♦ It was an all-Xavia (pronounced Zahhh-vi-a) affair last Saturday at The Basement. Both bands on the bill, The Golden Sounds and The Suns of Norway, featured the talents of the delightful Aussie cellist/keyboardist/singer. The Sounds lived up to their name with a mesmerizing set of dreamy indie-pop (and if you doubt it was indie, lead singer Todd Evans explained that the string of Christmas lights that adorned his outfit gave him indie cred). The Suns' artful mix of loops, live instruments and video footage maintained the hypnotic ambience, leaving some to ponder, "With bands like these, who needs drugs?" Spotted in the packed house were Annette Strean (from Venus Hum) and Butterfly Boucher, both every bit as dreamy as the music. Strean, who's married to Suns front man Kirk Cornelius (sorry boys), joined the band for a number that turned out to be one of the night's highlights. But the real coup was Xavia, who started the night singing three lovely numbers accompanied only by herself on cello, a striking and rare combination that, along with her shy stage banter and post-set curtsy, proved thoroughly enchanting.
♦ One word was on everyone's lips last Friday night at Hair of the Dog: Hobbitcock! It wasn't that the band had a huge following or anything, but apparently the novelty of hollering "Hobbitcock!" and laughing like a meth fiend never lost its magic. The name promised a night of hairy-footed, stumpy-dicked D&D nerd rock, but the five-member group, who were participating in the international Emergenza Battle of the Bands competition, sounded more like a garage-funk Mahavishnu Orchestra with trumpet, tabla and Ruben & the Jets-style doo-wop vocals. Hobbitcock's Seth and Clayton Marsh, Jason Woodard, Ashley Beasley and Mikey Martel still managed to tempo-change their way to a third-place finish out of four, announcing their presence with hand-scrawled T-shirts and a theme song that went, "Ha-AH-bitcock!" Sadly, it wasn't sung to the tune of "Rocky Top." Battles of the bands are always iffy, and our hopes weren't raised by the sign out front: "Please park in the Special Olympics lot across the street." Plus the $15 cover was unconscionable. And the scientific voting process ("Everybody raise your hands for Hobbitcock!") seemed to favor the early acts, as droves of supporters headed for their cars long before the last two. Their loss: they missed The Lunarfit, a space-themed Murfreesboro prog-rock group fronted by an Edwyn Collins type in a lime-green suit jacket. When the smoke cleared, BiffsDeville came in first, followed by Selph Image. Bands advance to semi-finals, moving toward the big showdown, scheduled for May 28 at Blue Sky Court (which is hoping to start up its live music again in April). Of the 70 local bands that have participated thus far, one will get a shot at a European gig before 40,000...Europeans. The next round is April 7 at Blue Sky Court. See you in Mordor, Hobbitcock.
Movin' up and movin' out
♦ Congratulations to Anna Lundy, who's been promoted to store manager at Grimey's after months of quiet taste-making. She shouldn't have any shortage of music to play when her new show premieres next month on Radio Free Nashville.
♦ There's nothing worse than a disconnection notice, so it's sad to report the closing of The Connection Nashville, the enormous Cowan Street dance complex that brought gay Nashville nightlife into the spotlight. Opened downtown 12 years ago, it moved two years later into the site that once housed Nashville Center Stages, where it flourished for much of the following decade. It was a hub of the city's drag and transgender scene, yet a draw for straights who loved the dance-floor action. Of late, though, patrons say the sprawling dance club had been eclipsed by Church Street's booming gay club district, which has a more inviting location than the Connection's industrial-wasteland surroundings. Plus clubs such as Tribe and Play have a stronger, more active civic presence than The Connection's Louisville-based ownership. The closing was less a surprise than a confirmation of well-circulated rumors. But it still leaves longtime patrons sad. "It was a second home for a lot of people," said Chad Hughes, who first went as an MTSU student in 1997. "For all of us who were coming out, it was a palace." More memories of the club in next week's issue.
Shows this week
♦ Though he died nearly a year-and-a-half ago in New Orleans, Celtic musician Hunter Lee, known most for his bewitching uilleann pipe and outsized persona, never got the wake he deserved. That situation will be rectified at 7 pm this Friday, when friends and family will gather at Sherlock Holmes Pub for a night of memories and music from the Rogues, with whom Lee frequently performed. For more info, call 327-1047.
♦ This Saturday at French Quarter Cafe, local band Chakra Bleu play a CD release party for their new album, Seize the Daya fitting title from a relentlessly positive group of musicians who characterize their music as "empower pop." The show's free. No frowns will be admitted.
♦ Starting this Wednesday, March 9, local and regional pop bands will flood The End for seven days during this year's International Pop Overthrow Festival. Six bands will play a night, and the lineup includes Nashville favorites Rich Creamy Paint & jetpack. Shows start promptly at 7 pm.
Upcoming and cause for excitement
♦ Remember when Springwater had some of the most exciting and unusual shows around town? Yeah, we do too, but these days there's not much reason to go there unless you're out of cigarettesthe secondhand smoke is thick enough to cop a nicotine buzz. Fortunately, former Springwater booker Chris Davis has resurfaced at Angle of View on Gallatin Road, and he's got some great shows lined up, including Christina Carter of Charalambides, March 29; No Neck Blues Band, March 31; and a promising bill of performers on Chicago's Kranky label, Bird Show, Greg Davis and Keith Fullerton Whitman, April 21.
♦ The March 20 Robyn Hitchcock show at the Belcourt just sounds better and better: he'll be performing in a trio with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, with whom he recorded his new album Spooked at East Nashville's Woodland Studios.
♦ It's a summit meeting of mid-'80s Rock Block guitar monsters when the reformed The Dusters, supplemented by members of the Georgia Satellites, join Scorcher Warner Hodges' new outfit Disciples of Loud March 26 at the Exit/In. The Disciples headline, but we'd hate to follow original Dusters Ken McMahan and L. David Barnetteespecially flanked by ex-Satellites Dan Baird and Mauro Magellan, who all toured Europe together in 2003. You'll think Deep Purple had arisen from the mists of rock and brought Foghat and Chuck Berry with 'em. Speaking of Baird, his odds-and-sods collection Out of Mothballs is well worth seeking out: choice cuts from the smokehouse of his solo recordings, steeped in Southern grit and grease. Get it from Miles of Music until Baird reopens his home store.
♦ Leslie Hall brings her collection of gem sweaters, gold pants and keytar-backed early-'80s hip-hopcourtesy of her band, Leslie and the Lysto The Basement on April 14, along with rapper Arecee. If www.lesliehall.com doesn't excite you, perhaps nothing will.
♦ Danish indie-rock duo The Raveonettes will play Exit/In May 14. Their second album, Pretty in Black, out on May 3, is heavy on the retro noise-pop ballads, including a sassy cover of The Angels' girl-group anthem "My Boyfriend's Back."
Local product alerts
♦ Check out the sultry blue-eyed R&B grooves on Greg Trooper's new record Make It Through the Night, due April 12 on Sugar Hill. Muscle Shoals legend Dan Penn produced, and the result is a quiet gem of laid-back summer soulperfect listening for the back porch at sunset. Featuring stellar support from Pat McLaughlin, Bill Kirchen, bassmaster Dave Jacques and Penn himself, among others, the record's highly recommended to fans of John Hiatt and Delbert McClinton.
A concerned reader calling himself Poopy McGee (nice pen name, pal) wrote in to commend our live music coverage last week: "Hats off to the Edward R. Murrows there at the Nashville Scene for making it to bed on time at the 2/24 Tyler James & jetpack show."
If you have tips, comments, gripes or complaints, write firstname.lastname@example.org
If only they would show HUDSUCKER PROXY, the Coens' most overlooked and underrated movie. It…
One I'm really looking forward to is KANSAS CITY LIGHTNING, Stanley Crouch's book about Charlie…
Another excellent idea: Prints! Check out Sam Smith's shop of awesome limited-run movie posters: http://samsmyth.wazala.com/widget/?nicknam……
Just realized Rayna is wearing the same frilly pirate blouse I wore for school photo…
It hardly seems news that the classic White Christmas is a corny show with contrivances,…