Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I you don't want your brain to melt, don't come here - go see Foreigner instead! If want your brain to hemorrhage from 5 hours of non-stop pummeling, then end the year right the come to the
end of the semester rumble at the Proletariat
Saturday 16th Dec @ the Proletariat
$5 21+/$7 everyone else*
*Bring in your report card and get in for $5
Who will be there?
The Dimes-Motherfucking Indie pop kings of Houston! You were never this cool when you were in High School!
Gay Marriage-We had to stalk this band to get them to play one last show. Yeah that's frikkin' will Boone of fatal Flying Guilloteens Fame and yeah Mikey T is that guy who puked in the womens bathrooms of Notsuoh at the Turkeys show! They will play a short but pummeling set that will kill so don't come late like a total poser!
The Linus Pauling QuartetTexas Psych Dudes who have been around for over 10 years. This will be their last show in a while as they have to finish up work on their next studio record.
PRKL8R- Yeah it's a fuckin DJ with a bunch of rock bands. You got a problem with that? Well, you will dance even if you are a rocker or a hipster by nights' end!
OH NOT FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH???
AN ALL NIGHT MULTIMEDIA ONSLAUGHT FROM
Lori "Surfer" Varga Yes as in she's frikkin' done face-melting multimedia for the Butthole Surfers and we are drivign her and her army of projectors to fuck with your head! Still not convinced as to how cool she is... here is a YouTube excerpt from a Documentary about Austin Micro-cinema with Lori
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
And a weeks worth of other essays too.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
We made the show all ages and to mix things up we even added PRKL8R to the bill for you dancing fools. Not enough? Well how about Lori "Surfer" Varga doing multimedia? Admittedly, that last one is right now a bit dodgy as we just got the word yesterday that Lori's employer is suddenly denying her a day off but we hope to figure something out and make it happen; we'll let you know what we figure out. Anyhow, it's $5 or $7 bucks and it will be great. So come on down! [Update, Lori will still be able to do it. I will have to drive her back right after the show but she is going to do it. Hooray!]
By the way there is no LP4 poster because after we made the first three (below) we realized that at 11X17 these really hogged a lot of space where ever we posted them and adding a fourth would be a bit much.
Oh and special love to Rosa for the photos and Shawna.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
So with this baggage we headed off to Fitzgerald’s. Now have to say it’s been a really really long time since I’ve been to Fitz I really abohorred the downstairs. It was a cramped little slum for local bands to be hazed by the Fitzgerald’s schtick. Sure, they still haze the kids with bands with the whole Fitz “if you do well enough here you can play upstairs” routine but the good news is that the space was actually nice now. We dropped off our equipment in the small but adequate backstage area then watched “Young Frankenstein” on a DVD Projector from the comfort of some La-Z Boys. Between the lounging, snickering, and the bands admission that Teri Garr was actually a real cutie we came to the horrible realization that we were a bit too comfortable. Me I was almost ready to fall asleep there. Mercifully, the DVD started skipping which snapped us back to the Idea that we were about to play a show and, if we were ready for house slippers and PJs, we were likely not ready to rock. Cue in a few Lone Stars and the first band…
The first band was Slag. Now like I said I was a bit sleepy and for me when I’m sleepy the effect of metal’s harsh guitars and pounding drums is much the same a nice massage. So, I can’t comment on the music as my brain wasn’t working on the right level but I can say that Slag’s frontman was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Here is this big burly guy squeezing his face into these insane contortions that had everyone impressed. It’s that kind of Bruce Springsteen I’m-signing-like-I’m –taking-a-crap face BUT knowingly funny! The clincher that made everyone bow to his brilliance was when he unpacked this sheet, unfolded it, and, despite its inadequate size, draped it over himself. The sheet was so small that we half expected him to cut a hole and make a poncho out of it but instead the ghostly howl of “ooooOOooooOOoooOoo!” emanated from underneath as they went into some song about ghosts. It was fucking brilliant; I’m talking Daniel Johnson would have crapped in his pants great!
Whorehound followed and if you read my Houston Press awards blog you’d know that they rock pretty hard. Of course as luck would have it, Jon broke a guitar string on the best song leaving Trevi and Cory to continue on as a duo. Trevi dutifully carried on with a smile that said “Yeah, I’m signing – what if it?” and had everyone rooting for them. It was like rooting for the Ten Thousand in Xenophon’s Anabasis. [Ok, well, maybe not quite like that…I mean it was just a string change after all but just go with me because that’s the only simile I’ve got right now.] And much like the storied Greeks, Jon overcame his foe, vanquished it, and against bitter odds returned (to the mic). Ok I’m reaching but fuck it, they rocked.
Next up was Bowel. Now I’d heard a lot about Bowel and I was both excited to hear them and dreading the fact that we would be following them. Sure enough the band (playing as a Three Piece oddly enough) sludged through some metal that more than lived up to the bands name. By the overkill of two huge bass cabinets, Bowel succeeded in literally rattling your guts. A few songs into it I had to start getting ready for our set but from what I saw the band lives up to the hype in every way, shape, and frequency.
Clearly, if Metal is measured by the amount of people standing close to the stage rocking, then we clearly were about as popular as a bespectacled kid walking up on stage and asking if this was the room where they would debating the merits of the new season of Doctor Who’s David Tennant. I mean we performed well but when we began to play Southern Pine (our one song with a mellow part juxtaposed with a heavy part) you could feel the room collectively think “Dude, I could so kick their ass! There’s not a tattoo on the lot of ‘em!” Mercifully, ending with La Tapatia gave us a stay of execution. I’m exaggerating of course, I mean we did play a solid set and likely held our own but I did feel like we were the odd man out of the bunch.
Academy Black closed the night with an hour-long set of fog and Metal. They were actually really great but, it being a weekday and my having burned every ounce of energy with La Tapatia, thirty minutes into their set, I was ready to go home, shower, and sleep. So despite my dread, it was a night of music worthy of Ame’s memory.
Anyhow, This will be our first week of publishing. After 48 hours I think I have been victorious in my battle the various quirks of Blogger publishing to FTP*, so pop on by and see what you think.
*FTP Broken Pipe errors = no fun.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Lean Cuinines are pretty cheap lunches so I sometimes try a new one just for grins. Today it was some pork and cherry sauce thing which wasn't great but it was passable. Now, you'd think that my not liking it were a matter of taste but, upon tossing the box, I noticed that my not liking it was not the fault of Lean Cuisine but was entirely my own.
You see, in the instructions there was a final step that I did not read carefully. The final step read as follows; "Let stand for 5 minutes in the microwave then enjoy." See, I simply let it sit for 5 minutes but I clearly forgot to enjoy it.
So listen up musicians and take a cue from me; from now on, when Linus plays, you will see instructions printed on a 4X4 card on every table explaining as to how to rock. The final instruction will be the crucial "Enjoy." If someone demands their money back, we will simply point to the card and tell them that they need to learn how to read directions first before they come whining to us.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I mean take a look at David Cobb's Houston Calling Happy Hour show tonight at the Proletariat with Something Fierce, Southern Backtones, and Brightmen of Learning. . Sure it's not perfect. Southern Backtones are not my bag and them being placed between Something Fierce and Bright Men of Learning is pretty annoying. Then I have the fact that the early start may make this show a bit tight for me to catch. Nevertheless it still sounds much more interesting and it's definitely a promising idea especially if Cobb does thing kind of thing in the future. So if miss it let me know how it goes.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
But after a quick "hi" and apologies to Sharks and Sailors for missing their set (and finally getting an explanation from Melissa as to what the hell a booby bib is) I was back to Rudz for our show.
The Rudz show was going to be laid back affair as The Paper South cancelled due to illness and there was so much going on around town that there was no way we could expect a huge turnout.
Georgia's Horse was originally going to close but Houston bands fight NOT to play last - we prefer to play then drink - so they won the coin toss and opened and they put on a great set. Melly's cello made the sound simply massive while the rest of Georgia's Horse was exactly what I've come to expect - awesome. I'm just glad that they will continue as a unit but under a different name as they are just too good and unique in this town to break up. Georgia's Horse just show how much power a band can have without resorting to being heavy and loud; subtlety and nuance are great things to have on your side. I only wish I Rhonda Garner of KPFT's Radio Active could have been able to swing by and see them.
Linus of course knows nothing about subtlety or nuance. We casually played a set of loud dumb rock which clearly did not transition well with the Georgia's Horse fans. You could just feel this rush of air as people realized that these bands were nothing like each other; "Loud songs about Swords, Aliens, and Drunken Brawls? Who the fuck booked this show?" sometimes bands that sound different work well and sometimes it doesn't - here, it didn't. But we had fun and closed with a log-ass version of Hall of Mirrors just because we had the time. This was a horribly unprofessional show in terms of tuning and deadspaces between songs but, you know, that's not that bad every once in a while. Basically, people caught us practicing in our rehearsal space. If you are into that casual Porch Hootenany approach to a show, it can be fun and laid back. The important thing is it was fun.
I do have to concede that we may have hit that threshold of playing too many shows this year. It's clear we've started to test the patience of our fans. Perhaps after the Ame Strasser benefit (very sad but a good cause) and the December show (which will rule) we'll give H-Town a break and maybe try to plan some out of town shows. Hey I can dream can't I?
The rest of my rock and roll weekend consisted of cleaning the house top to bottom because when I have the house to myself on the weekend, I go WILD!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Nothing more upsetting than waking up and seeing "What went down at Walters?" as a subject line on Hands Up.
Replies were as follows:
"the cop pulled out a tazer at some point and started wrestling people while the tazer was on. a fourteen year old kid got tazed but i spoke with him after it was all settled down. his parents came down and are going to press charges. this cop had an agenda and used brute force. up to this point there were hints of very small reasons of legitimacy to the cops aggression. he was out numbered, didnt know what was going on, ect. but what happened afterwards and in the parking lot was the one of the most ridiculous things i have ever seen. heres my favorite part, i was standing outside trying to see everything and understand because at this point i had no clue as to why the cop was even there. i asked another cop what was going on and he said to leave before i got hurt. i then told him i would not leave, because i felt it was necessary to stay and wait to give my account of the situation (because its my right isnt it?). he replied by saying that the officer who was there (the ONLY officer that was there) had given enough account and they didnt need my story or anyone elses. he then said i had until three to leave. ladies and gentlemen, i give you HPD."
"I wasn't there but i've gotten ten or so first hand accounts. This is pretty much exactly what I hear aside from one correction...
The officer never went to the soundboard. Instead, he told the door people to "shut it down". That, first, is never what goes down. Cops show up to Walter's from time to time and ask that it be turned down. Should someone not comply, then there's reason to demand a total end to the show.
This cop had a point to prove (with absolutely no other cops around, a sure sign of a cop being macho) and went STRAIGHT to the stage."
"I'm in complete agreement. I watched the car pull up and the officer come in and walk straight to the stage. He never talked to the sound guy.
He was looking for a fight. He made no attempt that I saw to do anything logical like talking to management.
I'm quite skeptical of whether any complaints were called at all. Seems much more likely he was driving by and decided he wanted a fight."
I wasn't there so I can't speak but I hope everyone who was there demands some accountability from the city! This is brutish thuggish behavior from one HPD officer who cannot be allowed to continue his job without proper review.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
To make my point let me point out two benefits worthy of your consideration:
My band is doing a benefit this month. It's not going to be convenient but it's for a good cause so we're glad to help out. It's for a woman (a single mother) who will likely be dead in a matter of months from cancer. We're charging $8 at the door.
Here is the poster:
This Saturday there is a benefit for PUSH with a lot of good bands coming together to benefit the community. Cost: $5.00.
Here is that poster:
In both of these examples, bands are playing for the benefit of others and the entrance fees are reasonable. So all I'm saying s that given that there are so many benefits already taking place, let's not add a new genre of benefits well call the "Benefit for Me" genre to our calendars. I suggest bands show some class and fans have enough self-respect not to be gouged at the door.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
OK first off this my band is playing on Saturday at Rudyard's with Georgia's Horse and the Paper South. It's Georgia's Horse's last gig as a band which is a shame as they are amazing as a band. Shoegazers take note, The Paper South are from Austin and include our friends from American Analog Set and Winslow.
=====At The Proletariat
It's the big Push Fundraiser. Lots of great bands for a good cause...
====At The Meridian
I'm not a big Meridian fan (it's a bit impersonal for my tastes) but this has a lot of good bands like Insect Warfare and the Jon Benet. For a full line up click below:
====at Super Happy Fun Land
Rotten Piece is playing on a pretty cool bill.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Come Join us on this the 940th anniversary of the battle of Hastings!
SATURDAY 14th OCTOBER 2006
THE LINUS PAULING QUARTET -
You know us.
GEORGIA'S HORSE -
Highly recommended. One of the best bands in Houston. Theresa Maldonado's sharp personal song-writing and gorgeous voice are accentuted by the one of the most understated and atmospheric rhythm sections you'll ever hear. Now they've added a cello which should make even things cooler.
THE PAPER SOUTH (from Austin) -
DON'T COME LATE AND MISS THIS BAND! Features members of Winslow and American Alalog Set. Hey, when our good friend Justin Bankston joins another band it's always a treat. We've stolen tons of ideas from his former band (Winslow) and hope to do the same with this band. : )
2010 Waugh Dr Houston, Texas, 77006
Monday, October 02, 2006
I'd previously qualified the good things I had to say about Bright Men of Learning (ability to write a good melody and solid musicianship) with the thought that they sounded a bit too much like they had absorbed Pavement too well. Perhaps it was the ragged sound quality but from my vantage point the music was (with few exceptions) delivered with much more urgency and rawness than at the last show I saw. A good hook is nice and good musicianship isn't a bad trait to have, but Rock by nature should have some element of uncertainty and chaos. I'm not saying that Bright Men were some improv sponto act but that they definitely channeled some kind of energy that made you stand up and take notice. So, well done lads, I am officially eating crow.
The Dimes set sounded great but I had to leave pretty soon after they started so I can only report that the shoddy sound quality neither added nor detracted from their solid performance. If you love the Dimes like I do, then you know exactly what they delivered.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
As told to Lance Scott Walker by one of the editors of 002 Magazine as he was looking at pictures of the Linus Pauling Quartet:
"They look like, maybe I think, what the Goonies would look like today."
Monday, September 18, 2006
Now what I present to you is not simply a musical construct but a meme that bores into your consciousness and never lets go. It is a biting and pithy commentary on our post-modern society that presents us with intricate modalities not simply lyrical but harmonic. Taken at face value it may seem a minor work but it's ramifications reach far and wide. Here is the opus of which I speak...
Friday, September 15, 2006
Now I don't know how the underage crowd plays at the Proletariat but if the first band plays at 9:15 that means a lot of the non-curfew folks will miss out on the first band. We want everyone to see the two bands that are opening but we fear that if we toss 'em too early they may not have the crowd they deserve. I mean I want everyone to see the Dimes and Gay Marriage not just the 21+ or just those under the curfew.
Well the point is curfew is stupid and draconian. I know (especially during summer) I used to hang out at all hours of the night in Nassau Bay and Clear Lake. One night our goal was to simply to drive on our bikes until we found an open donut shop that had a Bear Claw . Now adays in Houston this would be a criminal act. And now City Council want to make it so kids have to get home even earlier: 11pm on weekends!!!! I mean what the fuck why not just lock them all up "to protect them"! I live in a city fears and hates it's own youth.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
[note- God knows that the LP4 is rarely political for a reason; lets just say there is strong political disagreement in the band. So just to be clear, I am speaking for myself and not the LP4. - Ramon
Sunday, September 10, 2006
(click the image to enlarge)
By the way this artwork comes form a Conan the Barbarian story-LP I bought at Sound Exchange on Saturday. Oh no, I didn't buy it for my four year old. I bought it for myself Yeah, that's right. Here I am in my late 30s and what do I feel compelled to buy? A frikkin poorly produced kids album! My geek power is unstoppable!
Friday, September 08, 2006
Hell Yeah! 40 Years ago today Star Trek debuted on NBC! Yea, for without this fine peak of American Culture Linus debates at rehearsal would be shorn of comments like..."Well, look Clinton, I know that's how you would handle the Middle East buy how would Kirk handle it?" or "Much like Kirk spared the Gorn, I too will not kick your ass right now.....if, that is, you make the beer run."
So Happy Birthday Star Trek.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Well let me begin by saying that, yes, it is Sunday and, no, I am not at Brad’s benefit show tonight at Rudz - Rosa is representing tonight. So, I am just here in my Pajamas with CSPAN in the background. Maybe this is not what you would call an exciting evening but, given that the rest of my week (Labor Day included) will consist of working at my crappy job, I am not complaining. The good news is that we are pretty much past the month of being broke. Last week was a struggle as it was a week of stretching every penny until September. Despite my daytime diet of PBJ sandwiches and ramen – we pulled through and I even managed to scrape eight bucks to see Thor and Zolar X.
As you might remember Linus was going on a field trip to see the show as Thor is a lesson in how to rock. Given that Linus never historically goes anywhere, I may have had unreasonable expectations but nevertheless I saved my pennies expecting a posse and a great show. Then the usual drop-out e-mails hit when Clinton wrote on Saturday saying he had a cold and Larry said he had a project deadline. But to my surprise Steve and Charlie hadn’t bowed out. So, I went to rehearsal in time to hear Charlie laying down some sax parts. The sax parts for our swordmetal song were a bit controversial. I was somewhat opposed to sax on a swordmetal song as I felt it was an anachronism (and a bit too sophisticated an instrument for an Thog type Viking) but Charlie countered that electric guitars were hardly the order of the day. [I later had to concede the debate as the boards on Swordmetal.com seemed to agree with Charlie; it seems only the ukulele is considered anathema to the genre.] When 10PM rolled around, Charlie and Steve bowed out of the Thor show. So, I set off alone to the Thor show cursing New York City as I peregrinated though the streets of Houston.
When I arrived, I found the place deserted. It seems that no amount of goofy hype on myspace or Hand-up brought a single soul to this show - Stevie was the only person there I knew. I guess The Sword closing the Rudyards anniversary party on Sunday and the Fatal Flying Guilloteens playing the Proletariat on Monday likely killed off any people even remotely interested. I spoke with Thor, who was his usual jovial self, and I apologized for at the lack of attendance. He shrugged it off saying that he hoped it would pick up but that if not he was still going to give everyone a great show. That to me is what makes Thor cool. He really loves what he does and feels this duty to his audience no matter how small to bring the rock. I mean, how can you not love that?
Zolar X finally started off and to my surprise they were amazing. The drummer had this goofy “I am having the time of my life” look that was utterly endearing but more importantly he was this amazing engine driving the band. These guys may not be young but they are amazing live. Sure they dress like goofy Star Trek aliens and all but what do you expect from a band that started as a space glam band in 1973? I wouldn’t have been blown away of they were just shtick. The fact is the faster punkier stuff was just top notch driving rock and roll; if the Ramones were from space, they would have sung songs that sounded like Jet Star 19. What was great about seeing them play live was that these driving songs didn’t have any goofy studio effects (like the flanged vocals on the afore mentioned song) – here it was just the band and their instruments rocking in a way bands half their age wished they could. Maybe during the glam era of the early 70s this may have been the standard rock show but seeing someone do this now just goes to show those of us who were not there how that era was fun, witty, and a great musical experience. Quite simply Zolar X makes us all look lazy and unimaginative. Sadly, except for the lucky few, Zolar X’s performance was met with indifference by most of Houston who decided to stay home.
Mike Sims wisely cut the entrance fee to a few bucks between bands and mercifully Thor was able to get a small crowd (maybe what 20 people) from some curious people who had simply popped in to Rudz for a drink. Those people were of course treated to a brilliant show. My god, here is what people do not get. People think that because Thor has the Rock Warrior gimmick he can’t deliver the goods. The thing they don’t get is that this is the best rock show they could possibly see. Ask Shane next time you go see the Medicine Show play. He was one of the lucky guys who came up from downstairs. He like everyone else was screaming, thrusting his fist in the air, and singing along. Yes that’s right people who’d never seen Thor were singing along! Thor’s a smart guy and builds his songs with simple choruses that anyone can immediately pick up on. I mean when he began singing “We are warioirs of the Universe! We live by the sword not at the edge of the blade!” Everyone immediately picked up of the chorus and sang along. Here at Rudyards you had 20 people having what amounted to a great party where everyone sang “Thor!…Thor!…Tho-o-o-or Th-o-o-o-or!” as the band played their asses off. I mean who the hell does two encores for such a small number of people. I’ll tell you who – frikkin John M. Thor! You came to rock and he does not disappoint! You want to hear Let the Blood Run Red or Thunderhawk? Fuck yeah he’ll do that. Though the beast that is among you was spared by Thor this time, the crowd was not. One giddy person looked at me and said, “Man, I am so lucky I stumbled in on this show! This is incredible!” That to me is the problem - it’s not that the show isn’t great, it’s just getting people to forget their notion of cool and just come on out. Once there, nary a soul could disavow the greatness of Thor. Again Houston, you are not worthy of the mighty Thor but I vow that if Thor returns to Houston, Linus must open and we will lock the doors after we play until you concede to the greatness that is Thor.
Anyhow, even though you are not worthy, you can see some more pictures of Thor and Zolar X on my Flikr account.
ALL HAIL THOR!
Zolar X Photos
Also on myspace:
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
You see, after seeing my good friend Jeff Thomas and his wife at their going away thing at Catbirds I made a pass by the Rudz 28th anniversary party. Now since I was already a bit under the weather the night before – I wasn’t planning on staying long but I figured I’d say hi to some people and at least check out Golden Axe but outside of the Rudz crew, there were few people there I knew. I briefly spoke with Chris Kemmerer who has some Cabaret he’s trying organize [Linus writing one showtune…hmmm, I don’t know but we’ll try anything one]. Brad Moore explained how he received his wrist injury while riding his bike. The bottom line is this - in paper, scissors, Rock, Brad Moore – Rock beats Brad Moore. So aside from bumping into Mara on my way out, that was about it. Maybe everyone was showing up late or were charging their batteries for the Fatal Flying Guilloteens show the following night at The Prol.. Anyhow, what ever the case, to get back to the point of this blog – Golden Axe rocked!
If you took a well adjusted John Cramer and made him a metal guitarist you’d have Golden Axe. I make that comment because Golden Axe has the same physicality that John has with his guitar and a lot of the same mannerisms except he actually looks comfortable and happy to be there playing for people. People call out goofy things or someone tries to mess him up and he just smiles, quips back, and keeps rockin’ without missing a beat. So I guess that makes him Bizzaro Cramer. The guy’s performance is basically “Wow, this is pretty frikkin’ cool isn’t it?” It’s not braggy or pompus it’s just a genuine invitation to marvel at metal when it’s done right.
OK! Ok, maybe I should explain what he does. Basically, it’s a guitarist and a drummer nothing more. The drummer is this skinny dude (never underestimate a skinny drummer) who just pummels away (double kick and all) as Golden Axe plays his mix of early Metallica riffage mixed with Eddie Van Halen virtuosity. Now, I grew up with a lot of metal dudes who could play circles around most any other guitarist. The problem all those guys had is they couldn’t compose a single interesting song. To them technique was an end goal in and of itself. It was the equivalent of having this Norm Abrams like skill and then turning around and making well crafted 2X4.
Golden Axe, mercifully, can actually compose something people who aren’t guitar geeks can actually dig. The material and his approach, while clearly genre specific, shows a very witty and playful writer. It’s hard to explain but he crams a lot into his songs like some crazy ass architect defying the engineers. It seems like he tosses riffs, time changes, and solos left and right but in the end you sit back and admire the result; you nod your head, smile, and think “That is how it’s fucking done!”
Sunday, August 27, 2006
“Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in few words.” – Ecclesiasticus 32:8
“Brevity is a great charm of eloquence” - Cicero
“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books.” – Nietzsche
If there is one thing that writers appreciate it's efficiency and clarity. In the last few years I’ve gained a re-appreciation of the short story form particularly because its strength lies in its brevity. Perhaps that’s why one of my favorite things to encounter as a reader is when a writer writes one sentence and that sentence encapsulates an entire world. Music is no different and that is why I love the new Gay Marriage CD-R.
Hailing from the Houston Grindcore scene this band packs 6 songs into 3 Minutes 35 Seconds. Not one note is wasted, everything that has to be said is said, and nothing is said that is unnecessary. It is hands-down the most listenable, fun and witty CD to come out of Houston this year. Kevin, Mikey, Nick, and Will (last names would be too loquacious) throw out a barrage of songs that, under Chris Ryan’s engineering, evoke all the sweat and energy that you’d imagine you’d experience at any hot summer night at a Gulf Coast Grindcore Show at Southmore House.
Take the last song on the EP ”The Situationists Are Dead You re Next”. Off in some desperate race, the bass and drums are met by a guitar that kicks the pace to that of a frantic hundred-yard dash; the instruments and the vocals stumble and crash into each other with all the chaotic precision of a Jackson Pollock. 23 Seconds! “It’s OK Not To Skate” saunters in, breaks into a manic riff, jumps off another, and then brings it back home in 25 seconds. The epic 58-second “Elk Skull” leads off with this great metallic bass tone (think early Big Black) that is eventually beaten down by the merciless battery.
The rest of the EP is just as much of a frenzied blur. The frenetic songs shove you aside and you are left lying on the floor with no idea what just hit you. That, my friends, is half the fun. If Nietzsche were a musician today, he’s be envious.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
NO EXCUSES! NEXT TUESDAY THE CANADIAN ROCK GOD THOR IS PLAYING RUDZ! LINUS IS SKIPPING REHEARSAL JUST TO GO AND PAY HOMAGE! YOU SHOULD TOO!
A young Thor debuts on the Merv Griffin Show. He prances, her sings, he blows up rubber objects! Hey we all gotta start somewhere.
Watch a video Excerpt of a mid-period Thor battling some...uh...rubber thing. Hey, this is a man who is proud to have been screened on MST3K!
A promo for the new record. Sure Thor is a bit older and plumper, and sure I have no frikkin' clue what snowboarders have to do with anything but it's still cool. Oh and the scene where the snowboarder jumps the band in full regalia is priceless.
STILL NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? OK THE OPENING BAND IS ZOLAR X.
Here is an excerpt from an upcoming documentary about Zolar X.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The Dimes for those of you new to my rants, are a local outfit that has made even the most cynical listener shut up and take notice when they play a live set and now those little bastards pulled off translating that live work into an album that will naturally be ignored because it is too unique, brilliant, and alive. Here is the problem, how does a critic write about the Dimes? Where’s the self-absorbed frontman, the drug addled guitarist, or the histrionic promotion? Where is the long organic historic lineage from which they arose? Where’s the angle when all you have is brilliantly executed no-frills high-energy Pop/Rock? Shit I guess the motherfuckers are just going to have to write about the music! Shit, well let’s go then…
“Teenage Sex” - one of the best songs of 2006. This is everything that is great about the Dimes – kudos to Sugarhill Studios! Iram Guerrero’s drums are right up front like they should be, propelling the song with an uncontrolled tension during the verses and bursting out during the chorus. The guitars follow suit with Cley Miller’s restrained effects while Carlos Sanchez’s vocals shout “You know you’ve got the Morning Shivers.” What the fuck is he talking about? What the fuck is this song about? I have no idea! They simply come in, cold-cock you, and don’t stop for 4 minutes 51seconds. It’s brilliant Rock and Roll.
One of the reasons this band is unstoppable is Iram and Bassist Jose Sanchez amazing rhythm section. On “Doctor Doctor”, for example, the two hold down a groove that just moves like a racecar being pushed to its highest gear and the machine-gun rhythm of “Landlady” is gorgeous. Another thing to note is Cley’s brilliant lead guitar work. Take “Delila” or “Landlady”, the band gives him his room and he just runs with it. I can’t think of another guitarist in Houston who uses his effects with such sophistication and restraint. But you’ve heard all this before. The point is this is a great album. So for you critics (and one critic in particular who can no longer use the excuse that their myspace low-fi demos sound like crap) - get off your asses and give this band their due. You have no excuse left now!
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Saturday, August 12, 2006
[Since I'm too poor to buy the Beer, whose buying? Whatever you bring, please, no Budweiser or Light Beer. ]
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
here but whatchagonnado, eh? So at 5:30 it was off to the rehearsal space to rehearse the new songs one last time. We hit the songs perfectly, which is never good luck. So from there we loaded the equipment, the projectors, and assorted Linus crap and headed out. To my surprise Sharks and Sailors were already there Christ, I thought only Linus was this punctual. So it was nice to chat with them as they are really nice and entertaining guys. I proudly showed Shawna, Johnathan and everyone else my bag of drugs: Tylenol, Emergen-C, Claritin and Robitussin. Yeah that's right Robitussin baby this is after all Syrup City. Not long afterwards My Education showed up but I was right in the middle of setting up screens and projectors so I didn't get to cheat with them even though I hadn't seen Scott Tellis in quite a while.
So, after quick run by The Alabama Ice House for Karen's going away party and racing to the house to get film editing equipment, it was back to the Proletariat where we went through a competent set. Given the fact that I was sick and I had foolishly set up one of the projection screens in a manner that blocked Larry and Clinton from queuing off each other we did pretty ok. We had a lot of tempo issues where we played songs too fast or too slow and I can only say that the new song about Rosa and Mara was the one song (despite fluffing the end) that came off perfectly but Linus isn't really about perfection. We're a bit sloppy by professional standards but that's all good; if the feeling is there and we're not playing hacky then I'm happy with the show. So not a great Linus show but a good one.
We definitely were not the band that was packing them in. My Education pulled off a nice set on instrumentals. The keyboardist played his instrument with abandon in his hilarious glittery pink Botox shirt is stark juxtaposition to the burly, bearded, and tattooed violinist in his wife-beater. They played a nice set of instrumentals that generally cycled around a main riff and built texturally. It was a solid set and they easily had the biggest draw of the evening.
But the night really belonged to Sharks and Sailors. I love this band because they are like a frikkin' machine. I don't mean that they play in a soulless manner but simply that they are so precise in everything they do. Where Linus is sloppy and rough, these guys never have a single misplaced note or tone. Its amazing. Everyone should watch these guys in action. Phil is this amazing drummer who clearly abhors the idea of a 4/4. Allen and Michael I think have one of the most amazing guitar interplays in the city. Hell, Scott Tellis and I spent quite some time simply discussing the awesomeness of Melissa's bass tone. One of the new songs had this amazing bit of dynamics where the guitars just quietly shimmered into the distance then the whole band roared back with this heavy riff. When the song ended, I found my self giving a hoarse and uncontrollable "YEAH!" Hell the band even started the first ever Prog moshpit which Rosa (having quickly popped over from the Grindcore festival) found really comical.
I told Scott to wait until the closed with Topple the Pillar. The song is so good that I'd actually planned on Linus covering this song but our limited rehearsals kind of killed that idea. To me Topple the Pillar is everything that is great about Sharks and Sailors in one song and even people who don't dig the proggy approach to songwriting that S&S engage in all agree that this one song is undeniably brilliant and heavy. So when they closed with another song I was quite disappointed and began to shout, "Youre not done! Topple The Pillar!" To the band's surprise, I wasn't the only person demanding an encore. Scott Tellis, not catching the full title of the song, began shouting nonsense like "Topple the Millar! Topple the Kruller! Topple Ben Stiller!" So, in a very sheepish manner, the band took the stage and closed with the afore mentioned song. As you'd expect they brought the house down. All in all a good night of music so where were you, huh?
Pictures coming soon.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Now, I'll admit that when I was walking up behind the stage I was a bit disappointed as the music was neither here nor there. If I didn't know MYD was performing, I would likely have just kept going paying it no mind. When I turned the corner though, I was greeted with a falsetto and a stage strewn with carpets, incense, and Buddhas. The lead singer didn't disappoint either with his sarong and Hindu facial décor. I immediately began snapping shots. When I framed the shot with Buddha in the foreground, I chuckled to myself and a shocked woman asked, "Is he laughing?"
I raced to the back to see who else had come to see the freak show and sure enough there were a lot of people there having a good laugh. The general consensus, at least between Steve and me, was that the band itself was decent but that guy (pointing to the lead singer) has got to go. Then Steve made the observation (Steve's family, by the way, is Thai) that, for many Buddhists, placing Buddha beneath your head is taboo as it suggests that you think that you are above Buddha. Then it hit me. Holy fuck! This is all a put-on. The guy isn't Buddhist and he certainly isn't Hindu. That's why all the pseudo-philosophy on the web makes no sense: it's a prop like anything else. Well, that was it for me; the time had come to heckle. So I went to the front of the stage and started the usual high school stuff: hyperbolically emoting to the singers performance, flipping the bird, and fake nose picking, interspersed with shouts of "NOT SENSITIVE ENOUGH!". Sure, not exactly clever but it got the job done. The bearded guitarist with a touch of sarcasm said "I see we have a critic!" He handled it exactly how you are supposed to handle this kind of thing which is to acknowledge the heckler but do it in a way that says "This is what I want to do and I'm not doing it for you! Now fuck off!" Well done, I thought, you get props. The lead singer though just continued with the script.
Later, I went to the Rice knowing that these guys were likely to be there. A woman then confronted me. The conversation went somewhat like this:
"What you did back there was not cool."
"Well, they suck."
"Well, why do you think that?"
"C'mon, this band has this whole "worship me" vibe that is utterly contemptible. I mean the band is pretty good - a lot of what the guitarists are doing is really interesting for example - it's the lead singer that is the problem."
"Well he is my husband. And that was really cowardly of you to do that."
"No, cowardly would have been me mocking them 20 yards back. I was right up in their face telling them how much they sucked. The whole white boy appropriation of other culture thing is pretty loathsome. Let me ask you something, is he Buddhist?"
"What does that matter?"
"Well I was told that Buddhists don't display Buddha beneath their head. So is he Buddhist? I mean he is using Buddha statues on stage."
"No, he's not."
"I knew it!"
"But I'm Buddhist and I'm not offended. I think it worked well theatrically..."
"Oh I see so he's taking someones religion and using it as a prop?"
"Well, if I was wearing a China T-shirt would you be offended?"
"No, that's not a philosophy or a religion; that's totally different. This is total white boy appropriation for his own ends which is to have to have the audience suck his virtual cock. I've got no issues with the band - it's him!" I say this while pointing to her husband who has been listening in. I then turn to him and continue the tirade. "I hate to break it to you but my transformation doesn't start with your band. It starts with me. Your insistence on that is contemptible..."
"Well, I'm not saying that..."
"Read your own website. It all focuses on you and your band. Playing music is about community and not look at me. You're a fucking vampire demanding the audience suck your virtual cock."
"Well we're clearly not getting anywhere but I'll take you comments into consideration for the next show."
"Fuck you! If this is what you want to do, then Fuck me! No! That's not the point - don't be a pussy! If you believe in this, then fucking do it but I have to tell you you're full of shit."
"Well, look were just doing these kind of gigs so as to get to what we really want to do; theatre." I shit you not he said Theatre! Now here, having read their website, I inexplicably thought I'd get to hear all about positive activism and how this is part of their plan to make the world a better place via their music and etcetera but then, to my shock, I get "Theatre"? "We want to take this to a theatre and bring in dancers and puppets and other things. It's going to be cool."
--BANG---suddenly I get it!
"Holy shit, you ARE doing theatre! No, that's cool. I can reconcile with that. I was judging you as a live band and with live music it's about honesty and putting yourself out there. In theatre you're doing drag. I don't mean drag as a put-down mind you, but that's a totally different thing and I can deal with that. I just I was just taking your band as a live band."
But this MYD theatre to me is ultimately a troubling thing. To understand my issues with this let me quote from Lester Bangs column about the Clash:
So I floated down the elevators and when I got there I saw a sheepish group of little not-quite punks huddled around one couch. They were dressed in half-commital punk regalia, a safety pin here and there, a couple of little slogans chalked on their school blazers, their hair greased and twisted up into a cosmetic weekend approximation of spikes. "Hey," I said, "You guys Clash fans?"
"Well," they mumbled, "sorta.."
"Well, whattaya mean?" You're punks, aren't ya?"
"Well we'd like to be...but we're scared..."
When Joe [Strummer] came down I took him aside and indicating the poor little things, told him what they said, also asking if he wanted to get them into the gig with us and offer a little encouragement for them to take that next, last, crucial step out into full-fledged punk pariahdom and thus sorely needed self-respect.
"Forget it," he said. "If they haven't got the courage to do it on their own, I'm bloody well not gonna lead 'em by the hand."
Strummer isn't asking for adulation and he isn't there to tell his fans how to act or view the world. Yet, this dependency is exactly what MYD is about. So the question for MYD is which one do they put first: is it adulation you crave or making great music? I think it is the former. The lead singer would love nothing more than having a line of kids line up for his autograph like those Morrisey fans did at Record Rack years ago. It's like the misguided kids who, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, reply "I want to be famous." In the end, you either have a band or you have a put-on. And MYD is the latter.
And so with that I went to see the Fatal Flying Guilloteens which is where I saw transcendence in the form of live music the way it should be seen. The players are giving themselves entirely to the music. The audience and the band are celebrating each other. It's loud, chaotic, hot, sweaty, and inspiring; it's a moment when the world stops and everything that is good about it is right there in that room. That, my friends, is what live music is all about and that is my kind of positive activism.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
First show at the brewery tap was Whorehound who rocked so hard that Trevi’s head blew within minutes of my walking inside. You have to love a heavy ass band like this with a short cropped drummer who wears Buddy Holly glasses. Hooray for Heavy Nerds!!
And speaking of heavy, Gods Temple of Family Deliverance was playing as a club called the Office. Now I’m not sure who the cartographer at the Press was but that person needs to realize that if the club is on Main Street, you just might consider putting the little numbered circle representing a club on Main Street. [Now one error would have been fine but I stopped counting after the third fuck-up on the map and ended up relying on my eyes.] Thanks to this idiotic map, I and about 10 other people were trying to find the office for a good 10 minutes to no avail. Finally I found it just as GTOFD was hauling it’s amps out! Awesome! So best amp haulers of the day goes to GTOFD!
Break at The Rice Hotel
Hey free food! Free Beer! This must be the place! Spoke with Lance and a few others about my morbid fascination with the depth of Million Year Dance’s suckitude. During that conversation Lance told me to catch rapper Cliché which I forgot to check out but later regretted when Mara and Kurt described their show. The woman supposedly was one of the highlights of the showcase with this super funky live band.
Walked over with Danny to see Dizzy Pilot. I’d mentioned how I’d seen the guitarist for Dizzy Pilot in Motion Turns It On but was somewhat underwhelmed by the latter. Danny was a bit more positive about MTIO so he figured he’d check out Dizzy Pilot. There’s not much to say about DizzyPilot. They do a poppy alternative thing and they do it well. The guitarist is really good and the songs are really catchy. Hey it works for me.
Break at The Rice Hotel
I was telling Chris Ryan that the Gay Marriage EP it was easily the best local release I’d heard to date. Rosa had left it in the car and I was blown away by it as I drove to the Showcase. As it turns out, Chris recorded it. Go Figure! Great CD all around – now if I can just hear the rest of tracks not included in the EP.
4 bands 40 minutes – ready set GO!
A Pink Cloud was easily the wrong band to see when you have a tight schedule. The 10 minutes of the set I saw consisted of Dom mumbling into the microphone, the rest of the band battling sound issues, and an impatient MC waiting to introduce the band. By the time they did get started, I had to go or miss everyone else I wanted to see.
I raced down to see Rotten Piece and was well rewarded with the most inspired bit of Anti-art of the evening. First off Carol Kelly refused to perform because it was her birthday so she just sat there with a drink in her hand enjoying the show. Shawn simply Karaoked Scratch Acid and Culturecide to the rest of the bar’s disinterest. Shawn triumphantly closed with a rousing “We are Rotten Piece! Do not vote for us!” Easily one of the best shows of the day!
From there it was off to catch Drop Trio and The Jonx at two clubs I’d likely never be allowed entrance were it a normal evening. Drop Trio did their funky jazzy thing and the nice thing is that they clearly had a big crowd which was well deserved. When I first saw these guys I was just stunned that anyone could be playing this in Houston. Thank the gods that, even after Ian moved to Austin, the band has kept together.
After a few minutes of Drop Trio I race over to see the Jonx only to catch the last 30 seconds which was a bummer as the sound was massive but for some reason they simply played a 30 minutes set. Had I known I would have reversed my route.
The Medicine Show was a bust because the idiots at this Red Cat restaurant (this was a restaurant right?). Red Cat left these tables crowded along the entrance guaranteeing that nobody could dance, stand or do anything near the band. To me it looked like a big giant fire code violation. The result was that many people, like me, couldn’t see the band. Lucky suck-o-rama was just around the corner as Million Year Dance was starting up but that is another blog.
Holy Fuck the Satin Hooks were on Fire. I’m not sure if it was their being nominated for best “Experimental” and Lucas having a field day with that goof or what was up but they played with this force I’d never seen them do before. The soundman had the sound all fucked up at first – the bass was dirty, the guitar was loud, the drums were out of control. It went to eleven! It was loud dirty and it was unstoppable. It was easily the biggest surprise of the day. Later, about the time I began to be hit with fatigue, the soundman evened out the sound to my dismay.
Break at the Rice Hotel
Ran into Steven of Something Fierce - He is much better at Halo than I am. [I don’t get those controllers; I need a keyboard.] But during the game he got a text from his girlfriend saying how much she missed him and how she wished she could be there with him. Awww! They are so sweet! Er…I mean Punk Rock! Bad news for Steven was that the food was gone and the bad news for everyone was that the only beer left was this Miechlob Ultra! What the fuck is that? Like Musicians are working out and checking their carbs! C’mon guys!
Oh and then there was Million Year Dance…oh wait that’s the next blog.
What can I say? The Fatal Flying Guilloteens frikkin rocked the house. I was freaking beat from an entire day of walking and running around. I was so tired that I blew threw my film towards the beginning of their set just so I could sit. My cold probably wasn’t helping much. But dem boys done brought it home. If you weren’t at The Guilloteens at 9pm you simply missed the epicenter of the showcase. I swear everyone was there in the crowd. The guilloteens sweated, thrust, crowd-surfed, missed notes, dropped beats, the amps crackled, the lighting threatened to topple, and the heat from the crowd was making the AC work overtime. To me it was a perfect close to the Awards Showcase. Are the Guilloteens going to win best whatever? Who the fuck cares! It’s a party! Let’s rock!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Anyhow, here is my planned route throughout the day (with random pit stops at the free booze area) so maybe I'll see you guys at one of these places:
Whorehound @The Brewery Tap
God's Temple of Family Deliverance @ The Office
Dizzy Pilot @ the Office
6pm - [this one's gonna be tough!!!]
A Pink Cloud @ The Brewery Tap
Rotten Piece @ The Office
Drop Trio @ M Bar
The Jonx @ Boaka Bar
The Medicine Show @ Red Cat Jazz cafeÃ©
Satin Hooks @ The Grasshopper
Fatal Flying Guilloteens @ The Brewery Tap
Friday, July 28, 2006
I came in on Black Snakes and kangaroos last song which consisted of them shouting "Black Snakes and Kangaroo!!!" while collapsing onto their equipment and each other - pretty much a good humored band wrestling match with feedback but I would have liked to have caught a few songs. C'est la vie...this was their last show.
Ume followed up with a somewhat restrained set....well at least as restrained as Ume can be which means I could actually figure out what Lauren was doing on the guitar which is actually pretty impressive. I suspect she doesn't get the props she deserves as a guitarist since her performance is always this wild blur of hair when she really gets going. Next time you watch Ume play actually check out what she's doing; her hands crawl around the fretboard like some freaky long thin legged insect. And in case you, like me, were wondering, she uses a drop D tuning on one guitar and an opening tuning on the other.
Oneida closed off the evening with an amazing set. The two additional guitarists added a lot of texture to this bands 70's Krautrock sound but the drummer (who for some inexplicable reason look like the love child of Dana Carvey and Grant Hart last night) was, to me, the star of the band. The guy was just throwing in all these nonstop beats and fills that, when the band got into one of those one bass note grooves, just drove the whole machine into this unstoppable force. I caught a good part of their set but given that I had to work the next day 1am was quitting time for me. So I left the band and the audience dancing and bouncing as I made my way home to a nightcap with Rosa. If you were sleeping, you missed out.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The Adding Machine poses some difficult problems during the first act as Mr. Zero (Marc Carrier) is a completely unlikable arrogant, repressed, and subservient schmuck. The character has no redeeming qualities and, as he allows the world to run over him, Carrier plays him in a manner that alternates between two extremes; Mr. Zero is either detached from his surroundings or frustrated at his stagnant life. Rice's difficulty is that his character is appropriately a frustrating bore - a mere petulant baby - which leaves the question of how to move a play along with such a character that is largely passive and submissive. All movement (save for Mr. Zero's murder of his boss which is more a mere fit than any act of self-determination or rebellion) is generated by his surroundings. Things act upon him and not the other way around.
Two scenes stand outs in the first act. Played beautifully is the bit where Mr. Zero imagines a conversation in which his boss (Stephen Foulard) tells Mr. Zero "Mr. Zero, I've had my eye on you" and rewards his 25 years of labor with a raise and a promotion - hilarious. Foulard plays this scene brilliantly like some clichéd cuddly well-to-do boss out of a Frank Capra movie coming in to reward the hard working noble hero. Mr. Zero's vision is as pathetic as it is funny and, of course, Mr. Zero's reality is far from what he imagines; while he does the receive the visit from his boss (who can't even recall Mr. Zero's name) the visit is to inform him of his being fired which results in Mr. Zero snapping with the murder of the boss.
The following scene, in which the Ones, Twos, Threes, Fours, Fives, and Sixes join the Zeros for a dinner party, is also quite funny and the cast clearly has fun with the silly manner in which the characters all go down the line completing a thought. The banter is inane and clichéd but that is the point and the cast plays it with a vaudeville verve that carries the scene. The first act closes with Mr. Zero fate sealed by a jury leaving the second act which, despite the death of the main character, is where the play comes to life.
With all the main plot points taken care of, Rice starts to have some serious fun with his play and nobody personifies the energy of the second act more than John Dunn who steals the show with his performance as Shrdlu - a repressed soul of a murderer who is consumed by a hilarious self-imposed angst. His greatest torment is that he is not consumed by flames of hell for his sins. Dunn plays the character perfectly not simply with his voice (think and angst driven Boris Karloff) but with his whole body (primarily via an Igor-like gait) - simply an inspired and hilarious performance. Shrdlu and Zero eventually reach The Elysian Fields whose beauty and joy neither can accept butZero is handed one chance to find happiness when Daisy (Liz Seabolt), Mr. Zero's unrequited love, finally finds him. For a minute Zero gives into enjoying himself but eventually shuns the Fields for a room where he works ceaselessly with an adding machine. Here in the final act the Lieutenant (a brilliant Stephen Foulard- again) arrives to tell him his time is up and it is time to go back to Earth for another round. This is clearly Foulard's scene and he plays it expertly. As the Lieutenant is to a large extent a voice for the audience's disgust for the Mr. Zero, the Lieutenant lays down the reincarnation scheme of Rices afterlife - souls go in, get a break, recharge their batteries, and get thrown back. He explains that some souls get better and others like Mr. Zero's get worse. Mr. Zero, he explains, gets worse because he is by nature a slave and that he clearly cannot improve his lot. The Lieutenant mocks Zero to the point where Mr. Zero begs to not be sent back. The Lieutenant finally resorts to giving Zero a false Hope to return to the mortal world where the play ends as they make room for another soul.
One thing that should be pointed out is that the music was excellent. Charlie Naked did a great job and his players were excellent! Jeff Millers bass had this gorgeous Berlin Krautrock tone that I particularly loved and Phil Kriegs Theremin work was impeccable! Im hoping for a CD-R release soon.
The curious thing to me about the play is that while this is a dark comedy and some point to its eastern religious reincarnation elements, I find Rice's main message no different than someone as mainstream as the afore-mentioned Capra. Unless you think that Rice is suggesting a kind of fatalism [which I don't think he is doing] what is the ultimate message here other than enjoy life and make it your own? That's hardly anything radical. To me what makes the play really stand out is the whimsy of the second act where Rice is clearly having fun with his play. So, maybe that's why my thought after the play wasn't one of "Man, that was really deep" but one of "that was really clever and cute." In underground theatre Im sure that is anathema but I say there is nothing wrong with being clever, cute, and whimsical. Now come on, let's get something to eat. I'm thirsty.
* Thanks Karen Lawrence for the correction
Friday, July 21, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Well it's 3:30am which is a bit early to get home from a Linus show (I normally get in at 4am) so i'm a little awake. Everbody else was pretty bushed but I actualy needed to chill a bit before I hit the hay so, given that everyone is sleeping, tea and blogging will have to do.
I have to say that, given the fact that Blue Cheer was playing with Gods Temple at Walters and Mike was having his benefit party for the adding machine, we had a really good night. Plus Rosa was at our show which was a rarity given the fact that usually Orion is with one of us.
Concrete Violin's set was really trippy (it made me wish I still did shroons!) and the addition of the guitarist was really cool. Perhaps we were pushing the Rudz crowd a bit but I really enjoyed it. The Dimes followed with a fantastic set of music. I've already posted about them so you know the story. The nice thing was that a lot of people came up to me saying they'd never heard the Dimes and really liked them which, to me, is half the point of asking bands we like to play with us.
Our set went off well; given the fact that I tend to be hypercritical, that is saying a lot. Surprisingly, we actually had a decent turnout of people so it was nice to do a good show. Sloppy at points but good. We started off with an off-the-cuff version of "Interstellar Overdrive" and as it turns out Daniel Johnson was outside with Two Star Symphony and he totally loved it - going so far as to request a copy of the board mix on CDR. Go figure.
I can say this though the Kimonos, who closed the evening, sound much better live than they do on CD and that's from someone who liked their CD. But while The Kimonos played I was pretty busy and only caught chunks between my chores. Example - one chore was to pick up our projectors. Now given that Karen was busy with Mike's benefit, I was surprised and happy to see her at the show (though she missed our set). Naturally I get to talking with her when suddenly - disater - I realize that the reel I left rewinding is totally eating the film. JOY! See I take 5 minutes with a good friend and see what happens! Needless to say, I spend the next 20 minutes or more picking up my mess and marking spots where I have to splice out damaged film. Mercifully nobody stepped on the film that was laying on the floor. So the rest of the night consisted of the usual rock and roll glory of picking up shit, counting money, and such.
Well, it's almost 4 am now and the rest of my tea is getting tepid. But I should close with how typical this is for a rock show. It's not sex, drugs, and rock and roll ala Lonestar Pornstar. No, it's spending a lot of money on repairs, equpment and supplies. Picking up and hauling heavy equipment to and from the rehearsal space. You hardly have any time to talk to anyone and you smell when you get home between 3 and 4 pm.
So why do we do this? Fuck I guess its all about the music. Despite all the above, it's simply nice to play your music well and play with other bands you admire. If people like it, well that's just gravy.
So goodnight. Apologies to anyone to whom I didn't get to say "Hi" but thanks for coming out. It was fun.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
During last year at the Houston Press Music Awards I was exposed to my first breach of my policy when I witnessed Lonestar Pornstar. A bunch of guys who still play that nu-metal/funk/rap crap that everyone (except drunk frat guys) thought had mercifully died a few years back. Any band that starts off describing itself with "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll" is still wallowing in 13-year-old fantasies but, I guess if Buckcherry is still selling its snake oil to morons, why not these fuckers. Now we have the dubious honor of being in the same category as these guys. My suggestion? Vote for them as best band! Why? If the Best Band curse holds they will break-up within a year of winning. But that was last year....
This year it came as a shock to find a band that was the complete polar opposite of LSPS yet a band that was equally worthy of contempt - Million Year Dance. The band (nominated for best new act and best male vocalist) is easily the most self-absorbed self-important circle-jerk of a band I've seen in quite some time. Musically, let's just say I already own one Coldplay album - I don't need their version. Now in and of itself that's not quite enough to earn my active contempt as there are a lot of bands who sound like bigger acts and will simply garner a ho-hum from me. Where this band takes the ball past the end zone, under the seats, and outside the stadium is on the altar upon which present themselves. They say a picture can say a thousand words. OK well then here are three thousand words:
But wait there's more. You may ask who has inspired this band? Coldplay, Peter Gabriel, Michael Stipe...Oh wait here it is on their myspace:
"Gandhi, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jesus, Paramahansa Yogananda, The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh,and any one who uses non-violent (ahimsa) action to promote positive change in the world."Then they go onto describe themselves thusly:
In the greatest state of liberation one may witness all the wave energies of the universe connected- these energies are the million year dance. Our mission is for everyone to feel just as much a part of our art as we are. We would hope the listener or audience participant could travel along the journey with us, and not at a distance.Now, I grew up with punk rock and one basic anathema to punk rock was the idea of idol worship. Musicians and bands are to be admired and all that but worshipped? That utterly misses the point that the bands are never above their audience. The way MYD portrays itself clearly suggests a clear level of vanity in search of willing apostles.
_Joel lewis and nic houston are the pulsating truth, steven wetherell and doyle odom are the infinite mosaic of possibilities, and jonathan welch is the tangible explanation: all of them seamed together by a web of emotional creative response and interactivity_We are dedicated to positive activism. If anyone has a way of improving the world (maya) and transforming negitive into positive without just complaining yet using action; please feel free to contact us. We would love to help. Of course, help comes from within, so we must all ask ourselves, "What could I be doing at the present moment to bring positive change into the world?"
Now don't get me wrong, I have no issues with strong views or politics in bands. This band played with Free Radicals which is pretty much Nick Cooper's baby. Now is Nick a bit much sometimes with his politics and in his trying to make a buck any chance he gets? Yes, but a few things are important which negate this. First, is the fact that Free Radicals are a great band and the music is the main focus. Secondly, whatever you think about Nick he puts his money where his mouth is. Lastly, the politics of Nick Cooper and his band are one of encouraging individual action by people - not "hold my hand and join us" but a serious challenge. The power to improve things does not come by joining or worshiping the band.
Meanwhile, Million Year Dance says it's committed to "Positive Activism". But what does that mean conctretely? Well as the band states it "Our mission is for everyone to feel just as much a part of our art as we are." Salvation can be found in Million Year Dance! The world will change if you sit in a circle burn incense and worship at my feet! Tell me plebians of how great my art is!
You want positive activism? Get off your goddamn pedestal.
And there you have it - the Lonestar Pornstar of 2006.