- Carter: “Paparazzi” and Macchiato’s
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
“Paparazzi” and Macchiato’s
So, I was in the Starbucks on Monday from 3 to 5 PM when all of the stores in the chain played Lady Gaga songs for two straight hours. And, while the place had a lot of people in it, it was pretty obvious that no one else in the building was there to revel in Gaga.
I don’t get it. Are the locals waiting for 10 years before they subscribe to the brilliance of the former NYU Tisch School of the Arts alum? I’m trying to remember how long it was before people here figured out that Madonna was amazing. I can surely remember 1983, or whenever, thinking the “Jellybean” Benitez mix of “Lucky Star” was shear brilliance. The song is almost 30 years old and still holds up.
Now, Starbucks is aware of the sheer brilliance of playing Gaga for two hours. But people were perusing their laptops or reading books or doing homework or what not. I didn’t even see anyone nodding his or her head or tapping their feet or even moving their lips.
When I ran into a number of people that I knew, not one seemed to be aware that Gaga was on overhead. I even mentioned it and no one seemed to think one thing or another about this stroke of genius on the behalf of the corporate coffee shop. This is sad. Whether you like something or not, a reaction is a good thing. Apathy is never a healthy reaction.
Maybe people have just gotten bored with background music while driving cars all the time with the radio on, or from movies and television shows with their infernal soundtracks or just the simple ubiquity of music everywhere anyone goes including malls, elevators, grocery stores and cars driving by booming their stereos and people walking by with their jam boxes blaring to beat the band.
Every afternoon and evening, people sit down to eat with music in the background and don’t even notice anything is playing. Perhaps the real shock anymore would be going into a restaurant or a friend’s house and there not being any music playing?
Whatever you think about Gaga’s music, a lot of it is for dance and many of her songs depend on the sound system of a good contemporary dance floor for it to hit people. Still, there are some of her songs that the melodies alone should catch the attention of a listener and keep it.
Anywho, they were not getting it, and that was their loss.
I had the opportunity last Thursday night to meet a friend in Dallas and talk to him about the live music scene in Dallas.
My friend explained that there are a ton of bands who will play anytime on any day in order to be able to play before people. It’s not like Austin but it’s still very competitive, and that’s a good thing. But Dallas is also large enough that any band with any sort of following can draw well pretty much any night of the week because there are so many potential listeners in the area to draw from. For example, if only a fifth of their 1000 fans come out, that’s a full club.
Think of it this way. How many area bands in Wichita Falls could sell out an area club, or what touring act could sell out the Kay Yeager Coliseum? I would like to think there are bands out there that would come to play this area and sell it out. I am not sure how many there are.Share
- Carter: “Duo’s, Drums and Ali”
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
“Duos, Drums and Ali”
Last Thursday, Chris Caruvana played his last show in Wichita Falls for the summer at the Spot. He just graduated from MSU and will be attending University of North Texas in Denton, so that pretty much means no more shows.
But then someone had the idea of pairing him with Giancarlo Saldarriaga to play a show at the Backdoor Theatre sometime this summer on one of the theatre’s band nights. The money from the show goes to the players as well as the support the theatre. I am hoping the date gets announced really soon, because the show should be a lot of fun. Both singer songwriters are quite talented, sing in multiple languages and do good shows.
So keep checking the website and call them if the show doesn’t materialize quickly enough.
I am sitting in the Blue Light Special Blues band studio right now as they get their show put together to open up at the Pub this Saturday. Sadly the drummer has not yet shown up and Rob “I am a harpist now” Kirkland is sitting behind the drums to play, and it sounds pretty good. Ooops, the drummer just showed up, and now Kirkland is leaving the drums to check out the keys of his different harps.
I honestly thought I would never hear him play drums again. But then again, now Rob is singing and I’d much rather hear him play drums.
For the record, there are three drummers in the band: Troy (who actually plays drums when he is there), Dustin (who plays keys) and Rob (who cheerleads, plays harp, sings background vocals, and is right now playing cowbell).
To be honest, I should be out listening to Ashton Gustafson playing at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University tonight (Thursday), but there is a tornado warning out there, and I just wrote a story about the guy who declared the warning for the 1979 tornado. Needless to say, I ran across Gustafson at McCarty’s today picking up his guitar after it was restrung and even he was a little concerned about the wind and the weather out there.
From what I understand, there will be three live shows outside of the museum this summer. While the shows are infinitely popular, they take a lot of time to put together. It’s nice that the live shows are happening outside, I just wish there were more of them. It definitely brings people to the museum.
News from Ali Holder, former Wichitan and now Austinian who is playing all over the state with her band Ali Holder & The Broken Hearted. She is playing all over the metroplex, Austin, Llano, Denton and even the Iron Horse Pub on September 30, 2011. Check her out on www.reverbnation.com/aliholder and some of her cool new tunes. We love you Ali, and keep doing the music. Her EP called Transgressions is on iTunes.
The other cool thing I heard this week is that the band, I Wrestled a Bear, has now become a Black Metal band. Yes, black metal. I think that Lycergus has started a trend that is sweeping people into the righteous way of playing metal across the country. Check them out, and check Lycergus out as well.Share
- Big 2nd half coming
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
Interesting first half as the Thunder gave Dirk some different looks and then really attacked offensively.
That allowed Tyson Chandler to roam free inside and he had 11 suprise points and should have finisheda couple more times. Shawn Marion also gave away some chances.
Nowitzki took five shots, making 3, and had 13 points.
OKC’s point guard tandem of Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor were very, very good, combining for 21 points to help OKC lead 59-57.
I think Dallas has a lock on the series if it pulls out Game 2, but should be in for a six or seven-game thriller if OKC can keep this up 24 more minutes.
That Durant guy. He’s still good. Had 14 early and has 16-13 edge on Dik at the half.Share
- Carter: “DJ’s, New Music and Live Music”
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
“DJ’s, New Music and Live Music”
The first time I heard the band, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, was in the late 1980’s in a DJ friend’s apartment on 12 inch singles. While I knew what industrial music from Germany and England sounded like, the early American Wax Trax stuff was quite different because it mixed some strangely violent, almost pulp paperback fiction sort of subject matter with distorted guitar dance music sort of thing.
That was about the same time that Neil P. opened the infamous 724 dance and live music club downtown on Indiana Street. It was the sort of place that Robert Taylor spun singles, and a number of other local musical celebrities like James McWilliams ran sound for some great live bands. Taylor later went to Dallas and spun around town and opened a record shop, while McWilliams did sound at clubs like Trees and Curtain Club. Both made names for themselves, and it all started at Club 724.
While we’re downown, Club Crush recently reopened under a new manager and it’s the sort of place that should theoretically work out in Wichita Falls. They bring in some major dj talent and attempted to appeal to a broad crowd spinning everything from 70’s radio rock to newer stuff and mixing it all together. I would prefer a darker club such as 724 that brought in Dallas bands like Funland, Billygoat and 10 Hands, but I think the days of Wichita Falls clubs bringing in top alternative Dallas talent may be over.
Sure, I suspect that we will get the Toadies again this year, and also Bowling for Soup will return, and it will probably be at the Neon Spur. I hear that White Knuckle will also be playing with a band from Dallas at Neon Spur and the band’s vocalist is the brother of C.J. Pierce from Drowning Pool. Word on the street has it that Pierce may be in the audience for the show.
So, the point I am trying to make is that new music continues to come out, and sometimes the only way you’re going to hear it is on 12 inch singles or perhaps see it on youtube.com. Returning to Thrill Kill Kult, I got to hear that great new sound right when they were coming out on 12 inch singles because my DJ friend was on top of really good music as it was coming up.
So, the newest form of music I discovered lately, that I really like is known as Witch House music. One of the most popular bands is Salem, and I reviewed their first CD in the paper right when it came out late last year. Well, the bad thing about like bands is that they are on super small labels, so the albums are never going to find their way to town (nor are the bands likely to play here). The good thing is that I can highly recommend Youtube.com to people who like to hear new music on a regular basis, and so I was able to discover some great bands such as White Ring from Brooklyn. Just punch the name in on Youtube.com, and on the right side of the page you will see a number of like bands or music within the same genre.
Witch house mixes ambient, hip-hop and industrial music with a little bit of that eerie 4AD stuff that never seems to go out of style. It makes for a great soundtrack for nightmares or for Halloween or for hanging out and not saying much.
Let’s cross our fingers for some cool shows this summer, and if not, then start looking for some cool CDs to buy or at least listen to some great new bands on Youtube.com.Share
- Now we have a dog park without water
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
The people running Hooterville Falls built us a coliseum.
But they forgot a few things while spending more than $20 million to do it.
Like a press box, a decent sound system and, at first, hand railings.
Now, like I have written here many times, we have one of the worst civic coliseums known to mankind.
So what should I expect when our city decided to give us a dog park?
My wife and I took the two “children” to the new dog park on opening day.
It is really nice to have a place where the puppies can run around unleashed and get some exercise.
But once again, it looks like, the people running Hooterville forgot something.
It would have been nice if they had put a pond inside the park.
But if that was too much trouble, how about a water faucet, a hose and a few buckets?
Surely, we wouldn’t need a bond election or tax hike for that.
In fact, just give us the water faucet. We’ll donate the hose and buckets.
Dogs need water, especially come summertime when they are running around in Hooterville heat.
And our city owns a water park, surely we can’t provide a little H2O for these puppies.
Just because I didn’t see any water at our dog park doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Maybe I just missed it.
If so, please show me and I will blog an apology ASAP.Share
- The fickle finger of fate awaits
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Got a postcard in the mail this week reminding me that it’s time to make an appointment with my urologist.
And I am looking for any excuse I can find.
I am really, really busy at this time of the year.
Can’t we do this some other time?
Or maybe another century?
I checked my schedule and found an opening on May 17.
That’s May 27, 2021.
All this reminds me of a Dave Barry column from a few years ago.
Dave gave four reasons for not scheduling a colonoscopy.
1. You’ve been busy.
2. You don’t have a history of cancer in your family.
3. You haven’t noticed any problems.
4. You don’t want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
The same goes for the dreaded prostate exam.
Just substitute a three-inch index finger for the tube.
Bending over and having some guy stick his finger up your butt is just not natural.
The only thing I can think of that might be worse is CANCER.
Guess I better call my finger — uh, my doctor — and make that appointment.Share
- Carter: “Heretics and Hootenannies”
Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Heretics and Hootenannies
Last Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to go and check out the Alley Cat Collective Hootenany downtown at the combination bookstore, toy store, art gallery, antique shop, music studio and all sorts of other fun distractions.
The stage is set above the old dance floor of the building that had once served as a Tejano club (and before that a TSO), and the walls are filled with colorful and whimsical chalk drawings as well as paintings by artists including Caleb Brantley, whose works also appear at the Starbucks at Kemp & Kell.
The stage is much larger than at The Spot, and I thought the crowd that was there to listen and there to play was a little more diverse. That’s partly because of the hours (the Collective open mic is afternoon vs. a weeknight at The Spot). Regardless, both shows are a lot of fun and are run by the same David Thompson. If you have not been, the open mic is good for listening and good to play.
Later that night, I had the opportunity to check out Dr. Philgood and the Let’s Get It On’s, who seem to be playing a lot and all the time—them and also Jac Damsel for that matter, and also I got to hear Roselawn, who I have not really heard properly in quite some time.
Philgood was without Marcus but still played a solid fun set, but they were really there to open up for Roselawn, a band who was once Downstares but now has a new vocalist and a more melodic sound. I really liked the Roselawn set. It appears that they have walked away from a defined all-ages scene, which was something Downstares was a part of, to enter a hard rock AS WELL AS club friendly crowd. Their vocals were strong, the guitar work could be intricate when needed and the drums and bass were also quite strong. I am interested in hearing where the guys are going with what they are doing. If you have not heard them, you should check the band out.
I ran across the guys from White Knuckle several times over the last week at their rehearsals. One time they were actually playing, and it always cool to see a band having a really good practice, and everyone is enjoying what they are playing. The drummer was even trying to psyche out the singer by making funny faces at him while he was trying to dig deep to sing the heavy material and exact the attitude that the songs demand.
Let me add that the band’s guitarist Seth Branham may be one of the louder players in town—having recently gone through a series of amp changes in a quest for tone and to find an amp that would actually work properly. Basically speaking, the story goes like this, and it all happened rather quickly before he discovered his Diamond, a very good sounding amp. The model of which is called a Heretic.
It all began when Branham recently bought a great Marshall amp head that everyone nationwide had been raving about. But after a short while, he was having some flaky issues with it that was going to require him to go to a heavier tone. Needing an amp, he went to Oklahoma and purchased a new Eddie Van Halen amp (made by Fender) that for the first 15 or so minutes sounded like the greatest amp ever. Seriously, we were all there and it was amazing–until he did the big G octave bend string stretch of death on his guitar, let it sustain out for 20 seconds, and the amp promptly clicked off.
Words cannot describe the mood, but Branham probably took it the calmest of anyone in the room.
If I remember the story properly, Branham then got a replacement amp for the Van Halen amp and had it shipped from South Texas, but after it didn’t work out, he promptly got credit for it and found his Diamond amp. I suspect he will have the Heretic for a good long time and there won’t be any issues. Not that I want to be there if there are any issues—if you know what I mean. A good attitude about equipment failure can only last so long. And the amp sounds really, really amazing. The band is booking shows and you need to hear it.Share
- Mother’s Day in a lonely graveyard
Monday, May 9th, 2011
I went to visit my mama yesterday.
I stood by her grave at the Hope Cemetery in Henrietta and told her about what was going on in my life.
This is the 48th Mother’s Day I have been without her.
Those of you who know me know that my mama was killed in a car wreck back in the summer of 1963. She was 35. I was 16.
But on Mother’s Day, you want to be close to your mama.
And now this lonely graveyard is as close as I can get.
I told her that I was still writing about sports for a living. My mama was a big sports fan.
And I told her that she has two grandchildren (now 35 and 32) who would make her proud and a little 7-year-old grandson who is second to none.
As I was talking, I thought to myself, “I wonder if she can hear me.”
As a Christian, I believe in heaven and hell.
But there is something that confuses me.
Do the people in heaven know at all what is going on down on earth?
Does God let mama hear me when I tell her I love her?
The Bible says there is no pain, no suffering, no tears in heaven.
So it is hard to imagine the people who are there knowing what is going on down here.
If you have an answer to this, let me know.
I may just be talking to myself and a tombstone.
But I will be back next Mother’s Day just to tell her how much I love her and miss her.
The one thing I do believe is some day soon, we will be together on Mother’s Day.
- “Too Tall” Jones, meet “Too Short” Norriss
Friday, May 6th, 2011
The Cowboys traded Tody Smith and Billy Parks to the Oilers for the first pick in the 1974 NFL Draft.
They should have locked Gil Brandt and Tex Schramm up for stealing.
We never heard much from Smith or Parks after that deal.
But the first pick in that draft will never be forgotten.
Ed “Too Tall” Jones played 15 seasons with the Cowboys and was one of the best defensive ends to ever play the game.
Back in 1975, “Too Tall” came to Burkburnett to help the town open its new Boys & Girls Club.
He was 24 and on the brink of playing in three Super Bowls in four years.
On Thursday, “Too Tall” came back to Burk to help the town honor Pat Norriss, person who helped bring the club to her home town.
He is now 60 but still looks like he could sack a quarterback.
Check out Patrick Johnston’s photo in today’s newspaper.
On the left is “Too Tall” Jones — all 6-foot-9 of him.
On the right is “Too Short” Norris — all 4-foot-something of her.
“Too Short” tried to tell me she was 5-foot, but I wasn’t buying it — even with the four-inch hair-do.
The lady may be short, but she has been big in putting the Boom back in Boomtown.Share
- I’d pay to see a dead Osama
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
The decision to turn Osama bin Laden into fish food was a dumb one.
Dumping his sorry dead ass into the Indian Ocean was explained to us as “Muslim tradition,” but some Muslims are now telling us that’s a crock.
We could have paid off a big hunk of our national debt with a 50-state tour that could be staged much like a carnival freak show.
Heck, look how many people paid to see King Tut.
Surely we could get 20 or 30 bucks apiece from Americans who would line up to see a dead Osama.
Our president and all his high-ranking buddies got to watch Osama killed.
Is there not a DVR in the White House?
Could this not have been recorded and shown in prime time or maybe at halftime of the next Super Bowl?
So now that Osama’s remains are in the belly of some hungry fish, there will be Osama sightings all over the world.
“Hey, have you heard — Osama was spotted down on Bourbon Street drinking with Elvis and Dale Earnhardt.”
Our government is even hesitant about letting us see photos of Osama’s corpse.
We get to watch Saddam hanged on live TV, but they won’t let us see a few glossy shots of dead OBL?
Sounds like a conspiracy to me.
- WFISD welcomes prisoners, but not the president
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
I read where the WFISD once again allowed three prisoners to come into our schools and warn our children about drinking and doping and shooting and stealing.
Nothing wrong with that.
Their “don’t do what I did or you will be where I’m at” speeches may actually keep a few of these kids out of trouble.
But every year when I read this story, I ask the same question:
“How can a superintendent who would not allow the President of the United States to speak to our kids (see Sept. 9, 2009 blog) turn around and let thieves and murderers come into their schools and talk to them?”
Please, Mr. Kazanas, explain yourself!Share
- Carter: “Heavy Metal, Winds and Other Things”
Sunday, May 1st, 2011
Heavy Metal and Wind
A lot of people were happy Friday night that the Drowning Pool show was not delayed or cancelled by the weather. There was a lot of wind blowing that night, and clearly the band waited until the last possible moment to mount the stage to still be able to play a 75-minute set.
I don’t think I have ever been to an outdoor metal show and certainly not an outdoor nu metal show. When I think of the Neon Spur, I think of an Austin outdoors venue and not metal, so it’s good to know that the proprietors have widened the range of music that gets played there, and it appears to be go going over. The fans were clearly there and enjoying the various bands that hit the stage.
I had a chance to see Fury play last Saturday night at the Office, and they seemed to have a blast playing the late ‘70s and early ‘80s style metal music before the hair metal stuff took over.
From the way things are going lately, I would safely say that metal is still here to stay. I couldn’t estimate the number of people who were there at the Neon Spur for the Drowning Pool show, but there were a lot of hands being raised and a lot of cheering going on.
I had the opportunity to talk to Jonathan Tyler and several members of Broadcasting on All Frequencies before their Thursday show at the Pub. Tyler said they continue to play on the road and have some really amazing shows coming up. The band is clearly top notch and always worth checking out. With Queen for a Day on an extended hiatus, I would think that Tyler’s band and Del Castillo are probably the best regular touring rock bands coming through the city.
I had the feeling that Broadcasting on All Frequencies made a good impact on Tyler’s band.
Rockin’ Th Falls will return on June 25 from 5 p.m. to midnight at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall at the MPEC. This year the concert will benefit Home for Heroes, an organization who build wheelchair ramps and other things to help wounded vets. For more information, go to Facebook.com and enter Rockin’ Th Falls 2011 for a list of bands and where tickets can be purchased. It’s a good cause, so check it out!
I wrote a story for next Friday’s NEXT about some very cool area percussionists who have gotten together under the name Electronica to do a very avant-garde like concert that’s theatrical and musical starting next Friday at the Wichita Theatre. The name of the piece is called Dreamscape and it looks like it has a lot of possibilities. Lots of black lights, masks, percussion, electronic music and choreography.
The Spot will be featuring their open mic on Thursday and that should be worth checking out. I missed their last one, but everyone raved about the turnout and said the music was very good.
Tonight, Dr.Philgood and the Let’s Get It On’s play with Roselawn at the Office and I am going to try and make it out there. Roselawn has really changed a lot, and I am hoping that a certain lead singer from Hellen Bach makes an appearance for a rather cool Cranberries song the band plays.Share