"There's a void of knowledge in the system." Thus spaketh Frank "Rat Bastard" Falestra, rightfully bemoaning the top-secret appearance of My Dad Is Dead at Washington Square last night (the 19th). "This guy's put out six albums in five years, every one of them has gone Top 20 in the college market, and no one, not even the music press, notices that he's playing live here?" Gee, Frank, what music press?
You'd be surprised, disgusted even, if you knew how much time/effort we put into compiling our "Concert Calendar." I read national itineries, scope local publications, dialogue with the promoters and club bookers, beg for info from any source. Sometimes this gets pretty ludicrous - I've been hearing for weeks that WSHE-FM is planning a big Memorial Day celebration (an oxymoron, that) concert on May 25, so I called the station, dropped to my knees, and pleaded for a fax with the relevant data. Not a word back, although the venue, Penrod's, finally dropped us a note. I visited psychics and not one of them had a vision of My Dad Is Dead appearing anywhere in South Florida. Apparently Washington Square honchos didn't even realize they had booked a national act. What's worse is I don't care too much; I don't care for MDID's music. I wish we would have listed the show, though.
A void of knowledge, right Ratman? I mean, R.E.M., the most critic-friendly band in America, is cutting a new album, and the "music press" hasn't reported that, at least not that I'm aware of. The Warner Bros. band is cutting this album at Criteria in North Miami. Any local critics ask to sit in on a session or two for a national scoop? Has anybody gone over to Mac's Club Deuce and shot a few games of eight-ball with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills?
Two members of Jody Grind died tragically young and I tried to deal with this more-important-than-music news in this less-important-than-life column. It made me sad. At least one fan of the Atlanta band took my words as disrespectful, probably because I tried too hard to be sensitive and respectful. Maybe that's why the deaths of Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton didn't make the network news. Tough story to tell, you know? But at least I figured out the title of the band's latest album, Lefty's Deceiver. It's a type of fishing lure.
Maybe the music writers are trying. Deborah Wilker recently essayed about big-concert ticket sales, and Leonard Pitts mulled the issue of major-artist album sales, explaining that the reason Springsteen isn't owning the charts is because he bomb-bay-doored two albums and yuppies feel put upon by this, and therefore buy neither record. (Neither of these lucubrations mentioned My Dad Is Dead, Frankie.)
It's all superficial, we, they, you don't think in terms of the industry. See through it, people. The real reason Bruce Springsteen released two albums simultaneously, somebody told me, was to fulfill his contract with Columbia (a.k.a. Sony, but I'm not going to sort out the corporate structure here). Now, theorists say, Bruce is free to negotiate a deal bigger than Michael Jackson's and Madonna's put together. Springsteen and his label declined comment. Another void.
Fill 'er up, please: Drive Choir tilts into the Church on Friday. The Slammies (June 25 at Button South) will include a performance by local-band-turned-national-act Malevolent Creation. The Boca Cabana in Rat's Mouth (a.k.a. Boca Raton) helps fill the jazz hole with China Valles's jazz party on Sundays and Ben Champion and his Jazzberry Patch Band seven nights per week. Plus there's the Sunshine Jazz Organization jam at Greenstreets this Sunday.
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Once more, with filling: RBT, with a new bass player, new material, and a new hologram play the Square on Friday, and saxman Bobby Watson will sit in. The same night, Big Art rolls into Tobacco Road. On Saturday the Unitarian Universalist Association brings a Peace and Harmony Benefit to the Miami Shores Theater of the Performing Arts featuring sets by Elysian, Natural Causes, I Don't Know, and the Itch. On Sunday Mr. Twister and Good Gone Bad entertain at the Wings of Steel rally and benefit (for the Coma Recovery Association) at 280 Espanola Way.
My psychic says: The Stephen Talkhouse, an amazing blues club in Amagansett, New York, will open an outlet somewhere near Sixth and Collins during the summer and bring tons of cool live music to the Beach. In late June Curt McIntosh will leave his post at the Button South for a radio job in the Cayman Islands. If every club had a Curt McIntosh, devoted compilers of concert calendars might have time to go fishing once in a while. I'm dying to try out a Lefty's Deceiver lure.
Butthorn of the week and the media circus: Last week New Times published a report about former Miami police lawyer Beverley Linton-Davis. The paper had to go so far as to sue the City of Miami to obtain information of public interest. On Tuesday, the day NT begins hitting the streets, the Miami Herald printed a half-assed version of the same story. Clearly, they found out what we were investigating and attempted to take the wind out of our scoop sails. What the Herald gang actually revealed is that they aren't ashamed to do an inferior job.
Greg Brown lyric for the week: (This is a new occasional feature in which we will steal the copyrighted genius of folk singer Greg Brown in hopes you'll buy everything he's ever recorded and that you likes, you likes.) From 1985's "All the Money's Gone:" We Americans/We are so easy to please/A jug of wine/A loaf of bread/and fifty thousand dollars.