Ridin’ the snake
The ’Boro’s Temptation Club is just far enough off campus to be a well-kept dirty secret. Any other night of the week you’d catch a rural wet T-shirt contest or a handful of male strippers with pimply asses, but on 6/6/6, the locally infamous GHOSTFINGER
showed its ugly face and brought a crowd of hell raisers. Openers THE TURNCOATS
, featuring an all-star team of dudes from other ’Boro bands like THE BANG UP
and YOUNG LIVERS,
screeched out a 30-minute set reeking of old-rock recycled. Then came BOBBY BARE JR.
, with the hugest saxophone we’ve ever seen. Maybe the most impressive part about Bare’s set was that it was at a hole like Temptation Club, but he brought the heat and kept a roomful of drunk people peculiarly reverent. Word on the street is that his new backup band, featuring Ghostfinger’s RICHIE KIRKPATRICK
and MATT ROWLAND
, will accompany him at Bonnaroo this year—a big break for homegrown musicians. Snakerider unearthed some old-fashioned guitar shredding along with a joke that stayed funny all night: “We’re half way to planet Space—who here wants to hear a song called ‘Ride the Snake?’” In paint-splashed bicycle shorts and white socks, the mustached Kirkpatrick wailed until the boys hit planet Space. Then Snakerider dismounted and played a long set of Ghostfinger numbers; these boys know how to rock, but they don’t really know how to get off the stage.
Hot and heavy
Friday night, Grand Palace played host to the BLACK DIAMOND HEAVIES
and the ALCOHOL STUNT BAND,
who merged for a chunk of the show to create one heavy, glorious sound. CHRIS CROFTON
, frontman and creative force behind the Stunt Band, played half a dozen songs solo, alternately making the crowd laugh and shake their heads in disbelief. Crofton’s songs can be intensely funny but also heartbreakingly simple. On going to strip clubs: “I don’t like my job, but I like drinking beer, so I spend my nights here…/ I don’t want to be alone, it’s just that I have trouble talking to girls in the real world.” Later he was joined by JOHN MYERS
and VAN CAMPBELL
of the Heavies, who also produced a set of heavy blues, anchored by Campbell’s whiplash drumming and Myers’ slinky charisma. The room may have been hot enough to send people into the air-conditioned print shop across the hall between sets, but so was the music.
“It’s great to be in Nashville and not playing after Bone Thugs N Harmony,” said MATT POND
of Matt Pond PA at Mercy Lounge Thursday night. The shaggy-haired, sweat-drenched singer does seem better suited to clubs than following up a raucous hip-hop show in front of the pastel-clad throngs at Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring. With the college crew gone for summer, the crowd was noticeably thin, but many of the fans who made it out were diehards—they stood close to the stage, sang along and occasionally made out with their girlfriends (a small cluster of fans even drove from Chicago). The band played a set of bright, energetic and dynamic indie rock—not mind-blowing but definitely a cut above. On paper, Matt Pond PA might seem like your usual singer-songwriter fare, but there’s an intangible charisma that merits the national tour and the double-digit ticket price. Pond even complimented the crowd on their enthusiasm (in Nashville!). After some initial dismay, we realized that it was the kids from Chicago ruining our crossed-arms apathetic cred. Damn them.
One unexpected perk of the drum and bass show PLANET OF THE DRUMS
Friday at Mercy Lounge was all the local MCs on hand to spit verse. OBTUSE MUSIC
had most of their roster on stage rocking the crowd when we arrived, including JMC
, who came off with a lot more charisma and power live than he did on his last CD. CADENCE
had the misfortune of having to perform during the breakdance contest, where most of the crowd opted for BOOGALOO PRAWN
’s weak backspin instead of hearing a dope MC. Luckily, the Planet of the Drums crew (DIESELBOY
) came to our rescue with guest MC J-MESSINIAN
. Seems a Nashville kid named “JAMIE
” had been talking some smack about J-Messinian over the Internet. Messinian called Jamie on stage to settle the minor beef like real MCs with a rap battle. We thought we saw a wet spot on Jamie’s jeans as he tried to explain he’d never said anything about J-Messinian, running off stage in a huff to complain to the show’s promoter about almost being embarrassed in front of his comrades. Jamie, there’s no crying in hip-hop.
Blues you can use
In its sixth year, the JEFFERSON STREET JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL
has marched along with the resurgence of the neighborhood. The R&B and blues musicians who were there during the “Night Train to Nashville” days will reunite this Saturday the 17th. After MARION JAMES
, JOHNNY JONES
, “NICK” NIXON
and Hendrix sideman BILLY COX
wrap up their “All-Star Blues Explosion,” catch a tribute to first African-American star of the Opry DEFORD BAILEY
at 10:00 p.m. The festivities begin at 11:30 a.m., and the 10 other acts on the schedule span at least three generations, half a dozen sub-genres of jazz and the blues and all points on the local map. Come early to J-Street between 26th and 27th or visit the Shelby Street Bridge Friday at 6:00 p.m. for the pre-festival dance party.
Grindin’ and BBQ
This Saturday offers a chance not only to drop in on sick rhythms and sick moves with world-famous pro skater TONY HAWK
and Mr. Jackass himself, BAM MARGERA
, at the Backyard BBQ tour, but more importantly, a legitimately cool reason to go to COOL SPRINGS GALLERIA
. The free, all-ages festival starts at 1 p.m. and features extreme sports freestylers and a Battle of the Bands, where local bands will compete for a sweet grand. Headlining the show are FAMILY FORCE FIVE
, but we’re more excited about the HUMAN SANDWICH,
where a lucky few will be doused in condiments and lettuce for prizes. And lest you ladies think this fun’s only for the boys, rest assured that Teen Vogue
is on hand for outrageous makeovers, so you can still look pretty while you practice your kickflip.
Rock ’n’ roll sandwich
Monday night at the Gold Rush, The Spin was wedged between KINGS OF LEON
and the TITANS
with THE STILLS
in the middle.
Last month, CHRIS DAVIS
, the adventurous promoter behind Nashville’s bookings of leading-edge noise, free jazz, neo-folk and experimental artists, collapsed at band practice and was rushed to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. He’s recovering, and several groups have teamed up for a benefit Saturday night at Springwater to ease his medical expenses. The mighty DAVE CLOUD & THE GOSPEL OF POWER
, just back from rocking London and Norway, will headline, with sets from MAGNA
, LAS PERSONAS
, BIG NURSE
, MS. MISS RUBY
, THE KENTUCKY PROPHET
and comic CRAIG SMITH
. The cover’s $5, but donations can be sent to 2005 White Avenue, Nashville, TN 37204.
And don’t think a little internal bleeding is going to stop Chris from bringing the heat. He’s got two shows booked this week at Ruby Green, 514 5th Avenue South. Thursday’s lineup features ANIMENTAL
, an experimental NYC troupe who dress as animals and perform live soundtracks to their stage plays. Does this sound like something you should miss? Didn’t think so. Neo-soul act DO IT BIG
opens. On Monday, organist/vocalist NORA KEYES
from underground L.A. punk heroes The Centimeters—who’s been collaborating with David J. from Bauhaus and former Germs drummer Don Bolles—performs her indescribable old-time music with the CHERRY BLOSSOMS
and awesome recent local transplant KELLI SHAY
, a film archivist and singer-songwriter who accompanies herself on autoharp. Get well soon, Chris.
Hot burrito #4
Apparently more than 30 years hasn’t dimmed the controversy surrounding GRAM PARSONS
, the late country-rock pioneer whose body was famously stolen and burned in the California desert in ’73 according to a pact with his road manager, PHIL KAUFMAN
. At last week’s Belcourt screening of the BBC documentary Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel
—which was attended by director GANDULF HENNIG
and members of Parsons’ family—no less a figure than Kaufman rose unexpectedly to join the post-film Q&A. As director Hennig pointed out, the family has their side of the story and Kaufman has his own: having them side by side in the flesh provided some drama—especially when Kaufman told the crowd he didn’t buy that Parsons’ former wife Gretchen was the grieving widow portrayed in the film. That ended the session quickly.
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