Big Fiction/Strange Towers/Vulgar Fashion/Drug Mountain/Linear B (The Crown and Harp): This is the second of three benefit shows for Nevada Hill, a boundary-pushing local artist who is both uninsured and stricken with melanoma. Though it’s a great lineup all around, this is particularly noteworthy for a couple of reasons. The first, is that Strange Towers—an unlikely collaboration between synth player and vocalist Liz Larsen, guitarist Scott Porter, drummer Tony Wann, and bassist Cory Ward—rarely performs lately. The mix of electronics and guitar rock was convincing last time I saw them, which was also at this venue. The second reason is that Nevada Hill will actually be performing with Drug Mountain, despite some very painful wounds, still healing from a recent surgery. On a regular basis, I hear a lot of needless complaining over some quite arbitrary aspects of music, myself included. That really helps to put things into perspective.
“Index Fest” (Various locations in Deep Ellum, including Trees, Prophet Bar, Club Dada and Three Links): After a second installment of the festival, it has become clear that this is the strongest event of its kind booked by Spune Productions. The lack of hip hop and smaller acts on other sprawling bills has made some of those events seem a little safe or tepid by comparison. Index has had some genuine surprises, most notably, Killer Mike and El-P, in the way of national acts, or Lord Byron, as far as locals are concerned. Though I have seen the likes of Girl Talk and Real Estate at other festivals, they are worth revisiting. Also, not everyone sees as many music fests as I do, so if you have yet to see either for some reason, by all means, go. This lineup was trickled out fairly slowly and only got better with each announcement. In summary, it seems like you will be able to find something to appreciate about Index, no matter how cynical or fest-weary you may be. This event runs through Saturday. More info is available here.
Mind Spiders/Radioactivity/Stymie/Varsity Cheerleader (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): This will be a record release show for Mind Spiders’ newest LP, which is entitled, Inhumanistic. The band features, Mark Ryan, who played a not insignificant role in one of the Nasher XChange events occurring in Dallas proper this weekend. Ryan composed the music that was utilized in the Good/Bad Art Collective’s Curtains performance, which I learned a lot about by speaking with GBAC founding member Chris Weber yesterday. Needless to say, Mr. Ryan is probably a busy man this weekend. We’ll have more on his visual art related compositions on Monday.
“Pozo Disco” (Pozo Mercado): DJ Blake Ward promises “Disco decadence, 80’s excess, and modern day depravity all under one roof.” That is a tall multi-epoch order, Mr. Ward. You better keep that promise. He mentions Larry Hagman and Blondie even further into this invitation, which is kind of easy, but it’s also smart. I’m curious.
Earthling/Releaser/Hood Rat/Godless Jihad/The Initiative/Hex Cult (Taqueria Pedritos): The shows at Taqueria Pedritos just seem to grow in both diversity and size. Punk and hardcore acts often have their own built-in crowds, but the welcoming of less obvious bands such as Hex Cult should work well for all involved. The act is likely promised a crowd, who in turn, get to see something they aren’t expecting. Hex Cult were a highlight when I saw them in Denton a couple of weeks ago.
Boy George/Marc Vedo/DJ Red Eye (It’ll Do Club): I know from experience what a huge icon Boy George is to the dance community, and he takes DJing quite seriously, if you only know his work from 80s pop radio. In an interview with Dallas Voice, he says that he’ll be spinning “early Chicago disco and house music.” That works.
Wiving/Beyond Gods and Empires/Siq Boyz (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): As glad as I was to see the aforementioned Strange Towers returning to the stage this weekend, even better news is that Liz Larsen has a new act called Wiving, which features Heather Larsen on vocals. Dead Can Dance and Swans are cited as welcome influences and I’m looking forward to what these two come up with. I’ve been impressed when these two have made music in the past.
“Glamorama” (Beauty Bar): The guest DJ this evening is Feezy.
“Punky Reggae” (Single Wide): Tonight’s guest is Tommy Blackburn.
“Vinyl Fantasy” (The Crown and Harp): I’m glad to see this charming DJ event on a more regular schedule. Featuring the DJ duo, Emptycylinder and Handsome Reward. Head downstairs to see sets by Fond Phantom, Def Rain, and Atop.
Crystal Antlers/Nervous Curtains (The Foundry): These are actually some names, considering this is a free show. Recommended.
Psychic Temple/Shiny Around the Edges/Sarah Alexander (Dan’s Silver Leaf): The wealth of news around this event hit me a little too late and a bit too heavy for how much it is to take in. But the gist of it is that Shiny Around the Edges seems to be taking something of a hiatus following this event, and I’m told by founding member Mike Seman that the group will be pursuing “new aesthetic directions,” possibly including some more film work, such as the recent Seven Knots.
This will mark the last time that Shiny will collaborate with saxophonist Mike Forbes, who I mentioned last week regarding his album on ESP-Disk, along with his free jazz group, Tiger Hatchery. Forbes will apparently be moving to San Francisco in November, which is obviously the conclusion of what has been a very fruitful working relationship. The loss of one of my favorite musicians to a fairer city is something to which I should be more accustomed at this point, but it still stings. I remember once watching a show at House of Tinnitus, and Forbes came in through the backdoor, just behind the band, already playing with his usual towel around his neck. It was like a scene from a horror film, only triumphant as opposed to frightening. Another time, it was outside of some completely mess of a show at Secret Headquarters, and Forbes sat on the sidewalk alone in the middle of the night, cradling his instrument. He was playing the most mournfully extended note, softly ricocheting off every dark little street on the square, into eternity. Who among you can fill that void?
Image: Strange Towers in Live Performance, February 2013. Credit: Andi Harman.