PAST RECOMMENDED SHOWS:
04/25/14 @ Strange Brew Lounge SideFastball, Dexter Freebish
ATX pop home run, 7pm.
05/25/13 @ The BelmontGourds, Fastball, Reivers
Homegrown triplet: South Texas roots, millions sellers, and reformed alt-romance.
09/08/12 @ ACL Live at the Moody TheaterGrulkefest
See that tattoo of the horse encircled by flames on the Grulkefest poster? I watched as my late ex-husband Rollo Banks applied it to the late Brent Grulke’s upper arm at the old China Sea Tattoo Company on Guadalupe sometime around 1985. I can still remember the tobacco-stanky walls, lined in brilliantly colored flash, and Brent wincing without complaint as Rollo sank the ink in his flesh.
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.
09/05/08 @ Squeeze
The current version of Squeeze contains a couple of ringers, but with leading men Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook reunited, fans of quirky pop can rejoice. Without a new album, they’ll rely on the hits and a couple of treasured deep cuts, so expect a night of top-of-the-lungs sing-alongs. Appropriately, locals Fastball kick things off. Visit Geezerville
for an interview with Difford.
07/11/08 @ Continental ClubIs She Weird, Is She White
It’s an interesting career move, setting aside new work to tour with a Pixies cover band – albeit one that offers its own interpretations of the source material – but that’s exactly what Americana rocker Bobby Bare Jr. is doing Friday. And in a shrewd booking move, the bill is that much more 1990s-tastic with locals Fastball kicking things off. Bare rolls out his original material Saturday with Mario Matteoli.
02/04/08 @ Antone's CLOSEDThe Go-Go's
For a band that could have been relegated to the nostalgia circuit, the Go-Go’s still shine. Sure, the set list is populated with enough 1980s hits – “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Head Over Heels” – to make you ponder wearing bubble skirts and breaking out the mousse, but the presence of openers Fastball puts a 1990s pop spin on the night.
03/13/05 @ Hole in the WallPub Rock Hoot Night
Elizabeth McQueen’s fine new tribute to Pub Rock, Happy Doing What We’re Doing
, goes live and into overdrive with a cavalcade of stars that includes Fastball, Two Hoots & a Holler, Jane Bond, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, and more. Expect lots of great tunes from the likes of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Nick Lowe, Eggs Over Easy, Dr. Feelgood, and Eddie and the Hot Rods. Also appearing will be former Nick Lowe bandmate Bill Kirchen, an original member of Eggs Over Easy, Austin DeLone, and a reunited Mojo Nixon & the Toadliquors. Whew.
09/24/04 @ Saxon PubThe Standing Waves
Two Fastball sets are followed by a rare reunion of the Standing Waves. Larry Seaman (Violet Crown), Randy Franklin, and Dave Cardwell will be joined by guests Davy Jones (Ideals, Hickoids) and Steve Marsh (Terminal Mind) for a return to local punk-era New Wave. It’s quite likely you’ll leave the evening humming "The Way," but it’s just as likely you won’t be able to get "Refugee" out of your head. KGSR will be broadcasting a portion of each performance.