Built to Spill/The Delusions/Solace
Stubb’s BBQ, October 17, 2003
whupping-sound of the unseen helicopters overhead lent an
ominous air to an otherwise pleasant evening. The unsuspecting
crowd, not suffering from the same acute paranoia as some
of us, carried on obliviously, buying beer and t-shirts, consuming
in the manner they have been brainwashed into by years of
MTV and exposure to their parent’s version of the American
bands were fairly unassuming but amusing, serving simply (as
many opening acts do) as a backdrop for mass marijuana abuse
by the students of our fine university. Good for them. Screw
the Man now; go to work for Him after graduation. As the mind-altering
smoke hovered above the crowd like melancholy shades left
over from the last Sonic Youth show, Built to Spill wandered
onstage and began their deluge of atmospheric angst pop, much
to the delight of the swelling young crowd. Despite the absence
of any kind of real melody or hooks of any kind, the kids
knew every word. These young people are smart—the money
their parents provide is obviously being well spent.
The band was loud and well practiced. Each song was predictable
from start to finish. Why deviate from the record when you
can stay safe and have a sing-along? An entertaining evening
to be sure, but the envelope stayed put, safely unmolested
and snow white on its comfortable spot on the shelf. –Trevor
(P.S. Due to some miscommunication, there was some confusion
regarding press passes at both Built to Spill and the Reverend.
A huge THANK YOU goes out to Chris, the head of security at
Stubb’s, for being so cool and accommodating to both
myself and photographer J. McPhail.)
in the Wall
The Rock and Roll Free For All
The last 10 years
It’s the end of an era. Sort of. Again.
For the better part of a decade, Sunday night was synonymous
with the Rock and Roll Free For All at the Hole in the Wall.
No longer was there a huge hole in an otherwise music-filled
week here in the Live Music Capitol of the World. The brain
child of Electric Lounge employees Paul Minor and John Knodel,
it was Minor who brought the idea to local legend Debbie Rombach,
then the Sunday night bartender and sometime booker at the
Hole in the Wall. In the first couple of weeks, Minor brought
in Beaver Nelson, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Kevin Carroll, Miles
Zuniga and Tony Scalzo to jam, and, after seeing the attendance
on what was once a dead night, Rombach agreed to let Minor
host until he and his ever-revolving band, Superego, got tired
of doing it.
And the rest, as cliché dictates, is history. Some
amazing shows took place on beer-soaked Sunday nights at that
little bar on the Drag. Sixteen Deluxe, Spoon, The Damnations
TX, Trail of Dead, Magneto, El Flaco and Lil’ Cap’n
Travis all packed the house, making the roof wobble, the walls
rattle, and the floor shake. Monday morning hangover be damned.
And, lest ye forget, this was the Hole in the Wall. Think
clownish bartenders on copious amounts of alcohol. And all
for gratis. The “free” in Free For All is a double
But, as with any long-standing institution, there were hurdles.
After about seven years of going full steam, Minor began to
suffer from, as he puts it, “partially classic burnout,
some of which was due to the late-night business aspect.”
So, Superego went on hiatus and handed the reins over to Telray.
With the exit of Superego, some of the energy that accompanied
their enthusiastic jukebox-like quality was lost and the nights
often became interminable. (No offense to Telray. It just
wasn’t the same.) Then Superego came back, and not long
after, the Hole in the Wall shut down.
The Free For All enjoyed a brief sojourn at Beerland, but
when the Hole in the Wall reopened, Minor was there, booking
a straight two weeks of music by veterans of the old bar.
And the Free For All was once again re-established, this time
running from 8-midnight (though it rarely ended on time).
This time around has seen loungy piano sets from both Fastball’s
Tony Scalzo and the Damnation’s Amy Boone, numerous
guest appearances, including Matt Hubbard and Miles Zuniga,
and once again, Superego reigned supreme on Sunday nights.
Enter new Hole in the Wall management, stage left. Feeling
that the bar is spending too much money on live music when
they have a jukebox that serves the same purpose (at least
in their minds), the powers-that-be have pulled the plug on
live music at the bar Sunday through Tuesday. Meaning, sorry
Paul, we’re crippling your show.
It’s understandable from a business standpoint—some
of the band tabs got pretty outrageous, and, as a new business,
they have to feel out their clientele. Just the same, the
bone Minor was offered as appeasement is one Sunday a month.
Not enough say some, but Minor has taken what he has and worked
with it. The next installment is November 18th with the Swells
and Seattle’s Hello From Waveland. That oughtta bring
in more money than the jukebox.
Are three less hung over Mondays a month worth the loss of
an institution? Not if Paul Minor has anything to say about
it. –Trevor Wallace.
Games and Theory
Fri Oct 24, 2003
Joseph Patlan’s torso and throat exist as the architectural
foundation for a revitalized precision in harmony and volume.
When his mouth opens, a crippled sense of emotion joins forces
with an abrasive chaos that can no longer remain dormant at
his lips. Games and Theory are simply brooding right now—their
brand of hardcore music aesthetically dances between angst
and atrophy with a perfect and necessary seriousness. The
four piece combine technical changes that can mutilate and
caress with a digital swiftness that never becomes methodical.
Keep your eyes peeled and your earplugs handy kiddos. Games
and Theory are grave, solemn and anxious. -Smitty
Stubb’s BBQ, October 27, 2003
a band called Rasputina at Stubb's BBQ last night, and it
was pretty cool. Rasputina is a three-piece band from New
York City consisting of two women playing cellos and a male
drummer. The band has an amazing sound live. Amplified cellos
are as close to aural ecstasy as you can get, in my opinion.
The bottom end is truly a somatic experience. The band as
a whole has a rich full sound. The two adept cellists wove
detailed tapestries of sound with melodies and harmonies.
played about eight originals, mostly songs about people coming
apart at the seams, as lead singer Melora Creager said that
night, and three cover songs all dating from the 70s—Heart’s
“Barracuda,” Led Zeppelin’s “Rock
& Roll,” and Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Bad
Moon Rising.” Rasputina’s version of “Bad
Moon Rising” was the best rendition, besides CCR’s,
that I have ever heard.
Rasputina slowed it down as they did the other two covers.
The rhythm had a good swaying groove to it and was kinda funky,
in a way. John Fogerty’s words of warning fit right
nicely into Rasputina’s lyrical canon, making the song
seem like their own. The large and appreciative crowd was
made up of Goth-types, complete with guys in skirts, medieval-themed
women, and lots of black. The cellists, Creager and Zoe Keating,
also were dressed in medieval style outfits and lookin’
fine. Umm hmm.
The bad part of the night was that it had to end, I could’ve
stayed and listened to ‘Tina’s body-vibrating
music all night. –James E
Rock Stars, Wed Oct 22, 2003
T.J. told me that he ate a healthy portion of mushrooms before
the show Wednesday night at Rock Stars, a new live music venue
located in the middle of frat boy central on Sixth Street.
He says that their music always sounds better when he’s
tripping. With an ear-to-ear grin, I would have to agree with
the part-time lead vox/rhythm guitar player, part-time pizza
guy and full time stoner punk who sings with more soul than
most Red River rats can shake a stick at. Indofin is a six-piece
ska band who dynamically fuse elements of dub, hip-hop, punk
and reggae into a heart-felt package that you might as well
label ‘Fuck You If You’re Not Feeling Us.’
Sure, right away most kiddos will write these dudes off as
Sublime sound-alikes. I’ve heard it more than a few
times at the shows and around town. Well, I’m not here
to extinguish that as hearsay or even call it a bullshit statement.
I will however gladly fuel the fire of those opinions by stating
that the spirit of the former Long Beach three piece of punk
fuck-ups, the same ruffians that pummeled the planet during
the early 90’s with eerie affection and a passionate
disposition for their music, lives through this particular
group of musicians in 2003. Indofin could care less about
what anyone thinks. They live for their own music and hope
that others can somehow relate. I can.
TJ, a former death metal drummer and self-taught vocalist
and guitar player, does sound like Bradley when he hits the
high notes. The purity of his pipes carry a force and a vitality
that is tender, but never reluctant. Justin, the flow master
and energetic emcee of the group always keeps the party moving
with stage antics that include dancing and leaping around
his band mates or trying to pick fights by taunting TJ while
he’s trying play. In the past, this has lead to several
dog-piles, scattered blood and of course a series of laughs
and crowd applause, whom are often trying to figure out if
the fights and verbal lashings are serious. Donny, whose drums
always seem to need more mics than the band can afford, is
one of the most laid-back kids I’ve ever met. He’s
always mellow, always stoned and lives for surfing and playing.
Mike is the DJ. His precision-cuts and sound manipulations
keep a hip-hop vibe, but definitely stand behind the sonic
succinctness of Eric’s finesse lead guitar licks and
the spastic bass playing of Albert, a short, timid Taiwanese
kid whose nickname is TweakinAsian.
As the mushrooms kicked in and the beers kept coming courtesy
of their biggest fans, Indofin kept rockin’ in their
normal feel-good fashion. They played songs like Boozer Holiday,
the highly rotated video on Austin Music Network that highlights
the ups and downs of consumption, Mid-day Morning, a bittersweet
ode to the current state of affairs in the band’s rock-at-all-cost
life style and Rule Of Thumb, a shout-out to fellow friends
and rockers in the local scene. To the crowd’s delight,
the band also performed their own punked-out version of the
Ronette’s classic Be My Little Baby and covered the
Misfits’ Where Eagles Dare.
The show was great—we all smoked-out afterwards and
TJ even had some extra fungi—yippeee! Indofin are a
fun-loving group of punker sluts who represent music of extreme
moral worth or value—and that, my fellow critics, is
the dictionary definition of the word sublime. -Smitty