It shocks the rock and scientific communities to no end, but it's true. Besides originating the butter-smooth guitar licks that were as central to Queen's success as Freddie Mercury's vocal cords and unitards, Brian May is an astrophysicist. He had graduated with a bachelor of science (with honors) in physics at Imperial College London and was halfway through a PhD program (area of concentration: the velocity of space dust) when Queen blasted into a solar system all its own. May put down his thesis in favor of a guitar and didn't return to science for another three decades. He finally picked up that doctorate in May 2008. Wikipedia says an asteroid was promptly named after him: 52665 Brianmay.
A year ago this month, Billy Bellmont—namesake and auteur of defunct rock band The Bellmont—and Dan Dinning formed the loungy, acoustic, indie operation known as Bellemah. Like barnacles on a ship (or perhaps goatheads on a shoe), the band amassed seven members, then lost four, due mostly to time constraints. Now only Billy, Dan and Noelan Ramirez remain. Some days ago over coffee, Billy, Dan and I sat down for a chat. We laughed. We cried. We talked about Tom Waits. Below is a sample of our time together.
Composer’s genre-blind music gently breaks new ground
By Mel Minter
Drummer/composer John Hollenbeck admits to being a “mixtape guy.” As a kid, he’d raid his brother’s record collection to create tapes featuring a wide range of music—from symphonic works to jazz to R&B and back again.
Whether Perfect Symmetry provides instant glee or a splitting headache depends on how much you like alt.piano rock with a glob of synthesizer. If that sounds even remotely enjoyable, Perfect Symmetry is a surefire cure for the weepies. Keane is able to write lengthy ballads that don’t wear on your patience as easily as quick, punchy morning-starters. Piano is always the main course, and you never get more than a taste of drums or a sliver of guitar. Perfect Symmetry is more new-wave obsessed than Keane’s previous two releases, but it doesn’t slip into sulkiness. The group has become comfortable with its epic yet scaled-back songsmanship, and the water’s perfect if you feel like a swim. (SM)
Pale Young Gentlemen (Madison, Wis.), Small Flightless Birds and Back by October are cooler than cool this Thursday, Nov. 6, at Amped Performance Center (4200 Lomas NE). The 7 p.m. show is $5 and all-ages. (LM)
Love Bites • Vampire Ball • goth, electro, industrial, '80s
By The Intern
If putting on something dressy and all black is your forte, boy do we have an event for you. Effex's vampire's ball entitled Love Bites commences at 9pm this Thursday, Feb. 22. All those over 21 should prepare for a gory good time for just $2! Enter a raffle for $1 to sink your claws into a set of Kustom Fitted Fangs, Vampyre Tea Company's organic tea and more. Accompany fellow vampires and goths for a night of '80s electro and EDM music. Show off your best tripp pants and other dark wave looks in a costume contest to win bloody good prizes, attract eager victims and dance the night away—but not too late because you may turn into dust.
Prism Bitch • punk • Shitty and the Terribles • garage, punk • Gerunding
By August March
Let's be clear: the premier psych-y, slithery rocanrol event of February takes place at (where else) the Launchpad on Friday, Feb. 23. That's when local, sultry sound stars and de facto leaders of the soulful garage rock unit of this city's scene, Prism Bitch take the stage to blind 21+ locals with sonic and spectral divination from the mouths of prison-bound purveyors followed by no-wave Shitty and the Terribles complete with Nueva York style aggression and power chords. Whatever, it's $7 and they totally rock. And psych-pop pronunciators Gerunding (everything they sing ends in -ing, one hopes) open up this super psychedelic can of worms that are actually magic mushrooms that are actually … oh my gawd, you better go and see for yourself at 9pm.
The Open Bra • Mayo Lua de Frenchie • Miss Behavin • Burlesque improv competition • DJ CS Rucker • dance, house
By Maggie Grimason
Work up your courage or down a few beers this Saturday, Feb. 24 at Duel Brewing and take the stage for the The Open Bra, a bi-monthly burlesque improv competition. Performers are assigned a song at the beginning of the evening, and then hit the stage to enchant the audience and judges Miss Behavin, Mayo Lua de Frenchie and Annie O'Roar. And hey, if you're too nervous to take a turn dancing, you still get to weigh in on runner-up and winner slots as a member of the kowtowing crowd. This free, 21+ doors at 8pm and the event begins at 9pm. Plan on staying late for a dance party afterwards.