Dispatches from the clubs and the street
♦ Sometimes we get a wild hair and head down to Murfreesboro for a night. Last Thursday, the MTSU chapter of the American Institute for Graphic Arts held a rock and art fundraiser at the newly opened Blue Desert Music Group Studio on Walnut Street, off the square. We ate free food, paid three bucks a beer (even though we were practically the only people there old enough to drink), spied some local art from MTSU students and faculty, and were intrigued when a young power trio with tight jeans and messy hair took the stage. Overzealous brought the kind of rock we thought nobody was making anymorehooky, heavy and rough around the edges. O.K., so they played a Nirvana cover, and we let it slide. But then they played a Silverchair coveryes, Silverchair, and without a smidgen of irony. Lose the covers, boys, and you'll be a great band.
♦ Harper, the new sugar-pop band led by Ben Harper (formerly of Feable Weiner and The Comfies) have busted out in full attack mode. They've been in heavy rotation at the clubs lately, and were seen Friday night at The Basement playing a short set of high-energy rock with smooth harmonies and oh-so-hummable melodies. "Ascent Summer" is hands down the standout gem of the new material, featuring a chorus of "oh"s we still can't get out of our heads. jetpack have become our local rock scene's Old Faithful; they can always be counted on to deliver a tight set of well-crafted Beatles-esque pop goodness, and Friday night was no exception. Hear it on their excellent new album, The Art of Building a Moat.
♦ When we heard that Marky Ramone, former drummer for The Ramones, was going to be at MediaPlay in Antioch on Saturday, our first response was, "Why Antioch?" Then we heard that Jerry Only from The Misfits was going to be there too, so we decided to hop in the car. Twenty minutes later, we were standing in line among a real mixed bag: punk kids in Ramones T-shirts nervously holding guitars and records for autographing, along with an older crowd of straitlaced normal types who could be overheard telling Marky how much they loved the Ramones back in the good old days. We never saw Jerry Only, and we never really figured out what Marky was doing therethe new Ramones documentary End of the Century just came out, but there weren't any copies on display. So we stood in line and paid our respects like any die-hard fans would.
♦ Wow, who were all those kids at The Fiery Furnaces' Exit/In show Saturday night? Who knew the arty Brooklynites had such a young demo? Oh, waitthey'd all turned out to see local openers Be Your Own Pet (see below for more on these guys). After BYOP's setthree chords, lots of wailingwe headed to the back of the club and yakked it up with the Furnaces' affable merch guy, Ted, who confessed that BYOP left him pretty underwhelmed: "Yeah, I read about those guys in Rolling Stone. So what's the big deal?" He was sporting a swanky airbrushed Fiery Furnaces cap, which he and FF singer Eleanor Friedberger had purchased just that afternoon at the Farmers Market. Meanwhile, the kids filed out as the evening wore on, replaced by a more, um, grown-up crowd: Mike Grimes, Doyle "D-Funk" Davis, record store alum Mickey Parks (at his first show in, what did he say, years?). As soon as Fiery Furnaces took the stage, they proceeded to slice and dice their entire catalogue into one long, scrambled mashup, without stopping, for 45 minutes. It was completely insane, and people actually looked like they were loving italthough it might have had something to do with Eleanor's passing resemblance to Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or maybe with Andy Knowles' manic, Keith Moon-inspired drumming. Either way, the band seemed impressed by the reception. "Thank-you!" Eleanor shouted at random points during the set. We bet they'll be back.
♦ Welcome to Audley Freed's apparently weekly appearance in The Spin. Last week found him at The Basement, along with Patty LeMay, Marc Clayton, Tim Carroll, Molly Thomas and Susan Marshall, among plenty of others. It was Tuesday night, and a bunch of Nashville regulars (including, let's be honest, some Scene staffers) hosted the inaugural Sin City, a monthly evening of music for folks who like to get down with such C&W favorites as the Rolling Stones. Mason Vickery backed up Alvin Youngblood Hart on the lap steel for a few tunes; our very own Jack Silverman shared the stage with Ik Ben's Scott Hylbert and Casey Sanders; Jason White got in on the action, as did bassists Matt Moody and Lorne Rall. It was our little city at its best: nimble musicians jumping onstage to have fun with each other and impress the hell out of the rest of us.
Break up your own band?
Ever since Sunday, rumors have been swirling at an alarming, Internet-fueled pace that Be Your Own Pet have broken up, thanks in large part to a posting on NashvilleZine.com. There are, of course, several versions of the story going around, but it's anyone's guess whether it's all a bunch of hooey. We put in a query to Robert Ellis Orrall, father of drummer Jamin Orrall and proprietor of BYOP's homegrown Infinity Cat label, who said our call was "the first he'd heard" of any such talk and confirmed that any rumors of the band's breakup had been greatly exaggerated. At this point, we'd have to say that the whole thing sounds so, well, high school.
Upcoming and cause for excitement
♦ Set the (not so) Wayback Machine for April 2000, as WRVU's Ultimate Breaks & Beats posse reunites April 29 for an Audity Central blow-out at Basante's on West End. DJs Chek and Mindub welcome back Eothen Alapatt, a.k.a. DJ Egon, who as 91 Rock's music director helped make the station a funk/hip-hop powerhouse before it purged some of its best DJs. Now with the West Coast-based Stones Throw label, Egon has supervised some of the fieriest funk-soul reissues of recent years, including the new Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities 1968-1974 Vol. 1 (available at Grimey's, of course). He'll be spinning his own vinyl, joined by fellow Breaks & Beats veterans DJ Jon Doe (now in Atlanta, working on an Eddie Meeks solo CD among other things) and Emmerald as well as Scott Nelsen.
♦ The End has a mess of promising shows coming up. On May 6, the venue hosts comedian Neil Hamburger, whose routine is guaranteed to elicit as many winces as laffs. We're betting the May 12 bill featuring Detroit's all-woman Gore Gore Girls ends up being one of the most talked-about shows in a while, and the June 7 date pairing The Blood Brothers and Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower promises plenty of theatrics and some ear-shredding skronk. On June 29, space-rock outfit Comets on Fire come to town, but the band to see that night will be the opener, Growing, who'll be using one big-ass setup to ply their super-heavy drones. Other upcoming highlights: Of Montreal, May 3; The Forty-Fives on May 5; The Dirtbombs, May 13; The Comas, May 19; Marah, June 16.
Shows this week
♦ Country rock rapscallions Redneck Buddha, praised in this column a few weeks back, will be recording a live CD, Buddha Live in a Dive, 2005, at their weekly Hair of the Dog performance on Wednesday, April 27. Watch as the Buddha boys do everything that would get them fired from their day jobs as respectable country musicians. Scream loud and be preserved for eternity. (That Redneck Buddha T-shirt looked mighty fine on Jamie O'Neal when she sang on Nashville Star a couple weeks agothen again, she could make a Burger King uniform look good.)
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