Fat Beats

The real reason Houston stays near the top of the chunkiest-city charts

All of it shows in our rappers' physiques, not to mention those of local rap fans. For every buff Z-Ro or Willie D we have here, there are five rotund Big Moes and Big Pokeys. And these guys aren't ashamed of their size. The late Fat Pat reveled in his handle, and Lil'O boasts that he is "Da Fat Rat Wit Da Cheeze." And here's Bun B on his last album: "I stand 5 foot 10, 200 and a half / 100 percent gangsta don't smile and don't laugh / in a three-inch shirt nigga 38 waist / I ain't small mothafucka I'm takin' up some space." And here's Big Moe off his 2004 hit "Just a Dog": "Got back to the crib and had to hop up in the shower / I'm a big dude so ya already know it took about an hour."

That's the spirit! With that kind of fat Houston pride, no initiative from Bill White's office can cheat us of our rightful place at the head of the fat folks' table.

Get Mod at FotoFest

FotoFest is kicking off this week and they've brought in an amazing young band from England to celebrate. Nottingham's Nic Armstrong and the Thieves are classic-rock revivalists similar to Houston's own the John Sparrow/Inner Lights or cover band the Dreambreakers –- Armstrong's flypaper-catchy, fuzz-toned guitar originals call to mind such all-but-forgotten (over here, anyway) British Invasion bands as the Yardbirds, the Move and the Pretty Things, not to mention the early, more blues-based phases of more famous bands like the Kinks, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. And unlike his twentysomething contemporaries in comparable but inferior bands like Jet and the Redwalls, Armstrong's voice is versatile enough to allow him to downshift into a folkie gear that finds him sounding like Dylan and Donovan. Armstrong is too talented to allow all this to sound like mere revivalism or spot-the-influence pastiche, and though it's a rock-writing cliché to say so, the fact remains that his 2005 album, Greatest White Liar, sounds like some lost classic from 1965.

Scuttlebutt Caboose

It's been a long time a-comin', but John Egan is finally releasing his blues-rock duo album Secret Religion at a March 11 in-store at Cactus at 3 p.m. Egan told me he wanted to "bring back the boogie" with this CD, and he does just that, with a choogling assortment of guitar-and-drums tunes that recall ZZ Top's "La Grange" heyday. Or should that be their "a-haw-haw-haw-haw-day"?...And yet another in-store rounds out one of the last weekends in Cactus's existence. On Sunday, March 12, longtime Cactus employee/Static House record producer/man-about-town Jamie Sralla will release the compilation CD Astro-Worldbeat, which features new cuts by Zipperneck, Dune*TX, Arthur Yoria, Enron Field, Chickenhawk and the Dead Roses, remixes of Japanic and Horseshoe cuts, and archival stuff from Biscuit's Texas Bombs, Junior Varsity and Japan's the Mighty Moguls. Yoria and Cactus employee Tody Castillo are both scheduled to play, Sralla will be signing autographs, and the free refreshment situation is rumored to be on a more grandiose scale than has been the norm at Cactus for lo these many years. You really have no excuses to miss it.

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