Dancing About Architecture
Keeping up with Lucinda, Britney, Thurston, Kim, and a bunch of sick people
Flaming Youth Asylum
Okay, so you're pissed you missed last Saturday's Flaming Lips show at UT. Well, luckily, there wasn't one, even though the band's Web site said there would be. Our spy at Warner Bros. Records says the gig had been on for a time but vanished somewhere along the way due to a lack of communication between the university and the band. Let's face it, having Soul Asylum play instead just wasn't quite the same thing. At least there's no miscommunication regarding Saturday's Sonic Youth show at Stubb's. After a gap of far too long, the noisemakers/Simpsons characters' triumphant return will hopefully live up to past glories such as those seen in this lovely photo. Perhaps the visit will also stir something up between the Youth and local soundtracker Michael Linnen and Seattle partner David Wingo. Linnen tells "Dancing" that he and Wingo began work this week on some music for a movie called Manic. The film, directed by Jordan Melamed, stars Don Cheadle of Traffic and Boogie Nights fame, plus Joseph Gordon-Levitt from recently shitcanned 3rd Rock From the Sun. So what does that have to do with Sonic Youth? Well, the story goes that ex-Smashing Pumpkins man Billy Corgan was originally slated for the gig, and both the locals and Thurston Moore, who Linnen relates "saw the movie and liked it," were in and out of a job as Corgan made up his mind whether or not to do it. The director approached Wingo and Linnen about contributing some music for his movie after he saw George Washington, the last flick they did the trick for. "As far as I know right now," says Linnen, "Thurston Moore will not be contributing anything musically to the movie." Perhaps this local appearance will convince him to change his tune. So to speak.
Please Don't Eat the Daisies
The No. 1 priority in town continues to be getting out of the house and enjoying the weather before it gets unbearably hot. With that in mind, the Austin Federation of Musicians began its 25th season of the Free Summer Concert Series this week, with shows every Wednesday night from 6:45-9:45pm at Waterloo Park. Next Wednesday has the Hugh Fadal Band, Billy Young Band, and BB Morse Band filling out the band, er, bill, with everyone from Roy Heinrich to Ro-tel and the Hot Tomatoes set for upcoming weeks in May and June. Meanwhile, Noah Ark has found a new home for this Saturday's Electric Daisy Carnival at Pearce Meadows, basically just past Bergstrom Airport on the right. Ark says the rave's original site was just looking too small, but he's satisfied with the new one (he'd better be -- he's out there pouring roads on the property, for chrissake!). Ark also promises it won't be all "sit and spin," with several of the top acts, including Mos Def, Green Velvet, and Rabbit in the Moon having full stage acts. (The stage, being imported from London, is the same one used at the 101X Fests.) It's not exactly outdoors, but Sunday brings the Mother Earth Festival to La Zona Rosa, benefiting Habitat for Humanity, with music from 4pm to midnight featuring MC Overlord, Patrice Pike and the Black Box Rebellion, Soul Hat with Ian Moore, Panic Choir, 7 Stones, and former Breedlover Dan Dyer. Will you be in shape for that after the Raul's Reunion the night before at the Hole in the Wall? See Music Listings for details on that gig, which will feature the post-Dicks sounds of the Punkaroos, the way post-Lester Bangs sounds of the Delinquents, and a guaranteed maximum of no more than one Big Boy.
The good news out of the Seventh Annual Louisiana Swamp Romp and Crawfish Festival is that no Mardi Gras-style rioting marred the event, and underage drinking wasn't a problem either, now that Jenna Bush has presumably been grounded for life. The bad news is that zydeco legend Boozoo Chavis had an attack of congestive heart failure and couldn't play his scheduled Sunday set (alligator-on-a-stick will get you sooner or later). The news from the office of organizer French Smith -- not to be confused with Frenchie Smith of Young Heart Attack -- was that on Sunday, Chavis was already "conscious and fighting with the doctors" and expected to recover fully. Chavis' malady is all the more notable since the late Beau Jocque himself had a cardiac episode at the first Swamp Romp. That would certainly further Austin's rather bad track record with Cajun/zydeco musicians -- stretching back to legendary fiddler Harry Choates dying in the Travis County jail (some say he was beaten by Austin police) in 1951 after his arrest prior to a scheduled Dessau Hall gig. Reaching even further, Doug Sahm died of congestive heart failure -- could it be linked to having a longtime manager known as the Crazy Cajun? Speaking of Huey "Pops" Meaux (who really should drop that nickname now), the Crazy Cajun's liaison says the producer-cum-inmate has a new address, though it's still in Huntsville. Marilyn Von Steiger says the ailing, aging music legend's health "is still not the best, but he is getting treatments now for recurring bladder tumors" and that hopefully, unlike the summer before last, his new cell block will not regularly reach temperatures of 104 degrees. Meaux's next chance for parole is in September. Also on our "get well" list: Sarah Dashew of the Ginger & Sarah Band, almost fully recovered after falling ill on tour last summer in Europe. That's nearly 10 months of battling bizarre viruses, including Mycoplasma pneumonia -- to give you an idea of how rare that is in humans, I just had two rats die from it, and we rat owners don't even blink twice about catching it from our pets because the odds are so infinitesimal. Dashew should be back on the scene within a couple of months; meanwhile, Ginger Leigh and the rest of the band have been carrying on here and in Europe since January, and will next perform Saturday at Mother of Pearl's.
From brother/sister team Margaret and Stephen Moser come these tidbits on some old-guard big guns. First, a handful of advances of Lucinda Williams' new Essence (due June 5 for civilians) have hit town, prompting much ooohing and aaahing and more than a few late-night phone calls asking, "Is this as good as it sounds?" The answer, sayeth Margaret, is "an unqualified, wreck-your-heart yes." Williams rolled into town a few days before her Monday Antone's gig to hang with friends and rejuvenate at Güero's, catching Angela Strehli, Jimmie Vaughan, and James Cotton Friday night at Antone's. When club manager Brad First strolled by Williams and Strehli chatting with Mandy Mercier at an upstairs table, he declared, "I love my job!" Williams, herself riding the love train, dedicated the new "Out of Touch" to Miss Margaret at Monday's show.
No less a reunion of sorts was Kim Wilson's appearance a week before at Gruene Hall with his band the Fabulous Thunderbirds. There, Wilson met up with former T-Bird Preston Hubbard for the first time since the bassist's departure from the band six years ago. Jimmie Vaughan hired Hubbard to play a private gig a few nights before. "With all due respect to Wilson and the fine musicians in the current T-Birds," Moser says, "this band is about 25 years old and due for a solid reunion with the classic Vaughan-Wilson-Hubbard-Fran Christina lineup. These were the boys, after all, who subverted MTV's Noo Wave agenda with a dose of Texas blues-rock in 1986 with the multiplatinum Tuff Enuff and opened the door for SRV & Double Trouble." Furthermore, though Vaughan's upcoming album contains a duet with Lou Ann Barton she says shuts down "In the Middle of the Night," Margaret believes "his recent gigs with James Cotton and company indicate he is doing what he likes best: playing as part of a band. Now that everyone's kissed and made up, how about that reunion, boys?"
(A side note: Vaughan, Barton, and Hubbard were spotted standing outside of Kenichi after playing the opening party. Vaughan's manager came up, announcing "Hey, you guys! Hang around! Dennis Quaid is on his way down!" With nightmarish visions of jamming, Vaughan announced "I'm outta here!" Barton reportedly chimed in "I'm with you," and Hubbard quickly added, "Wait for me!" And they were gone.)
Don't Fence Britney In
Click on www.farts.com/oops.htm (currently making the e-mail rounds thanks to legendary rock critic Dave Marsh) to properly accompany the following item. Former Hey Zeus bassist-turned-Hollywood producer Rob Thomas (no, not the "Smooth" one) says that his new neighbor Britney Spears (yes, the Louisianan who's also a huge Stubb's sauce-by-mail customer) moved in next door while he was in San Francisco shooting the ABC pilot Metropolis. (He calls it "a remake of a British twentysomething soap, but edgy and misanthropic" -- I think he means it's like All in the Family.) Thomas tells me he has yet to see Ms. Spears in the flesh, but assures me that "I have pretty good relationships with the armed security guards posted at the bottom of the driveway we share." On the day Thomas found out the pop "diva" (snort) had moved in, he posed a wager with fellow ex-Zeuser Greg McCormack over how long it would take Spears to replace the chain-link fence between them. "Eight days was the correct answer," Thomas reports. An eight-foot, spiked wrought iron fence went up a few days ago. "Of course," he confesses, "I may have hurried up the process with my nude sunbathing."
Scratch another promising band. On the heels of a SXSW gig and last year's Four Letters album, the Search for Saturnalia has decided to call it quits, citing just one of the usual clichés, "time to move on and do new things." Drummer Chris Boehk can be seen playing bass in the similarly electrified We Talked About Murder Through the 90s: Singles and Unreleased is the new collection from the American Analog Set, due out from Emperor Jones on May 22 Punchy has a CD release party at Waterloo Records today (Thursday) at 6pm, before heading off on tour in May and June with Dickie Betts and Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam (They still do those?!?) MTV.com reports prog-rock saviors Radiohead will kick off a U.S. shed tour June 18 outside Houston In further Britexas news, Austin's own Ian McLagan just took part of one of the coolest impromptu supergroups in recent memory. On April 20, he played a set at the Steve Marriott tribute at London's Astoria Theatre alongside Paul Weller, Oasis' Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer, and former Face and Who man Kenney Jones. The assembled group did a set of about six Small Faces songs and a Humble Pie number. And on top of it all, no Peter Framptons were harmed in the making of the concert "What's a little more disappointment in the world?" asks Randall Stockton, whose club Beerland won't be open this week due to last-minute haggling with the city over his fire exit. This continuing saga may force this column back to its editorial stance of "It ain't open till vacationing Music Editor Raoul Hernandez has had a joint, er, beer there "
-- Contributors: Names Withheld by Request