Dancing About Architecture
Our resident Marshmallow Peep relates the news and hearsay in and around the Live Music Capital...
Dick Hays was hardly known as the type to put a damper on the party, but the Hickoids bassist did just that by dying last Thursday (see bandmate Davy Jones' obit), the same day that other bickering members of that classic Austin "cow-punk" band decided to lay down arms and agree to an appearance at the first new Woodshock music festival in a decade. If memory serves, the Hickoids brought the sun up on every one of the more-or-less annual Eighties punk rock fests, and that's only one tiny reason why the jolly, jaunty Hays will be missed. The 21st-century Woodshock will go on, however, as will the Hickoids' appearance, though both will be in a less frenzied manner than their previous incarnations. Rather than taking place out east of 183 on a rattlesnake-infested ranch, this Woodshock will happen in the city proper, at Waterloo Park (where ya gots ta shut down at 10pm!) on the weekend of June 2-3, starting at noon both days. Bands confirmed so far include Violet Crown, Punkaroos, Spot, Barbara K., Bellrays, Ex-Husbands, Billy Joe Winghead, Where the Action Is, Monsieur Jefferey Evans & the C.C. Riders, and Stevie Tombstone, with many others yet to be announced. Former Dicks singer Gary Floyd will be bringing his band Black Kali Ma out from the Bay Area, and other cool non-local acts will no doubt want to join in the fray as the word gets out about Woodshock's return, so organizer Jeff Smith says he's "leavin' a few spots open to see who comes fishin'."
Jah Don't Say?
Among the many musical fêtes in the next weeks and months, the upcoming one that's raising the most questions is the Bob Marley Festival. Like, when is it? Well, the proper answer to that would be that the "official" Bob Marley Festival is in San Antonio this weekend, April 7-8, at the Sunken Gardens, and in Austin on October 6-7. That's right, October. See, the Bob Marley Festival, if you're not aware, is actually a tour (see www.bobmarley-festival.com) that picks up local acts in each city where it touches down. Among the acts this year are a musical tribute to Marley performed by Dee Dread & the Zion Knights and a tribute to Osibisa by Dr. King Cobra. Since that won't happen till October, however, local Pat Costigan is putting on his own, springtime Bob Marley Festival here in Austin, April 21-22 (see www.austinmarleyfest.com/). Costigan's version sports its own talent pool, including River City talent like the Urban Roots, Root 1, D.R.U.M., One Destiny, Tribal Nation, and Malcolm Welbourne's Texodus, performing the entirety of BM's Exodus album. Marley Fest founder Sirron Kyles says he regrets that there are just too many dates already in April for the official Austin tour appearance in the spring, but he's perfectly happy to have Costigan and company do their thing, saying the spin-off fest brings in their share of donations to the charities the Tour supports. This year's admission policy for the S.A. and other official shows is as follows: a $5 presale "donation" or a $10 donation on day of show, which will be waived if you bring $8 worth of nonperishable food items before 4pm. For the Austin Marley Fest in two weeks, admission is free if you bring two nonperishable food items.
Speaking of festivals, don't forget this weekend, April 6-8, is the big Old Settlers Fest in Dripping Springs (another former home to Woodshock!), featuring the Charlie Daniels Band, John Hartford & the Hartford String Band, Peter Rowan's Texas Trio, Tim O'Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Rod Moag, Nickel Creek, Terri Hendrix Band, Peter Keane Trio, Flounders Without Eyes, Blueground Undergrass, and many more, with info at www.bluegrassfestival.com. If that's not your cup of rotgut, you might just settle in for the "Unsettled Turds Fest," more politely being referred to as the Grass Roots Fest, this weekend at Room 710, with acts on Friday and Saturday including the Danged, High Horse, Bluegrass Drive-By, Gravy Boat, and that teaming of members of Sinis, Free Range Bastards, Skatenigs, and the Ian Moore Band known as the Bearded Clamdiggers.
Finally, a bit more about the upcoming "post-Airport Rave." Local promoter Noah Ark continues his obsession with bigger, bigger, bigger, and this time out, he's linked up with California's Insomniac Events to bring their mega-rave Electric Daisy Carnival to Texas. On May 5, Ark's bringing the EDC to the Thunderhill Raceway, which is near the old Aquarena Springs amusement park around San Marcos. It may not be the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater I reported on here last week, but the racetrack boasts a huge main stage, tents, and carnival rides, plus five different areas to groove on music from DJs, electronica, and hip-hop acts including Rabbit in the Moon, Roni Size, Mos Def, Green Velvet, and King Britt alongside Austin's own finest disc-spinners. Oh, one correction to last week's amphitheater talk: Amid all the corporate who-bought-whom stuff, I erroneously reported that SFX owns House of Blues. That's incorrect, though I'm still trying to figure out why competing companies would be giving out information about each other in their press releases.
Then again, mergers are the name of the game these days. Now that MJ Mendel has left her Direct Events post of managing La Zona Rosa and moved on to greener pastures in Dallas at NextStage, booking/management for the room is now in the hands of Direct Events' Scot Beeman -- with a helping hand from Direct Competitor Charles Attal! Direct Events' Kevin Brelsford says that Attal, who is a part-owner of Stubb's as well as its booker, has been working jointly with his competing promoters on such shows as the Toadies, OutKast, and the upcoming String Cheese Incident dates (April 12-14) at the Backyard. Further joint ventures will be decided on a "case for case" basis, says Brelsford, and while Direct Events downplays the teaming, Attal himself says flat-out that, "Scot and I are booking the room together," though others including SFX are putting on shows at La Zona as well. Attal's also doing bookings in Dallas at places like Trees and the Gypsy Tea Room, and of course at his day job, Stubb's. Currently, he's got 40 shows booked through the end of May, including a special two-day setup with Willie Nelson for Stubb's fifth anniversary May 16-17. Attal says he's not really concerned with any perceptions people might have of conflict of interest. Why should anybody complain about the team-up, he asks, when "we can put bands where they should be playing instead of putting a band at Stubb's when it makes no sense to."
As evidenced by a letter we ran last week, people are pleasantly surprised by live music at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. Sixteen acts will perform there in April, and next Wednesday's performance is a rather special one: the "Ramos Brothers Unplugged." That's Ruben Ramos plus his four brothers, Alphonso, Elijio, Joe, and Roy, plus the Ramos sister, Inez, all of whom will grace the stage from 4-6pm for the first time together in more than 20 years. Rumor has it that Elijio, the Dallas-based Ramos, will be flying in just for this gig (luckily, it's close to the airport). For the full schedule check www.abia.org or the club listings in the Chronicle Don't look for At the Drive-In at Emo's or anywhere else for a while. The band's previously announced April 11-23 U.S. dates have been canceled as the band has "gone on hiatus for an as yet undetermined period," according to a press release that quotes guitarist Omar Rodriguez as saying the band needs time to "rest up and re-evaluate, just to be human beings again and to decide when we feel like playing music again." Looks like the first deal to come out of South by Southwest 2001 is the signing of Okkervil River to Jagjaguwar Records, home of Monroe Mustang and the Jad Fair & Daniel Johnston team. The label will be putting out the River's full-length national debut -- recorded last fall by Brian Beattie and featuring guest performances by Johnston, Ethan Azarian, Alice Spencer, and Gary Newcomb from Li'l Cap'n Travis -- before long If you enjoyed Dennis Quaid and his band at Antone's a couple of weeks ago (or are planning to Sunday and Monday), you'll no doubt be glad to know he's followed in Russell Crowe's footsteps and done some recording at Pedernales Studios recently. Unfortunately, it wasn't with his band the Sharks; the actor was just adding vocals to a version of the chestnut "I'm in the Mood for Love" for the closing credits of his upcoming HBO movie, Dinner With Friends. The Arlyn/Pedernales folks tell me they've suggested he bring the band in, so we'll see. So far, Quaid and company are rating at or near the top of everybody's "Hollywood star with musical act" meter, since he's not trying to be any serious singer-songwriter, and rather just gets onstage and rocks out to the sort of music you'd think he might. He even ends his sets with the appropriate Jerry Lee Lewis classic "Great Balls of Fire," since he of course played Lewis in the movie of the same name. Still, thank God he hasn't further applied that logic in honor of a certain Texas-based film he also starred in and worked up a cover of Fort Worth hard rockers Bloodrock's 1970 hit "D.O.A."
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer