Music news


Nothing Compares 2 Prince

When pop royalty plays a birthday party at a small local club, word gets around. So last Saturday night, it was no surprise to see private security staking out the alley behind the Belmont as sheriff's deputies directed traffic out front. "They want us to tape this whole street off, but if you're on the sidewalk, we can't do anything about that," one winked to the 35-40 onlookers milling around outside the Thistle Cafe, as Grupo Fantasma serenaded VIPs inside. If the parking valets' purple shirts weren't a big enough hint, a police-escorted limo rolling through at 10pm sharp was confirmation enough that Prince was indeed in the house, or about to be; the stinging guitar lick shortly thereafter eliminated any doubt. Just then, Belmont bouncers placed a pair of 15-foot-high white screens in front of the entrance, prompting a chorus of boos from the bystanders (and a warning from our deputy friend), but the sound carried just fine. Austin Mayor Will Wynn and Gov. Rick Perry were reportedly inside – Secret Service agents were stationed on nearby roofs – but Chronicle Editor Louis Black definitely was. "It was fantastic," he reports. Prince, said to have pulled down a cool million for the evening, jammed with Grupo on and off for about a half-hour before a miniset of "Little Red Corvette," "Nothing Compares 2 U," and a funk blast from 2006's 3121 that left everyone, inside or out, awestruck. "I cried blood," said Texas Rollergirls announcer Whiskey L'Amour.

The Bums' Rush

Strident Austin street-punks the Krum Bums confront complacency, futility, and dishonesty on robust new Bubble-recorded TKO album As the Tide Turns, but David Rodriguez – blistering his lungs nightly as singer Dave Tejas – says to not mistake the negative tone of songs like "Forsaken" for despair. "Disregarded Youth," he explains, is "more of an anthem for us to say, 'Fuck you, we're here, and you've had your day.'" Now 28, Rodriguez was watching the Motards assault the Blue Flamingo by age 15, and feeling like an outsider in a scene ruled by eventual friends and labelmates the Lower Class Brats made him and his four mates even hungrier. "I always joke that we're the band of starving wolves," he says. Little has changed, Rodriguez adds, now that the Bums are themselves one of local punk's top draws: "Now I feel like that presence has to be there even more." Normally it is; the Bums hold down time-honored punk rock jobs like pizza chef and Pharmaco subject, so they have plenty of time to tour and go to shows. Hurry though, as the Bums will be scarce after Tuesday's Red 7 show with 13th Victim and Silence Kills, joining the Tossers and Street Dogs on a six-week U.S. tour. "It's going to be a strange tour for us," Rodriguez says of his Celtic-tinged companions. "We'll be the oddballs on this one."

Bullet the Blue Sky

The Second Sunday Sock Hop DJs celebrate 365 days of keeping it funky. Needle drops, strangely enough, Sunday night, 9pm, with the first 150 cats through the Longbranch Inn doors getting a free CD compiled by waxologists Hucklebuck, Rev. Magnus, Shorty Stump, and Second Line Social. $3.

Rio Rita's silent art auction for leukemia-stricken Crack Pipes guitarist Billy Steve Korpi runs through June 15, with an 8pm party that night and bidding closing at midnight. Owner Donya Stockton says Korpi is doing well, though he still needs blood donations. Stop by 1308 E. Sixth for vouchers. "Billy Steve and [wife] Laurie send their love and thanks and are just overwhelmed by the amazing response from everyone who's helped," she says.

"TCB" Korrection Korner: New South Austin vintage store/music venue Roadhouse Rags' correct address is 1600 Fortview. Also, although co-owner Polly Parsons helped with Sweethearts of the Rodeo at L.A. pub Molly Malone's, it was created and booked by her friend Shilah Morrow, who moved here this week to assume similar duties at the new shop. Apologies.

Merchants of Soul: (l-r) Spoon's Rob Pope, Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, and Eric Harvey
Merchants of Soul: (l-r) Spoon's Rob Pope, Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, and Eric Harvey (Photo By Courtney Chavanell)

I Turn My Camera On

Anyone who's worked in film or video production knows it's 90% standing around, and TCB stood around a lot last Thursday as an extra in "The Underdog," the first video from Spoon's forthcoming Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Directed by Kevin McAlester (Roky Erickson: You're Gonna Miss Me), the clip is one continuous tracking shot around a busy recording studio, patterned after Jean-Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil. At least there were plenty of cool people to talk to: the Wannabes' Hunter Darby and wife Julie, Karaoke Apocalypse bassist Chepo Peña, Trail of Dead drummer Jason Reece, the Black frontman David Longoria, musical siblings Pink and Black Nasty, Soft Action photographer Courtney Chavanell, Texas Monthly writer John Spong, and Grace Vroom, 17-year-old incoming senior at the Episcopal School of Dallas, whose brother is McAlester's best friend. A brief diary of the day:

11am: TCB arrives at Tequila Mockingbird, reads Blender for a half-hour.

11:30am: Video stylist Leyla Borahoo chooses TCB's Sopranos-style bowling shirt over his guayabera, which has "too many lines."

12:30pm: TCB is finally cast, as a maraca player on the patio with Vroom and Black Nasty. Naturally, the only three people with outside roles are wearing all black. "It may be too bright out here," McAlester admits.

1:15pm: A mariachi band shows up just as we break for lunch. TCB and Darby, who plays the producer, talk baseball over a pint at the nearby Dog & Duck, which he manages. "I'm playing it like I'm a little put out," he says. "I just pretend I'm back here."

2pm: First run-through. Black Nasty is MIA. TCB and Vroom will be onscreen maybe two seconds when Darby opens the door and motions for us to play louder. Showbiz!

2:45pm: TCB asks singer Britt Daniel, "Are you sick of this song yet?" He's taken aback. "No! Are you?" Hardly. "I Summon You" with horns; expect to hear "Underdog" a lot this summer.

2:50pm: Vroom is informed her tambourine playing should be more "deadpan."

Someone Something: TCB is ready for his close-up
Someone Something: TCB is ready for his close-up (Photo By Courtney Chavanell)

3pm: Someone not in the band breaks into the beer clearly marked "Beer for band." It's about time.

4:45pm: Spong: "You're getting some sun!" No shit.

5pm: TCB discovers the sheet music to Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" in one of Tequila's control rooms. Score!

5:20pm: Production sags. McAlester cuts before our door opens three times in a row. TCB: "How far did they get that [last] time?" Spong: "Not very."

5:30pm: The walkie-talkie we use for a cue cuts out, and we totally blow the take. Still, we're turning into a pretty tight rhythm section.

5:45pm: Pink Nasty, stationed in the studio bathroom, swears she's not going stir-crazy: "I'll let you know."

6:30pm: One of the mariachi players has to leave to play piano at his church. Although it's a sin, we envy him.

6:35pm: Words "let's just go straight to the bar" uttered for first time.

7:20pm: McAlester: "Two more, then we're done."

7:41pm: That's a wrap! TCB begrudgingly gives his maracas back, and Spoon invites everyone to come help them spend some of Merge's Arcade Fire money at El Mercado. Not a problem.

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Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007


Christopher Gray, June 22, 2007


Spoon, The Underdog, Prince, Belmont, Krum Bums, Billy Steve Korpi, Roadhouse Rags

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