Program Notes 28

Now do I get it, now do I have a clue? Doubtful, but I heard hope. Lots of it. I was pretending I was dreaming that I was a normal person, heading out after work for a few beers (very few, actually) and to hear some people play guitar and sing and such. And there it is.

Arlan Feiles, of Natural Causes, on the stage of Stephen Talkhouse at the My Only Problem record release party, strumming an acoustic and singing the first verse of "God's Country" as beautifully, just tonewise, forget the emotion, as he ever has. To his left stood Rene Alvarez, the Forget the Name vocalist who combines technical precision and great range with soulful passion as well as any singer in the world, stepping up to sing the hell out of the second verse of Feiles's great American anthem. For the chorus Rene steps back from the mike and does this thing -- that's the best I can do here, folks, he does this thing -- and the harmony and the power and the glory remind you what this rock and roll stuff's all about. And they're maybe halfway through the song, and some shaved-head guy runs on to the stage and grabs mike number three and improvises a verse: Nil Lara. The three turn the rest of the song into harmony heaven. And by the time the silence fell and Arlan cut loose that killer break -- I don't know what the fuck it's for -- we all knew right there what the fuck it's for. Let me put it this way: After the song ended I stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. Literally. And I wasn't drunk or on drugs.

And while that may have been one of the most exhilarating moments in the history of rock and roll, the whole night burned. Earlier, in a separate show at Talkhouse, Magda Hiller used her gorgeous jazz-blues-whatever voice to drive wild a sizable crowd as she opened for Rich Kurschner. It took Kurschner all of two songs to bust a string. This guy plays with abandon, writes real smart songs like the one where a car is not some macho metaphor but a machine with working (or not) parts, and others where dreams are real and reality is a dream. He closed with a killer cover of the Replacements's "Unsatisfied," minus the angst.

Meanwhile, over at Coyote, Johnny Tonite was rocking their guts out for a crowd of approximately four people. Outside stood two members of the Goods (John: Your little quip made me feel really good about what I do for a living). Three members of the Causes walked past. There was more talent on that sidewalk than there is in most cities.

The acts at the Problem party were, without exception, brilliant. When R.W. Kingbird sang about playing 24 hours a day in front of a Publix you could imagine him doing just that. Joel Schantz's guitar accompaniment, and the six-string jams he and Kingbird teamed for, took the venerable instrument to new heights. They nailed it. I wasn't working, and I lost my pen anyway (Sandra: thanks for the assist), so I don't know from titles, but the second song in Karen Friedman's set is a major keeper. Cool guy Wurle B. Free and his anonymous, grooving rhythm section rode the big rock wave, and the Whistling Tinheads came through, too, with Chris DeAngelis using placards to illustrate "Homer Goes to Hollywood." When they closed with their Tinheads theme song even Causes drummer Jim Wall -- just hanging out at the bar on this occasion -- was singing along.

Look folks, this is out there, now, it's there for you:
Arena-worthy rockers Voidville cut loose at the Reunion Room tomorrow (Thursday). Falling Corpses open the show. Tonight (Wednesday) at Talkhouse Forget the Name will perform with a string quartet (including Debbie Spring!) and a horn section (do the letters F.O.C. mean anything to you?) and Albert Menendez on piano as a farewell show as they begin another, and their biggest, tour. The Miamiway Theatre has just started up a jazz series. Call 893-0005 for the scoop. Huge rave on October 30 (the new date for the holiday Halloween, apparently, being a Saturday and all, gawd holidays are a stupid concept) at the Oceanfront Auditorium on South Beach. Heard Melton Mustafa on WLRN-FM the other day -- what a guy, what a player -- and you can hear him jazzjam with his octet on Sunday at MoJazz Cafe. The Livid Kittens dream in color on Friday at Squeeze. Black Janet unmasks on Friday at the Button South. Lynne Noble and Rob Friedman do the duo thing on Saturday at Thai Orchid in Coral Gables (443-6364). Don't forget the pain-and-gore fest at the Cameo on Saturday A the Genitorturers and Marilyn Manson, truly scary stuff. Texas West roughs things up tonight (Wednesday) at Cheers in Fort Lauderdale. The Baboons monkey around at the Ambient Acropolis 2 event this Saturday at the Mud House and on Sunday, with Collapsing Lungs, at Reunion.

ESP Records, which folded in 1974 after releasing Sun Country's first album in 1969 and stuff by Sun Ra and Pearls Before Swine, is back and will soon re-release the Sun Country album. Sun Country is now and better known as Tiger-Tiger. They'll tear up the Musicians Exchange this weekend. Check out their new album, Tamiami Station, too.

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