For the past year-and-a-half Houstonians have had the pleasure of watching newcomers MUHAMMADALi emerge from the house party punk scene into one of the most promising acts in the region, and this week North Texas gets a chance to see what all the fuss has been about. But instead of simply listing the many reasons the band is so great, we thought it’d be more fun to use the quotes of Muhammad Ali the boxer, a man known as well-known for his way with words as his achievements inside the boxing ring, to better illustrate our fondness for MUHAMMADALi the band.
“I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was.”
The term ‘greatest’ has been synonymous with boxer Muhammad Ali seemingly his whole life. Not only was it his nickname of choice, he was involved in three of the sport’s most hyped matches, and in 1999 was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated. In any case choosing to evoke the name of such a boisterous personality, let alone one with such illustrious career bullet points must be considered in itself a mission statement of sorts.
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
Ali’s unorthodox fighting style made him one of the greatest competitors his sport had ever seen, but it was his quick witted pre-bout smack talk and rhyming putdowns that made him a cultural icon. While his rope-a-dope technique might have gotten much of the credit for his victories, Ali’s matchless banter had opponents morally defeated before they even stepped foot in the ring. But it wasn’t just hollow jabber; Ali only lost 5 matches his entire career.
Naming yourself after The Greatest might come off a tad cocky at first, but for a band that goes from playing in living rooms to SXSW, releasing some of the most buzzed about split cassettes in their native Houston, and embarking on a quasi-national tour that includes dates with heavy-hitters Japanther in little more than a year of existence it is proving to be more of a presage or where they’re headed rather than a hindrance.
“I'm so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”
Rather than the typical hands defending the face style of defense, Ali preferred to carry his hands low and rely on his impressive quickness and foot speed to avoid his opponent’s blows. When paired with his sharp wit and even quicker verbal jabs, his sprightliness and sheer enthusiasm became some of his most defining characteristics.
From their quick rise to prominence in the Houston rock scene to the raucous thrashing of their party punk guitar-playing, everything about MUHAMMADALi screams high energy. Even on their more restrained post punk numbers like “Smiling” the band never comes close to dipping into the territory of nonchalant indifference. From the first notes of skuzzy guitar the band’s enthusiasm becomes both blissfully obvious, and wonderfully infectious. MUHAMMADALi’s unrelenting energy is impossible to ignore, and trying to remain stationary among the sweltering wave of sweat-drenched bodies inconceivable.
“Superman don't need no seat belt.”
The above statement comes from a familiar quip in which Ali was refusing to buckle his safety belt on an airplane. It is not so much he believed he was invincible, rather he was more than an ordinary man; Because of his rebellious spirit he genuinely felt the rules didn’t apply to him. And while this rebellious spirit and stubborn nature influenced his decision to refuse induction into the U.S. military and subsequently have his title stripped Ali never relented. Four years later his license was restored and shortly thereafter he regained his heavyweight crown.
Similarly, a headline like last summer’s "MUHAMMADALi goes on tour! One problem: no drummer” appearing only days before the first official dates would be enough to derail the plans of most other bands, but like their namesake, MUHAMMADALi are unrelenting. In the face of adversity the band refused to strap on the proverbial safetybelt, instead opting to hit the road with a new drummer—Taylor Stolly of Legsweeper—who had never played with the band before. For their current tour the band is fully in-tact, and has been unleashing their hellacious band of deafening ferocity throughout the West/Midwest for the past two weeks.
The knockout punk act MUHAMMADALi brings their vociferous rock sound to The Cavern tonight, fittingly enough with their old pals Legsweeper in tow. It should be quite the high-energy good time. It’s like Ali once said, “There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people,” which one can only presume he meant going to rock shows.