Fri., Dec. 12, 1997
Liberty Lunch, Saturday 13
This year didn't give the music world much that wasn't either a eulogy or catchy pop candy, which is why Spiritualized sticks out so blatantly. Their stunning Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (Deadicated/Arista) is a harrowing journey into a cavernous world shrouded in a narcotic haze -- where, instead of fading to black, the sounds grow brighter and more vivid. Somewhere between trance and rapture, this show might be your best chance to have a soul-cleansing, out-of-body experience without leaving the city limits -- or, if you so choose, without ingesting anything pharmaceutical (not that it wouldn't help). Acetone opens.
JONATHAN BUTLER, MAJOR BURKE
Antone's, Friday 12
Jonathan Butler found out early on that the blues' essential humanity was a potent antidote to the oppressive apartheid climate of his South African homeland. An accomplished guitarist, Bulter knows how music makes even such formidable barriers as institutionalized segregation seem insignificant, and has traveled the world singing songs about his people. Friday night brings him to Antone's, where he and Austin blues vet Major Burke collide for an evening of soul, hope, and pride.
FANCY FORTIES GALA
Victory Grill, Friday 12
Since V-J-Day, the Victory Grill has been the cornerstone of East 11th Street, a way station on the famous "chitlin circuit" and a beacon for jazz, blues, and African-American culture both homemade and imported -- an all-around historical landmark. Since the Texas Historical Commission recently acknowledged this, the club is throwing a "Fancy Forties" party (and fundraiser for the ongoing renovations) featuring a who's who of Austin jazz names swingin' the night away (for only $10) in the historic surroundings. And now it's official.
PW LONG'S REELFOOT
Emo's, Saturday 13
As part of Mule, P.W. Long grunted and scratched his way through three albums of creepy lo-fi swill that dug up rock & roll's primitive rural ancestors and violated their remains. It was beautiful. Now, joined by old buddy Dan Meister on bass and former Jesus Lizard drummer Mac MacNeilly, he's out pushing We Didn't See You on Sunday (Touch and Go), another trip into this Detroit destroyer's blues-addled mind. Locals Horseshit Gunfire and San Antone's Boxcar Satan round out the night with some down & dirty Texas-sized riffage, so scratch hard.
TITO & TARANTULA
Stubb's, Sunday 14
Like something crawling up your thigh, Tito & Tarantula are scary. Not Tarantino scary (like a bar band turning into vampires or anything), but scary in the sense that when Texpatriate-turned-L.A.-Cruzado Tito Larriva and his bar band lock down on their ass-kickin' blues groove, there's absolutely no escaping their embrace. Close your eyes, let the vampires drain your life, and smile. -- Raoul Hernandez
Electric Lounge, Sunday 14
Toiling in the hip-hop underground is about as thankless a job as there is, and Organized Konfusion can tell you all about it. Since coming together in late-Eighties Queens, Prince Po and Pharaohe Monch have dropped complex lyrical wordplay and screwdriver-tight beats over three albums (The Equinox, an exploration of hip-hop's yin and yang, is their latest), but it's always been someone else blowing up. It's their turn Sunday, and some sweet opening sets from the Headz, True'n'Livin, and Disgruntled Seeds make the evening's flow that much smoother.
Hole in the Wall, Tuesday 16
Brooks Brannon took a nasty sting a while back (as in TABC), but he's back where he belongs now as the Hole's prime afternoon drinkslinger. He'll be slingin' songs instead of drinks Tuesday night, when his Southern-fried cowboy duo Horse Wreck kicks off a bill-payin' benefit also featuring the talents of the Damnations, the Wannabes, Gourds, and Pocket FishRmen. Here's to ya, Brooks.
HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN
Continental Club, Wednesday 17
Fort Worth is famous for its speedway, stockyards, sportswriters, and a pretty damn cool Western art museum. Yet as the place where jazz met country and spawned Western swing, Panther City gets about as much respect as the Star-Telegram. This San Diego trio corrects the oversight, blending Bob Wills' smooth fiddle strokes with Django Reinhardt's jaunty Continental chords, proving once and for all at this happy-hour show (and several more over the next week or so) that Texas is big enough for Ernest Tubb and Ornette Coleman. For that, we have Cowtown to thank.
Friday: O'Jeez, Dave Pirner, Electric Lounge; Steve Forbert, Cactus Cafe [also Saturday]
Charlie and Bruce Robison, Continental Club
Saturday: Meat Purveyors, Fear & Whiskey, Ex-Husbands, Hole in the Wall
World Music Unplugged, Dougherty Arts Center
Sunday: Bikes Not Bombs Benefit, Flamingo Cantina
Pietasters, Amazing Royal Crowns, Emo's
Monday: Jon Blondell, Sullivan's Ringside
Tuesday: John Hiatt, Sherri Jackson, Liberty Lunch
Silver Scooter, Mittens, Pearly Gates, Stubb's
Wednesday: Jon Dee Graham, Kacy Crowley, Continental Club
KVRX Night, Bates Motel
Thursday: Dale Watson, La Zona Rosa