The Allen Oldies Band

Maxwell's; Fri 9 Madison Square Park; Sat 10 Southpaw; Sat 10

Over the past seven years, attendees of Austin’s SXSW music-biz fest have gradually awakened to the fact that the best rock & roll band at the convention isn’t playing a big-buzz showcase for industry insiders. It’s performing free for passers by on a well-traveled stretch of South Congress Avenue.

Ostensibly a lightweight diversion from its members’ more serious main gigs, Houston’s the Allen Oldies Band is a refreshingly irony-free covers combo that embodies all that is—or at least used to be—unhinged and transcendent about rock. Tuxedoed frontman Allen Hill is a tireless live wire, cavorting with manic abandon and shouting himself hoarse on a seemingly bottomless repertoire of vintage Top 40 classics from the ’50s and ’60s. His equally dapper bandmates keep the party humming with loose yet forceful instrumental chops that complement the singer’s loopy antics.

The Allen Oldies Band made its New York--area debut in May 2005, when it also cut the self-explanatory Live and Delirious! (Freedom) in one frantic session on Joe Belock’s Three Chord Monte show on WFMU. During a marathon Maxwell’s gig, Hill & Co. played for nearly six high-energy hours without a break, ripping through classics by such AM godheads as Tommy Roe, Jimmy Gilmer and Sam the Sham. Don’t blow the chance—three of them—to experience these hardworking heroes’ triumphant return.—Scott Schinder