The Spin 

Where the action was: dispatches from the clubs

Where the action was: dispatches from the clubs

♦ Last Saturday at Katy K's Girlesque Night, every reprobate in Nashville turned out to pretend they were "ironically" watching chicks take off their tops. Seriously, the congested Mercy Lounge parking lot had a half-dozen guys who could've passed for leering extras in a Russ Meyer flick. Quick room scan: Alice Cooper action-figure dude with triangular velcro-patch goatee; gay man with merlot; Sideshow Bennie (duh); large woman at merch stand inquiring about panties marked "YIELD"; All The Rage burlesque correspondent Pat Embry; five dozen six-inch stiletto heels; effete Victorian masher in Prince-circa-Purple Rain ruffles; drunken frat rat somehow convinced he was in New Orleans ("SHOW US YER TITS! YEEEOOOOWWWW!!!!"); The Taste's Clint McGown, seemingly happier without his band; Gorgeous Greta in naughty-nurse regalia; woman (a blonde) leaning so close to her companion in the dark room that she accidentally stubbed her cigarette on his face. Somebody said the emcee was dating one of the vixens in Panty Raid. Lucky bastard.

♦ Quick, what year is this: Collin Wade Monk sings a Robin Eaton-Brad Talbott song onstage as Mike Grimes, Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack chime in from various corners of the room. Is itâ 1990? Bzzzt! No, it was last weekend at The Basement, where Monk (who's taken years off from performing to raise a family) opened for Kimbrough and Womack's swampy new group, Daddy. No Bis-quits/Government Cheese greatest-hits act, Daddy play all new material from Kimbrough and Womack, flanked by Dave Jacques on bass, Paul Griffith on drums and John Deadrick on keys. Imagine a Merseybeat act on Fat Possum, and you're halfway there. Adding to the time-machine confusion: Jessica Kimbrough looks the same as she did 15 years ago. Nice to see Snake Hips' Mark Harrison and Lambchop's Deanna Varagona in the crowd.

Nashville Grammy wrap-up

Night Train to Nashville, the stellar compilation of local postwar soul and R&B issued by the Country Music Hall of Fame, took home a Grammy for best historical album, edging out, gulp, Johnny Cash's monumental posthumous box set, Unearthed. Kudos to producers Daniel Cooper and Michael Gray, who lovingly put the Night Train comp together, not just preserving, but nurturing the legacies of undersung Music City legends like Earl Gaines, Johnny Jones, Bobby Hebb and Clifford Curry. (Anyone who wants to see one of these legends in action can catch Gaines this Monday night at B.B. King Blues Club's "Night Train to Nashville" concert series.)

Among Nashville's other 2005 Grammy winners were Gretchen Wilson, Loretta Lynn, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featuring Earl Scruggs and others, Tim McGraw, songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steve Earle, Native American artist Bill Miller, and American Roots Publishing's incandescent Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster.

Noteworthy shows this week

♦ Insta-Band Battle Royale, Feb. 17 at The Campus Pub in Murfreesboro is a writers' night/battle of the bands combo event in which anyone who signs up must write an original song in an hour and then perform it. It costs $3 to play. The show benefits the Southern Girls Rock 'N' Roll Camp, a worthy cause in our book.

♦ On Feb. 21 3rd & Lindsley hosts the second installment of the All About Music contest. Local artists Kate York, The Moods, Jeremy Lister Band, Shortwave Radio, Popular Genius, Sam Brooker, Tyler James and del giovanni clique will perform short acoustic sets; then the audience votes on the best performance, and next month the winner returns for another performance against a fresh slate of local artists. If the idea works, it could be a great American Idol-type happening, but without the egomaniac judges. And instead of receiving a record deal and the chance to make another lame prefab pop album, the winner gets an invitation to promote his or her music at the All About Music Retreat, offering the opportunity to work with television and film music supervisors.

The Basement gets a face-lift

Last week former Slow Bar owner Mike Grimes reopened the renovated Basement, which he and partner Geoff Donovan, a former sous chef at tayst, recently took over from longtime Nashville promoter/club-owner Steve West. The new Basement now doubles as a music room and after-work hangout, complete with food and drink menu. The kitchen space is really a corner behind the bar, complete with a couple of sandwich grills on which Donovan whips up gourmet quesadillas and other simple fare. As for upcoming musical offerings, expect more of the same, which is great by us: Grimes had already taken over booking of The Basement from West, shifting the club's emphasis away from (boring) singer-songwriters and more toward touring and local rock bands.

Upcoming and cause for excitement

♦ Nashville pop quartet jetpack play an EP release party Feb. 24 at The End, where they'll be kicking off a mini-tour in support of The Art of Building a Moat.

♦ Austin's Cruiserweight play a CD release party Feb. 26 at Rcktwn, making a tour stop in support of their third album, Sweet Weaponry. The show also doubles as an official Myspace.com party with Murfreesboro power-nerds Feable Weiner, who will continue touring with Cruiserweight until embarking on their own U.K. tour. It's also been reported that the Weiner's bassist Ben Harper recently left the band. Meanwhile, they're continuing to work on a new album with Self's Matt Mahaffey producing.

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