- Carter: Night and Day
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Night and Day
I had opportunity this week to see one band play the Parks and Recreation Summer Outdoor Concert at South Weeks Park, or the old Funland grounds, and then see that very same band play two days later on the ancient (and recently remodeled) Wichita Theatre stage. The name of the horn band was Black and White and they sounded pretty awesome both times.
The thing to me that was so interesting was to be able to watch a band traverse such Wichita Falls history. For the people who never got to ride the Funland roller coaster or do any of those classic amusement park things, they missed out. The good thing is the Wichita Theatre is better than ever, and there is no reason to not go and listen (or watch plays) there.
Both times, the acoustics were good, and outdoor shows are not the easiest to do that with. Finally the notion that people won’t pay money to see the same band in a cool venue–when they could have seen them for free three days before that—proved to be false. Black and White has a solid crowd Friday night, and of course a great crowd on Tuesday.
The advantages of seeing them in a closed inoor environment had to be the spread of the stage, the interior and the great lights. If you can imagine seeing the final “Blues Brothers” movie set, then you might have had some idea of what seeing the band play in the stately Wichita Theatre.
When the nights are not as cool as Tuesday was, it’s not a bad idea to go check out an outdoor show at the P2. I was on my way downtown Friday night when I remembered that Shantell was playing at P2. They were still about an hour away from starting but everyone was hanging out on the patio and the cool thing was that the misters were spraying enough water to beat the band. Okay bad pun. What the misters were doing was keeping everyone relaxed so they could check out the show, and they also kept the band cool enough so they didn’t look like melted clowns once they did hit the outdoor stage.
I cannot emphasize enough how much fun it’s going to be to go see Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights at Freedom Fest at Sheppard Air Force Base on June 30. I am interviewing Louis Lewis is a couple of hours, and they will also be performing at the show. The show is completely free and it will be a great opportunity to see Brazos Stone play as well. It’s been a while since I heard those guys play.
People from Dallas (namely the Dallas Observer) are already complaining why Morrissey has decided to forego the Metroplex or Oklahoma City to play downtown Wichita Falls at the Kay Yeager. Originally, it was going to be at Memorial Auditorium and then it was moved. The show will be half-stage and every seat should be pretty good. I have no idea what to expect, but I think it would be a mistake not to be there.
Finally, I was talking to someone who was at the 1983 Clash show at Memorial Auditorium, and he said it was one of the best shows he had ever seen. The band was only several shows from melting down and breaking up, but supposedly they played a ton of stuff off of their first album (the best one) and everyone had a great time. Remember to thank Joe Ely for that show, because it was him that told Joe Strummer that Wichita Falls was an old gunslinger town. Well, at least Laredo was…Share
- Carter: Vanaprasta
Sunday, June 17th, 2012
Last Saturday the Rocketboys (formerly of Abilene and now of Austin) played the group’s once a year show at the Pub alongside The Wintersounds (who played with them last year as an opening group) and also Vanaprasta whose lead singer sounds a lot like the dude from Kings of Leon. VanaPrasta was definitely upbeat and they totally put themselves into playing their upbeat show despite the fact there was hardly anyone in the club. I kept thinking that the crowd would be arriving late.
It didn’t happen.
After a rocking show that ended with sort of a bluesy psychedelic number that really was amazing, they left the stage, and The Winter Sounds took the stage. They were more rocking when their bass player handed the band’s lead vocalist her bass, and he forsook his keyboards. Their violin player nailed it from the get-go, and the drums were quite good. Their newer songs were less rocking (and to me less fun) than their older songs. It was a good set. Still, there was maybe about 25 people in the crowd. Sure, there was a basketball game going on, but I think some of those people were there to watch the game.
So, the Rocketboys ascended the stage with a new drummer since their last November performance in town. The new guitar player from last year was still with them, and they played music from their newest record. I have been watching the Rocketboys since Winn Eubank (now in Los Angeles) first booked them at the 169. It’s funny but I talked about those old shows with lead singer Brandon Kinder, and the band has been coming here for the longest part of their band time together. Needless to say, I think everyone was in love with their sound when they debuted that night, and I’ve been fascinated with them for the longest time.
I am still adapting to their new sound, which is more rocking than their earlier material. It will be interesting to see in which direction they decide to go with their developing sound. The guys are all decent guys and great musicians, and hopefully they continue coming to the area.
Still, I am not sure where everyone was last Saturday, and that’s disappointing. You have a show that was playing Deep Ellum the day after (not including The Winter Sounds who were an add-on to the Wichita Falls club show.)
Well, it has been confirmed finally that Morrissey is coming to Wichita Falls at the Memorial Auditorium. It’s kind of as odd as The Clash coming to town back in the early 80s on the Combat Rock tour. That said, this may be the first rock show at the auditorium since that Clash show. Needless to say, the Smiths were not really a rock band. They were an alternative act that may have played the most overly depressing music of the ‘80s. Joy Division was ultimately more depressing but they were not as overt about it.
Morissey has put out nine original solo records since the Smiths and will have any number of songs at his disposal. I imagine there will be people coming to the show from all over Texas and Oklahoma. His fans are loyal. The man is not afraid of saying what he wants to say, and it’s one that Wichita Falls should be proud to get. I was shocked when I heard he was possibly coming several months ago and quite pleased to hear that it had been confirmed.
Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights will headline Freedom Fest at Sheppard Air Force Base on June 30, and the outdoor show should be a good one to hear him play. His sound is really suited to an outdoor large venue. The show is free and will be worth checking out.Share
- Carter: Sons of Fathers
Sunday, June 10th, 2012
Sons of Fathers
I had the opportunity to chat with Alan Black the other day about their (the Black and White Band) forthcoming history of horn bands show at the Wichita Theatre on June 22, and I think the show could be a lot of fun. The man knows his soul and his funk and (gasp) disco bands, and the members should be up to playing some soulful and high energy tunes. The Wichita Theatre is also a great venue for that sort of music. Btw, this Tuesday, June 12, they play the old Funland location off Southwest Parkway and open the Parks & Rec outdoor concert series. It’s free and starts at 7:30 p.m. Check it out.
I met the members of Sons of Fathers Friday night at the Pub before they played what can only be considered an excellent and very nuanced show that featured a great blend of traditional country with good indie stuff and some personal flavoring. The six-piece band had two lead vocalists (one who played upright base with some panache) and a keyboardist, a slide player (who also played guitar), an acoustic player and a lead player. None of the musicians were silent during the show but they also didn’t overplay and knew when to add texture and when to do more aggressive playing. They told me they had played Dan’s Silverleaf (in Denton) the night before, which is probably the perfect venue for them outside of Austin. I am not sure if they will click in Wichita Falls, because there was not a huge crowd (by any means) but I think the people who do go and see them will very much appreciate them. By the way, they told me their management was Marty Schwartz, who I chatted with briefly the other day and did not realize was that Marty Schwartz. Yeah, the same guy who was working in the Eagles back in their “Hotel California” period. These guys are on their way up.
Also, Friday night I went by P2 to say hello to the band that I thought was playing. It turned out it was the Tyler Rushing Band, whose lead singer I interviewed Saturday afternoon. Real nice guys who are playing an awful lot and they do take what they do really seriously. I think that story runs the week after this Friday, and it was fun.
It turns out the Richie Bates, who has been involved in a lot of area music over the years, is back to town after being away for several years, and from what he explained is playing with a former Wichitan or two in Denton. I imagine they will continue to do practices and hopefully that means we will get to hear the band. It’s a good thing for us, because Bates has a lot of talent, a great voice and can write and effectively record songs on his own.
Finally, I was very sad to be at The Spot Thursday evening when David Thompson hosted his last open mic in Wichita Falls. For those who have spotty memories, Thompson started hosting the first open mics when Ronda Ivy first opened up her coffee shop in the original location, and they were probably my favorite open mics that I’ve ever attended. No attitude, and it was all about the music. He was behind the musicians and very good at supporting them and people genuinely liked him, and those open mics were extremely successful. I cannot tell you how many different people played them and how many people came to hear them. When Ronda moved Vincent’s east, down 9th, he went with her. After she closed down, he moved it to the YOC for a while and then moved it to the Spot, and those were amazing for a long time. He is moving to the Metroplex and will return to teach students, I think, once a week. He will be missed.Share
- Carter: Live Bands on Thursday Night? Yes, Please
Monday, June 4th, 2012
Live Bands on Thursday Night? Yes, Please
There were two live acts in different venues on Thursday night last week. The Museum of Art at MSU series at Sikes Lake featured Blues to the Bone and drew a pretty decent crowd. I got there about hallway through and there was about 125 to 150 people sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the live band who was playing under a tent.
Teresa Burney was playing keys and singing in her striking blues voice. Bassist Paul Carr was plucking his homemade bass guitar, Kenny Gregory (also a sound guy) played lead guitar, drummer Barry Sloan, saxophone player and guitarist Bill Hogan, and a friend of Carr’s, guitarist Harvey Tolleson, also dropped by and sat in.
All of the music was fun to play, according to Gregory, and he particularly liked “Further On Down the Road,” which Carr sang and is probably best known as an Eric Clapton song.
The guys played on the fly, meaning no set list, and people dug it. Everyone sang except for Sloan—who can sing—but without a monitor system
did not feel comfortable singing and playing. The sound was good and it was a relaxing fun evening. If I heard right, Mike O’Neill is playing the next one in two weeks. You should check it out.
The next night, Friday I went by to hear Radio Republic, who I have written about before, but only got to hear them play several practice songs. I wanted to hear them live, and they are definitely a worthwhile band to check out. I think what is really interesting about them is how they bring a poppy feel to some edgy country and rock music. The talent level is through the roof, the group is massive solid, and they are fun.
The other thing that struck me about the band is that they are ¾ former Ten Cent Pistol members. Bassist Jason Cooper, guitarist Ryan Hager and drummer Tayler Labrum. The first time I heard Ten Cent Pistol was at the Brickhouse and it was the craziest crowd response (in terms of hectic) that I had seen in Wichita Falls up until that point. Right after them, I went to the Pub to watch the very first show of Queen for a Day who were killing it, and people were sitting on their hands. I always wondered if that gulf could ever be overcome.
To see three former Ten Cent Pistol guys playing in the Pub was sort of a shock, although you could tell they still have that firepower to them. The crowd did not react nearly as well as they should have to their sound. The group is good, and people were kind of sitting on their hands. At least they danced two weeks ago when Hayes Carll was playing.
I also ran into former Ten Cent Pistol singer Jesse Witt last Saturday who was in town before moving off to the northeast. It will be sad to think there will not be another Enthusiast show or Ten Cent Pistol reunion.
I got to interview the two lead members of Sons of Fathers and they should be an interesting band to check out this Friday. I will for sure be checking out the Rocketboys on Saturday.
Check out the open mic at The Spot this Thursday. Rumor has it that David Thompson will be moving soon to the Metroplex.Share