Music to Your Ears
Honky Tonk Hero
By Michael Henningsen
Anyone hoping for an in-depth page-turner of Texas country legend Billy Joe Shaver be warned: you're not going to find it here. Considering the life Shaver has led, the accomplishments he's achieved through raw perseverance, deep-seated faith and good ol' West Texas gumption, Honky Tonk Hero's 191 pages seems a paltry sum. Only 72 of those pages, however, contain any narrative, while the rest are dedicated to reprints of all Shaver's song lyrics.
Billy Joe Shaver
By Michael Henningsen
Waco-born, Corsicana-raised Billy Joe Shaver is the quintessential unsung hero of American music; a sorely overlooked contributor to its formidable canon. Even though artists from Waylon Jennings and David Allen Coe to Willie Nelson and the Allman Brothers have enjoyed success on the coattails of the songs he began writing some four decades ago, Shaver remains on the periphery. In 1993, his luck began to change with the release of his first solo foray in several years, Tramp On Your Street (Zoo). The release two years later of Unshaven: Shaver Live at Smith's Olde Bar (Zoo) very nearly catapulted him to the forefront of country music, Texas-style. But, arguably, it was the stunning guitar work of his only son Eddy that made the elder Shaver remarkable to the ears of listeners, despite the fact that his gritty songwriting over the past 50 years or so makes him eligible for any Hall of Fame in existence.
By Laura Marrich
Monday, May 30; The Launchpad (21 and older): Combining equal parts French chanson, German electro-pop and good old American trash rock, Stereo Total is the most beguiling musical duo to rocket out of Europe in the last decade. Frontwoman Françoise Cactus bangs away on her drum set, singing everything from Serge Gainsbourg ballads to old school cheese balls like "Push It Real Good" with the brazen enthusiasm (and at times, fragility) of an eight-year old girl. Brezel Güring also does double-duty as a keyboardist and crooner, exhaling German-swathed lyrics as languidly as smoke pulled from a Gaulois cigarette. You might find yourself lighting up, too. Now touring in support of their seventh album, Do the Bambi, the Euro-trash wonder twins are taking American audiences to dizzying new heights of pop mulitilingualism. And, thanks to the support of Downtown's Mecca Records, we'll be one of the lucky ones to hear them live. Oh, how the accents will fly!
By W.P. Malandra
Spanish for 100 Metric (SPF)
Here's a band who loves straight-ahead rock tunes as much as their effects pedals. Spaced out music and melodies float around the standard rock progression to create a pleasant and easily digestable sound. Think Cave-In doing a bunch of Wilco covers. The last track was recorded live at the Crocodile in Seattle, and it shows Spanish for 100's music translates a lot better live than in the studio. "Metric" is a decent attempt, but they could benefit enormously from a bigger studio budget and a better producer.
Yule Logs and Jingle Balls • Holly Rebelle • Mena Domina • burlesque
By Devin D. O'Leary
Gilded Cage Burlesk and Varieté is definitely getting on Santa's Naughty list with Yule Logs and Jingle Balls: A Very Risqué, Very Glittery, Very Burlesque Ode to the Holidays. Burlesque dancers, sideshow performers, drag acts and more join forces to celebrate this most sparkly of holidays in grand style…
Big Holiday Bash • First Annual Toy Drive • Native Remedies • rap • 2 Evil • Seenloc • Illnickell & Badshit
By Megan Reneau
Envision a happy Christmas morning: Kids waking up across the world and running with wide eyes to a collection of presents just for them. Here's the catch: Some kids can't have that. Not just the presents, but even just being home could be impossible. Pleasantly Offensive Productions is hosting the Big Holiday Bash: First Annual Toy Drive at The Jam Spot this Saturday, Dec. 17. Native Remedies, 2 Evil, Seenloc, IllNickell & Badshit, Acetone Boogie & Izzo, Big Jubes and many more local musicians will be performing to raise funds for kids who can't make it home because they're in the hospital. This all-ages show begins at 7:30pm, and entry is free with a donation of a toy.
Ugly Sweater Dance Party • Gabriel Jaureguiberry • funk • David Hartshorne
By Desiree Garcia
The best time to wear an ugly sweater is this Saturday, Dec. 17, at Boese Brothers Brewery from 6pm to 1am. Show off that bad boy with a Christmas tree made from macaroni or even that ugly sweater you’ve had stuffed away somewhere that you got as a gift from that relative you only see once a year. Make sure to strut your stuff and capture the moment in the taproom and use the hashtag #veryboesechristmas on Facebook or Instagram to win some prizes. If that doesn’t sound like enough of a good time, there will also be live entertainment by Gabriel Jaureuiberry and David Hartshorne along with catering by Karue’s Mexican Food!
Pinball Tournament • arcade games • Food Drive
By Maggie Grimason
As my friends in Rudest Priest say, “I may not get the high score, but then again I might/ I just wanna play a little pinball tonight.” And this Sunday, Dec. 18, it doesn't really matter if you get the high score, everybody wins because at this Pinball Tournament—sponsored by and held at Sister—is also a food drive. All pinball machines on site will be set to free to play from 4pm onward, so get there early and warm up your fingers. There's a $10 buy-in for the tournament, and while non-perishable food donations aren't required, I'm just going to say this: Don't be an asshole. You're not going to eat that canned corn.
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