Richard X. Heyman and his band the Owls had all the right props Thursday night at the Bayou; Rickenbacker guitars and Vox amplifiers were lined up on stage as they once were for the Who and the Byrds more than 20 years ago.
This promise of a guitar rock-pop orgy was never fulfilled. Instead, the small crowd witnessed a very curious show that hopscotched from bland renditions of Heyman's recent guitar-based songs to Traffic- and Allman Brothers-style instrumentals (with Heyman on keyboards) to a saxless cover of Junior Walker's "Shotgun" (with Heyman on drums). None of these random jumps came anywhere near the music that inspired them, and the band seemed to enjoy itself only during its versions of John Mayall and Spencer Davis Group songs.
For a man who obviously has musical talent and an appreciation of rock's musical legacy, Heyman completely lacks the self-awareness that would enable him to develop a style of his own. He should realize that the Owls can't supply the same urgency to his songs that he himself provided when playing all the parts on his release "Living Room!!" The next thing he should do is develop a musical center, built around his great current single "Call Out the Military," which was played with only the slightest enthusiasm.