Dancing About Architecture

Chasin' the Clouds Away

All the mutant strains of cold and rainy weather have put Austinites in a mood to get out of the house, as evidenced by the crowds that attended last Sunday's Bob Marley Fest, which raised a sizable stash of canned goods for the Capital Area Food Bank. (I should take this opportunity to correct last week's assertion that Paul Wilkins is associated with said festival; in fact, he has nothing to do it.) The first Marley fest of the year may have unofficially started Austin's six-month summer, but one day in the sun is not enough for the city's cabin-fevered citizens, and the word "Eeyore" was on the lips of many before they even left Auditorium Shores. That ol' mule's birthday party, which you should know by now will be in Pease Park as usual this year, despite much rigmarole, as well as the second Marley fest at Auditorium Shores, comes ambling along next weekend, April 26 and 27 respectively (word is both Marley festivals will join forces next year). Meanwhile, the Austin Federation of Musicians' free Summer Concert Series at the Shores and Zilker Hillside starts up April 30 at the former site with Jumpstart and the Daddios, continuing with the likes of Beto y los Fairlanes, Susanna Sharpe & Samba Police, Lisa Tingle, and Maryann Price over the coming three months.

Question is, will you be able to hear any of the bands at the Shores? Well, Robert Dodds from the Austin Federation of Musicians says he knows of no changes in the sound ordinances that have caused such a fuss out at the Shores in recent years, but then again, around a dozen armchair rastas ended up at my house over the course of Sunday's Marley fest, and I didn't hear any complaints from them about not being able to hear the grooves. As far as the Concert Series specifically, the only major policy change since last year is the adoption of a strict "no pets" rule in response to the number of large and aggressive animals that have been showing up as guests in recent years.

On another festival front, the ever-loquacious Austin Aqua Fest folks say that this year's Aquafest is "moving forward." Aquafest '97 will be held July 24-August 2, and they're currently accepting demos from acts who want to perform. Send materials to: 811 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704.

Finally, to tide your need for sun and song 'til Eeyore's, try the Earth Day Ecology Action Benefit at Waterloo Park this Saturday with Kris McKay, Michael Fracasso, Gingbreadmen, and Sincola, or maybe check out Franklin Plaza (111 Congress), the home of Tuesday noontime concerts through April (they move to Regents Plaza in May), with the Mary Reynolds Band and the Texana Dames filling the next two slots, respectively. And don't forget the sunblock.

Jazzed For Another Fest?

"The last two years have not been gold star years," sighs Harold McMillan, organizer of the annual Clarksville-West End Jazz and Arts Festival. That, however, is hardly stopping him from expanding the festival to a week this year and getting some prestigious acts to play. The week will run from Sunday, June 8 to Sunday, June 15, with shows at the Victory Grill, Speakeasy, Cedar Street, Caucus Club, and State Theatre (see "Recommended"), and outdoor shows at Pease Park on the final two days. Topping the list of confirmed acts is Roy Hargrove's new "New York/Havana/San Juan supergroup," Crisol. Hargrove will be at Clarksville for a three-day residency, performing with his regular combo as well as Crisol, and McMillan hopes to get "a decent amount of help from [Hargrove's label] Verve" in promoting the show, though the key to turning the fest into a success this year, he says, rests on "the tourism thing," and he intends to do a sizable amount of out-of-town marketing. The goal: to get people to think of Clarksville as "at least a regional festival." Clarksville is currently looking for demos, donations, and volunteers: Demos should be submitted for entry in the World Music, Jazz Vocalist, or Composer Showcase, or the New Jazz Artist/Ensemble Competition, along with a bio and instrumentation list and a check or money order for $5 for the musicians fund. All demos and or inquiries should be sent to: Clarksville Jazz Fest, PO Box 3957, Austin, TX 78764-3957.

Sin Mariachi

Say goodbye to Sincola. The band has decided to call it quits after four years of being a mainstay of Austin's "alterna-rock" scene. Guitarist/founder Kris Patterson laments, "I'm sad, but I'm also relieved that it's over." Drummer Terri Lord elaborates that the breakup is best explained by the "series of difficulties that began last fall when Caroline Records didn't pick up our third option and culminated with my broken wrist right before SXSW 97. We've decided that everyone is tired of each other and generally pretty unhappy." The band will play a few more gigs, including the aforementioned Earth Day Benefit in Waterloo Park this Saturday, and what looks to be the final gig, May 10 at the Electric Lounge. Various members are looking into different directions for their musical futures, including Patterson, who insisted repeatedly that she's not kidding about her plans to start an ABBA cover band.

Deluxe Treatment

The members of Sixteen Deluxe have finished recording and mixing their Warner Bros. debut (using the same board on which "Stairway To Heaven" and the first three Van Halen albums were born), and had time to wander the halls of the big WB empire while out in sunny California. Among their ventures was a visit to legend Ted Templeman, whom the band had been warned against disturbing. They were carrying a bootleg Van Halen CD that featured a mention of Templeman in the stage patter, and they just had to play it for him, so they barged in and found him more than happy to regale them with tales of the music legends he's worked with. The Deluxers' own first shot at superstardom is scheduled to come out in August, but this Saturday they're having a belated release party for their Pilot Knob EP at Stubb's, along with the newly expanded Goin' Along Feelin' Just Fines (now featuring Kevin Whitley) and D.J. "O."

Bungle With the Jungles

Mike Henry has no plans to start a Jungle Brothers fan club any time soon. He was informed three days before their planned Electric Lounge show that the JBs were going to be a no-show, since, according to their management, their tour had been a bummer from the git-go and they were canceling something like 19 dates. Then, says Henry, the Brothers' label found out about all the other hip-hop shows in town that weekend and decided to fly the band down anyway. The result was two in-stores and appearances with the Roots and De La Soul -- two of those appearances being on the same day as their canceled show! So, says Henry, he hopped on down to Waterloo Records, where the band offered him a compromise; they'd bring everybody over to the Lounge after the Roots show for an after-party -- for a fee. Henry declined, and he says that since the "early" Roots show went on 'til 1am, he was glad he didn't blow his money. The experience didn't deter the club's decision to begin a weekly hip-hop night, however, with Henry adding that said feature may start as early as next week. The Lounge hip-hop night will be hosted by Blow-Pop, the same folks who do the Nasty's weekly dance thang. Don't fret, Mike, they're very appreciative people.

Mixed Notes

Taking the cautious route towards the Big Record Deal are 7% Solution, who admit to having gotten a good deal of interest from labels since their (non) SXSW show, but are declining to name names (though one off-and-on member has mentioned Sony). The Solution will be flying up to New York May 18 to play a show with Sugar Plant for the A&R types who wanted to see the band here last month but couldn't. The band has also just contributed one track (or approximately 5.88%) to the new 17-song Rotating Parts compilation CD on Propeller Records. Also on that are toof, Thomas Anderson, Splatterhouse, Marble Index, Sheridans, Switchhitter!, and a host of others... Another artist getting interest from the major leagues is Dale Watson, who is currently weighing all his options. Manager Mike Crowley says Watson has been getting offers that are "flattering," but indicates that jumping ship from Hightone without a lifeboat in the water is not in the plans... Robert Earl Keen finished shooting his "Over the Waterfall" video a little over a week ago, and the immediate response from VH1 was, according to his publicist, that "they loved it." Expect to see it on that channel soon... W.C. Clark is back, as promised, at Top of the Marc this Friday for the first of his return shows since his car accident. He'll begin regular Tuesday night gigs at the club thereafter... Alternative Tentacles is celebrating their 200th release by putting the Dicks on disc. Yep, AT-200 is a new compilation of Dicks classics (from both the Austin and San Francisco versions of the band) taken from various sources, with the album featuring liner notes and reminiscences from Gary Floyd along with several bandmates and chums... The Killer Bees have a release party at Flamingo Cantina this Friday for All Abuzz. The Recliners have a video release the same night at the Ritz for their version of "Back in Black"... Waterloo Records has not one but two in-stores this Friday, one by Patty Griffin at 3pm and one by Trish Murphy at 5pm. That's a good day to shop at the 'loo, because they're giving 10% of their Friday profits to the Capital Area Food Bank... Other albums out now or due soon: Terry Allen's Smokin' the Dummy/Bloodlines double reissue (out now), Velvet Hammer's Storybook (out this week), Marcia Ball's Let Me Play With Your Poodle (due 6/24), and Jon Dee Graham's Escape From Monster Island (out July 1)... Radish, said to be perched for super stardom, have a new video in which one of the members is wearing a Fastball T-shirt, but Miles Zuniga says he isn't expecting to ride the coattails of fashion into fame. "The last time I saw someone famous wearing a friend's band T-shirt was Axl Rose with a Junkyard shirt, " he qips, "and look where they are now."
Nevertheless, Fastball is heading out soon for two weeks with Matthew Sweet, then joining Radish on a couple weeks of their tour, with Zuniga adding, "I hope they're famous by then"...

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

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More Dancing About Architecture
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