Sad to hear that Jason Molina, the earnest-voiced leader of Songs:Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., has passed away. Henry from Chunklet — who has written passionately about Molina's alcohol problems before — wrote some heartfelt things about the man.
Deathfix is the current band of Brendan Canty (Fugazi). Also on the bill are Dubpixel with Robin Bell and Wigwams.The video is by Mat Hoffman, the bike dude my old pair of Vans were named after.
Tonight, Fri., March 15, 9 p.m., $10, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 877-435-9849, johnnybrendas.com.
Featuring: Charli XCX, Disclosure, Free Energy, some Zombies, some Muscle Shoals guys, Lianne Le Havas, Mikal Cronin, D E N A , Bernie Worrell, Action Bronson, Rustie and lots more.
Another glorious blur of a day here in Austin. I love whizzing through town, hearing the non-stop aural patchwork of every musical style imaginable pouring out of practically every club in town (which is seemingly at least half of the buildings). This is who I heard (and saw) Thursday, in the spaces between those audio-montage bike rides, together forming their own musical crazy-quilt.
Mount Moriah at The Stage on Sixth Patio, 12:30 p.m.
Solid, tuneful country-rock band recently signed to Merge, which makes more sense when you see what they look like — they’re definitely the indie-hipster sort of country-rockers, though probably to their credit you wouldn’t know it just to hear them. (It also makes sense because they’re from Durham.) They’ve definitely got some Allman Brothers flava in the guitar leads too. They were good! But honestly 12:30 feels like a very long time ago. (BTW: Mount Moriah plays Johnny Brenda’s March 26.)
Blank Tapes at Rusty’s, 1 p.m.
L.A. band playing retro, garage-y rock. I liked the minimalist front-of-stage two-drum kit. Also, one of the four members seemed to only be playing auxiliary percussion (maracas, tambourine), though maybe he does other stuff sometime. Seeing shows at SXSW makes you (well, okay, me) think about the utility economics of band composition — like, what does it really add to have that additional fourth, or fifth, or sixth member? In this case, three out of the four sang in harmony — that’s some good value!
First Jay Z’s 40/40 Club in Atlantic City announces it’ll stay shuttered for good (they battened down the hatches during Hurricane Sandy and never re-opened since), Now comes word that Sammy Hagar’s AC outlet, Sammy’s Beach Bar is dead in the water. Mr. Can’t Drive 55 can’t come to an agreement with Caesars Hotel and Casino Entertainment group. Word has it that Hagar will look to other area casinos for a partner. You saw how things worked out between Hag and Eddie van Halen, so there’s that.
Brittany Lynn is a drag revolutionary, being that she was the first ever drag Mummer. At the very least, she is the tallest of Philly’s drag doyennes. Tonight, March 14, Lynn will host “Get Sacked” at Sugarhouse Casino starting at 6 pm. Nothing dirty. Philly’s LGBT athletes will join Lynn, her Drag Mafia and the Andre Richards Salon for a night of good clean gown-wearing frolic.
FEATURING: Kitten, Body Parts, Caitlin Rose, Jacco Gardner, FIDLAR, Sky Ferreira, Brooke Waggoner, Autre Ne Veut at lots more.
Kitten at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:10 p.m.
Awesome awesome awesome wake-up surprise. Poppy thrashy glammy punk band from L.A., whose front-lady (Chloe Chaidez) is very obviously the source of their moniker. It suits her in just about every sense — she’s tiny, frisky, young and restless, also damn near feral, a non-stop ball of energy in shiny skin-tight jeggings and bronze glitter eyelashes (plus a complicated multi-layer lacy top scenario). Vamping, gyrating, flailing her hair, sinking to her knees, shaking her ass at the photog, jumping off the Marshall stack. The rest of the band did their darnedest to match her energy too, not that it was any contest. I could try to remember more about what they sounded like, but clearly that wasn’t the point.
Cayucas at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:30 p.m.
This is who I’d actually come to see. Fresh-faced, Vampire Weekend-looking (and -sounding) sunny guitar-pop guys. Some nice polyrhythms in their vaguely tropical-ish self-titled set-opener [self-titled songs: always a good idea], and the other couple they played were nice and bouncy enough, but nothing really stood out like the NPR-endorsed earworm that got me there, the super-catchy “High School Lover.” Which they didn’t play because they ran out of time after three songs (they keep ’em short ‘n’ sweet at Cheer Up). Then again, I have the mp3 so I guess that’s okay.
Body Parts at Cheer Up Charlies, 1:50 p.m.
Another happy discovery. This LA five-piece had everything you’d want from a standard-issue dancy indie-pop outfit, but even more on top of it: nifty three-part harmonies, an extra-tight, extra-funky rhythm section, amusingly deadpan yet friendly banter, thoughtful song structures and maybe most unusually (at least for something to notice upon first blush) smart and intriguing lyrics. Made me think of both of Montreal and Talking Heads at various points. Could get interesting.
“Happiness bleeds,” growls Cleaver.
“All over,” comes in Lisa Walker high and sweet.
“You and me,” returns Chuck, this time with an adlibbed “motherfucker” that signals both the lyric’s specificity and diffuseness. Funny for one, painful for another, real for all, which if you know them is standard Wussy.
The most underappreciated band (say I and all members of the tribe) of our young century is smoothing out the edges, hitting the road with purpose, and noising up as they go. New drummer Joe Klug pushes the pre-Strawberry stuff into a new context, insisting the band’s melodic beauty can rock with abandon. He beats their sonic forms into new shapes, giving their sound a new almost tactile quality. The addition of Klug and old Ass Pony John Erhardt on steel guitar turn the once plaintive “Hairbrained Horse” into a cri de coeur, infuse pretty ditty “Maglite” with punky din, and blow up Strawberry cut “Pizza King” into an explosion of drum and drone.
FEATURING: The Soil and the Sun, Divine Fits, Chelsea Light Moving, Shugo Tokumaru, Marnie Stern, Azari & III, Icona Pop, Nicolas Jaar, an endless ribbon of bats and lots more.
Austin’s blowing up. The city is expanding rapidly — it was the second fastest growing city in the nation last year — and it’s easy to see. (And easy to see why.)
The quick driving tour my buddy gave me after I touched down on Monday offered abundant visible evidence of the town’s growing pains. The plaza where I did some yoga and thrift-shopping last year; the dusty food-truck-filled lot where we’d grubbed at the end of each night; multiple former sites of installations and pop-up venues: all now new, in-construction condo developments.
South by Southwest, the city’s annual orgy of hyperactive media saturation and corporate sponsorship, is bloating, too. For the first time this year, the official music conference stretches across five days instead of four, now taking over Tuesday night, and the unquantifiable slew of attendant goings-on means this thing is practically a full week. (Not even mentioning the film and interactive portions.) My M.O. for this year, in part to ward off the 20 percent increased risk of burnout with that extra day, is to really, really let it be low-key. Pace myself. Enjoy it. Not worry about which of the hundred-squillion bands I might be missing at any given moment. And, overall, not to get — as Hundred Waters’ drummer so aptly quipped this evening (can’t believe I’ve never come up with it before) — South-by-South-Stressed. Also, to focus on bands I’ve never seen before, especially those that are completely new to me.
So far so good. It’s Tuesday night (only Tuesday, it’s felt necessary to keep reminding myself) — and I’ve already had well over 24 busy hours of show-going, despite getting late starts both yesterday and today.
Dancefloor Diplomacy — featuring City Paper writer Jakob Dorof — is back with its second song, and it's a crazy rick-moody, trip-horror, collagit-prop (yeah, I'm making these up) piece of work. You may remember their only other release, last year's "We Are Ready," well this one's even deeper and darker and the "samples" are harder to ID. Zomby did the beats. Fashion label En Noir did the visuals. Vice did an interview with Dancefloor Diplomacy and it's a good one.
Philly standup veteran Mike Rainey is releasing his first book, Terrible Advice on Amazon. He kicked off the self-published book release with a show at The Arts Parlor last Friday with performances by Philly’s Phunniest winners Tommy Pope and James Hesky. The seeds for Terrible Advice were planted when Rainey was flipping through a self-help book, and found the advice to be so awful it demanded a satirical retort. Instead of a soothing new-age narrator, he found it fun to write from the point of view of a world-class jerk-off.
We asked Rainey what’s the worst piece of advice he’s ever received. “A coworker handed me a mason jar full of grain alcohol, along with a bottle of Snapple. He said to mix the grain with the iced tea to cover up the smell in case I wanted to drink it on the ride home from work. I did not, partially because it’s a terrible idea to drink grain alcohol and drive, and also because the gent who gave it to me had a gold front tooth.”
And the flip side? “The worst advice I’ve ever given was telling the mother of my three children that I’m incapable of impregnating a woman. She fell for it all three times.”
The Delco behavior-support specialist for at-risk youth has been putting fundraisers together via Comedians For A Cause for the past three years with fellow comic Joe Mayo. “We have raised money for reputable organizations such as Autism Speaks, Easter Seals, and St. Jude’s Hospital. We also have done fundraisers for individuals who have needed financial assistance due to medical or tragic circumstances. If we hear of anyone with a worthwhile cause, then we’ll do everything we can to raise money and awareness for them, free of charge.”
Since its inception in 2001, DysFUNctional Theater has shone a light on some of the more obscure plays about female experience. While The Vagina Monologues is anything but obscure at this point — being performed every year at thousands of venues and college campuses around the world — it’s still a natural fit for the folks at DysFUNctional. The monologues in question deal with all aspects of having, and owning, that previously un-talked-about body part, whether it be orgasm, sexual abuse, menstruation, or birth. For the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the global anti-violence event of which The Vagina Monologues is only a part, a new campaign called One Billion Rising will ask audience members to rise up and dance in support of the one billion women who will experience violence in their lifetimes.
Sun., March 10, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., $10, The Rotunda at Penn, 4014 Walnut St., 215-573-3234, dysfunctionaltheater.com.
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