Neither of those gentlemen are with us now, but come Saturday at the Moody Theater, they’ll be watching what we’re doing down here. That’s celebrating the life of Brent Grulke – father, husband, friend, family – with a perfect group of usual suspects: True Believers, Sixteen Deluxe, Fastball, Doctors’ Mob, Glass Eye, the Reivers, the Wannabes, Wild Seeds, and whoever else will be moved to get onstage and deal with the crushing pain of losing, not just a friend, but a beloved and integral part of the local music community.
Those are the right bands for the occasion, too, a loose gathering of post-punk and so-called “New Sincerity” survivors with a touch of early Nineties zeitgeist. At one end of the through line, Alejandro Escovedo and Jon Dee Graham anchor the True Believers with marching, charging guitars, while at the other Carrie Clark and Frenchie Smith summon Trance Syndicate Records’ neutron fuzz bomb. At all points in between regroup Cinderella stories (Fastball), Daniel Johnston-inspiring art rock (Glass Eye), cult indie legends (the Reivers, neé Zeitgeist), eternal ATX bar rock (the Wannabes, Doctors' Mob), and the anthemic cutting edge of Brent’s collaborative past (Wild Seeds).
While we at the Chronicle remember Brent Grulke as Music editor, it was his position as creative director of South by Southwest that honed his sharp vision and exquisitely good taste into never-to-be-forgotten showcases. And if it’s true that music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, it will be conjured over and over to ease this staggering loss. Proceeds benefit the Graham Grulke Education Fund. – Margaret Moser