Dancing About Architecture

El Flaco No Mas?

Rumors abound concerning the future of local trio/Lone Wolf experiment El Flaco, with a couple of local club bookers saying they were surprised to have approached the band about shows only to be told of "final gigs." The band wouldn't confirm the story; when contacted, bassist/singer Rob Gray used the old, "Baby's crying, gotta go!" routine to get off the phone, then left a brief statement on the Dancing voicemail, stating, "All I can say is there's a major El Flaco announcement coming up in the next few weeks - and it's good news." Lone Wolf's Bob Small called from Los Angeles, where Pushmonkey are set to showcase at the Viper Room and the Dragonfly for Arista Records. He asked not to be quoted directly, but asserted that El Flaco is very much still together and assembling dates for this summer. Word on the street, however, has it that Gray is moving north to take a medical residency connected with his Ph.D. in psychology. As always, me and the rest of the big, mean Dancing bullpen wish nothing but the best for all local bands, but, hey, c'mon guys. Let the rest of the world in on the "good news," okay?

Noise Noise Noise

Last Thursday it was announced that the lawsuit brought by 10 Sixth Street clubs against the City of Austin last December over the city's noise ordinance had reached a settlement. The plaintiffs' attorney Jim Ewbank issued a press release detailing the results, which at first glance doesn't seem to have settled much
of anything. "The key is in the predictability," explains Ewbank, noting that it was the vagueness of the ordinance and the seemingly random enforcement thereof that led to the suit. It's that, stresses Ewbank, and not the essence of the law itself that caused most of the consternation on Sixth Street, where clubowners have long complained of not really knowing when they were in violation of the law. As far as who really "won" the case, Ewbank declined to speak on the record, but noted that two elements in the settlement, one declaring
that a warning must be given to a club before a ticket may be issued, and the other allowing a five decibel leeway in measurements of noise, were essential victories in clearing up confusion over enforcement. "Let's just say that the mediation process worked at its best," says Ewbank. "There was compromise on both sides."

"I haven't heard of anybody on our side of the table who isn't pleased with it," says Popular Entertainment/Bob Popular's Mark Shaeberg, who further points out that under the new agreement officers must get an average reading on their meter rather than give a citation based on "spikes" raised by a single cymbal crash. "The proof is still to be seen," says Angela Tharp, manager of the Flamingo Cantina, another of the clubs involved in the suit, expressing hope that the still-new settlement will result in the clarity of the law sought by the plaintiffs. The ever outspoken Danny Crooks of Sixth Street mainstay Steamboat, which was not involved in the suit, says he still doesn't understand what difference was made by the settlement, declaring, "It's the same as it ever was for me. I just don't know who I'm supposed to pay off. If you find out, tell them to call me."

Hold Your Water!

That's what Austin Aqua Festival officials have announced they will be doing with the annual, long in the red family fest, which will not appear this year or next and is scheduled to return in the year 2000 at its new location, Decker Lake. Local television and radio have reported on this, but without managing to answer any of the questions that this whole scenario brings up, so let me see if I can help clear some things up for you. First off, the reason you don't know where Decker Lake is might be because, as Commodore Susan Dorsey tells me, most people know it as Walter E. Long Lake. For me, at least, that's enough information to place it (correctly, it turns out) on the East Side, by the Exposition and Heritage Center. Second, why move the thing at all? Dorsey says that it's less a matter of noise regulations and high expenses at Auditorium Shores than the simple fact that Aqua Fest's lease there was set to expire in two years anyway, and the Aqua folk had leased undeveloped land at its proposed new location several years ago with the intention of moving out there all along. "We're just doing it a little sooner than we expected," says Dorsey. Finally, why not just go ahead and hold the Fest at the Shores for the next two years? Dorsey says that would be a no-win situation; if they lose money they can't pay their current debts, if they break even they can't pay their current debts, and if they make money the city will exercise its rights under their contract to begin taking a percentage and again, they won't be able to pay their current debts.
Expect to see fundrasing going on through 2000 towards paying those debts, and if Aqua Fest owes you money, you'd better do what you can to spread the word!

Mixed Notes

If you catch 81/2 Souvenirs on one of their many tour dates this year, you most likely won't see key player Glover Gill as part of the team. Gill has been phasing out of the touring part of the gig for awhile, both for personal reasons and to concentrate more on his tango band Tosca, says Continental Records' Jack Hazard. The piano wizard will continue to be involved with the band and their albums for RCA, says Hazard, and as far as who will tour with the band, that decision is still in the works...

There's been no shortage of interesting visitors to the Continental Club in the past month. Try kd lang at a Naughty Ones show, Ray Davies catching the Hollisters and Cowboys & Indians, and Jennifer Aniston, Robert Rodriguez, Sandra Bullock, and Thomas Haden Church all at the SIMS Foundation's Rolling Stones Hoot Night...

Rodriguez and Mike Judge showed up at Jimmie Vaughan's big shindig at the Speakeasy, as did Nile Rodgers, Epic Records' Harvey Leeds and ZZ Topper Billy Gibbons. One Chronicle staffer in attendance managed to split the event less than five minutes before his named was called as the winner of a Vaughan-signed Stratocaster, with the axe going instead to a Tower Records employee who can actually play the thing. Rumor has it that the former Doctors Mob member who won the life-size JLV cardboard stand-up is still trying to figure out what the heck to do with it...

Beaver Nelson has wrapped up recording his debut album for Freedom Records, which is set for an August release. The numerous guest stars on the disc include Gurf Morlix and Jules Shear, and it was produced by "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb...

Our favorite supergroup P is trying to get another show together, this time in France, where bassist Johnny Depp is already shooting a Roman Polanski movie. Back in Austin, as far as local gigs are concerned, guitarist Bill Carter says, "It's always a matter of trying to schedule everybody" and that can't possibly be easy, what with Depp's film career and repeated delays of frontman Gibby Haynes' new Butthole Surfers album. Carter says everyone in the band still is very interested in playing in Austin, though he can't even imagine anything happening before this fall, possibly at the Continental Club. Something tells me not to hold my breath...

Looks like Sixteen Deluxe have gotten things back on track, with a tour opening for the Jesus & Mary Chain just announced and more touring to come. The J&M tour starts this Saturday with a gig at the Showbox in Seattle and then heads to San Francisco and L.A., followed by the band returning to Austin for a gig at the beginning of July and then rejoining the Chain on July 13. More headlining dates in the Midwest will follow...

"I think it means a lot," says Kacy Crowley of her label Atlantic's decision to re-release her album for a second push, following changes to the planned single, "Rebellious." That push hits radio on August 17, with the single's release around that time, and that album may also contain acoustic bonus tracks that Crowley recently cut. Crowley and Houstonite/Austinite David Rice recently came through town on the Fringe tour, with an odd, somewhat hidden early free show at La Zona Rosa. "Kim Fox [who rounds out the tour] put this together," says Crowley, who along with a sleep-deprived Rice, was just fine with the show scheduling. "You get a certain amount of people who wouldn't come out at midnight"...

The Velvet Tones will play at the Carousel Lounge this Friday. Who's that? Why, it's Jay Clark with his band! The esteemed Mr. Clark has played there with full band before on occasion, but this time it's an event because he never lets anyone know in advance...

The Hole In the Wall is celebrating its silver anniversary with a week of wildness (check listings for complete details). Of special interest is Monday's free "official" birthday show featuring the Dung Beatles (no, that's not a polite version of the Shitty Beatles, it's the Diamond Smugglers turned Lennon/McCartney fans), and the return of the Interstate Leisure Kings...

And what's up with La Zona Rosa? People have been commenting on the change in the smaller room, where there's less a restaurant atmosphere than a club one now. Direct Events' Charlie Jones says the kitchen is still open on occasion - like Sunday brunches - and maintains that the venue's food status won't affect the musical side of things...

Say goodbye to another live music venue in the area. Big Dave's Dam Saloon out on 620 burned to the ground last week...

Thad Beckman's Carry Me Back CD is now out, and he'll have a release party at Waterloo Ice House on Sixth this Friday...

Bongo Hate have a new EP out, with a Friday release party at Electric Lounge featuring the Sleepwalkers and Drums and Tuba...

Stashus Mule Records has an in-store with the Bigamy Sisters (didn't they used to be on the Rutle Corps label?) and Sector 7G, along with a third power pop band to be announced, starting at 5:30pm this Saturday...

Waterloo Records is loaded with in-stores, including Bruce Robison this Friday, Storyville next Tuesday, and Mary Catherine Reynolds next Thursday, all commencing at 5pm...

The Horton Brothers also have a new CD out, entitled Roll Back the Rug...

Oops: Ian McLagan and band won't be opening a tour for Billy Bragg as reported here last week. They'll actually be Bragg's band. Also, Johnny Goudie called to point out that the official title of his band, which I didn't name last week, is Goudie. Don't push it, dude, or next time I'll refer to you as Ron Goudie by "mistake"...

Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer

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

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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