Please allow me to waste a minute of your precious time to gush about the music selections at Strangeways on Fitzhugh. This isn’t about food or alcohol; we have more than enough critical firepower in that arena, and I gave up on my anonymous food blog idea years ago. If you want to know, however, it was to be called “Prison Breakfast,” inspired by the rumor that Collin County Jail served herbal tea to its inmates.
This also isn’t about diversity in musical selection. The dusty old jukebox at everyone’s favorite dive is a well-worn cliche, and though it’s not unwelcome, this isn’t about that.
It’s about Morrissey’s “deep cuts.” And plenty of them. The other night it started with “Girl Least Likely To,” and I was pleased.
Then it moved on to “Margaret on the Guillotine.” “Wow,” I thought silently to myself, “An album closer.” I say silently, because my company made it quite clear that she was not impressed by anything Morrissey-related in the slightest. I had to maintain my composure, so as not to become completely annoying.
This is about Morrissey, by the way. Not those pesky Smiths, with the overly busy playing of Johnny Marr, always rudely chiming his way all over Esteban’s lyrics, like a set of wind-chimes slingshot out of a cuckoo clock.
Finally, I heard “How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?” which is so cynical, profane, and minor-key, it’s the opposite of a hit single. That was the revelatory moment when I realized I ultimately cared very little for craft beers, foreign brews, or the perfectly dirty martini. No, I only care about the singular vision, that special tyranny that is involved when the right person gets to be completely indulgent, dominating a playlist with little regard for public consumption.
That’s a beautiful thing. Play the right couple of artists, or just one artist all night, and you could serve nothing but Steel Reserve and Big Flats 1901 for all I care.
The few times it’s not Morrissey, then it seems like it’s always another couple of favorites, New Order or Glass Candy. Completely acceptable alternatives.
I promise not to talk about Morrissey again until November. I just really had to get this out.
“Summer Lovers” with DJ G/George Quartz (Texas Theatre): In case you missed the last call on two of the best summer mixes posted yesterday, this tongue-in-cheek event is running away with the season-ending theme. Showcasing the best soft and “yacht rock” from these two well-known faces and their respectively deep collections. It almost fills the void that exists due to Mesquite ISD’s 88.5 KEOM DJ’s not having their own night.
But here’s the thing: It’s only tongue-in-cheek when you’re sharing drink space with the tiny umbrella. DJ G and George Quartz are being dead serious.
Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Neeks/Ethereal & The Queer Show (City Tavern): Wonderfully odd lineup, especially with the unpredictable Neeks, who have even been known to have local trouble maker (and crowd banter olympian) Julie Mckendrick of Vulgar Fashion onstage to help out with Neeks’ preposterously humorous rapping and dancing.
Balmorhea/Telegraph Canyon/Seryn (Club Dada): Balmorhea stands out from the other two headliners specifically for what they don’t do. Even for a fairly large ensemble, they lack all of the bombast of both Telegraph Canyon and Seryn, however they are no less atmospherically expansive. The ever-busy group has just released a live album, entitled Live at Sint-Elisabethkerk, which was released on September 6, once again via Austin’s Western Vinyl imprint.
Also performing tonight are Bethan, G0ld Beach, and Mission to the Sea. Bethan is the newest addition to the quickly growing Spune Roster, and features Novaak’s Jessi James. Bethan’s single, entitled “Vague,” sounds somewhat like a singer-songwriter project if it were produced by King Tubby. Not what I was expecting, and that’s never a bad thing. At times, the artist’s weathered and longing tone coupled with the spare arrangements comes off like Sam Phillips, which is also never an issue.
Mission to the Sea will feature multi-talented keyboardist and Cool Out DJ Adam Pickrell this evening, who is a boost to any group with which he comes into contact.
“Strange Ways” featuring DJ Mudi/DJ Joel (Strangeways): Now just go ahead and throw this record on in its entirety, and this night will be complete. Sometimes all you need is a total lack of subtlety. See tribute above.
Vinyl Custom Show featuring Blake Ward (Zeus Comics and Collectibles): Centering on the rather enthusiastic world of vinyl toy collecting, this show includes creations from the likes of such well-known artists as Buff Monster and James O’Barr, along with assorted locals. Let me just say that you don’t see enough shows at comic shops. This might be the first I’ve ever mentioned.
Sans Soleil/My Education/Terminator 2/A Smile Full of Ale (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Quick burn for you: How are the dark, goth-loving founders of Gutterth going to host a show, when a James O’Barr-related event is happening in Dallas on the same night?
Final Club/Bad Times/County Lines/Mana Leak (1919 Hemphill): Promotional materials for this event were “dad themed,” as the event was called “Dad Rock Night,” so it had the event’s publicity czar offering some comical asides about each group. The highlight (describing the group Bad Times):
If your dad’s idea of punk means that he had a Talking Heads record and MAYBE one Blondie record, then this is as punk as it gets!
I almost relate to that, but it was my mom that was the punk by these standards. Bad Times is the project of former area musician Alex Atchley, who has since moved on to the Pacific Northwest. Bad Times is quite different from Atchley’s nerdy electronic solo-act, and instead features a much more straightforward take on melodic yet rough-around-the-edges rock music. For some odd reason, the band takes special exception to Peter Hook. But that’s okay. He’s not touring with the aforementioned New Order anyway.
Austin’s Mana Leak will be making their first appearance tonight, and that act includes former Angry Businessmen guitarist, Trey Greer. Greer was on shaky artistic ground at the time by adding guitar to something I felt was fine as-is, and a guitar is almost never the solution in an aesthetically placid soundscape. Greer’s playing proved thematically surfy enough however, to avoid being too sonically cumbersome. The name of this group is an RPG reference, so I’m a bit concerned. But ,since Greer has proven himself in uphill battles of the past already, I’m inclined to trust him and so should you.
Machine Gun Vendetta/Stymie/Special Guest/The Empty Dots (The Phoenix Project): Note: Homecoming show for Stymie, who are just returning from tour. I feel like I’ve typed that a few times in my life. Good for them.
Lil Wayne/Rick Ross/Keri Hilson/Far East Movement (Gexa Energy Pavilion): The ticket contest we ran for this yesterday is one of the few times I wished I wasn’t involved with FrontRow, since it automatically disqualified me from winning. Though everyone disputes his claim to be the “greatest rapper of all time,” he’s just fine when he sticks to rap and avoids the rock tendencies. He’s simply too good of a rapper to waste his time with that, since he tends to choose heavily-distorted sounds from the Late 90’s. I wouldn’t mind some spiky Post Punk riffs from Wayne every now and then. As if he cares what any of us think.
Spacebeach/Deep Snapper/Falvo (Pastime Tavern): Live debut for Falvo aka John Falvo, the former guitarist for Embolization and Resigned to Fate before that. Though the musician is known mainly for impossibly speedy double-picked riffs, this is his largely synth-based solo project.
Lost Generation (Arcade Bar): This reliable weekly celebrates its one-year anniversary at the current location, with performances by the experimental horn-laden sound of Swirve, the skewed futurist pop of Diamond Age, “Laptop Deathmatch” veteran and Autechre-approved solo artist Cygnus, and DJ EWI. And of course, Wanz Dover.
For other weekend events, go here.