edited by Christopher Gray
Emo's, Thursday 15
Great week for Emo's (Glorium, Silver Apples, NIL8), but even in the wake of everything going on, the return of Jad Fair still ranks as a genuine event. Flying under mainstream radar since 1977's Calling All Girls EP, Fair's dalliances with everything from pre-R&B to post-punk (with or without the Half Japanese moniker), make him one of the most important musicians nobody knows about -- and this despite an eye-popping output of over 30 albums! Fair's worked with everyone from Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, J. Mascis, and Yo La Tengo to Daniel Johnston, Moe Tucker, and John Zorn so he must have something going on; this time it's the bizarro pop and loose grooves of Bone Head, purportedly HJ's 18th album (though who really knows?), and their first for Alternative Tentacles. Locals the Softs and Swangkee Lowtel open.
BIG DRAG, 1-4-5'S, HALFWATT
Hole in the Wall, Friday 9
The BMX-loving, UTPD-hating 1-4-5's haven't played in town since last fall (three of them moved away), but they're back for a good time, punk-rock pogo party before embarking on a 10-day tour of Japan. Also off the AWOL list is San Antone's Big Drag, whose potent 7-inch gutter bombs on Unclean Records set the tone for others in S.A.'s fuzz factory (Dropouts, Sons) and, in spirit, still echo up and down the Drag every day. Halfwatt's bounce-with-a-bite opens.
Emo's, Friday 9
As longtime standard-bearers of Austin's avant-punk fringe, Glorium has continuously challenged and reinvented its sound at an awe-provoking rate. Their new CD, Eclipse, strikes hints of Sonic Youth, the Velvets, and Fugazi by skillfully contrasting disparate elements of all three across a mighty expansive canvas. Though their free-form tendencies may seem exotic in the ears of 1-2-3-4 purists, Glorium's invitation to musical adventure is ultimately much too tempting to resist. Toof and Fire Island open. -- Greg Beets
Antone's, Saturday 10
It's not unusual for acts on the same label to tour with each other. It is a tad odd, though, for a label's entire roster to form one band and then hit the road. That's the story out of Nashville, however, as everybody on Dead Reckoning Records -- Mike Henderson, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Tammy Rogers, Harry Stinson, Fats Kaplan, and Allison Prestwood -- takes the Antone's stage en masse for a night rootsier than Kunta Kinte marrying a Snopes.
SWAP & BOP
Waterloo Brewing Company, Saturday 10
Despite the rhyming name, this looks like fun. It only costs $2, there's a bunch of cool kitschy stuff to buy, and the bands all kick ass: Son Yuma's tropical tones, Ted Roddy's Tearjoint Troubadors' pop-a-top poetry, the Gulf Coast Playboys' Cajun/zydeco stomp, Dale Watson's peerless honky-tonkin', the Sir Finks' beachfront boogie, and the Sons of Hercules' hypertensive rawk. Great show even if the Chronicle weren't sponsoring it. So there.
DRUMS & TUBA
Cactus Cafe, Saturday 10
Drums & Tuba are hard to figure, certainly. At least now all those `What do they sound like?' questions can be referred to the local band's brand-new CD Box Fetish, a quirky charmer that excavates a patch of musical earth between Ornette Coleman, the Rebirth Brass Band, and King Crimson. The phrase `power trio' will never be the same.
SOCIAL DISTORTION, RED FIVE
Liberty Lunch, Wednesday 14
Notable for the carpet-bomb sonic assault that helped forge California punk, as well as a lyrical treatment of redemption (something punk is definitely not known for), Social Distortion finally got some of what was coming to them with the success of last year's incandescent White Light White Heat White Trash. L.A.'s Red Five, currently competing in the "Next Great Girl Guitar Group" sweepstakes with Sleater-Kinney, NY Loose, Fluffy, and Kenickie, tags along in support.
THE GRIFTERS, SCUD MOUNTAIN BOYS, MONROE MUSTANG
Electric Lounge, Thursday 15
The Grifters' wild-eyed, frazzled Memphis soul ain't exactly what the Rev. Al Green had in mind, and their finger-lickin' Southern Pride don't taste the same as Skynyrd's, but their long history on Shangri-La and recent Sub Pop output -- last year's arch Ain't My Lookout and the just-released 7-inch, "Wickedthing/Organ Grinder" -- reveals a band ready to rock anywhere, anytime. Fellow Sub Poppers Scud Mountain Boys and Austin's Monroe Mustang weave various mesmerizing cobwebs of rusticana by way of opening.
Friday: Jerry Jeff Walker, Backyard; Chris Wall, Broken Spoke; Tish Hinojosa, La Zona Rosa
Saturday: Banana Blender Surprise,
Liberty Lunch; Charlie Burton, Flipnotics
Sunday: Silver Apples, Frontier, Emo's
Monday: Junior Medlow Memorial/Benefit, Continental Club; Jimmy LaFave, Threadgill's AWHQ
Tuesday: N.I.L.8., M.I.R.V., Emo's
Wednesday: The Insinuators, Saxon Pub
Thursday: ZZ Top, Frank Erwin Center