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Eye on the Scene

Da! Da! Da!

What the hell? I mean, what the hell? You had to be there to disbelieve it. What I'm talkin' 'bout was the cast party/preview performance thrown Sunday night at City Brew on Gay Street by the funk orchestra/dance troupe Dha-Fuzion. For an admittedly small but butt-shakingly enthusiastic (not to mention diverse in race, age, and gender) crowd, the Fuzioneers got very, very down. So far down that at one point lead singer/MC Akim Funk Buddha had the entire audience on hands and knees, pounding the bejesus out of the wooden floorboards in ritualistic frenzy while Buddha narrated a voyage to the center of the earth. Yeah, on Gay Street on a Sunday night. Like I said, you had to be there. Fortunately, you still can be. Well, not at the brewpub (that was a one-night stand), but Dha-Fuzion is performing nightly through Saturday, Dec. 16 at UT's Carousel Theatre. If earth-voyaging isn't enough to entice you, how about the group's seamless welding of old-school funk, hip hop, Asian drumming, martial arts, Indian sitar ragas, ethereal melodies, Hendrix-style guitar wig-outs, tap dancing, fan dancing, and rhythmic chanting? Yes, yes y'all. And tickets are only five bucks. Call 974-5161 for info.
(Webmonkey's note: This really did kick ass.)

Finnegan Begin Agin'?

Well, I know I'm behind the curve when I wait so long to review a local release that it takes a reunion show to bring it back to my attention. But such is the case with Finnegan's aWake, and many apologies all the way around. The local Celtic five-piece released a fine CD of spirited Irish folk music earlier this year, and it's worth a listen if you've got a thing for jigs and reels and songs about murderous mothers (which I do, I do). The disc, appropriately titled Wake, served as a swan song for the band, who decided to call it quits after several years of playing for enthusiastic local crowds. If there's a weakness to the album—which spotlights the lovely interplay of Ti Crossman's flute and Russell Hopper's fiddle, as well as the feisty-lass vocals of Wendy Smith—it's that you can't really appreciate Finnegan's aWake unless you see them live. This is music for dancing and drinking and drinking and dancing, not necessarily in that order. Fortunately for fans and neophytes alike, you'll get a chance to do just that with a one-off reunion show at the Laurel Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 30. "We all missed each other," Smith says. "We'd been talking about getting together, and the Laurel Theatre [which the band has packed more than once in the past] was kind enough to find a place in their schedule for us." Of course, it happens to be the night before New Year's Eve, which should make it a heckuva warm-up for any Auld Lang Syning you plan to do. "If I can find a beginning-of-the-year Irish song, I'm going to do it," Smith says. "But otherwise, we just plan to play really hard and kick some Irish butt." Tickets will be available at the door and the normal local outlets. For info, call the Laurel Theatre (522-5851) or Wendy Smith (689-5869). And you can get Wake at local music stores.

Local CD Review

Southeast Exports 2

Thanks to Melanie at 94.3 Extreme Radio, fans of Knoxville's heavier sounding bands have yet another local compilation disc to chomp into—and just in time for Christmas. The hot off the press Southeast Exports 2 disc is in stores all over town and worth much more than the measly fiver they're asking for it.

The disc offers a good slice of the more hard-edged and, um, extreme bands of our fair city. And once again, Melanie (hostess of the "Southeast Exports" show) has proven that Knoxville has its share of contenders for the hard rock throne. The thoughtfully compiled album is well produced and has a steady sound quality throughout the 16 tracks.

Like any regional compilation, there's no guarantee that you'll just love each and every tune. But there's something on here for headbangers and nu-metalers alike, and maybe even a bit of crossover between the two camps.

The CD gets off to a great start with Zed's undeniably rocking "Ode To Zed/Superhead," an anthem that combines the stadium rock sound of yore with grunge/alt-rock tendencies and a strong melody. Nocturna's "Low And Behold" sounds remarkably like the wonderful early days of speedmetal (vintage Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer) and even offers an old-school guitar solo that would surely inspire the giving of the goat at a live show. And then there's the oddball band of the bunch, the beloved Mustard, whose "I Make You Sick" is probably the standout of the album. Mustard never seem to take themselves too seriously, an attitude that always results in some serious rock from Chris Cook & company.

Melanie will be hosting the release party for the compilation tonight (Thursday, Dec. 14) at Moose's. Featured bands include Zed, Alpha Zulu, 10 Years and Skeyebone. The $5 cover charge (this week's magic number, apparently) includes a free CD, so there's really no excuse not to go out and see some of Knoxville's up-and-comers vie for the metal throne.


Thursday: Celtic Music Session at Patrick Sullivan's. Been awhile since I've seen 'em, but there's just something about pennywhistles that says it's the holidays.

Friday: Streamliners at Fairbanks. Nothing like some old-time Big Band to help burn off the egg nog. And figgy pudding. And rum balls.

Saturday: Jacqui and the Tumble Kings at Manhattan's. Local honky-tonkers who always put on a killer show.

Sunday: Mixed Jam at Sassy Ann's. You just never know who might show up to aid and abet these guys from Hambone Pie.

Monday: Take some time to smell the pine.

Tuesday: Teresa Brittain at The Art Market. Brittain makes glass glow and her small-scale pieces are perfect for a stocking or two.

Wednesday: Minus Max with Eye Q and 1st Too Last at The Pilot Light. We don't know a dang thing about them but will make almost any excuse to hang out at the 'Light.

—Emma "Ready for a long winter's nap" Poptart

December 14, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 50
© 2000 Metro Pulse