Dancing About Architecture
Dynamite Hack goes prime-time; Atomic Cafe hangs in there; the Old Settler's Music Festival is upon us.
Straight Outta Austin
Viewers of the USA Network (don't look at me -- I programmed them out of my VCR when they canceled Duckman) may have noticed the familiar faces of Austin's Dynamite Hack on the prime-time show Farm Club. Actually, it comes on at 10pm Monday nights after wrestling, but for USA that's as prime a time as you're gonna get. The Hack, currently riding high via their white-bread take on "Boyz-N-The-Hood," were seen on the show last week, which coincidentally enough also featured a highly anticipated N.W.A. reunion. The Hacks' stint on the show will continue for a total of 10 segments following their existence from obscurity to near-obscurity and hopefully beyond. Farm Club the show, which is connected with the Internet record label of the same name, plans to emphasize the band and their original music rather than letting them get saddled with the potential one-hit status their popular cover tune (No. 1 in several radio markets nationwide while still not officially released as a single) could bring. There's a video shoot for "Boyz" coming soon, and to dispel any notion that the band's version is disrespectful of the original, plans call for Dr. Dre (the Chronic one, not the MTV "Curly Joe DeRita" version) to make an appearance in the clip. Manager George Couri says that he expects the guest spot to be brief; "like, he'll drive by and flip us off or something." MTV will also be on hand at the shoot, but there are currently no plans for it to be used as fodder for their Making the Video series.
Splitting the Atom
Things haven't been running all that smoothly at the Atomic Cafe these days, what with the untimely death of owner Randall Goodwin last November (see tribute at http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/1999-11-25/music2.html), and I didn't help things a couple of weeks ago by accidentally referring to the club as "Atomic City." (Obviously, it's time for me to break down and treat my feet to some hipster clodhoppers at Prince's actual Atomic City toy and shoe shop at 17th and San Antonio, just to make sure I can keep the two names apart from now on.) I'm sure last week's brain fart that allowed me to associate "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" with Frank Sinatra was met with equal derision by the Cafe's Wednesday "Martini Night" crowd of Tony Bennett aficionados, but enough about me. Randall's mother, Beth Goodwin, who is devoted to her late son and his club, says that a "moratorium" on booking bands due to troubles with the venue's sound system is ending as those problems are being taken care of, and among other acts, Cafe visitors can look forward to Terminal 46 and Lucid Dementia on Fetish Night on the 18th, while DJ Ricky D. of Arizona (where the previous Atomic Cafe was located) will be seen and heard at the club while regular spinner Lenny James takes on the vacation adventure of walking across Spain. Regarding more controversial matters, Beth says that the suspicious circumstances regarding the death of her son are "still under investigation," and while she doesn't want to threaten said investigation by revealing too much, she adds that she believes the case is "awfully close" to being closed. As far as the incident related here two weeks ago, regarding an alleged altercation between a customer and Atomic Cafe security, Beth reports that no charges have been filed, either by or against the club. Hopefully, things will remain peaceful at the club, as well as all along the increasingly popular Red River entertainment district, as nearby Sixth Street becomes increasingly devoid of anything but faceless shot bars.
The sun is out, and so are you! Or at least you know you've been thinking about getting out more. Hell, usually as soon as SXSW is over, I have to fill half the column with directions to all the outdoor music festivals that start popping up this time of year. You can definitely expect that info to start filling up more and more of each week's "Dancing," but for this week, I'll just point out that the Old Settler's Music Festival (see "In Full Bloom" on p. 70) is this Friday through Sunday at its new location at the Stone Mountain Event Center in Dripping Springs -- where you can choose from four stages' worth of bluegrass, blues, children's, Christian, folk, and jazz music, with performers including Bela Fleck, Leftover Salmon, and a passel of locals (not to mention the fiddling contest!). Quickly, I should also note that this year's Austin Bob Marley Festival at Auditorium Shores is next weekend (April 15-16) and that tickets for the Antone's Blues Fest (May 13, Waterloo Park, w/Susan Tedeschi, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, and more) go on sale Saturday at 10am for $25. Oh, and Eeyore's Birthday Party will, as always, be the last Saturday in April in Pease Park, but don't worry, I'll remind you again later just to make sure you don't forget it and get bummed out. If you're itching to snag a look at all of April's big bashes across the state this very minute, dive into your computer and hit http://www.governor.state.tx.us/music/tmec_april.htm.
Last week I finally got up enough confidence to try and spell the name of recently founded Austin label Paintcan Chandelierier, and I can only guess whether or not I had it right since it was mysteriously excised from the column. The rest of the information about the Prima Donnas' single coming out on the label remained, however, prompting a flood of e-mails reminding me of other projects from the upstart young company. Among them: Jason Reece of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (who are currently touring in Europe playing dates at Mogwai's All Tomorrow's Parties festival and doing a John Peel session) has a 7" out on Paintcan Chandelierier with his band A Roman Scandal, as do the Noble Gases, with upcoming projects from Modest Mouse and the Crack Pipes on the way (the last of which have a release party April 14 at Thirty Three Degrees). While Reece is on the road, the other members of A Roman Scandal are working on remixes of Saddle Creek Records' the Faint, and Two Ohm Hop's Sub Oslo. "The most remarkable thing about this up-and-coming label," recounts an e-mail correspondent, "is that it is run by underage female entrepreneur Ellicot Pacheco." Yet another sign that there is a younger generation of "real" Austinites out there battling to save the city from the horrid generic feel that seems to be permeating it more every day. (Another good sign was the big turnout of youthful weirdos at the vaguely Subgenius-related juggling fest at Hank's Roadside Cafe last weekend -- though more and more, I think, today's kids are finding common ground not in music or fashion, but in their love of playing with fire!) By the way, if the B-side of the Crack Pipes' single, "Hustler's Blues," sounds familiar, you may have heard it on the Rock Opera soundtrack... Speaking of local music-oriented cinema, filmmaker Brian Watkins is currently trying to counter the confusion that inevitably comes when the public gets a look at a work in progress. His Steamboat documentary ran in preview form during SXSW, when only the music portions were finished, prompting audiences to find the film somewhat thin plotwise. The historical and interview portions of the film, which are the heart of it, are currently in the editing stage, and Watkins says that the completed film will likely be ready for a premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse sometime this summer. For those who have as yet not even gotten a taste of the film, which features the shows during Steamboat's final days, including most of the defunct Sixth Street club's most-beloved bands (apart from Ian Moore and Johnny Goudie, who couldn't make it for various reasons), a teaser can be found by popping Sister 7's Wrestling Over Tiny Matters (release party this Friday at Stubb's; see "Music Listings") into a home computer. Watkins says that the Sister's label isn't the only one that's found his live concert footage interesting enough to consider licensing, either, so expect to see and hear more bits of the film before and after its release. Oh, the producers of the comedy/punk rock/action feature Rowdy Roundup are currently in the process of deciding what music will go into the in-progress film (I expect there to be a spate of Pocket FishRmen reunions as soon as the film is released), and if you haven't seen last year's controversial local short music film The Collegians Are Go!, it's now on the Web at http://www.ifilm.com/films.taf?film_id=91448. And don't expect the trend of local musicians and filmmakers getting together to peter out any time soon -- I believe it was Chronicle contributor Michael Bertin who was recently heard to quip that considering the plethora of video cameras seen around last month's South by Southwest Conference, you can expect the 2001 SXSW Film Festival to consist of 1,000 films about SXSW 2000... Look for Doyle Bramhall II onstage with Roger Waters still, when the former Pink Floyd madcap No. 2 brings his In the Flesh tour through Texas in June (6/10 Houston; 6/11 Dallas; 6/13 San Antonio). Tix for the S.A. show go on sale Saturday... On another touring-with-the-big-boys front, after checking the Web and finding he hadn't been prominently featured in "Dancing" for two whole weeks, Ray Benson e-mailed me to say "I'm still on the road with Dylan [and] if ya need to know I've been havin' a ball with Charlie Sexton and my old bass player Tony Garnier of Dylan's band! I have jammed with them and Dylan onstage a few times." After a bit more jealousy-inducing prose, the Asleep At the Wheel driver adds that he will be in town for a Meals on Wheels benefit Sunday honoring Ann Richards, then back with Dylan for a week and then off to Europe after a week at home! "If I ain't busy," he explains, "I'm probably dead!"... Solid Gold 40 sends their best wishes from the road as well, saying of their recent swing through Las Vegas: "God damn fuckin' A! We played two shows that night. Once at a coffee bar where we overcome adversity and shitty equipment to have a good show. Later we played on the strip at the Thunderbird Lounge. We rocked out and the security guard actually had to pull a drunk slut off the stage. It was pretty fucking special. Later the owner of the club took us out for 77-cent breakfasts and Red Bull/vodka drinks." Wow -- and I thought only the Red Eyed Fly served those (and they should've taken my advice to patent them under the name "Red Eyed Cow-Flies" or some such). The 40s are back in town now, with their next gig at the Hole in the Wall Friday night... The Music Commission votes are in, with Kevin Connor the new chair, Charlie Jones vice-chair, Larry Cordle secretary and, Penelope Davies parliamentarian. There is no treasurer, says Connor, "because we have no money." (The unpaid positions merely involve suggesting how the City Council should spend the money they have on music-related manners.) Connor reluctantly took the job, he says, on the condition that the other members begin taking seriously their responsibilities to show up for meetings, adding that his first order of business will be to set up a televised town meeting, hopefully on the Austin Music Network in early May... First Rolling Stone spotlights the Hole in the Wall for their Spring Break issue, and now I hear the May Playboy has named the Continental Club one of the best bars in America. Congrats... The lastest round of major-label record company downsizing came in the form of massive cutbacks at Asylum Records, but fortunately, their roster has so far stayed intact, including Monte Warden. Warden will be popping in on the remaining Asylum staff in their new offices at the Warners building next week, as he'll be flying out to observe Travis Tritt recording his song "I Wish I Was Wrong." Warden says it's the first time a singer has invited him as a songwriter to such a session, and when asked if he expected to throw in any suggestions, the fully horrified Monte replied "For God's sake, it's Travis Tritt! I would think he knows what he's doing!"... Promotional item of the week: Several packages of the new "Blue Note Blend" from Starbucks/Capitol showed me that it's not just record companies merging with each other that's the problem with the industry today. I for one can't picture Sarah Vaughan contentedly sipping a cup of java amidst a group of mallrats, but at least I'm hoping that local Mojo's, who've already paraphrased the old SST Records slogan into their own "Corporate Coffee Sucks!" ads, will perhaps start up their own line of indie-rock coffees. My suggestions for tie-ins would include the Titz ("Milk included!"), Spoon ("Stir it up!"), Ritalin Kids ("Calm down, young 'uns!"), and the Flaming Lips ("Yowch! Call my lawyer!")...
-- Unindicted Co-Conspirators: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser