Goths, Goths, Goths
In the Red
Since July, business owners of Red River's 700-800 block have been holding informal meetings at the Red Eyed Fly to counterbalance, in the words of Beerland's Randall Stockton, "forces beyond us making decisions on how we do business." Tops on their agenda is getting Red River certified as an entertainment district à la Sixth Street and the Warehouse District, but other familiar issues have hardly disappeared. The Red Eyed Fly is still getting noise complaints from one of its residential neighbors, despite the fact that co-owner Heath MacIntosh says his club's patio is now sufficiently enclosed to count as an indoor venue. Air Quality Task Force member John Wickham of Elysium reports the latest wrinkle in the smoking-ban saga is a proposal to outlaw smoking in live music venues but not bars -- although there's nothing currently on the books distinguishing between the two. (Some sort of action should be forthcoming now that City Council is done with the budget.) In the meantime, the group, which includes Room 710, Bull McCabe's, and Headhunters, is close to securing nonprofit status from the IRS and has printed up Red River T-shirts that will be available at Wednesday's third installment of Red River Humpday, which as always features $1 beers and no cover from 6-10pm. "A free door and $1 beer really is not-for-profit," joked Headhunters' Steve Ricci.
The Universal Music Group's decision last week to lower the wholesale price of its CDs from $12 to $9 sounds like just the tonic needed to jump-start the moribund music industry, but some of the inevitable strings attached are causing raised eyebrows at local indie powerhouse Waterloo Records. Applauding Universal's move, saying, "We've been championing lower CD prices for a long time," Waterloo owner John Kunz says he's concerned because the money for the price cut will come out of the marketing budget for new and developing artists, a large part of independent stores like Waterloo's allure. "I fear a lot of really interesting artists at that midlevel will suffer," he says. Additionally, to be eligible for the new lower price, retailers must agree to devote one-third of their display space to Universal product, a figure roughly double what Waterloo does now. Kunz says he finds it ironic that, due to the demand for increased space, local and regional artists like Pat Green, Blue October, and the Polyphonic Spree might have found themselves squeezed out of the store were they not now signed to the label. Kunz has less than two weeks to decide whether to agree to the label's terms -- the parties are now in negotiations -- and says that he and other indies will have to deal with the fallout regardless of what happens. "It's got incredible implications," he says. "The record industry isn't exactly known for its altruism -- the ultimate winner here is going to be Universal."
Tallahassee, Fla., ambient-Goth outfit the Crüxshadows are as big as Britney overseas, and fairly popular in Austin, too -- all three stores "TCB" visited Tuesday afternoon were sold out of their records. Their music inspires such devotion, in fact, that at www.quizilla.com/users/phantomssiren/quizzes, you can answer questions like "How do you feel about other people?" and "What makes you angry or upset?" to find out which CXS album -- save the new Ethernaut, due Oct. 24 -- best suits your personality type.
... NIGHT CRAWLS IN (1993): "You're old-school Goth, a little raw perhaps, but still great fun."
TELEMETRY OF A FALLEN ANGEL (1997): "Like the Angel IV, you drift alone through this life but are privy to great secrets."
THE MYSTERY OF THE WHISPER (1999): "You are quiet and artistic, balancing your deep inner serenity with the stresses of reality."
ECHOES AND ARTIFACTS/INTERCONTINENTAL DRIFT (2000): "You are a mix of the popular and the obscure. Everyone wants to know you, just so they can tell their friends that they do."
WISHFIRE (2002): "Everyone loves you, and your popularity knows no bounds, but do they realize your true depths?"
Crüxshadows play Elysium with Tungsten Coil tonight (Thursday).
The Texicalli Grill was a riot of Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and cowboy boots Sunday afternoon as local movers and shakers gathered to pay tribute to Direct Events dean Tim O'Connor's more than 30 years in the biz. "I just wanted to say thanks," said organizer Lee Duffy, O'Connor's onetime assistant at the Austin Opry House. Duffy said O'Connor wasn't notified about the party until the last possible moment to ensure he wouldn't change his mind, but everyone else had ample time to fill up their scrapbook-page invitations. Turning up were Clifford and Susan Antone, Bob Livingston, Ray Benson and Wylie Hubbard, DE Vice-President Elizabeth Smith, KVUE's Olga Campos, the Chronicle's John Carrico, Austin City Limits Producer Terry Lickona, Z102's Chris Mosser and his pregnant wife Lesli, DE publicity crew Janet Griffis and Kevin Brelsford (with his even more pregnant spouse Alex), and former Firedog Bobby Earl Smith. O'Connor was his stoic self in the face of 30 years' worth of nostalgia, sanguinely suggesting the real reason for such a heavy turnout. "I see why my staff showed up -- the hamburgers," he said of the miniature sandwiches served up by Texicalli owner Danny Young and staff. "Anything for a free meal."
Parish the Thought
Among the myriad other things going on next weekend, the Mercury will officially cease to be, but in name only. The lantern-lit club above Jazz on Sixth Street will inaugurate its new name, the Parish, with a special unannounced appearance by an artist with especially strong ties to the new Louisiana-evoking moniker -- think car wheels, gravel roads, passionate kisses, that sort of thing. Jazz Director of Catering & Special Events Kerry Mosser says he's glad the Parish will now be able to establish its own identity, but he expects most everything to remain as it is at the popular venue. He'll continue to coordinate the booking with Philip Croley and Charles Attal, and hopes to "open it up" to more styles of music, which could mean more shows similar to the club's recent Distillers and Andrew W.K. dates. Taking a cue from Dallas' highly esteemed Curtain Club, Mosser hopes to keep the Parish's focus on local and regional bands as much as possible, provided said acts are an established draw. "We already have a good roster of local bands," he says, "but bands need to know this just isn't the place to start. The Flamingo Cantina, Red Eyed Fly, or Emo's might be better starting points."
It's that time of year again. No, not Austin City Limits time -- South by Southwest (www.sxsw.com) is now accepting submissions for its 2004 edition. Next year's Music Fest commences on St. Patrick's Day, boyos... The Austin Music Network (Time Warner Channel 15) airs the first part of Doug La Rue's three-part, 30-year-spanning scene history The Austin Groove tonight (Thursday) at 11pm and again Saturday at 10pm... The Texas Rollergirls are interested in any information about who's been tearing down their posters around town. Five-Way Action and the Rockland Eagles play the Rollergirls' semifinal bout Sunday, 6pm, at the Playland Skate Center... Congrats to local video artists Paul Beck and Jason Archer, who scored a Latin Grammy last week for a clip they directed for Mexico City rap-metaleers Molotov. Read more about their slightly pyromaniacal adventures in "Screens"... Sophie B. "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" Hawkins turned up at Parade's recent Saxon Pub show, and was the first to sign the local rockers' e-mail list... Richard Buckner must be more into noise-rock than anyone knew, because the band he's assembled for his ACL Festival appearance (and Emo's gig Wednesday) includes Jason Morales and Andrew Duplantis of Tia Carrera, and Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey... The hottest ticket in town the night before the ACL Festival won't be Steve Winwood at Stubb's -- it'll be the invitation-only ACL gala at the Convention Center with Dwight Yoakam. ACL's Maury Sullivan says festival artists Ben Harper and Los Lonely Boys will tape episodes of the long-running PBS program on Sept. 22 and 24, respectively, "and then we collapse." As will we all...