Writing about music is not always an easy task. For starters, it’s one of the only subjects with its very own cliche about how pointless it is to even attempt to put it into words. If you have ever typed that “dancing about architecture” bit as a comment anywhere, well, I hope I don’t know you. So I sympathize with my fellow coverers of music when they write up a “Guide For People Not Attending a Big Event in Another City” or “How to Spend a Weekend in Your Own City Without Your Friends Vol. I.” Do we actually need advice on how to conduct ourselves when we’re not doing something? All this really means is that we’ll get a little taste of what it’s like to live in a place like Austin this weekend. I think we can handle it.
Today I’ll be helped by D Magazine intern, Iris Zubair, a former Austin resident and UT graduate. I needed the help this week. I don’t know if you noticed, but there are a lot of shows this weekend and it’s completely overwhelming:
Public Image Ltd./Hello Lover (The Granada): At one point I was concerned over whether or not this show would even happen, since the Granada had originally listed simply “Johnny Rotten” on the Marquis. Public Image Ltd. singer John Lydon has been notoriously prickly over the years, and there is a chance he might not have appreciated his stage name being used from a completely different project, so good to see it was switched.
Lydon’s involvement in earthshaking punk revolutionaries the Sex Pistols was only inversely matched by PIL, since the music was the opposite in many ways: Less brief, more expansive; somehow more European and yet less beholden to predominantly white rock and roll, with a very distinct dub influence. Public Image Limited’s music has retained its potency in a way that much of the mostly traditional punk of the same era has not. It’s still weird and still polarizing, music made by a person who immediately tried to discard his own legacy a mere year after becoming famous. As great as the first blast of punk was, it was even better when it was completely discarded and reassembled in the manner that PIL wonderfully mangled it. And hey, their newest record was far better than one should expect.
Wild//Tribe/Lost Tribe/Akkolyte/Dead Line (LaGrange): A solid hardcore show in a setting that feels less than hardcore (they sell snow cones), but that’s not necessarily a complaint.
Soul Function (The Foundry): Tonight’s guest is Jake Schrock.
Converge/Torche/Kvelertrak/Enabler (Club Dada): Converge were far more artful than many of their contemporaries, who for better or worse were lumped in an often stylistically troublesome genre called metalcore. The metalcore era is long over, thankfully, however Converge is still in demand, which speaks to the group’s tendency to embarrass themselves less than their cheesy peers and the limitations of the genre.
Bob Dylan (Verizon Theatre): Wow, Dylan and Lydon in one night? What did you do to get perhaps the most important antiestablishment figures of the ’60s and ’70s respectively in a single evening, Dallas? For thoughts on everything from Dylan’s Christmas record to his recent violent video, go here.
A$AP Rocky/Schoolboy Q/Danny Brown (House Of Blues): Read our wonderfully informative description from our Events Calendar. Note: Show is sold out, which is not only understandable but it’s also too bad, because this is an excellent lineup.
“Day of The Dead” (1919 Hemphill): A variety of cover bands will honor the memories of their favorite acts, or perhaps disgrace them. One can never know. One of the groups honored tonight will be Guided by Voices, and a nice clip on the event invite page featured this excellent bit of sage wisdom from former schoolteacher and GBV front-person, Bob Pollard:
Hey, kids, let me tell you something that Guided by Voices taught the world: That you can suck and still rule. You can get out of sync…and it doesn’t sound good, but it still rules. That’s what we taught the world…
So true. Remember that, “kids.”
Helio Sequence/Ramona Falls (Dan’s Silver Leaf): More info, including some insight into Helio Sequence’s possible impact on the trajectory of a breakup is available here.
Cult of Youth/Pharmakon/Black Leather Jesus/Corporate Park/Roman Health (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios)
Innards/Two Knights/Two Hand Fools/All Dinosaurs/Itto (J&J’s Pizza): Fenton, Michigan label Count Your Lucky Stars has released a ten-inch record by local act Innards, the subtly titled, I’ve Lost Everything. You’ll be able to purchase one at this show, which is in conjunction with the release of said record.
Marc Broussard (Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House): See Zubair’s interview with Broussard on FrontRow here.
Kreayshawn/Rye Rye/Honey Cocaine/Chippy Nonstop (Palladium): I wish I had more time to dwell on what the rise of Chippy Nonstop means in our current culture, but the clock is ticking today. And lest you think I’m completely joking, consider that she did collaborate with Star Slinger, which is not a bad decision at all. More info here.
Oak Cliff Music Festival (Lake Cliff Park): This is a very appropriate variety of acts for a Kessler-related festival, though I wouldn’t have minded a few surprises. But that element is worth foregoing for Bobby Patterson or Yells at Eels. There’s always next year. For details, go here. Lineup and schedule is as follows:
11:30 am – Jacob Metcalf
Noon – Yells at Eels
12:45 pm – Hunter Hendrickson
1:30 pm – Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat
2:30 pm – Bobby Patterson
3:30 pm – The Lucky Peterson Band
4:45 pm – Carolyn Wonderland
5:45 pm – Alejandro Escovedo
7:30 pm – The Joe Ely Band
Titus Andronicus/Ceremony/Soviet (Tapatio Studios): Earlier this week, DIY venue Tapatio Studios posted a status on its Facebook page that says everything about the times we live in:
Anybody want to help run this show and see it for free?
Let me explain how “free” works, since there seems to be some confusion. “Free” does not involve running a show. That’s work. When you work, you didn’t get anything for free. In fact, the person helping run the show is working for free. As are many people who are involved in music. When you see writers at a show, even writers who are drinking alone on the patio during a boring set, that’s called work. That’s not free. DJs are often asked to drive across town and set up record players and laptops and stand around thinking all night for the “exposure.” Even successful artists who actually get paid have gone broke. These are dark days for the business.
Oh, and about the show: Titus Andronicus once covered Coldplay. I can tell you what free means, but I don’t know if I have a grip on “cool” right about now.
Indian Jewelry/Midnite Society/Strange Towers (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Every act in this lineup is worth seeing, but look out for the brand new, Strange Towers, a self-described “Prog-punk-noise-rock” band from Denton, which features former Record Hop members, Scott Porter, Cory Ward, and Tony Wann, along with the unlikely inclusion of Lars Larsen, he of the Undoing of David Wright and A/V mastermind at LZX Industries. After hearing a preview track this week, the talent on display is enormous and the individual contributions are obvious. Wild analog synth sounds blend seamlessly with a tough rhythm section and dramatic guitar playing. It’s almost exactly what I thought it would sound like, and that’s a good thing.
Minus the Bear/Cursive/Girl in a Coma (House of Blues): Minus the Bear was actually one of my favorite bands a few years ago, and the last time I caught them in San Antonio, I was completely bombarded with teenagers shrieking and people … moshing. How anyone can mosh to this music is beyond me. The place became so crowded, it got to the point where I decided to just listen from outside the venue. I specifically remember hearing somebody say, “I’ve been to GWAR shows that were less rowdy than this.” Will House of Blues be able to handle these unruly Minus the Bear fans? Maybe. Granted, this was around the same time that the group’s third album, entitled Planet of Ice, had reached cult popularity.
Like many others, I eventually dropped off the bandwagon. This was sometime after their repetitive “I’m-living-free-at-the-beach” lyrics seemed even cornier once I found out they were from Seattle. Wishful thinking, perhaps. Maybe they’ve gotten better since then, but I’m not holding my breath. -Iris Zubair
Deerhoof/Liam Finn/Skating Polly/Formica Man (The Prophet Bar): At this point Deerhoof almost feels like a jam band for people with taste, due to the ubiquitous appearances at every festival imaginable. They may not be the complete album crafters they once were, but their endless sleeve-hidden tricks make for a perfectly entertaining live act. More info here.
Sharon Van Etten/Damien Jurado/Yellow Ostrich (Trees): This is going to be a subdued and acoustic-heavy show, so if you’re looking for a loud happening Saturday night this is probably not for you. However, if you’re the type to appreciate Damien Jurado’s gut-wrenching lyrics (check out “Sheets”) and Sharon Van Etten’s fragile, bird-like voice, then perhaps quiet is the best option. Van Etten is likely to sweep a lot of year-end lists judging by the amount of acclaim she’s received this year, so you might take a chance before she graduates from rock club to theater. -Iris Zubair
Earth/Stebmo (Bryan Street Tavern): Earth’s music is so otherworldly that the quaint neighborhood feel of Bryan Street Tavern is not what you might picture when you imagine seeing the legendary drone pioneers. But when one considers their ties to all manner of Pacific Northwest underground history, the lack of pretense makes this a good fit. You have many options but this is one of the more significant ones on Saturday.
X/Dum Dum Girls/PVC Street Gang (Granada Theater): I often feel that “albums in their entirety” shows are unfair to the band, but I understand the appeal. All I want to know is, does it include bonus tracks? Because I’d really like to hear that “rough mix” of “Adult Books.” It beats the Wild Gift version.
“Away from the Numbers” (Texas Theatre): This is the third anniversary of “Away from the Numbers” which somehow seems like it’s been around longer, due to the nature of the records you hear at this event. Tonight’s guests are AftN alums, DJ G and Sir Name and the Janes.
Psychedelic Furs/My Jerusalem/Chevin (The Granada): Though I’m almost never in the mood for new wave, due to its monotonous nature, it does work best on weekends, and Saturday in particular for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps it’s the frequent use in so many party-themed features of the era, though many movie critics were appalled at the time.
On a more modern note, I’m happy to see my fellow Austinites My Jerusalem on the ticket, which speaks to the diversity of the bill this evening. Also performing is The Chevin, who may be British post-punkers, but they’re weren’t actually around in the ’80s. That might contrarily work in their favor, since they’re opening for such highly regarded originators of the form. -Iris Zubair
Blitzen Trapper/Telegraph Canyon (Dan’s Silver Leaf): Blitzen Trapper is all right. They’re definitely nothing to write home about, but I can see the appeal to book them in Denton. Let’s face it, the folky singer-songwriter type resonates better in the college atmosphere of a place like Denton. But, Telegraph Canyon is no stranger in Dallas, where they’ve put on some remarkable performances at Bass Hall and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Not only do they remind me of a more grass-roots Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but they’re so diverse and instrumentally talented that the music is almost secondary to their stage presence. -Iris Zubair
King Tuff/Natural Child/Sic Alps (Club Dada): King Tuff is best appreciated on record as opposed to live, but they’re not as unimaginative as Natural Child. Though they’re less upbeat, arriving early for Sic Alps might be a good idea, since they don’t tend to hammer the nail the same way every time and while modern psych music is a treacherous pursuit, it beats almost completely tongue-in-cheek garage rock.
Jackson Browne/Sara Watkins (Verizon Theatre): More information available here.
Image Psychedelic Furs (via)