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The Lame and the Great

Lists you've been waiting all year for, in no particular order

Best Thing to Happen to Local Musical Culture
One-time Austin honky-tonker Mary Cutrufello's move to Houston.

Most Irrelevant Thing to Happen to Local Musical Culture
Onetime local label Sector II's move to Austin.

Real Life Rock and Roll Top Six
1. Goat's Head Soup blew up one night, providing fireworks for all lower Westheimer. Word quickly spread that arson was to blame, and short weeks later an owner/investor was arrested for torching his own nightclub, providing one of the dumbest pseudo mob scenarios to hit Houston's music scene in recent memory. Booking puppet-master Pace found a new home at the Urban Art Bar, and life goes on.

2. Longtime Houston Chronicle rock critic Marty Racine quit his music-writing gig, perhaps in response to his advancing (in rock crit terms) age -- a quality noted last year in this same space with the announcement of Marty's Heights Area Lawn of the Month victory. Since then, he's popped up writing about snake handlers and displaced country folk, and when certain rock shows come through town, the Chron pulls him out of retirement to pitch in his two-cents worth, as when he noted in a review of Crosby, Stills and Nash that "Love the One You're With" might have been the worst piece of advice the hippies ever got. More or less gone, but not forgotten.

3. Backstage at this year's Houston Press Music Awards, in a moment of fear that the proceedings had grown boring, I asked members of the Odd Squad, who were about to go on-stage, to, you know, liven things up a little. They did. Walked onto the stage, did their thing, sparked at least six fat joints, puffed some and tossed some into the front rows. HPD officer and public relations dreamboy Ken Weiner considerately turned his back to the proceedings, and my KLOL cohost rushed into action, fairly screaming that, ohmigod, somebody's got to stop them. Nobody did, and a bunch of people got a free stoning at the Music Awards, which I thought was pretty great.

4. Nine Inch Nails played at The Summit with the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow and Marilyn Manson. When NIN frontman Trent Reznor finally hit the stage after a Halloween night buildup of suspense, hundreds of angsty kids dressed like Brandon Lee's Crow rushed the flimsy barricades and flowed onto the floor. The mass-scale stage rush is a noble but dying tradition, and for a moment, it made me believe all over again.

5. Pink Floyd came to Rice Stadium for a rare appearance, giving me the opportunity to write what amounted to a personal essay about my own sick relationship with that band's music. Little did I expect that guitarist and frontman by default David Gilmour would read the article, take personal offense and instruct his tour publicist to contact me and ask for my impressions after the show. Luckily for me, forces conspired to make the show a success, but Gilmour's sensitivity struck me as touching. And just about what you'd expect from a man who had to employ professional lyrical assistance to write a song about his own inability to communicate.

6. Kurt Cobain capped himself with a 12-gauge, sparking a million tributes of varying quality and cementing Nirvana's place in the mass-cult rock pantheon. MTV continues to show Nirvana's "In Bloom" video, in which Cobain insists that he does not have a gun, while a pistol revolves in space. Every person with even a shred of humanity swallows a painful lump in his throat.

Parting Gifts
For Sector II Records -- A band with a chance in hell.
For Sound Virus Records -- A band, any band, that will stay.
For Justice Records -- Street cred.
For Axiom/Catal HYyYk/Harvey's -- An nth chance.
For the refurbished dead horse -- Staying power.
For Banana Blender Surprise -- A collective haircut.

For the Houston Blues Society (and the whole city, for that matter) -- A statue of Lightnin' Hopkins in the Third Ward.

For KRQE, Rocket Radio -- Something to play during the day that's half as entertaining as Love Phones at night.

For the Houston Music Council -- Something to do.
For all Houston music venues -- A sense of adventure.
For all Houston bands -- More places to play, and more people to listen.
For Courtney Love -- Evan Dando.
For Billy Corgan -- A swift kick in the ass.

For anyone with taste -- A membership in the Society to Eradicate Sheryl Crow.

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