David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails
Southpark Meadows, Saturday 14The Thin White Duke and the Thin Prince of Darkness. Quite a team. Word has it that Nine Inch Nailman Trent Reznor practically begged David Bowie for a chance to open this tour - such is the crowned prince of industrial mayhem's adulation of the Duke. And it's not just an opening gig, either. The two team for five songs at the end of NIN's set, which many rock & roll pundits see as a chance to bring two different generations of musical worshippers together. Bowie, who apparently dispensed with the hits on his last tour several years ago, will have to hold his own against Reznor's rage-driven, wham-bam stage show, however, which many are hoping he can do with material from his new Eno-produced Outside album. Reznor label signees Prick, and ex-Tin Machine, Bowie-sideman Reeves Gabrels open.
CRUST, SWEETPEA, GUT
Emo's, Friday 13The ever-delightful Crust return to Emo's this Friday the 13th - blood, guts and all - with their new video "Chlamydia Is Not a Flower" (a sentiment to which I can only add a hearty scratch), which they'll be showing before their set that previews new material from their upcoming Foodeater album. Crust's John Hawkins wasn't nearly as rude as it may seem when he told me that the album will be out "when it's finished." You can bet, though, that neither Crust, Sweetpea, nor Gut will have any problem being rude on stage. - Ken Lieck
Antone's, Friday 13Chicago's other blues label, Alligator, has high hopes for Luther Allison, a West side bluesman, who caught fire in the late Sixties only to extinguish his career in the U.S. for European stardom. Well, he's back, and judging from his new album Blues Streak, Buddy Guy better watch out - there's someone gunning for his audience. Allison can belt it out with a classic Buddy Guy screech, and play urban Chicago blues that are positively wicked. Were he to get even half the rabid audience that Guy gets at Antone's, you can be sure Allison will be back soon. No opener.
WOMEN IN JAZZ
Live Oak Theatre, Friday 13 & Saturday 14Year four and a new venue for the jazz divas of Austin, but no matter where they are, they always cast a smoky, Cole Porter spell. Friday James Polk backs Pam Hart, Tina Marsh, Hope Morgan, Mady Kaye, and Judith Miller. Saturday look for Connie Kirk (call the Chron, Connie), Karen Chavis, Jacqui Cross, Willie Nicholson, and LaDonna Jones.
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD
White Rabbit/Emo's, Friday 13/ Saturday 14It's my belief that as popular music homogenizes into Bush, people will turn to jazz looking for strong musicianship, improvisational fearlessness, and real rock & roll values. Meet the missing link. MMW are an organ, bass, drum trio from NY, who hold the interest of a grateful phish blues traveling nation (as witnessed on some H.O.R.D.E. dates this summer), with their long, loping funky jams that rocket through the constellations of jazz, rock, R&B, and everything outside and in-between. Nothing else quite like it, and already I'm hearing major-label imitations. Like last time: two shows, two clubs, two different nights, two different crowds.
Chicago House, Sunday 15Originally a benefit for KVRX, this show, which features the talents of four fine Austin ladies - Abra Moore, Laurie Freelove, Lourdes Perez, and Diana Jones - now seeks to save Chicago House. Pass the basket down the pew and give 'til it hurts.
Tejano Ranch, Sunday 15Both C&W and Tejano purists will hate Joel Nava, screaming that Nashville has body-snatched Austin. But then Arista Texas has always had its work cut out for it in this burg, and nobody would demonstrate that more aptly than Port Lavaca, Texas, native Joel (pronounced in Dah-Veed fashion, Joe-El) Nava and his dream to morph country music and Spanish-sung Tejano into one. His debut is currently getting the big push, so leave the snobs at home, and check out the homeboy with a glitter in his eyes.
Electric Lounge, Monday 16Einsturzende Neubauten drummer F.M. Einheit and guitar deconstructionist Caspar Brötzman team up for airplane/car crash noises on Merry Christmas, while "a pile of bricks and some sheet metal" were requested for their live show. Hmm. Bring a crash helmet. Polio and Corpone open.
QUICKSAND, CIV, SMILE
Liberty Lunch, Tuesday 17On paper, a great triple bill. Quicksand and CIV are NYC post-hardcore devotees that should compliment each other nicely. Quicksand take complex time signatures, inject them with hardcore fierceness and punk rock tempos, with the whole thing sounding as in your face as Rage Against the Machine. CIV are more on the straight and narrow hardcore path, and are seeing some radio play thanks to their grasp of the genre's fundamentals. Smile? Well, they're the Orange County punks who aren't just banging away like hundreds of others, but have a sound of their own, and some songs.
ROBBEN FORD & THE BLUE LINE
Steamboat, Thursday 19Robben Ford is no stranger to Austin, and still the best way to describe him is as a West Coast version of Eric Johnson. Like Austin's new age Hendrix, Ford is by now a veteran guitarist, who's slick, clean sound makes the passion in his playing all the more naked, and therefore razor- sharp. Unlike Johnson - whose one-time bassist Roscoe Beck remains a Blue Liner - Ford is primarily a blues player, and the combination of modern, guitar hero aesthetics, and classic three-chord progressions makes him a favorite of fans with their feet in several different guitar camps. His new one, Handful of Blues gleams fiercely. ALSO PLAYING
Friday: Superchunk, Chris Knox, Liberty Lunch
Saturday: Swine King, Hollowbody, Gourds, Hole in the Wall
Sunday: Paco de Lucia Sextet, Bass Concert Hall
Monday: Earthpig & Fire, Black Cat
Tuesday: Holly Near, Cactus Cafe (Wednesday, too)
Wednesday: The Selector, Contradicks, Back Room
Thursday: Los Pinkys, Continental Club