The Austin Chronicle

The Mermen, Nero's Rome, Death Valley

January 19, 1996, Music

Electric Lounge, Tuesday 23

Mermen guitarist Jim Thomas is a guitar savant. He picked up a guitar late in life (30), found he had a natural affinity for it, and suddenly started spewing forth the guitar immortals (Hendrix, Neil Young) he'd been hearing at the music store he worked in. The results are A Glorious Lethal Euphoria, a guitar album of mammoth proportions, whose obvious reference is surf guitar. But if what the Mermen play is just surf music, then Hendrix was just a blues guitarist. You ain't never heard this stuff. Portland's Seattle-sounding Nero's Rome support, and Austin's own surfers, Death Valley, open.


White Rabbit, Friday 19

Imagine if Live were a little more laconically jam-oriented like Blues Traveller, and Jethro Tull -- kinda Dave Matthews. That would give you Michigan's Verve Pipe, who've recently been picked up by BMG (mandolin, strings and all), and are expecting the big push sometime soon.


Antone's, Friday 19

Still some tickets left for both Kris Kristofferson shows at Antone's Friday -- the early, non-smoking show in particular. And say what you will about his voice, but the songs are Texas through and through. We won't even state the obvious possibility of "special guests," only that you can get tickets at Antone's Records.


Split Rail, Friday 19

Brought to you by nice folks at the Black Cat comes Sixth Street's newest club (actually it's on Red River), the Split Rail. Maiden show happens Thursday 18 with Big Town Swingtet, and Merchants of Venus, but it's the pairing of Ted Roddy & the Talltops, and opener Rick Broussard that has us basking in the shade of the roots-rock tree.


La Zona Rosa, Saturday 20

James McMurtry's Where'd You Hide the Body landed on more than a few Top Ten lists recently and it's always a pleasure to find the somewhat reclusive songwriter playing out in his hometown.


Electric Lounge, Saturday 20

They're making records just for shows now? Apparently. This clear piece of petroleum product called Peek-a-Boo Bicycle Rodeo, which sports the talents of Stretford, Death Valley, Teen Titans, The 1-4-5s, Girl Robots, Kiki Debris, Audrey, Spoon, and Lord High Fixers, features mostly Austin bands singing about bicycles and all things wheely. Sounds like a good enough reason for a show with all of the above save for Spoon and the Lord High Fixers.


Emo's, Saturday 20

Okay, all you bottom-dwelling insects, Kepone is here to exterminate your worthless, crawling butts -- that's why they're named after an insecticide, after all. They'll do it with hard-edged, needling guitar, and marching rhythms that come from the same label/stable where Bad Livers, The Jesus Lizard, Pegboy, Mule, and Arcwelder are found: Quarterstick. The Reverb Brothers, Polio, and Chevy Heston all support.


Liberty Lunch, Sunday 21

Gretchen Phillips is moving to S.F. and you can say goodbye in a way that'll help pay her moving costs. Starting at 3:30pm at the Lunch, there's a whole day's worth of entertainment from Phillips' past and present, including former bandmates (Laurie Freelove and Meg Hentges from Two Nice Girls; Kay Turner of Girls in the Nose), influences (Moist Fist), and reunions (Joan of Arkansas, etc.). Did I mention Kathy McCarty or Rob Jacks? Didn't think so. -- Ken Lieck


La Zona Rosa, Tuesday 23

They don't come with a much better pedigree than fiddler Mark O'Connor. Having started under the aegis of Stephane Grappelli and Texas legend Benny Thomasson (whose guitarist son Gerry will be on hand here), O'Connor has gone on to become one of Nashville's most sought-after musicians, and one of world renown. Well, now he's in Erik Hokkanen's home turf, and a cutting match is on. They'll be plenty of other fiddlers on hand to take note, and add to the sounds.


Hang 'em High Saloon, Thursday 25

Last week it was Asleep at the Wheel, then there was the From Dusk til Dawn/Quentin Tarantino after-movie mob scene, and this semana it's uncle Willie. Seems the country cathedral (have you seen the size of this place?) on Sixth Street is stepping up the pace, so bring on ol' greybeard (no offense, Willie).


Back Room, Thursday 25

Ruffneck hip-hop from the Rotten Apple will be on display as a thick lineup of beat junkies invade the Back Room. Das Efx "represents the real" with their distinct styles of clever word play. Onyx swings grimy gutter ball with their hyped expressions and visual tenacity. Group Home and Insane Clown Gang open. -- Rashied Gabriel ALSO PLAYING

Friday: Dumptruck, Prescott Curlywolf, Liberty Lunch; Townes Van Zandt, Cactus Cafe

Saturday: Lara y Reyes, Elephant Room

Sunday: Charlie Sexton Sextet, Steamboat

Monday: Hip-Hop Showcase, Emo's

Tuesday: Christina Marrs' Speakeasies, Ritz Upstairs

Wednesday: Lee Person, Pearl's

Thursday: Chicago House Benefit, Electric Lounge

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