The local mugs in the big band outfit the Streamliners had a Friday night for the ages last week. They were just winding up the first set in their weekly stand at Fairbanks Roasting Room downtown when the whispers started going around the room: Wynton Marsalis was coming. Within a few minutes, a limo pulled up outside the former bank and in walked sax player Wes Anderson and trombonist Ron Westray, fresh from Marsalis' gig at the Tennessee Theatre. The man himself arrived a few minutes later, on foot. Witnesses say Wynton ordered cognac and had a leisurely dinner with his friends. When the Streamliners came back on stage, they were understandably a little nervous but jazzed to be playing for the assembled all-stars. That was nothing compared to the rush they got when Anderson got up to jam with them on "Blue Birdland," followed by Westray and, not to be shown up by the sidemen, Marsalis himself (who borrowed a trumpet from one of the band members) . The crowd of less than 100 people was treated to an impromptu jam, after which Marsalis signed autographs and even wrote out some chord charts for the band. Howzat for some class?
Not Afraid of the Dark
If you were looking recently for a way to bolster your financial portfolio in these deepening economic hard times, you should have bought stock in black lipstick. You might have noticed a local run on the stuff what with the costumed hob-goblins on Halloween and the Gothic reunion at the All Saint's Party downtown at Fairbanks Roasting Room the night after.
On Nov. 1, nearly 100 dark revelers attired in their best shade of black (and one shag-a-delic-ly dressed Austin Powers...who knew?) gathered for a blast from the past. Chris Ory (formerly spinning disks at Lava Lounge) made his way back to Knoxville from Colorado to join brethren music makers DJ Bone (Lava), Arkady (Mercury Theatre, Neptune, Lava) and Michael Xi (Mercury, Neptune, Lava) for a audio repertoire Knoxville has lacked lately. Gothic Dance, Darkwave, Industrial Dance, and Retro '80s and '90s sounds had cloaks whirling all around the former-bank-turned-venue.
Dancers had a chance to rest when Knoxville-based Synthesis, a Electronica band formed a year and half ago, performed a handful of original work. Except for a couple of technical gremlins in the sound system to give it away, it was hard to distinguish between the prepackaged tunes spinning prior and the group's aural offering.
The music continued into the wee hours, closing with a circle of handholding partiers singing along to Michael Xi's signature evening sign-off, David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Upcoming Goth gatherings are to be announced at synthesonic.net and easttngothic.com.
Local CD Review
Eric Lewis and Andy Ratliff
Edgar's Blues (Betsy Records)
Eric Lewis and Andy Ratliff are well versed in the high-lonesome tradition. The sometime WDVX staples are competent on countless instruments, including guitar, mandolin, Dobro, banjo and fiddle respectively. With a vocal blend akin to that of the Monroe Brothers, Eric and Andy have performed for local folks at the annual Clinton Camperfest, and in front of sell-out crowds at the Fishstock Concert Series in Wisconsin alike. (Fishstock? Wisconsin?) Just released on Knoxville label Betsy Records, Edgar's Blues is representative of the pair's Appalachian musical heritage. On their first collaborative effort, the duo weaves the string band, ballad and bluegrass traditions into a comfy album of old-time standards and originals. However, by looking to the past, rather than moving forward, Edgar's Blues stays in the middle of the road and struggles to cover new ground musically. Nonetheless, the album is a satisfying collection of classics (In the Pines, Short Life of Trouble) and new material (The Kaintuck, Howlin' Edgar) more than ear-worthy. The combination of high-energy instrumentals and heartfelt laments manages to paint an intense landscape of the mountain culture. Take it from Wisconsin, for anyone looking to expand their bluegrass horizon beyond the O Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack/DVD, Edgar's Blues is a sound investment.
Thursday: The Jewish Food Festival at the Arnstein Community Center. Mmmmm...matzo, latkes, and kugel. Then, Charlie Hunter at Blue Cats. Guitar genius.
Friday: Clarke Beuhling at Laurel Theatre. Gotta love a well-played banjo.
Saturday: Nug Jug with Mug Womp at Manhattan's. Local killer rock.
Sunday: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings at the Bijou. With bells on.
Monday: The metal-lovers will be at the Ozzy show at Thompson-Boling. The indie-lovers will be at The Pernice Brothers at Blue Cats. And the harder-edge kids will check out Senryu at Cat's Music. I'm still not sure which camp to join.
Tuesday: Aspera at Pilot Light. Dreamy indie space-age sounds. With a toy piano.
Wednesday: Robinella at Regas Brother's Cafe. Kinda jazzy, bluegrassy, torchy sounds.
Emma "Collective Figment of the Imagination" Poptart with contributions from Jesse Fox Mayshark, Adrienne Martini, CA Cleveland, and Clint Casey
November 8, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 45
© 2001 Metro Pulse