The Spin 

Some wag kept requesting Pavement songs (“Father to a Sister of Thought”! “Fight This Generation”!) during Lone Official’s Springwater set last Thursday, but frontman Matt Button was ready with an answer.
Wowee Zowee Some wag kept requesting Pavement songs (“Father to a Sister of Thought”! “Fight This Generation”!) during LONE OFFICIAL’s Springwater set last Thursday, but frontman MATT BUTTON was ready with an answer. “We’re just gonna do things the way we’ve always done them here,” he said. “We don’t need any of that ‘generation’ stuff.” Despite an equipment problem or two, Lone Official rocked the place—Button wrenched all manner of sounds from his Ibanez, got down on his knees and delivered songs from their new Tuckassee Take with total conviction. Drummer BEN MARTIN and bassist ERIC WILLIAMS proved they’re a superb rhythm section, and guitarist SAMI EL AMRI made interesting and always appropriate noises. In contrast to the elegance of Tuckassee Take, their live show teetered on the edge of chaos but never fell in; “Amelia Earhart” started in shambles and, as did the set, ended in triumph. Raisin’ the roof It’s been awhile since we’ve seen anyone raise a ruckus at the Ryman like the boys of the OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW did last Thursday—especially with such a healthy smattering of blue hair dotting the crowd of neo-cowboys and glazed-eyed college kids. The Old Crows, a quintet of country boys armed with nothing but stringed instruments, cocky swaggers, revamped bluegrass staples and a handful of originals, rambled through two sets of songs about coked-up rounders, catfish and toking up with a trucker out of Philly. It felt like a meeting between the old and new guard of bluegrass fans. Ryman perennial DAVID RAWLINGS added another guitar and voice for most of the show, while his counterpart, GILLIAN WELCH, joined in later to sing and brush on a snare drum. But it was the high-flying fiddle-screamers that lured the crowd into the aisles. At night’s end, the Old Crows reminded the kids to “drink the corn liquor, let the cocaine be,” and wrapped it up with a somehow fitting cover of Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life.” Tuned out Andrew Swift and his band tore through a set of sunny piano-laced pop at Exit/In last Saturday night, but the frizzy-haired singer was the last thing on the minds of a tipsy couple sucking face in the middle of the less-than-packed crowd. “The Walkmen are next,” promised Swift between every song, in hopes of livening the lackluster crowd. Still, the oblivious pair kept at it as The Walkmen took the stage and blasted into “All Hands and the Cook.” Singer Hamilton Leithauser sent a pissed-off glare into the crowd at no one in particular, as Pete Bauer (who vaguely resembled Pete Townshend) was plagued by keyboard problems. With their detached demeanor, the band cared little to rouse the insipid crowd. But with the group so entranced in their work, they couldn’t have sounded better. The new songs from A Hundred Miles Off (“Lost in Boston,” “Tenley-Town”) proved more aggressive and concise in a live setting, and the older stuff (“Wake Up,” “Revenge Wears No Wristwatch”) sounded fresher than ever. The crowd did spark for “The Rat,” but we called that from a mile away. With the night nearing end, The Walkmen invited a guest trumpeter onstage to play “Louisiana,” but the crowd—much like the drunk couple earlier—seemed removed, tired and focused on something other than the moving performance. The soberest crowd in town Andrew Swift and his band tore through a set of sunny piano-laced pop at Exit/In last Saturday night, but the frizzy-haired singer was the last thing on the minds of a tipsy couple sucking face in the middle of the less-than-packed crowd. “The Walkmen are next,” promised Swift between every song, in hopes of livening the lackluster crowd. Still, the oblivious pair kept at it as The Walkmen took the stage and blasted into “All Hands and the Cook.” Singer Hamilton Leithauser sent a pissed-off glare into the crowd at no one in particular, as Pete Bauer (who vaguely resembled Pete Townshend) was plagued by keyboard problems. With their detached demeanor, the band cared little to rouse the insipid crowd. But with the group so entranced in their work, they couldn’t have sounded better. The new songs from A Hundred Miles Off (“Lost in Boston,” “Tenley-Town”) proved more aggressive and concise in a live setting, and the older stuff (“Wake Up,” “Revenge Wears No Wristwatch”) sounded fresher than ever. The crowd did spark for “The Rat,” but we called that from a mile away. With the night nearing end, The Walkmen invited a guest trumpeter onstage to play “Louisiana,” but the crowd—much like the drunk couple earlier—seemed removed, tired and focused on something other than the moving performance. The soberest crowd in town The only venue in town that doubles as a skate park, RCKTWN provides an all-ages, alcohol-free environment that welcomes mostly suburbanite teens who like to spend their Saturday nights sipping energy drinks and surfing the Internet with friends. Oh, and there’s music, too. Last Saturday night, the unflinchingly stiff crowd stood with arms folded, awkwardly clapping between songs out of what seemed like a sense of obligation rather than sincere appreciation. The crowd of two dozen was so silent that the tuning of unamplified guitars between songs was clearly audible across the room during opener THE NOTION’s 30-minute set. Next up was REDFLECKS, whose uninspired ’80s revival angst-pop did little to awaken the statue-like crowd. By the time pop-punkers BLACK SUNDAY took the stage, all but five members of the audience had left or migrated to the lounge on the floor above the stage. The most fun that The Spin had all night was at the GALAGA/MS. PACMAN machine in the lobby, which cost $4.75 less than the cover for the evening. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? The other kind of cuts JON RANDALL probably groaned as loud as anyone when discovering SONY MUSIC would merge with BMG. Randall never hid his displeasure over his wasted years in the BMG system in the ’90s, so it probably wasn’t the biggest surprise when the new corporate behemoth announced he’d been dropped from the roster. Since he’s currently working on a duet album with another Sony artist, his girlfriend JESSI ALEXANDER, her departure was hardly surprising. Other cuts include new artists JAMEY JOHNSON from the BMG roster, and JACE EVERETT and SUSAN HAYNES from the Sony side. The troubling thing is that both Randall and Alexander made interesting, adventurous albums that broke out of the stale formula currently strangling new Music Row artists, and their dismissals don’t bode well for where this merger mania is taking country music. Hopefully they’ll get some good songs out of it; after all, Randall got the idea for the award-winning hit “Whiskey Lullaby,” which he co-wrote with BILL ANDERSON, after he went on a bender the first time he got cut from a major. In a stroke of fateful timing, Randall and Alexander perform Saturday at the Bluebird Cafe with GARY NICHOLSON and JOHN SCOTT SHERRILL. Spider vs. Pet Yahoo Music apparently has Music City fever. Every month they offer visitors the opportunity to pick their favorite up-and-comer for their “Who’s Next?” music section. Going head-to-head this month in a Nashvegas cage match are the PINK SPIDERS and BE YOUR OWN PET—oh, and Boston pop-metal shredders Damone and Halifax. (Wait, that band from the Real World Austin who flirted with Mel and pissed off Danny? Yes!) To cast your vote, or hate, visit music.yahoo.com/promotions/whosnext. Mirror, mirror In the latest adventure of local rock bands getting snapped up by the big time, the rumors that BANG BANG BANG had five deals on the table may now kindly drop out of circulation. BBB have confirmed the band will sign with Sony/Daylight Records, home to bands like Good Charlotte and Phantom Planet. According to drummer NEIL MASON, “We’re going to be writing and doing recordings here the next few months, and we’ll continue to tour the country throughout the fall like we have been.” OK local rock warriors, who’s next? Not just plain folk The lineup has just been announced for the third annual AMERICANA FOLK FESTIVAL, which sets up camp in the lovely environs of Dickson’s Montgomery Bell State Park on Saturday, Oct. 21. The third edition of AFF (now co-produced by the Nashville Scene and Kaleidoscope Media) will feature its strongest lineup yet: headliner PATTY GRIFFIN, MINDY SMITH, JOSH ROUSE, BLUE MOTHER TUPELO, OLD BLACK KETTLE, ANDREA ZONN, THAD COCKRELL, KIM RICHEY, THE AVETT BROTHERS, SCOTT SIMONTACCHI and about 20 other roots rock, folk and bluegrass acts. In its short two-year history, the event has become a favorite among performers and fans, for both the intimate vibe and the idyllic surroundings. Tickets go on sale Aug. 15. For more information, visit www.americanafolkfestival.com. Email music news and scandalous gossip to thespin@nashvillescene.com.

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