Local club owner Kevin Niceley ran into some interplanetary difficulties in his efforts to transfer the beer permit from his current venue, Market Square's Mercury Theatre, to its new incarnation, the Neptune in the Old City (to be located in the former Big Easy/Black Sheep Cafe slot on East Jackson.) At a recent beer board meeting, Niceley's request for a transfer was deferred due to a two-year-old $200 bounced check and accompanying warrant, a matter Niceley says he hadn't been aware of until the board brought it to his attention. His transfer was deferred on the grounds of "moral turpitude," although he was told he should be able to obtain a new permit by clearing up the matter before the February 25 beer board meeting. Niceley says he plans to pay the balance promptly.

In the meantime, Niceley says both clubs will be in operation during February, with the Mercury hosting Thursday/Sunday dance nights as well as a couple of 21-and-over shows and Neptune hosting a series of no-alcohol all-ages performances.


Local pop-punk upstarts and latest-Knoxville-band-to-sign-with-the-bigs Boy Genius are looking forward to a productive spring. After last Friday's show at Barley & Hopps, which will probably be their last around town for awhile, the band is heading into Southern Sounds Studio to record their first product for Tommy Boy Records, whom they signed with last fall. The projected EP, slated for release sometime in the next month or so, will provide Boy Genius a foundation for a tour, though bassist Scott West has no idea where the dates might be or how extensive the itinerary will be. The band will play a show on March 2 at New York's Coney Island High, a three-band showcase for the entire Tommy Boy label that will allow the band to play for prospective managers, producers, and booking agents..

The other definite date on the Boy Genius schedule in the upcoming months is a slot at the prestigious and ever-popular South x Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 20 at Bob's Popular. West says the band members only became aware of the show in the past week, but apparently representatives from Tommy Boy sent a package of the band's demo tape, some video, and a press kit to the selection committee at the festival. West is trying to get his hands on some cheap round-trip airline tickets to the festival, and anyone interested in tagging along as either a fan-at-large or, even better, part of a Boy Genius entourage, is encouraged to call him at Earth to Old City (522-8270).


All Brett Winston of The Holy Ghosts wanted for Christmas was for people to quit asking if his band was a religious group. Well, it's not exactly a shiny box under the tree, but starting with this Friday's show at McGhee's, the questions should end. From now on, the band will be known as simply The Ghosts. The freshly-minted new name will be unveiled as part of a month-long stand of Friday night shows at the Irish pub. The Ghosts (with the help of Dave Jenkins of The Nevers, "our spiritual adviser," according to Winston) have also lined up a show for the Nashville Entertainment Association at the swanky 12th and Porter Club in Music City.


Local singer, songwriter, and all-around local scenester Gabrielle Iacovino has transformed her ongoing creative vehicle Ragazzi into a full-fledged, full-time band. The newly-christened Geisha will feature Iacovino on guitar and vocals, former Sandbox drummer John Lousteau on skins (at least for the time being), and mystery bassist Blackie Malone. Strange rumors abound that Malone was once the dark-hooded instigator of a certain popular and long-running local outfit, a somber quartet that remains, um, Immortal in the eyes of some area music fans. In any case, look for a Geisha gig sometime in February, perhaps at B&H Performance Hall or the Longbranch Saloon.


Speaking of the Longbrancha, you may have noticed that the Cumberland Avenue fixture has of late made an effort at filling the void left when Gryphon's closed. Since late December, the 'branch has featured local bands (free of charge) on Saturday nights, featuring Knoxville faves such as 30 Amp Fuse, Torture Kitty, and Evil Twin. Beginning January 30, the bar featured the first of what should be a series of semi-regular Friday shows as well, hosting local bluegrass acts the Blue Mooners and Wade Hill and Co. Look for upcoming shows from Flesh Vehicle, the Holy Ghosts, the Plastics, Glowplug, and a Valentine's Day date with the ever-cuddly Evil Twin.

—Zippy "Contrary to popular opinion, not a religious icon" McDuff