How does one really save rock ’n’ roll? And who really wants the responsibility? Rock ’n’ roll’s long past saving and well into its midlife crisis. Nonetheless, the idealists and the true believers have given this job to The Strokes, and damn if this group haven’t come pretty close to fulfilling it. Unlike our last rock saviors Nirvana, who married punk’s adrenaline rush and The Beatles’ irrepressible melodicism, this young New York quintet are drawing from the artier side of punk’s past. On their too brief debut Is This It, you can hear The Velvet Underground’s metronomic minimalism, Tom Verlaine’s and Richard Lloyd’s stinging guitar solos, Iggy Pop’s disaffected roar, Elvis Costello’s clever songcraft, Wire’s angular rhythm guitars and the Buzzcocks’ emotional rush. But despite their blatant plundering, the thing that sets The Strokes apart from every other “next big thing” is that they sound like they’re actually going somewhere. With any luck, they’ve got five more records’ worth of good ideas to explore. And after several years of one-hit or one-album wonders in rock music, that’s pretty damned exciting news. To boot, they are also the first band in years to have some effortless rock star charisma. Will they save rock ’n’ roll? Nah. Could they make you fall in love with it all over again? Absolutely.
reggae blowout feat. heavyweight sound system Thank Jah there’ll be a good excuse to get out of the house Thanksgiving night: The local reggae DJ collective Heavyweight Sound System take over the cozy Pub of Love, offering heavy riddims courtesy of DJ Bakra, DJ Shortstroke and DJ Spill of Phase Selector Sound. They’ll be joined on the mic by Jamaican MC Milo. The deep grooves start at 9:30 p.m.
Burning Brides The week’s onslaught of Pennsylvania rock begins with this battering but surprisingly tuneful Philadelphia power trio, featuring singer/guitarist Dimitri Coats and bassist Melanie Campbell. They met at Juilliard, which doesn’t explain the terse, tightly wound garage psychedelia of their CD Fall of the Plastic Empire; at best, powered by the rumble of Mike Ambs’ drumming, they have some of the explosive dynamics that made the early Pixies records so exciting. They perform at The End with The Shams and Good People.
Friday, 23rd-Saturday, 24th
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band w/The Nashville Symphony Orchestra The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has kept interest in traditional New Orleans music alive over 40 years, bringing audiences their spirited mix of rags, spirituals, stomps and vintage tunes. The group’s style accents collective improvisation, short selections and nimble phrases and musical passages, while limiting solos and instrumental extravagance. They’ll be appearing both Friday and Saturday night with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for 8 p.m. shows at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall. The most recent editions of the band have included dynamic trumpeter Wendell Brunious and banjo ace Don Vappie, but personnel changes are as much a part of the group’s history as their venerable repertoire.
Elliston Square 20th Anniversary Reunion If you were a rock ’n’ roller in Nashville in the early 1980s, or just a fan, you spent many a night in Tommy Smith’s Rock Block listening room Elliston Squareeven if you can’t remember them now. The ever colorful Smith sold the club in the late ’80s, but not before securing Elliston Square’s place in the history of Nashville rock. This weekend, at his new club The Works (formerly The Inferno), Smith hosts a reunion for anyone who ever played or attended Elliston Square back in the day. On hand will be members of the city’s rock ’n’ roll royalty circa 1985: Jason & the Scorchers, Walk the West, Royal Court of China, The Dusters, The Questionnaires, The Manikenz, The Boilers, Jet Black Factory, In Pursuit. There’ll even be a set by proto-Goth rockers Guilt. Pioneering Nashville rock impresario Rick Champion is flying in from Kansas City, where Smith says he teaches at a Catholic high school, and Smith expects a visit from the club’s famed doorman, Mike “Iron Man” Robinson, who’s now a Metro cop and church deacon. The show starts 7 p.m. at The Works, 629 3rd Ave. S.; to get in touch with Smith, call 252-4872.
Keely Zoo/Dave Cloud & the Gospel of Power/Chris Crofton, the Alcohol Stuntman NYC émigré Chris Crofton seems to have set himself to the Herculean task of draining North America of beer, and he sings about little elsewhich makes his CD The Alcohol Stuntman (Stylus) alternately hilarious, morbid and forthrightly pathetic. On tracks like “Thong Song” and “Darwin,” he plays sloshed fuck-up cousin to the Beck of Mellow Gold, and his dregs-of-the-keg whine brings out the sodden truth in lines as naked as, “Maybe I have felt good, and I didn’t know what it was.” Crofton performs 9:30 p.m. at Springwater with Dave Cloud (whose recent shows have reportedly been amazing) and Kansas City’s Keely Zoo, whose Fingerdonkey CD includes a self-indulgent rock opera called Bad Ass Car Crash and an entire second disc of bonus material filled with thrash and twang.
The Kinleys These twin sisters trade in an ebullient, and consistently winning, brand of country that owes as much to pop as to twang. As is often the case with kin, harmonies are their specialty, but better still is their choice of materialbetter-than-average songs from the Nashville hit mill that speak to the living and loving most normal folk actually do. The duo play a rare club show at 3rd & Lindsley.
Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane These Dead Reckoners, they of the local indie collective Dead Reckoning Records, are probing, literate songwriters who at this point in their careers are more concerned with illuminating quotidian truths than selling huge numbers of records. They’re also good friends and, as the live album they released last year attests, they share a singular rapport onstage. Welch and Kane return to the Bluebird Cafe.
Jen Foster A relocated Texan who’s been writing recently with BTO’s Randy Bachman, Foster has commercial aspirations as fierce as her enunciation on her indie CD Ordinary Girl. She’s got passion and drama and radio-ready production to spare, yet her arena ambitions push her to strain for Cher/Alanis-like vocal theatrics that expose the empty strutting of a tune like “Taken.” But the promise is there in her own words: “When I grow up I want to be myself.” A strong club draw, Foster plays the Exit/In with The Early Evening and Green Rode Shotgun.
Bruce Michael Miller Before moving to Nashville, singer-songwriter Miller was active in the L.A. club scene, both as a headliner and as a sideman in the band of former Doors drummer John Densmore, among others. Miller’s forthcoming solo debut is a thoughtful, heart-on-sleeve affair reminiscent of the mid-’70s records of Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne. He’ll showcase material from the album at the French Quarter Café at 8 p.m.
Benita Hill Whether performing jazz, country or Christmas tunes, this area vocalist is a first-rate interpreter. She’s also one of the finest writers among Nashville singers, and certainly one of the few in either the jazz or pop worlds to have her work recorded by Garth Brooks. She recently rereleased her holiday album, Winter Fire and Snow, which features a new track called “What Will You Give Jesus for Christmas” that pairs her with saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Hill will be the featured attraction 1 p.m. Saturday in the Jazz@Bellevue Center local artist series.
Tony Joe White White is best known for the swamp-pop smash “Polk Salad Annie,” and for writing “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” and “Rainy Night in Georgia,” songs that became hits for Dusty Springfield and Brook Benton, respectively. White’s own career has been one of fits and starts, but lately he’s been enjoying something of a renaissance, first with his 1998 album, One Hot July, and now this year with The Beginning. Something he believes he’s had in him most of his life, The Beginning is a solo acoustic blues record that finds White stomping his foot, scratching out dirty licks on his acoustic guitar, moaning low in his inimitable baritone and, from time to time, blowing on his harp. A brooding, after-hours vibe pervades the proceedings, with White evoking like a cross between Waylon Jennings and John Lee Hooker. He headlines WRLT’s Sunday night series at 3rd & Lindsley.
Essra Mohawk Singer-songwriter Mohawk has amassed some sterling credentials, among them touring stints with Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia and opening slots for Procol Harum, Carol King and Jimi Hendrix, among others. She’s also had songs recorded by Cyndi Lauper, Peabo Bryson and Tina Turner, and her voice was featured during the long ABC network run of “Schoolhouse Rock.” She has penned more than 700 songs and currently has a new LP, Essie Mae Hawk Meets the Killer Groove Band. In addition, proceeds from Mohawk’s new single “Whatever It Takes” will be going to a fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She headlines a special concert that expands this weekend’s Jazz@Bellevue Center lineup.
silent friction/Piebald/Recover/ Serotonin Just as the Lethal Weapon movies added a character in each successive film, the NXT Generation is hosting an augmented sequel this Sunday. Like Murtaugh and Riggs, the schizophrenic hardcore Serotonin and cheerfully pop Silent Friction are back again this week, but added to the bill are Piebald and Recover. Piebald come from the emo-rock school but usually shun the “I’m so lonely” lyrics in favor of Fugazi-like angularity and confrontation. Recover describe themselves as “melodic hardcore”; that probably sets them right in the middle of the genres represented at this show. It also might make them the Joe Pesci of this sequel, but we’ll reserve judgment.
Milemarker/Feable Weiner The Jade Tree record label has one of the most eclectic lineups of any indiea diversity not adequately represented by their biggest acts (Jets to Brazil, Promise Ring, Joan of Arc). They recently snapped up Milemarker and expanded their scope even more. With one foot firmly planted in the angular post-punk of Jawbox and the other in something a little more otherworldly, Milemarker are themselves difficult to sum up. Sharp guitars meet up with loose keyboards. One deadpan male voice collides with a gothy female voice. It’s an odd comborocking, sometimes creepy and rather new wave. Their new CD Anaesthetic has no song titles or labels of any kind. This intriguing anti-pop rock band plays The End, where the lively and altogether pop Feable Weiner open.
Harry Connick Jr. When Harry Connick Jr. emerged from New Orleans as a 19-year-old jazz and blues pianist in 1987, his music had a charm and edge that stamped him as a player with immense promise. Then he began including vocals in the act and immediately was labeled the next Sinatra. The comparison’s accurate only in one way: Both performers have enjoyed success as actors and singers. Connick’s vocals have had neither the charm nor the authority of Sinatra’s finest work, or for that matter the best of Tony Bennett’s or Mel Tormé’s. Yet he remains an above-average pianist, able to execute challenging patterns and deliver authentic Crescent City R&B and aggressive hard bop on the rare occasions when he gets to play unencumbered by ponderous arrangements and sappy orchestrations. Hopefully, he’ll be turned loose at some point during the proceedings at the Ryman Auditorium.
Dan Dowling Guitarist Dowling is equally skilled at intimate, small-group jazz or more contentious blues and R&B material. When heading his band the MetroTones, Dowling ups the intensity level and gears things toward the soulful, upbeat side. The MetroTones can offer stimulating, thought-provoking material one moment, then shift gears and spice things up for the dance crowd. They’ll probably be doing both during their gig at 3rd & Lindsley, along with Strategy featuring Landon Stubblefield.
Trans Am Fresh off a two-week U.K. tour with The Fucking Champs in support of the two groups’ recently released collaborative EP Double Exposure, D.C.-based band Trans Am continue to drive across the country. And though the Champs won’t be on the bill this week at The End, Trans Am on their own pack plenty of Hobie surf trunks-covered cock-rock swagger with their keyboard-dominated approachone that few electronic groups convincingly pull off. Word is TransChamps (the two bands’ collaborative moniker) will be playing here next year, probably in support of their forthcoming album. And if it’s anything like the EPthink Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time minus the historical settings and Egyptology-meets-Phillip K. Dick motifsit’ll be something to put on your calendar.
Robert Mirabal Born and raised at Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, Native American singer, dancer and flutist Mirabal has been making records of vision and depth since 1995. His latest, the soundtrack to Music for a Painted Cave, a PBS concert that features Mirabal and his band Rare Tribal Mob, is a summation of sorts. Mixing reworked originals and new material, the group’s performances draw on pop, rock and hip-hop, as well as a dazzling array of Hawaiian, Japanese, Latin, Celtic and African sources. At the center of the experience is the music, dancing and storytelling that are Mirabal’s birthright. He and his group will perform their latest work at Middle Tennessee State University’s Tucker Theatre at 7 p.m.
Catawompus/Roger Local Southern rock band Catawompus play 12th & Porter, with an opening set by Murfreesboro semi-supergroup Roger. The former produce a loud, energized Dixie boogie, perhaps overly influenced by thudding funk. Roger have ties to Glossary, Self and The Katies, and will likely play some new rendition of the singular indie rock purveyed by those three bands.
GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Concert Nashville’s long and distinguished heritage in gospel music will be reaffirmed Tuesday night when the Gospel Music Association inducts this year’s Hall of Fame class. The select list includes Elvis Presley, a superb gospel performer much better known for his exploits in other styles, and the legendary Albertina Walker, a powerhouse singer who also founded the Caravans. Others being inducted include Keith Green, Larry Norman, Kurt Kaiser, Doris Akers, The Rambos and Wendy Bagwell & The Sunliters. Among the featured presenters and/or performers are Dr. Bobby Jones and The Nashville Super Choir, Shirley Caesar, Phil Keaggy, Billy Ray Hearn, Jessy Dixon, Bill & Gloria Gaither, Gary Chapman, Vestal Goodman, George Beverly Shea, the Oak Ridge Boys, dc Talk, Ralph Emery, Joe Moscheo, Gordon Stocker and Lisa Marie Presley. The event is being held at the People’s Church, 828 Murfreesboro Road in Franklin, beginning at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 599-7746.
Stinking Lizaveta/Trophy/Slipshaft Prog rock and punk had a baby, and they called it Stinking Lizaveta. Hopelessness and Shame was the title of this monster Philadelphia power trio’s Steve Albini-produced debut, which exhibits neither emotion; instead, guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos wields his ax like a sonic shredder over the jazzy bass lines of his brother Alexi, while the drum kit cowers before skin-smashing Valkyrie Cheshire Agusta. If the comparisons to Hendrix in his heyday are at all apt, their live show at Springwater shouldn’t be missed. Opening acts are Trophy and Slipshaft, who have reportedly not only re-formed for this gig but rehearsed.
Sponge/Mattie Groves One of the first balladic grunge bands signed in the wake of Pearl Jam’s superstardom, Sponge have been refining their smart hard rock sound for the past five years while second-generation copycats have sprung up, ripped off the original style, added strings and drippy romantic lyrics, and scored VH1 hits. Opening for Sponge at the Exit/In are Mattie Groves, a dark-hued folk rock band who frequently play Nashville and who might have one of those VH1 hits themselves someday.
Casablanca If you’ve been waiting for a chance to ask that special someone out, you’ll rarely have a better occasion. You must remember this: Humphrey Bogart as Rick, the hard-boiled proprietor of the Café Americain, romancing Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsawho, of all the gin joints in the world, had to walk into his. Michael Curtiz’s 1942 melodrama remains irresistible in its mix of rekindled love, exotic intrigue and thinly veiled allegory about the U.S. joining the Allies in World War II; it screens for one week only at the Belcourt starting Friday. See Randy Horick’s appreciation on p. 37.
Downtown 81 Just as Jean Michel Basquiat was becoming the errant darling of the New York art scene, the 19-year-old graffiti artist and painter starred in this legendary lost film from 1981, a snapshot of post-punk/pre-Giuliani New York. Basquiat essentially plays himself, a struggling artist trying to hustle the rent money. His search becomes a travelogue of underground Manhattan, filled with real-life hipsters (including Debbie Harry, Tav Falco, Fab Five Freddie, and Cookie Mueller) and performances by the likes of Kid Creole and the Coconuts and James White and the Blacks. The movie starts a weeklong run at the Belcourt Friday.
Amelie A blockbuster in its native France, this feathery romantic fantasy by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen) applies cartoon-like visuals and sight gags to the story of a good-hearted Parisienne (Audrey Tautou) who brings sunshine to the tangled lives of her neighbors. The comedy opens Friday at Green Hills; also opening this week are Out Cold, Black Knight, and Spy Game.
Audition/Session 9 You still have a day to catch two of the year’s scariest movies: Takashi Miike’s Japanese sensation Audition, in which a middle-aged widower’s scheme to meet women meets with horrifying results; and Brad Anderson’s Session 9, in which a five-man hazmat crew (including NYPD Blue’s David Caruso) finds terror in the crevices of an enormous abandoned asylum. Both movies conclude their runs this week at the Belcourt; consult our Movie Clock for show times.
Best Of Friends Volumes 3 & 4 The second set of DVDs containing episodes of the neo-classic sitcom continues the policy of forgoing complete season-by-season sets in favor of pulling together a handful of the best episodes from across the seasons. While obsessives may grumble at the lost continuity, these inexpensive discs are better for those who crave instant gratification and don’t want to wait a few years for a pristine copy of “The One With All the Resolutions” (wherein the gang all fail to keep their New Year’s promises) or “The One Where Ross Got High” (perhaps the best of the show’s Thanksgiving farces). All four volumes are also now available in a reasonably priced box setperfect for Christmas.
Josie & The Pussycats/ Apocalypse Now Redux From the “can’t leave well enough alone, but maybe it’s all for the best” department come these two new DVD editions of movies that now exist in two versions. The second Josie & the Pussycats DVD of the year offers none of the special features of the earlier release and presents the teenpop satire in a bowdlerized cut. To be honest, the film would’ve been better off as a PG-rated film in the first place, so the only outrage here is that the disc doesn’t give much added value in the way of featurettes and commentaries. The Apocalypse Now Redux DVD is also stripped-down, containing only the longer version of Francis Ford Coppola’s meditation on Vietnam and the human capacity for evil. But then, many consider the new cut to be an improvement on a masterpiece, so perhaps nothing more is required.
Bad Taste/The Stunt Man Anchor Bay Home Video packages some of the best cult films of recent decades onto DVD, often in cool-looking limited edition packaging. Unfortunately, Anchor Bay often doesn’t give collectors much more than a fancy box and a good movie. A case in point is its release of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s early gross-out horror comedy Bad Taste, available on a bare-bones $15 disc or a $30 double-disc set that adds only a 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a nice-looking cardboard case. On the other hand, Anchor Bay is also behind the release of The Stunt Man, again in cheap single-disc and pricier double-disc versions. The difference is that the mind-blowing action farce includes a commentary track (with director Richard Rush and star Peter O’Toole, among others) on both versions, and the reportedly masterful two-hour The Sinister Saga of Making The Stunt Man documentary on the two-discer. Now, that puts the “special” back in “special edition.”
Radio City Christmas Spectacular feat. The Rockettes Yep, those leggy, high-kicking ladies from New York’s Radio City Music Hall are throwing a holiday soiree this year at the Grand Ole Opry House. Dazzling lights, scenery and costumes will surround a cast of nearly 100 performers offering seasonal tableaux, music and, of course, the Rockettes’ renowned precision dancing. Santa will be there too, Nov. 22 through Dec. 30.
CATS Jennyanydots, Rum Tum Tugger, Grizabella, Rumpleteazer, Mr. Mistofflelees, Macavityeveryone’s favorite theatrical feline friends arrive (for the sixth time!) at TPAC’s Jackson Hall Nov. 27 for a six-night engagement. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s poem “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” has been seen by millions worldwide since its 1981 opening in Londonwhere it’s still running today. Might as well add a few thousand Nashvillians to the happy totals. This touring version is the first since the show’s 18-year Broadway run concluded last fall. And say what you will about the script, but the music is darn infectious. (Yes, that includes “Memory.”)
Driving Miss Daisy Alfred Uhry’s beloved modern classic hits the stage at TPAC’s Polk Theater in a production mounted by the Tennessee Repertory Theatre. Rep executive producing director David Grapes will direct the warmly humorous yet also socially aware script, with Karen Grassle, formerly of TV’s Little House on the Prairie, taking the lead role. The play opens Nov. 28 for a run through Dec. 9.
The Gnoo Zoo Christmas Tour First of all, it’s pronounced “guh-noo zoo.” What it is is a live, Broadway musical-style stage show presented by Children of Faith, a national outreach organization developed by Nashville author, singer-songwriter and Dove and Grammy award nominee Sheila Walsh, also known for her work on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and The Family Channel’s Heart to Heart daily talk show. The Saturday, Nov. 24, debut performance at the BellSouth Acuff Theatre is the kickoff of the show’s 20-city tour, in which it will spread a message of God’s unconditional love and presence to children and their parents. Lovable animal characters cavort amid lights, music and amazing stage effects, teaching timeless values like honesty, kindness and forgiveness along the way. In this age of domestic terrorist attacks, it’s not a bad idea.
The Parthenon Looking for something to do with the out-of-town guests after you’ve digested the turkey and watched all the football games? Try showing them Nashville’s own Greek temple and art museum, where you can see the 42-foot statue of Athena by Alan LeQuire and browse the gift shop for unusual and reasonably priced Greek handicrafts. As for contemporary art, there’s a lovely exhibit opening Saturday in the East Gallery featuring works by Anna Jaap. The popular Nashville artist creates very limited-edition monotype prints by hand-pulling images from original designs painted on glass. Her style and subject matter are always approachable, and her technique is pristine. Her exhibit is the latest installment of the Parthenon’s “Signed & Numbered Series,” exploring printmaking and the fine art print. If you’d like to meet the artist, mark your calendar for the official opening reception, 6-8 p.m. Nov. 30.
Arts Center of Cannon County For a different kind of holiday shopping experience, bypass the crowds at the malls and head to the little town of Woodbury, just south of Murfreesboro, for the “Seventh Annual Christmas Boutique.” The boutique features works by over 30 area artistsand there are some exceptional craft artists in the region. You’ll see the intricate white oak baskets for which the area is best known, as well as pottery, jewelry, ornaments, woven items, paintings, sculpture and more. The sale goes on 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Sat. through Dec. 22.
Vickie Nam “Up the volume!” is what Vickie Nam would like to encourage young Asian American women to do. The editor of the best-selling anthology YELL-Oh Girls! will be appearing at Sarratt Cinema Nov. 28 as the keynote speaker for Vanderbilt’s Asian American heritage celebration. The book is a collection of essays and poetry from young Asian American women who follow Nam’s advice to use “creative writing as a form of empowerment.” Powerful figures such as Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) and author Lois Ann Yamanaka also made contributions to the book. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.
Picks written by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Chris Davis, Bill Friskics-Warren, Mark Mays, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Ben Taylor, Angela Wibking, and Ron Wynn
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