You know the bomb is mack when you spot John Hood at a rock and roll show in a place like Stephen Talkhouse. But there he was, the most dapper doorman and prop promoter on South Beach, the guy the press'll never stop hyping as an "intellectual thug," the man behind the myth but never the eight ball. And of course the usual suspects turned out -- Ulloa, Tovar, Blum, Richards, Schantz, Liz, Sloppy Joe, Jose from FtN, Juan and Robert from the Nukes, members of Cruz Azul, Ana (not accompanied by Kina Baker), not to mention all the musicians performing, the organizers of the event, the T-house staffers, and some other people I'm forgetting to mention because I was buzzed. It was the first night of CrestFest, the three-show fundraiser for flood victims in Hamburg, Iowa.
Rooster Head's Michael Kennedy, who performed with Pete Moss as a duo, sold twenty CDs from his personal collection to raise gas money to get to the event to raise money for the Iowans. Rock and roll. And thank God he did, because the twosome delivered a set beyond compelling, covering CCR's "Who'll Stop the Rain" ("That's so brilliant I thought no one would think of it," noted Glenn Richards), Elvis Costello's "Alison," and A in their second most-inspired moment -- the Goods's "Fucked Up." Add in a few of Kennedy's many originals, some "Mandy" jokes, Pete Moss's casual virtuosity, and you had a set that alone made the five-dollar donation well worth it.
But there were plenty of other amazing moments. Mary Karlzen's new band proved to be as tight as Spandex; their "I'd Be Lying" was over the top. Natural Causes delivered an Arena-worthy set, big and jammy, with Joel Schantz cutting loose a pathetic guitargasm break to lead into a "God's Country" that literally vibrated the room. Black Janet also hit hard, clean and mean, and, from what I hear, the acoustic acts and Raw B. Jae came through as well. With T-shirt sales, admissions, and raffles, the organizers raised $800.
On Friday, CrestFest moved up to Squeeze in Fort Lauderdale.
I had to miss that one due to other obligations such as my damn job, but organizers raised about $1200, and on Saturday at Washington Square plenty of people told me the music the night before was awesome. (I ended up spending Friday night trapped at the Square, where I caught a pathetic version of Scraping Teeth, with Rat moving to bass, Bill Orcutt swinging guitar -- literally swinging it -- and Load singer Bobby Johnston pounding drums as if the future of the universe depended on it. Bobby, who used to play drums for Insanity Assassin, might not be a Fausto, but the kid can play.)
On Saturday Sloppy Joe and I hosted the final segment of CrestFest at the Square. The audience was the coolest -- especially the guy who donated five bucks in exchange for the T-shirt I was wearing. The music was just as cool -- I don't care what the Goods said backstage, I enjoyed their set. In fact, altogether, I saw about twenty local bands live this past week and not one of them sucked, except Scraping Teeth, who are supposed to suck. More than half of these acts were absolutely brilliant. Y'all rule.
The total take for CrestFest came to about $4000, which means that after expenses, at least $3000 goes to flood victims. At five or six in the morning, after dimestore genies played the last set of the event, I tried to rally a few stragglers for a "We Are the World" finale, but everyone was too dazed, except Zac A who'd busted his ass all night as stage manager -- and Young Turk's Billy McKelvy, in the role of spectator on this night. So there they were A Zac blasting the National Anthem on kazoo and McKelvy, one of the biggest rock stars in town, wondering what the hell he was doing on-stage. Heck, Billy, I don't know either. But I bet the people in Hamburg, Iowa, know.
Halo checks in at Washington Square this Saturday.
Heard from a couple of people who say they ran into that South African sailor scam. Apparently it's not as new as I thought. Steve Zarzecki says some guys tried "the same routine. It was about two years ago, maybe even longer, at Westland Mall. A guy in a straw hat approached me. He had a wad of money shoved down his pants, said something about writing a check for jewelry." Zarzecki says he told the straw hat guy to put the money in the bank. At one point Zarzecki got a good look at the guy's money and says it looked like a bill wrapped around paper -- the edges were too white. "I remembered The Sting," Zarzecki says. "And I was outta there."
Check out Third Wish at the Plus 5 this Friday or at Stephen Talkhouse on September 26.
Bobby Ramirez, of Full Power, has been working hard for months to put together a Latin-jazz all-star extravaganza to benefit Camillus House. Tonight (Wednesday) at Stephen Talkhouse a bunch of top guns -- including Gary Campbell, Pete Minger, John Yarling, Mike Orta, Ed Calle, and many more -- will perform beginning at 9:00 p.m. Some canned food gets you in.
More shows: Radiobaghdad's gig with Load at Squeeze tonight also serves as the band's tape-release party. Girls, girls, girls at Cactina this Friday (and all month if you haven't noticed), when Second Son and Marianne Flemming and Lyrics for Lunch play. Bandit performs tonight at Musicians Exchange and Friday at McFly's. The Miami Bach Society Orchestra rips out some Handel, Telemann, and, of course, Johann Sebastian on Sunday at the Coral Gables Congregational Church (3010 DeSoto Blvd. in Coral Gables, 279-2620).
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Local heroes Marilyn Manson return to the scene with a show this Saturday at Plus 5. You've heard about the olive-loaf pants and the chocolate cow, but here's a new one: a woman with a close association with MM once said, "We got naked to do a painting on canvas, but his brush was too small." (Oh, and by the way, their music rules.)
A huge bill at Cactus Cantina this Saturday, when Rooster Head and Zen Dog join Johnny Tonite.
Bummer of the week: The Causes were booked to open for the Nevilles at Sunrise, and the band members were plenty excited about the opportunity to play a nice big room opening for a great act. After the show was confirmed, Cellar Door had to inform the Causes that the Nevilles had decided to bring their own opening act.
Butthorn of the week and the media circus: WSVN-TV News, but not for the usual reasons. Laurie "Buzz" Hibberd, seen all too often on Channel 7's newscasts, once admitted on the air that "if it wasn't for Madonna, I wouldn't have anything to talk about half the time." (Unlike a certain slob journalist whose column appears each week in Tropic, I don't earn my living making this up. She really actually said those exact words on the air, on December 15 of last year.) She also scooped the media world with her flash that Billy Ray Cyrus once streaked. Hell, we could write a cover story about the sheer brilliance of Laurie Hibberd, except Channel 7's flacks have wrapped her in a cloak of inaccessibility A like Springsteen and Streisand and Michael "Just Kidding" Jackson, Hibberd is above publicizing herself. This week's nod also gives us a chance to tell you that the lead singer of Pearl Jam is named Eddie Vedder. What do you mean, "No duh"? Reporting the MTV Awards recently, Hibberd went on about Eddie Veeder. At first I thought she just had an unusual way of pronouncing Vedder's name, but then Channel 7 supered the name on-screen -- spelling it Veeder.