The case of the missing BeDazzler We got to The Basement at 9:45 p.m. Friday night for SausageFest, a seemingly appropriate arrival time for a "festival," only to find that most of the performers had yet to arrive. It was just us, 20 or so other patrons and about 100 hot dogs. Was this going to be a show or just a cookout? After nearly an hour of waiting around, we got our answer as Nashville's own poet laureate Chris Crofton took the stage, not as a stand-up, but with his Alcohol Stuntband. A Billy Bragg of funny, Crofton kept us thoroughly entertained nonetheless with lyrical topics such as his willingness to make a woman climax before going to jail, his sweet lamentation of the death of John Denver and his indictment of hipster gentrification—"Dickerson Pike." Just as it seemed that this festival of masculinity was getting underway, it was swiftly emasculated by what has to be one of the greatest mis-bookings of all-time. Asheville's Stephanie's Id bewildered the crowd of Pabst-chugging, hot-dog eating satanists with their female singer, who evoked none other than Stevie Nicks with her scarf-adorned mic stand and fabric twirling. The whole shebang was backed by a band that sounded like Coldplay meets Sigur Rós, or any other thoroughly non-rocking combination thereof. This is when the SausageFest briefly became the Lilith Fair, at least until The Mattoid, appearing as a duo, busted into "Cocksuckers." We were brought back to our carnivorous potent selves, Ville Kiviniemi's masturbatory gestures and phallic references finally cleansing our palate of that earlier stylistic detour. At damn near 2 a.m., four long hours of drinking had taken its toll, not only on us but on the talent: Local trio Radio Death Wave's set of East Bay punk had its fair share of spirited drunken train wrecks. Last up were Hurts to Laugh, whose monstrous stoner-rock epics about death, getting high and suicide paired gloriously with the jazz cigarette we'd partaken in earlier near the premises. At the end of the night, as sort of an afterthought, turns out the Ms. SausageFest contest had come to its conclusion. There were probably 14 people in the room at this point, and if you were just a random person there you'd have had no idea there was even any contest going on. Suddenly a new Ms. SausageFest was crowned, only to find that her prize, a BeDazzler, had been stolen.
Pure Ween When the first song that comes blaring off the stage at a rock show is called "Don't Shit Where You Eat," you know you're in for a good night. And so it was last week at City Hall: No waiting out the opening act, no diluted concert experience, just a blown-vein shot in the arm of pure Ween from the moment the alt-rock Muzak cut off and the main lights blacked out. And as far as half-drunk, sweaty crowds go, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more appreciative audience. Not only was the show utterly sold out, but it was a rare sight to see such a diverse crowd—shaggy D&D shut-ins and sun-dressed gals alike—keep step for step with practically every word. As likely to shred a guitar with pseudo-acid metal face-melters as tread the ether with New Age keyboard solos and two-step cowpunk, Ween had a free-for-all license to cram as many songs as possible into a two-and-a-half-hour set. They stomped out "Learnin' to Love" from last year's La Cucaracha as gleefully as "Sorry Charlie," a nod to their '91 album The Pod, with a midset rendition of "My Own Bare Hands" for a sure high point. Of note was a special appearance from Nashville session artist Bobby Ogdin, who had backed Ween in '96 for 12 Golden Country Greats (recorded in Music City), and manned the keys for a pair of honky-tonk wood-buffers. If by the close of '08 this show doesn't stand out as one of Nashville's best moments in music for the year, it would be a harsh snub, indeed. But then again, 1,500 Ween fans have all the assurance they need already.
Illin' is their business, and business is good
We shouldn't have been surprised when we got to the Exit/In Friday night. We knew Tyzayah Gold-Kiser and the Combined Visions crew had a reputation for taking their hip-hop productions to the next level, stepping it up from a local cipher to a full-blown show—all caps, no-bullshit SHOW—and Friday night was no different. This party was dubbed Strictly Business, and they were not mincing words, as evidenced by the stage-to-ceiling video screens, graff-a-delic psych-e-fitti animations and badass beats all night long. The attendance could have been a little better, but these are tough financial times and we're not sure if the city knew how much bang they would be getting for their 8 bucks. We're also not sure if we would trade anything for the near-perfect vibe coming from the comfortably air-conditioned and celebratory crowd—it was like everybody was having the best birthday ever on the same day in the same room. Or the bartenders were mixing our Cape Cods really strong—either way, it was awesome. Local MCs Crisis and Just One made us want to wax philosophical about the past, present and future of Southern rap, block-rockin' our noggins with ill beats, tight rhymes and strong stage presence. The crew from Virginia, including Max Mega, Battle, future superstar Ced Hughes and former Murfreesboroan/original member of Ghostfinger DJ Berk Visual, need to get their asses back here soon, 'cause our minds were blown to the back of the club, out the back door and around the block like some Iranian Photoshop shit. And to close out the night, Wick-It and Kidsmeal's "Twenty Fingers" proved that they are no longer just local DJs, but rather cut 'n' scratch conquistadors primed for global conquest. Strictly business, indeed.
If you have any information you'd like to send us on the missing Ms. SausageFest BeDazzler while wishing to remain anonymous, please contact us at email@example.com.
It's not because he's black, altho his being black & throwing it in our face…
Guys it's because he's black.
Damn good band. Wish they'd release that mashup as an mp3 or something, it's cool.
Chuck Mead is one Nashville's top 10 treasures. BR-549's performances at Robert's were a key…