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Live Review: The Surreal McCoys (Featuring The Legendary Billy Morrison) at House of Blues and Dragonfly

The Surreal McCoys with Billy Morrison at House of Blues.
The Surreal McCoys with Billy Morrison at House of Blues.
Jena Ardell.

WHO: Surreal McCoys

WHERE: House of Blues, Dragonfly

WHEN: 6/3/11

Who are the Surreal McCoys? Your new favorite cow punk band.

We followed them on Friday while they played back-to-back shows at House of Blues and the Dragonfly.

To say this band has a good sense of humor would be an understatement. During the average work week, these guys are working professionals, but while on tour, they are better known as the Surreal McCoys: Billy Saul McCoy, Cletus McCoy, Clint McCoy, Elvis McCoy and Goat Boy McCoy.

Cletus McCoy on lead vocals.
Cletus McCoy on lead vocals.
Jena Ardell

This fun lovin' group of five met while attending Notre Dame in the '90s and began playing as the "Surreal McCoys" during fraternity parties. They describe themselves as "a whiskey-soaked psycho-billy musical assault team that specializes in BOTH kinds of music: Cow and Punk.

If Howlin' Wolf and Patsy Cline guzzled moonshine while having snarlin' backwoods fever sex under the full moon at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Surreal McCoys would be their star-crossed demon seed offspring." We're in.

Elvis McCoy of the Surreal McCoys.
Elvis McCoy of the Surreal McCoys.
Jena Ardell

Usually, their lyrics are just as colorful as their description. The McCoys put their own spin on a song called "Amsterdam Dogshit Blues" by Mojo Nixon by renaming it "Hollywood Dogshit Blues", which chronicles an afternoon spent hiking along Runyon Canyon and stepping in ... well, you guessed it, a giant pile of dog shit.

Despite being located in different cities (only Clint McCoy lives in Los Angeles), the McCoys tour 4-5 weekends per year, hitting up contiguous cities and notable venues, like the Viper Room.

Boot stompin' fun with the Surreal McCoys!
Boot stompin' fun with the Surreal McCoys!
Jena Ardell

Clint McCoy is the "shy guy" of the group.
Clint McCoy is the "shy guy" of the group.
Jena Ardell

The Surreal McCoys: fun to watch, fun to listen.
The Surreal McCoys: fun to watch, fun to listen.
Jena Ardell

The crowd who gathered at House of Blues was a mix of friends and followers who hooted and howled along with the backwoods sound and participation-inducing antics of lead singer Cletus McCoy.

It's not unusual for Cletus to start roaming the audience, allowing fans to join in on the mic, or to drop a knee like Elvis (Presley, not Elvis McCoy--he's too busy jamming on the geetar).

Billy Morrison tearin' up the guitar!
Billy Morrison tearin' up the guitar!
Jena Ardell

Special guest Billy Morrison joined the Surreal McCoys to perform covers of The Clash's "I Fought the Law" and Cheap Trick's "Surrender."

"He even has a guitar named after him!" Cletus said, referring to the Billy Morrison Gibson Les Paul signature model guitar that was released this year at the NAMM Show.

Morrison is a member of Billy Idol's current touring band and performs with L.A.'s cover band Camp Freddy.

In addition to the cover songs, the Surreal McCoys played songs from their debut album The Bottle & The Gun, as well as new songs from their upcoming release titled The Howl & The Growl.

"Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away, ay, aaaaaaaay!"
"Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away, ay, aaaaaaaay!"
Jena Ardell

On to the Dragonfly:

The Surreal McCoys at the Dragonfly.
The Surreal McCoys at the Dragonfly.
Jena Ardell

Directly after the House of Blues show, the Surreal McCoys headed to the Dragonfly in Hollywood for their second performance. Fans who attended the first show gladly followed.

The no-frills, non-pretentious, bare-bones vibe of the Dragonfly complimented the McCoys rockabilly, bluesy sound. Only one or two songs were repeated on the setlist for the late-night crowd and included an unexpected cover of Looking Glass's "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)."

Our advice: If the Surreal McCoys roll into your town, grab your cowboy hat and run, don't walk, to your nearest watering hole. They might even let you play the cowbell!

Goatboy McCoy on the harmonica.
Goatboy McCoy on the harmonica.
Jena Ardell

Business professionals, rockers AND contortionists?!
Business professionals, rockers AND contortionists?!
Jena Ardell

Billy Saul McCoy on drums.
Billy Saul McCoy on drums.
Jena Ardell

Elvis McCoy likes brown liquor.
Elvis McCoy likes brown liquor.
Jena Ardell