At this point, Nashville’s underground performing-arts community is little more than a handful of loose threads. Two local entrepreneurs, Jason Moon Wilkins and Christopher Moon, are trying to stitch them together. Under the heading Inside Out, Wilkins and Moon have started booking Victor/Victoria’s on Wednesday nights with eclectic lineups of bands, spoken-word performers, and filmsanything, Moon says, that’s “offbeat and experimental.”
Last Wednesday, the first Nashville appearance by Matador recording artists 2 Foot Flame, a group led by Jean Smith of the Canadian band Mecca Normal, drew about 100 people to the Eighth Avenue club. Coming shows will feature touring national actsincluding Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Nashville debut of the Magnetic Fieldswith local groups such as Trauma Team, Comma 8 Comma 1, and Lambchop.
In addition, one Wednesday each month will be booked under the Inside Out banner by Chris Davis, the drummer for two of Nashville’s most provocative recent bands, the Frothy Shakes and the Gospel of Power. To undermine the stifling “we-gotta-be-professional, Nashville-musician thing,” Davis hopes to bring in such acts as Meringue, a group from Gainesville, Fla., that fuses indie rock with snippets of grandiose Phil Spector-like pop, and Mr. Quintron, the organ-Theremin-puppet-show ensemble from New Orleans.
Moon also says that the screen installed at Victor V’s for biweekly shows of Jacob Young’s documentaries will allow him to assemble programs of short subjects by local filmmakers. And the small stage and garish (yet intimate) setting are natural for spoken-word shows, performance pieces, and avant-garde theater. For a taste of Inside Out’s ambitions, check out John Keaney, Lovebucket, and Schfvilkus next Wednesday at 10 p.m.Jim Ridley
Lots of rock ’n’ roll groups throw ethnic instruments into the mix, or they claim some sort of world-beat eclecticismbut the results are usually as staid and as stale as a Toto album. Then there are groups (like Cornershop) who actually manage to do something with their far-ranging tastes and influences. But few bands combine the wit, the chops, and the voracious musical appetite of the Irving Klaw Trio, which makes an appearance at Lucy’s with CYOD and Comma 8 Comma 1 this Saturday night. The Portland, Ore., quartet (go figure) tackles just about every musical style within its grasp. Utek Pahtoo Mogoi, the group’s second CD, incorporates everything from Latin rhythms to jazzy saxophone honks to Asian tunings to mutant funk beats. While the opening track, “Jizzo the Clown,” sounds like a delirious Brave Combo, the more appropriate (and oft-mentioned) reference points for this band are the outré/ethno rock groups Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 and Sun City Girls. But where the music of these two bands too often comes across as arch and affectless, the Irving Klaw Trio always manages to throw in a healthy dose of humor and spastic energyand just when you think you’ve got them sort of pegged, they throw in a cover tune by Nuyo Rican rap combo ESG or by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Their show at Lucy’s should be worth a look.Jonathan Marx
Saturday marks the first Nashville appearance of Slumpy Boy, former Dusters frontman Ken McMahan’s latest project, in over a year. The group’s Springwater show will also be its first local performance since the fall 1996 release of That’s Your Reality on the French Dixie Frog label.
The record has received strong reviews in the last six months, including a glowing write-up in the “Nuggets” column of the German edition of Rolling Stone. McMahan also reports that the German division of Warner Bros. is exploring the possibility of releasing the record later this year.
“It’s pretty much straight-ahead guitar rock; it’s not alternative anything,” McMahan says of That’s Your Reality. He’s right, but at its best Slumpy Boy’s Southern boogie and crunching guitar rock provide the visceral thrill of ’70s FM-radio staples like Rick Derringer’s “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name,” but with an added bonusa smoking cover of Mickey Jupp’s lecherous “Switchboard Susan.” Slumpy Boy’s music may not be fashionable, but it wears well.Bill Friskics-Warren
A scene for indie rock and jazz seems to be developing here; the same may also be true of dance music. The all-night WRVU dance party a few weeks ago at Marathon Village drew 1,500 people; a line forms rain or shine every weekend outside 328 Performance Hall for Johny Jackson’s Soul Satisfaction; and cars routinely overflow the Connection’s huge parking lot on weekends. Now, a member of one of the hottest acts in the country is producing a record here. Robert Haynes of the German dance-pop duo Le Clickwhose single “Call Me” is currently bulleted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s club-play chartis staying in Nashville with local deejay Rollow Mickle Jr., a 23-year veteran who’s manned booths in Hawaii, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Haynes came here to produce the debut LP by ToyBox, an all-female sextet from Holland. He’ll remain in town until May 20, when he returns to Germany to prepare for a club tour this summer. Both “Call Me” and Le Click’s previous single, “Tonight’s the Night,” are in steady rotation at Nashville dance clubs, including the Connection, Denim and Diamonds, and the Music City Mix Factory, and they receive airplay on local dance station The Party.
Although Haynes says the club scene here is larger than it was when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, the singer-producer notes that he’s still disappointed by Nashville’s overall lack of support for dance music. However, he hasn’t ruled out a surprise show by Le Click this summer at a local venue. Keep your boogie shoes by the door.
The good news: Jack’s Guitar Bar, the Nolensville Road club that’s about as far removed from capitalist enterprise as the music industry allows, just got a new $2,000 PA system. The bad news: Jack’s now needs $2,000. The solution: A writer’s-night PA benefit hosted by songwriter Tom Williams this Monday night at 8 p.m. Among the FOJs (Friends of Jack’s) scheduled to perform are Kim Richey, Bill Lloyd, Billy Falcon, Jo Lynn Daniel, Liz Hodder, John Wheeler, and David Mead of Joe, Marc’s Brother. “The cover’s five bucks a head,” says Williams, who promises he won’t mash 400 people into the notoriously tiny club.Jim Ridley
Elliptical dispatches: Fault, a groovecore quintet from Nashville that’s building a following here among heavy-music fans, plays Thursday night at the new Bummed Out Roxie clubwhich, with Lucy’s and the reanimated Victor/Victoria’s, is starting to get some blood pumping again through the city’s underground scene. If your eardrums can take the challenge, Murfreesboro’s Of His Own Hand headlines Friday night with Ballistic Whiplash and Piranha....
In last week’s item on the Kerrville Folk Festival, we neglected to mention a few of the Nashvillians selected to perform as finalists in the festival’s New Folk concert series. That list includes John Michaels, Lincoln Hastings, Cindy Greene, Steve Conn, Nina Adel, and Claudia Nygaard. Another Nashvillian journeying to the Kerrville in the coming weeks will be Hunter Moore, whose Delta Moon CD made the Top 40 of The Gavin Report’s “Americana” chart. Moore just returned from a two-week tour of Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, where his CD was recently issued by the Swiss label Brambus. When he isn’t on the road, he can be heard Sunday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. on WRVU’s That’s All Folk show with host John McGree....
I was all like "how do you get the phone number for TMZ?!?!" you can't…
I think it's weird when speculation is wedged into an otherwise straightforward biography. I love…
I always read your column BEFORE I watch the show anymore. It's better that way.
What's the other review you read?
This was the worse review I've ever read. Maybe you should quit this career path…