LOCAL BANDS, IT'S TIME FOR COVERAGEWe've got another crazy-busy week of shows to contend with here, but before we get to that, a bit of business ...
This year's Great Cover-Up, which will take place at Club Congress on Thursday, Dec. 6, through Saturday, Dec. 8, is starting to creep up on us, and we're looking for local bands who are as excited about the event as we are to participate and make it the smashing success it's been for the last nine years.
About a month ago, we asked for your submissions in this column. Here's an excerpt of what we wrote:
"Just in case you have no idea what the hell we're talking about, here's a brief explanation of what The Great Cover-Up is: Local bands that normally perform original material gather to perform a 20-minute set of songs by another band or artist. Simple enough, right? Because all proceeds from the door are donated to charity, no one will be financially compensated for their efforts. Your participation will, however, enrich your soul, and it'll be about the most fun you'll ever have donating your time to charity.
"In celebration of the event's 10th anniversary (yes, we're sure this time), we'll be making some changes this year, to be announced in a future column. For now, though, here's one important change: We're wiping the slate clean of bands whose music has already been performed. In other words, there will be no 'off-limits' list this time around--all acts are possible fodder for interpretation (except, of course, The Beatles; some traditions die hard).
"If you're interested in participating, send an e-mail with the following information: your band name, what type of music you normally play, your top three picks for bands you'd like to cover and a contact name and number and/or e-mail address. Additionally, if you have a scheduling conflict with any of the three nights (legit ones only, please), let us know as far in advance as possible, as this sucker is always a scheduling nightmare."
We went on to mention that the deadline for getting your submissions in to us was 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. Well, to accommodate all you lazy bastards who haven't gotten around to sending us your submissions yet, we are hereby extending the deadline a few days: Just because we're nice guys, we will be accepting submissions for participation until 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. So quit procrastinating and send those submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP, woncha?
RENAISSANCE MANIt's pretty much impossible not to feel inadequate when comparing oneself to Eugene Hütz; the dude is the paragon of a renaissance man. Born in Ukraine in 1972, Hütz and his family fled the region following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 and moved to Vermont. Hütz later relocated to New York City, where he began his career in earnest. He's worked as a fashion model for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan; he DJs regularly in New York City; he's acted in films, most notably in the screen adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's acclaimed novel Everything Is Illuminated, in which he stole every scene in which he appeared (the guy's got charisma oozing from his pores); he was the subject of last year's documentary film The Pied Piper of Hützovina; and, most importantly for our purposes here, he fronts the band Gogol Bordello.
The group is a sprawling ensemble whose membership resembles the closest thing to the United Nations you'll likely ever find together on one stage. Similarly, the band's music is a mishmash of styles; as one writer put it, "one that combines elements of folk, flamenco, ska and Balkan gypsy music, played with the gusto of punk, performed with the flamboyance of cabaret." That cabaret element includes dancers, theatrical flag parades, percussionists beating on flaming buckets and, at the center of it all, Hütz acting like a complete madman. It's a spectacle unlike any other show you'll likely ever see and is downright irresistible. How else to explain the hordes of worshipers the group has amassed with not-exactly-radio-friendly "gypsy punk" songs? And the group just keeps adding numbers to their followers; in July, Hütz and Gogol Bordello violinist Sergey Rjabtzev performed alongside Madonna for a global audience at the Live Earth festival.
This week they're out to make a convert out of you, too: Gogol Bordello perform at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Openers are the Dub Trio and DJ Dubta. Advance tickets for the all-ages show are available for $18 at the venue's box office, online at rialtotheatre.com or by calling 740-1000. Admission on the day of show is $20. Use that same phone number for any questions you may have.
RENAISSANCE WOMANIs anyone but me old enough to remember when No Doubt played at Club Congress in the early '90s? Or when, once their breakthrough album, Tragic Kingdom (2005, Interscope), finally started to move units after several months of sitting on record-store shelves, they cancelled a free appearance scheduled at Toxic Ranch Records? My, how things have changed.
As we all know, since those heady days, the group has taken an extended hiatus to allow frontwoman Gwen Stefani to pursue a solo career. And what a career it's been: Stefani has released two albums on her own, last year's The Sweet Escape and 2004's Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (both on Interscope), the latter of which contained the ubiquitous "Hollaback Girl," the first song to sell a million downloads. Additionally, she's appeared as a mentor on American Idol; guested on tracks by Moby, Eve and others; dabbled in acting via Martin Scorsese's The Aviator; started her own fashion line, L.A.M.B.; and had a child with her musician/actor husband, Gavin Rossdale. If we can call Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz a renaissance man, it's only fitting that we call Stefani a renaissance woman.
This week she brings her Harajuku Girls to town for a performance at AVA at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road, on Monday, Oct. 29. Sean Kingston opens at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets to the all-ages show are available for $55 and $125 at avaconcerts.com or by calling (877) 840-0457, the same number to call for additional info.
RAP UNDERDOGIf the hip-hop world is largely a hothouse full of rappers boasting about bitches, blunts and bling, former Pharcyde MC Fatlip is like a cold glass of iced tea--mighty refreshing.
Fatlip has always played the sad sack. What other rapper (besides maybe one found in the nerd-rap subgenre) would dare be as self-deprecating as he was in his classic solo joint, "What's Up Fatlip?": "I make myself sick / Get on my own nerves / Immature, insecure / grown-up nerd / Has-been MC"? That single was released in 2000, but only appeared on the album The Loneliest Punk (The Lab/Delicious Vinyl), Fatlip's long-awaited--for a decade--solo debut in 2005. Though the album received kudos from most of the journalists who reviewed it, true to 'Lip's underdog status, the rap magazines all but ignored it, and the tour to support it was, in many cities, a total disaster as far as attendance was concerned. Fatlip himself didn't much care for it and complained to Soundbites that the record company got tired of waiting for the completed album (and after 10 or so years, they probably had a point) and cobbled together old scraps in order to release it.
"But just wait 'til the next one," he told us. Well, we're still waiting.
In the meantime, Fatlip will this week return to Plush, where he last performed in August 2006. Even though he was touring to promote The Loneliest Punk, his performance was largely a Pharcyde greatest-hits set dominated by tracks from the group's classic 1992 debut, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. It was a hugely entertaining show attended by a crowd knowledgeable and enthusiastic enough to fill in the verses of the three missing Pharcyde members.
The audience won't have to work quite as hard at this week's show, as it also features another Pharcyde alumnus, Tre "Slimkid" Hardson, as well as opener Omni. For a good time, head over to Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29. Admission is $10. For more details, call 798-1298.