Down With the Scene Festival
A year and a half after his successful Down With the Scene Fest, Groceries/Bring Back the Guns front man Matt Brownlie has decided to host another and make it a monthly event. Brownlie says that the event promises to "showcase the best underground music from Houston and around the region, with a loose focus on indie, hip-hop and experimental acts" and adds that he "especially seeks to expose new audiences to local musicians working outside the mainstream." (Each of these shows will be held at the Rhythm Room on either the last Friday or Saturday of each month.) For the first installment, indie rockers the Kants and the Jonx will support a (temporarily?) reunited Lucky Motors, the excellent turn-of-the-millennium-era power-pop trio that now seems more of a legend than a band, and whose alumni have since spawned Panic in Detroit and 8Track Charade, among others. -- John Nova Lomax
Friday, November 26, at the Rhythm Room, 1815 Washington Avenue, 713-863-0943.
Look up C.C. Adcock on the Net and you'll end up at sites like MysticKnightsoftheMauMau.com. Quote: "Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau is not a band. It is a secret organization solely dedicated to the preservation and promotion of rock n' roll sainthood in New Orleans. Some would say Martyrdom would be a more descriptive term." C.C. Adcock is one of those unknown saints the Mystic Knights seek to preserve and promote.
One of the unsolved mysteries of pop music is why C.C. Adcock never made it big. Hugely. He had the looks, he had the hair, he had the air, he had the clothes. And he had those South Louisiana hipster lyrics and the funky fat guitar licks that call up visions of bayous and pirogues and all that other mighty-cootie-fiyo junque. Adcock wasn't just from the swamp, he was the damn swamp. He'd played with Bo Diddley. He'd played with Buckwheat Zydeco. And he was incredibly young to be so accomplished.
I remember seeing him at the Satellite Lounge when House Rocker heralded him as an important new Southern rocker. Fifteen people showed up. A fight broke out between a heckler and the bassist, who looked like Jerry Lee Lewis. Adcock tried to break it up. It didn't break up so easy. The show went on. You know, Houston was never that far from Breaux Bridge.
Since then, Adcock has been the impetus behind the Cajun swamp-rock supergroup Li'l Band o' Gold, the smoothest, whiskey-drinkinest, woman-stealinest group out of South Louisiana maybe ever. And all the while, he's been recording here and there, off and on, with guys like Jack Nitzsche. He'll premiere the latest result, Lafayette Marquis, this trip to H-town. Who knows, maybe a fight will break out. -- William Michael Smith
With Supagroup and the Reverend Horton Heat, Saturday, November 27, at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717.
Los Skarnales, Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys, and the John Sparrow
Now this is the kind of local show Houston could use more of: three of the best bands in town, from widely disparate genres, playing in front of new faces for a change. Rude boys, rednecks and mods can unite as Skarnales bring the barrio cumbia-ska-billy, Reefer and the RVB blaze up the Webb Pierce-style honky-tonk, and the Anglophiles in the John Sparrow jam out all the Kinks. Be there, and make sure you wear your shag haircut, your suspenders and your Stetson. -- John Nova Lomax
Saturday, November 27, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak Drive, 713-862-3838.
A couple of years ago, when Dallas country disc jockey Bruce Kidder returned to the job after being in the hospital for surgery, he told a great story about lying for hours in the hospital with nothing to entertain himself but his Sony Discman. Kidder told his audience that being in isolation with his CDs had caused him to have an epiphany. He confessed that he came to realize that with all the pressure that disc jockeys get to play new stuff and be on the cutting edge with new artists, he didn't play Steve Earle enough on his radio show. Alone in his room, Kidder said, he kept coming back to Earle's records and vowed that henceforth he was making Earle a daily selection on the program.
Well, I had a similar epiphany a few months back when I took a Nashvegas songwriter buddy of mine to see Carolyn Wonderland at the Rhythm Room, only my epiphany is that the Houston media doesn't tout Carolyn Wonderland nearly often enough. Like so many bands that become fixtures on the scene, Wonderland and her frequent gigs are taken for granted rather than heralded with the banner headlines they deserve. She may be living in Austin these days, but she remains a Houston treasure that we need to dust off and polish and display prominently. Not only does she count Bob Dylan as a fan, the good-hearted, trumpet-tooting, blues-shouting guitar slinger also gives freely of her time to numerous charities and good causes. (She was recently appointed a director of the Instruments for Orphans Foundation.)Wonderland has been recording her next album with Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson producing. And no doubt she and her band, which includes former Horseshoe guitarist Scott Daniels, will be razor-sharp and road-honed after a four-day stand in Amsterdam when they hit the Dan Electro stage. -- William Michael Smith
Friday, November 26, at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th, 713-862-8707.
Jack Ingram and the Beat-Up Ford Band
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Woodlands boy Jack Ingram may live in Dallas now, but just like the rest of us, he heads home for the Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce that only Mama knows how to prepare just right. Might as well mix business with pleasure, right?
Ingram now hosts his own radio show (Jack's Tracks: Jack Ingram's Real American Music Hour) and sponsors one of the most interesting alt-country festivals in the country (Real American Music Festival). And he still fronts one of the most whupass Texas country bands around. Ingram has a fanatical following that not only demands that the amps be turned to 11 but expects Ingram to tell the likes of Kenny Chesney, "No thanks, you can't record my song." Commercially suicidal deeds like that have insulated Ingram from the cries of "Sellout!" that have dogged the likes of Pat Green and Charlie Robison when they made their moves to Nashville labels. Ingram has released five albums on Sony's Lucky Dog imprint, but he never quite satisfied (or caved in to) the suits who kept saying, "But, Jack, we don't hear a single."
Ingram will be previewing songs from his spring 2005 album at a Continental Club show that should be a genuine homecoming extravaganza, with fellow Woodlands spawn Hayes Carll and Houston's Mando Saenz also on the bill. -- William Michael Smith
Friday, November 26, at the Continental Club, 3700 Main, 713-529-9899.