Well, the Viper Room came and went last Thursday night, and as more or less expected, it turned out to be a one-shot tribute to/mockery of young dead famous white people. Xeroxed photographs and news clippings regarding the deaths of Kurt Cobain and River Phoenix plastered the walls of what's usually Club Some (next door to Emo's), Kurt Cobain shots (heh heh) were served, and a wispy-thin boy waltzed around the space firing rounds from a toy machine gun into his mouth. It was all very clever, for about five minutes. 'Course, once the free beer ran out, there wasn't much to do except loiter on the dance floor with a raft of confused-looking youth admiring the way their white T-shirts glowed in the lighting. That, or stagger into the tiny live music room, where locals Pillow were pumping an admirable amount of energy into a musically boring set of overamped guitar rock. There was, to be fair, at least one young woman in attendance who appeared to be swept away by Pillow's noisy stylings, but then again, she didn't seem able to tell the difference between yours truly and a wall when it came time to find something solid to keep her twitching booty off the floor. Maybe it was grief at the ugly passings of two of her generation's leading lights that made her knees all weak, but I doubt it.
Shows you have no excuse to miss... The Austin-based Texas Folklife Resources continues its mission to preserve and promote indigenous Texas musics with a fifth year of its Accordion Kings program, scheduled for June 3 and 4 at Miller Outdoor Theater. You may remember last year's program, or the more recent TFR offering that showcased the fiddle in all its glorious forms. If so, you know that the folks put on one hell of a free show. This year, the lineup kicks off at 7:30 Friday with Czech accordionist Mark Halata and Polish fiddler Brian Marshall and the Texas Slavic Playboys. Houston's own family-affair zydeco wizards the Sam Brothers, including a special appearance by patriarch Daddy "Good Rockin'" Sam, follow. Friday night headliners are Los Dos Gilbertos, one of south Texas' finest conjunto groups.
Saturday night, Houston's Gypsies open the show, followed by R.C. Matthews and the Texas Cajun Aces, John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys and Tejano hotshots David Lee Garza y los Musicales. It's outdoors, it's free, and you can bug out to it.
Local Stuff... Thursday night, the jazz-fusiony TestosterTones bid farewell to bassist Dave Foster, who's off to be all he can be in the Air Force. The billed "last chance" farewell gig is at Dizzy's on Westheimer -- still fairly new and worth checking out -- but if you absolutely can't make it on Thursday, the "for sure last chance" to take in the pre-departure lineup takes place at the Satellite Lounge the following Sunday, June 5. Also on Thursday, folky Dana Cooper is in town to play a show at the Mucky Duck, and Dinosaur Salad, Yoda's Love Child and Underwood share a triple bill over at Goat's Head Soup.
Oliver Eclarinal, Rommel Eclarinal and Kokoy Severino, three original members of the Presidents, have formed Kasama -- self-billed as "a new expression of the modern Filipino rock identity" and "militant Third World rock." The new band is playing second fiddle to "official representatives of the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico" who speak at a public forum in Allen Parkway Village at 6 p.m. Thursday. Later that night, Kasama debuts at Escondido.
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Meanwhile, at Rockefeller's, local rhythm-and-blues soulster Aubrey Dunham celebrates the release of his debut CD, Now I'm Singing the Blues. Local (for now) bluesmen Lightnin' Red and Thunder Blues open the show, after which the band plans to move to, umm, Seattle.
Moving on, finally, to Friday, Dallas' Jackopierce brings its glossified brand of acoustic pop to Fitzgerald's, and Austin's Maryann Price, whose slinky supperclub swing is an unheralded retro joy, plays the Mucky Duck. Closer to home, Joint Chiefs and Woody's Jukebox tear it up at Laveau's in a school's-out summer bash, and The Missiles are at Rudyard's. Over at the Abyss, it's Spunk, Taste of Garlic and Das Klown.
Saturday night the Basics are at the Satellite, and Austin's premier guit-slinger, Junior Brown, tries to rouse some honky-tonk spirit at the Duck. Recent addition to the local scene Pillow plays Rudz Saturday night as well. Oh, and there's a generic guitar-pop band from Glasgow parading under the name Texas and sharing a bill with James at Southern Star Amphitheater. If you weren't already planning to go, don't let me encourage you.
Dinosaur Salad's scheduled at the Blue Iguana Sunday night, and Charalambides and The Dave Dove/Paul Winstanley Duo are booked at Harvey's every Sunday night. This week's Rolling Stone reveals that the eclectic Charalambides project is tops on Thurston Moore's rave list, and he's not the only one tossing the group's name around, so you might want to check out what all the fuss is about. That's all the news that fits.