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Stupid Drummer Tricks

If you're a musician playing a club in less than a week, it's not a great idea to rob the place. That's exactly what happened last month when the drummer from a local indie rock band decided to help himself to the contents of the Mohawk's cash register. "I think he's dealing with some issues that require him to steal money at the drop of a hat," speculates owner James Moody. "He reaches over the bar, hits 'No Sale,' reaches in there, grabs a handful of cash, and takes off like Beverly Hills Cop." The bar manager and doorman gave chase and caught up with the thief near the I-35 access road, where he threw the estimated $50 back at them. "Like they're going to dive for the cash and not him," Moody says. "It must have worked, because he took off." Needless to say, the band is now looking for a new drummer, but Moody says they're welcome back anytime. "The other members were extremely apologetic," he chuckles. "From our assessment, it's a dickhead issue, not a band issue."


In Step

Bobby Grommit
Bobby Grommit
And now for something completely different: One of Red River's most vibrant scenes has nothing to do with guitars. "I would describe it as stoner rock for electro-heads," ventures Plush manager Bryan Smith of the club's monthly Weight nights. "You stand in the middle of the dance floor, and it rumbles your chest." Anchored by longtime Austin DJ Bobby Grommit and his Herd, Weight showcases the dense permutation of drum 'n' bass known as dubstep, a gritty UK sound similar to grime. Think Dizzee Rascal or the first Streets album; Smith also likens it to Dirty South hip-hop. "You can easily mix it with a UGK beat or an older bounce beat," he says, and in fact some Weight DJs like Innerlign do. In about a year, Weight, which happens the first Wednesday of every month (plus a special SXSW edition March 14), has become the club's most popular night. "The DJs who adopted it were so popular spinning drum 'n' bass that people gave this a chance," Smith says. "None of those guys play drum 'n' bass anymore. All they play is dubstep." That includes 4-6pm Mondays at SubFM.com.
Explosions in the Sky, Emo's 2006
Explosions in the Sky, Emo's 2006 (Photo By Mary Sledd)

The Sky's the Limit

With the long-awaited follow-up to 2003's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place finally in stores and tour dates booked through December, Explosions in the Sky hope they can keep the lights on. Austin's instrumental rockers left last weekend and will be home intermittently throughout the rest of the year, but drummer Chris Hrasky has already paid several months' rent in advance. "I don't know what the other guys are going to do," he wonders. "There's one guy I'm pretty sure will probably come home to his power being shut off." All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, which came out Tuesday on Temporary Residence (the deluxe version carries a remix disc), is already the quartet's favorite of their four LPs. "We hear a lot less mistakes than we do in the previous records," admits Hrasky. According to him, about half the EITS tour dates are already sold out, including March 5 at Emo's, though tickets remain for their March 4 show at Hogg Auditorium. "I'm sure being involved with Friday Night Lights helped introduce us to a lot of people, but since we started, it's been this steady rise instead of a sudden burst," he says. Tuesday, Explosions became the first instrumental band to play Late Night With Conan O'Brien, a milestone Hrasky suspects may be lost on some viewers. "I have a feeling there may be a lot of people watching who think our singer got sick at the last minute." (See "Texas Platters" for review.)
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Belle of the Ball(room)

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Austin Music Awards is taking its move across town in stride. "It's really nice to be in the heart of South by Southwest central," says senior Chronicle writer and AMA director Margaret Moser of the show's digs in the Austin Convention Center's Ballroom A, known as the Austin Music Hall Ballroom for SXSW. "We really feel like we're in the heart of things this year." Besides the change of venue, the awards also welcome a new emcee, as Andy Langer takes over for Paul Ray, and a new poster artist in Arte Federico. Moser hopes this year's bill, featuring tributes to Clifford Antone, Freddy Fender, and Ronnie Lane, plus Michelle Shocked and Carrie Rodriguez sitting in with cover girl Barbara Kooyman's new project, the Unstrung Heroes of Texamericana, reflects Austin's rich musical heritage. "We have a really diverse collection of people playing," she says, "but they definitely represent a lot of history." As ever, showtime is 7:55pm sharp March 14. Tickets on sale Thursday at Waterloo Records, $15 each.
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The Long March

SXSW announced its (tentative) schedule over the weekend, revealing a wealth of interesting late adds, such as Seventies funkateers Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. Les Claypool (with new band Electric Apricot) and former Austinite Bob Mould are on the docket, as are female singer-songwriters of Concrete Blonde (Johnette Napolitano) and Dawson's Creek (Paula Cole) persuasions. Stars of Track & Field, Say Hi to Your Mom, Thomas Dolby, the Watson Twins, Sondre Lerche, and Austin's Peter & the Wolf head the Convention Center day-stage lineup, sandwiched around panels like China's Emerging Music Market and Monterey Pop at 40. Locals Carnival Beats and Basswood Lane headline TheScrewShop.com's 10-year anniversary, and March 17's free Town Lake show at Auditorium Shores somehow works its way from Austin elementary-school sensation Palm School Choir to Atlanta metal mastiffs Mastodon in less than 12 hours. Three weeks and counting; start planning that itinerary at www.sxsw.com.


Bullet the Blue Sky

Last week's mystery label to be headed by former Misra owner Phil Waldorf now has a name: Dead Oceans, part of the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar family. First on the new label's agenda are albums from Iran, Dirty Projectors, Bishop Allen, and Evangelicals, who aren't being pursued by Nettwerk after all but are on the labels' combined SXSW showcase March 15 at the Mohawk.

First it was Johnny Rotten, now Half Price Books' Christopher Jones swears he saw Jimmy Page browsing the store's North Lamar location last week. "He had the hair, the nose, the chin, the very thick accent, the hip suit, the slight odor of gin," lists Jones. "If he wasn't Page, he must have been pretending to be, and pretty convincingly." Pagey looked at the store's Aleister Crowley books and mentioned losing some collectibles in Hurricane Katrina. "We recently sold some rare Crowley-related letters online, so my theory is that he came hoping we had more," Jones says. "We didn't."

TCB will be a proud judge at Misprint's Beard & Moustache Competition 9pm tonight (Thursday) at Club de Ville, hosted by local comedian Matt Bearden with music from ZZ Top cover band Sharp Dressed Men. Categories include Gnarliest Beard, Sweetest 'Stache, Fiercest Chops, and a Ladies' Division. Huh? "It's open to interpretation," says Misprint's Bryan Keplesky.

Several bands gather Saturday for an afternoonlong, two-stage show to help beleaguered Eastside smokehouse Ben's Longbranch BBQ get back on its feet. Ralph White, Cavedweller, Midori Umi, the Lonesome Heroes, the Stags, American Graveyard, and many more get going around noon at Ben's, 900 E. 11th.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

dubstep, Plush, Explosions in the Sky, Mohawk, Austin Music Awards, SXSW, Dead Oceans, Jimmy Page

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