Dancing About Architecture

Eyes on the Prize

Here it is. The confirmed lineup for the Austin Music Awards, presented by your own cute, cuddly Chronicle (and cute, cuddly Margaret Moser). In order of appearance, you'll see The King of Sixth Street Gerry Van King, 81/2 Souvenirs, Texas Tornados featuring Roy Head, Sexton Brothers Sextet, Jimmie Dale Gilmore's Tribute To Townes Van Zandt featuring Joe Ely, Kimmie Rhodes, Champ Hood, J.T. Van Zandt, Mickey White and more. Topping the evening off in grand style is Lou Ann Barton featuring Jimmie Vaughan. That's all at the Austin Music Hall on March 12.

Meanwhile, those of who who've been bitching that nobody you've heard of is playing SXSW, add Tony Bennett and Debbie Harry with the Jazz Passengers to the list and let me know when it's gotten long enough for you to start bitching about how all the big names are stealing the attention from all the starving young bands.

Live TV Capital of the World?

Considering this week's cover story, I though it might be a good time to report on the Austin Music Network's most popular show, "Check This Action." After playing a long series of "here's Margaret and Tara Veneruso, now here's Tara without Margaret, now here's Margaret filling in for Tara, " on CTA, both are now outta there. The show's current host is now Jenn Garrison and a series of guest partners, with no immediate search on for a permanent co-host. Veneruso, meanwhile has moved into the host spot of the self-descriptive AMN Live On the Air. She says the new program is developing on-air, "but that's the only way to do it," and it will feature live performances and interviews with bands starting next week. (Fax 499-1808 if you're interested in performing). The show will begin re-running on Fridays and Saturdays, and during SXSW it will air live from the Convention Center; an hour each day during the film festival and three hours a day during the music festival. Plans call for a live broadcast of the Austin Music Awards as well, but at press time, details were still being worked out by the Music Commission, the City Council, and Time-Warner Communications regarding the cable "drop" required for the broadcast. (The Kenneth Threadgill Foundation has proposed a series of live music performances at the new Threadgill's, and is among those who've also been waiting -- and waiting -- for a cable drop.)

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Don Walser's free, weekly show at Babe's ended with an unusual annoucement this past Monday night; he thanked the three or four people in attendance for sticking around so the band wouldn't be playing to an empty bar. How on earth could a free Walser show draw such a sorry attendance, you ask? Well, Don attributed it partly to John Conquest, who was packing 'em in at Threadgill's World Headquarters with the local music awards given out by his mag, Third Coast Music (formerly Music City Texas, and soon to be -- if Buick McKane were to rename it -- White Collar Music), as well as the fact that Marty Stuart was playing across the street at Hang 'Em High. Babe's manager Jim Hawk, however, points to a different scenario. Like most clubs on Sixth Street last Monday, Babe's suffered from the power outage caused by the fire at the Seaholm Power Plant, and even after everything was up and running in time for the night's show, attendance was hurt by rampant television and radio news warnings to avoid downtown like the plague. Personally, the only obstacles I encountered that evening were a few dark stoplights as I hurried home to catch the new Monkees episode (Mike turned the Monkeemobile into a dimension-traveling low rider!).

Getting back to Walser, can you believe that he's currently got links to the Kronos Quartet, LeAnn Rimes, the Texas Playboys, and the Butthole Surfers? The Quartet has asked Walser's Pure Texas Band to open for them -- as well as play with them -- when they come to town in April. ("They tell me," says Walser, "that the cellist is a big fan of mine.") Then there's Bill Mack, who wrote Rimes' hit "Blue," and has sent Walser several songs for possible inclusion on his next album, which he'll start rehearsing for this week. Currently in the talking stage is the idea of having the Buttholes play on at least one track. Walser's got a song called "Hot Rod Mercury" that he thinks would be a good subject for the team-up (hey, you know Gibby likes dem hot rods). Finally, Mr. High Lonesome has been invited to join the surviving Texas Playboys for the big Bob Wills birthday bash in Tulsa in early March.

Waiting For the Electrician

No, the Electric Lounge didn't burn down (again), though co-owner Mark Shuman says he got plenty of calls asking if it did during Monday's smoke-out. The actual fire is in the eyes of Shuman and partner Jay Hughey, as they prepare to sell the club they've invested four years of their lives in. Sometime last fall, says Shuman, he and Hughey "made the decision that we'd made the impact that we'd intended, but we needed to move on with our careers." Thus, the two are preparing to make more time for their work as a film producer and architect, respectively, by selling the club to longtime employee Mike Henry. "We're excited that we can sell it to someone who can continue what we've been doing," says Shuman of the deal, which has a tentative date of March 3. Henry will continue booking the club and has added new general manager Mike Blake, formerly of the St. Louis club Cicero's. Henry says the venue will basically remain "the same Electric Lounge we've come to know and love," though he has some enhancements in mind. The last few days of the Shuman/Huey dynasty will conclude with a bang, showcasing local faves and the hot Cibo Matto, culminating with Hamell On Trial flying in for their final night.

No Sexton is an Island

The Sexton brothers have finished up recording for the nonce, with Charlie finishing things up in the studio. This week, their new material should be going out to four or five labels who've showed interest, giving them some time to get into it before the brothers' Austin Music Awards show and SXSW showcases. Label shopping continues because, as manager Tim Neece puts it, a proposed Island deal "didn't turn out to be what it started to say it was." (Maybe the label decided they wanted the Bros. to make a reggae album).

Airlines and Attitudes

Looking wistfully around the Hole in the Wall, former Timbuk3-er Pat McDonald was soaking in the view on Monday, more than aware of how little time he's spent in Austin lately, and how little he'll be here in the near future. He's just returned from Barcelona, on what started out as a personal trip and ended with a spate of rave reviews for shows he performed while there. Those reviews came a little late to help attendance at the time, though, so he's returning to Spain in April. Meanwhile, he confirms that it doesn't look like the song he co-wrote with Aerosmith made the cut on their upcoming album, though he says his version of "The History of Man" will be on his next disc, which will likely appear on Ark 21, Miles Copeland's post-I.R.S. label.

Mixed Notes

Jesus Christ Superfly's country offshoot Gravy Boat finally make their stage debut this Thursday at the Hole in the Wall, along with Loblolly and Honkey. The latter band's Jeff Pinkus has recently been hosting Gravy Boat at his studio...

Okay, this one came to me third-hand, but as best I can figure, Fastball found themselves on the periphery of a hostage situation when a guest of the Howard Johnson's they were staying at in Baltimore was caught burglarizing some other guests. Police lines, SWAT teams, and helicopters kept them and tour-mate Matthew Sweet from returning to their rooms after the show...

It's like DejaDisc all over again: ex-Austinite and former Townes Van Zandt manager John Lomax III is currently the A&R Consultant in Nashville for Elvis Costello's Demon Records label, and says the label is looking for finished albums (new or old) from local musicians for the label to license in Europe. He's calling out for anything in the field of rock, alternative, country, psychedelic, soul or folk, and recently struck such a deal with former DejaDisc act the Rainravens. Send your album to him at P.O. Box 120316, Nashville, TN 37212...

The tri-city covers album I mentioned long ago comes out this week. Juxtaposition features Kim Longacre, Mandy Mercier, and Kevin Carroll and Lisa Mednick among others and hits stores on the 25th, the same day as Amerika, the last in that series of Tonio K. reissues...

The Sheridans have a release party this Friday at the Electric Lounge for their new User Friendly CD. Another release party, this one for Suspended Music, featuring the Deep Listening Band and Ellen Fullman's Long String Instrument, happens at the Candy Factory on Saturday from 5-8pm. There will also be a listening party for Rant In E Minor (and the other Bill Hicks albums that Rykodisc is releasing this week) at the Capitol City Comedy Club (formerly the Laff Stop, where much of Rant was recorded) on Monday at 8pm. A video presentation of rarely seen archival Hicks photos and footage will accompany the recorded sonic attack of Bill...

Troy Dillinger and Jon Dee Graham are having a double birthday party next Thursday, Feb. 27, at La Zona Rosa. Dillinger's Del Dragons and Graham's new Big Band -- featuring Mike Hardwick, George Reiff, and Dave McNair -- will both perform...

The newly-formed Austin Celtic Association has a fundraiser coming this Friday at Waterloo Ice House 6th, with Two O'Clock Courage, Crazy Jane and the Bishop, Ed Miller and more. Proceeds will go towards establishing an annual Samhain festival outside of Cedar Park...

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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