The Austin Chronicle


By Christopher Gray, January 23, 2004, Music

Band Aid

Get ready to hear a lot more from the SIMS Foundation in coming months. The local musician-support nonprofit is launching its "I'm With the Band" campaign, which outreach coordinator Paul Minor likens to a public-radio membership drive. "We're trying to get the message out to people that we're here for them," he explains. The foundation, now headed by new executive director Mary Louise Lopez, is cooking up several profile-raising events, starting with a Grammy viewing party/fundraiser Feb. 9 at the Y Bar & Grill in Oak Hill, featuring a raffle and blues by the Matt Hubbard Band. During SXSW, look for SIMS bumper stickers in the registration swag bags and merchandise stands both at the convention center and strategic locations around the city. Getting with the band is simple: A $20 donation scores a snazzy new T-shirt or tank top printed by Austin's own Billy Bishop; larger offerings bring further rewards like the must-own A Day in the Life CD. Minor says SIMS also plans to step up its partnerships with local businesses and points to Ego's weekly punk rock barbecues as an example of the foundation's new approach to filling its coffers. Conventional benefits, he says, are largely a thing of the past: "We're not gonna have bands play for free anymore."

Alejandro Update

Though he's not up to talking to the media, Alejandro Escovedo is "in good spirits" and a little less than halfway through his yearlong treatment schedule for hepatitis C, relays business manager Heinz Geissler. "Overall, he's doing good," says Geissler. "He's in the middle of his treatment right now, so there's not much change." To help defray medical expenses, Geissler has enlisted an impressive array of talent, including John Cale, Billy Corgan, Whiskeytown, the Jayhawks, the Flatlanders, Calexico, and Los Lonely Boys, for the 2-CD Por Vida tribute, scheduled for April on Or Music.

Hip-Hop Hole

Once it was the Texas Mavericks, Timbuk 3, and the Swishbucklers, but now the Hole in the Wall is home to the hottest hip-hop night in town. House MC Tee Double relates that the Drag landmark's Wednesday nights, organized by Rudy Eccles, have him feeling a familiar vibe. "It's kinda like Hip Hop Humpday again," he muses. Moreover, in a little over a month, the crowd has gone from typical Wednesday-night doldrums to what Tee-Dub terms "shoulder to shoulder." Like Humpday, Hole-Hop has a live band and DJ going toe to toe while Double and guest MCs like Bavu Blakes, Mirage, and Traygod Shekhem bring the knowledge. It's actually divided very neatly: DJ at 10pm; band & MCs at 11pm; break; second set; and an open stage at 1am, where anybody can walk in off the street and test their skills. Now, he wouldn't be Tee Double if he weren't doing umpteen other things: readying new album Lone Star, starting a label with funk party producers Mumbo Jumbo, and production work for Blakes' and Mirage's new discs. "If I'm sitting still and doing nothing, I must be sick," he reckons. He's not alone, either, predicting an imminent "explosion" of ATX hip-hop releases.

Seeing Red ... and Green

You can still see Brackenridge Hospital from the corner of Fourth & Red River, but not the state Capitol. The massive Hilton megalith is now open for business, with $99 weekend specials, all set to get those auslanders' ducats flowing into local pockets -- sort of. Though the bar seems destined to challenge the Four Seasons' as the SXSW gossip mothership, the rest of the year, boat shows and bridal fairs probably won't add up to bigger crowds at locally geared clubs like Beerland or the Red Eyed Fly. What they do add up to is property values that are about to shoot up like a bottle rocket on New Year's Eve, which Emo's owner Frank Hendrix thinks could eventually force nearby small-business owners to relocate. "The smartest thing I ever did was buy this club," he figures. A close second was booking burlesque troupe the Suicide Girls, who packed Emo's last weekend: "Now the bathroom in my office is covered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream." Up the street, Room 710's Woody Wiedeman figures his place is safe enough for the time being. "I don't see how our property value can go up much -- you've seen what I have to deal with on a daily basis," he says. "I think the homeless Hilton [new men's shelter at Seventh & Neches] will have a bigger impact."

SXSW Sprinkles

SXSW novices take heed: A proven hassle-free strategy is singling out one record label and planting yourself at their showcase. This year's options include SXSW warhorses Sub Pop, Touch & Go, Bloodshot, Matador, and New West, as well as Rhymesayers (run by the Atmosphere folks), Definitive Jux, Yep Roc, Mimicry, Relapse, and locals Super Secret, Mortville, and Perverted Son. Then there's the "Rock Against Bush" night sponsored by with David Cross and NOFX. During the day, Joan Baez will sit for an interview with Tracks Editor Alan Light, joining Ani DiFranco with Newsweek's Lorraine Ali, and Wayne Coyne with occasional hockey scribe Jason Cohen. Also confirmed for panels are Billboard's Chris Morris, All You Need to Know About the Music Business author Donald Passman, and Late Night With Conan O'Brien booker Jim Pitt. New venues this year include Agave, Bigsby's, Caribbean Lights, Coyote Ugly, Saké on Sixth, and Exodus, all on Sixth Street, and the former Electric Lounge, Tambaleo. Meanwhile, the search continues for a new keynote speaker after L.A. Reid dropped out upon his dismissal as president of Arista Records.

Tip of the Iceberg, Part 2

Selected names added to SXSW last week:

Danny Barnes, B-52's, Andrew Bird, the Briefs, British Sea Power, Cex, the Cooper Temple Clause, Cracker, the Deadly Snakes, Electric Eel Shock, the Hackensaw Boys, High on Fire, Junior Senior, Kaito UK, Kinski, Jon Langford, Lubricated Goat (new best-name front-runner), the Modey Lemon, N.E.R.D., Pedro the Lion, Phantom Planet, Liz Phair, Pretty Girls Make Graves, the Secret Machines, Singapore Sling, the Sounds, the Thrills, Glenn Tilbrook, Trailer Bride, Trash Can Sinatras, Unsane.

Complete list at Next week: the locals.

Copyright © 2024 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.