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More than a century after this great society died away, the name has been resurrected in San Antonio. Four musicians, each as restless as the heroes whose name they usurped, formed a band, the Dog Men Poets, and have been invading SA venues with their inspired blend of jazz, funk, blues, rock, poetry, and contagious enthusiasm.

Nomads themselves, the four musicians who comprise the group come from far and wide. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Brouillet hails from the East Coast, and moved to Texas in the late '90s, emerging onto the national poetry slam scene by roasting Charlton Heston over the smoldering ashes of dead schoolchildren long before Michael Moore went bowling for controversy. Drummer Andy Gonzalez hails from Monterrey, and has been playing gigs in Mexico and South Texas since his teens. Matt Barker, the second singer/multi-instrumentalist, has performed in clubs across, in Japan, Thailand, India, and in his homeland, Scotland. The final piece in the puzzle is lead guitarist J.V. Sanchez, the San Antonio native in the group, who spent years touring the South, including two annual performances as part of a mariachi ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

After playing their first gig to a tree last September, the Dog Men Poets eventually found an human audience and established themselves as one of the hottest new live acts in town. During a recent show at the Broadway 50/50, the Dog Men encouraged the audience to improvise during the band's final break with the maracas, triangles, and other instruments that had been distributed prior to the show. Several audience members decided to make their own music, and within minutes, a spontaneous percussion jam had pervaded the venue. The band took the stage minutes later, the audience continued to play along, and the house kept a'rocking until the venue said, "no more."

The Dog Men Poets recently recorded and produced its first CD, an eight-track effort that does a credible job of capturing the band's live energy. The tracks are stylistically diverse, ranging from the flamenco funk of "Birth of the Cool" to the Hendrix-inspired blues of "Malicious Love." Electronic beats support both "Mammismo" and "MILF," two songs dedicated to the moms of the world. The former is a heartfelt dedication to the maternal figures that shape us, while the latter is a sexually explicit yet comical tribute to the overtly sexual single mothers of the world.

"She's a MILF.

-What's that?

She's a mother I'd like to...


"`With 'MILF'`, I wasn't trying to play into the 'men as dogs' idea," says Brouillet, who co-wrote the track with Barker. "I had just been seeing a lot of hot mom's around lately."

The most satisfying track may be the album-closing "Friends," an acoustic number that evokes memories of Led Zeppelin III and shows that underneath the funk grooves and in-yer-face lyrics, there lies a band capable of simpler, more heartfelt songwriting.

Currently, the band is preparing for its next big show, on Saturday, February 8, at Saluté, but will be playing shorter, more intimate sets at a variety of venues in the weeks prior. When you find yourself at one these shows, however, be warned: Dancing at a DMP show may be hazardous to your health.

Case in point: During a recent gig, two women took over the dance floor while the band laid down the grooves. One of the women reached into her purse, pulling out what she believed was a flashlight. Pointing the cylindrical object in her partner's face, the woman pushed a button, and immediately, her friend collapsed to the floor, completely incapacitated. The flashlight turned out be a bottle of pepper spray, and within minutes, the entire venue had to be emptied onto the streets.

In the end, the attacked woman was all right, the air cleared, and the band returned for another set, but an important lesson was learned: Beware of the power of the Dog Men Poets. •

9pm, Saturday, February 9,
2801 N. St. Mary's

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