that they could smoke not only most of the newer acts who opened for them, but also the dozens and dozens of bands I still see trying to mimic this long-established blueprint of distortion, melody, and speed.
The group dedicated one of their best-known numbers, “My Girlfriend is a Rock,” to Spector 45, the young Dallas band that was derailed by multiple suicides in 2011. When one of the members simply blurts out the title of the Dallas scene compilation from 1979 (“Are we too late for the trend?), the audience responds as if their favorite song were just played.
After the set, DJ Mark Ridlen throws on “Teenage Kicks,” the timeless ode to youth by Northern Irish band, The Undertones. It was the group’s debut single, from 1978, and there is a lot of music from the era that has not aged as well as that somehow still-vital piece of rough pop. It was a very fitting conclusion.
— Christopher Mosley