Weekly Picks • Calendar
WE SHOULD BAN THE WORD INDIE: Seriously. For me, the word carries the same lack of meaning as words/phrases like “responsible drinking,” or “healthy eating,” “livable wage,” or “Tea Party,” or perhaps “9/11” during Rudy Guiliani’s failed campaign for president. It’s lost all meaning. I couldn’t care less what record label you’ve signed with, because, frankly, I never look to find out anyway. Maybe we should replace “indie” with a word that’s less fun to say, and doesn’t remind me of Harrison Ford with a bullwhip and that awful fourth Indiana Jones movie. Actually, we should replace “indie” with several words that actually describe the music being performed and not the band’s current contract status. Nonetheless, there is an indie concert tonight at Rogue Tavern that surpasses label distinctions AND avoids my [significant] ire by calling the show an Indi Showcase. All they had to do was drop that “-e,” I suppose. The showcase features three local acts, starting with David Seale, of David Seale & The Endangered Species fame. Good Morning Lucy will also be performing, as will Cancer. Things get started at 6 p.m., at least according to Good Morning Lucy’s website. Tickets are $5. For more information, call (205) 202-4151 or visit www.roguetavern.com.
LET US ROCK TO LET IT BLEED: In late 1969, the Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed, their eighth album, and it was a big’un. The album’s first notes are the haunting guitar notes of “Gimme Shelter,” followed by even more haunting moans that seem to be echoing down a dark hallway. “War, children, it’s just a shot away, It’s just a shot away,” Mick Jagger sings, juxtaposed with the line “Love, sister, it’s just a kiss away, it’s just a kiss away…” Later, the voice of Merry Clayton (one of the few female voices on Stones recordings) comes in singing “Rape! Murder! It’s just a shot away!” That’s followed by a beautiful version of Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain.” Then comes my favorite track, “Country Honk,” an acoustic, fiddle-tinged version of “Honky Tonk Women.” The album also includes the title track and, of course, the hit “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” It’s just a fantastic album, and some fantastically talented folks are planning on covering it in its entirety Friday night at WorkPlay. Birmingham’s own Black Jacket Symphony, which convenes periodically to cover legendary rock albums, will perform Let It Bleed in its entirety for your audible pleasure. The show starts at 9 p.m. To find out more, call (205) 879-4773 or visit www.workplay.com.SAT 14
A NIGHT AT THE IMPROV: We’ve talked a whole bunch about the Improvisor Festival in this paper. Contributing editor Jesse Chambers wrote a cover story on it several weeks ago, and we’ve covered the events going on at length in our Weekly Picks. That’s because we think the festival, which celebrates free improvisation in music and is taking place here in Birmingham and seemingly sporadically in major cities across the western hemisphere, is really friggin’ cool. This Saturday night you can see one of the festival’s premiere events, the Spaceship Saturn Sun-Ra Tribute in The Listening Room at Pepper Place. The event starts at 7 p.m. with Them Natives, followed by Portal Dementia at 8 p.m., Juka Tribe at 9 p.m., and RTD3 at 10 p.m. But the real star of the show is Spaceship Saturn, an act that will feature nearly 30 artists recreating the legendary music of Birmingham-born free jazz musician Sun Ra. Please do yourself a favor and do not miss this. For details, visit www.theimprovisorfestival.org.SUN 15
A BLUEGRASS SUNBURN: As we’ve said many times here in this space, there’s nothing better than listening to some music outside on a Sunday afternoon. You have the opportunity to enjoy some amazing bluegrass this Sunday afternoon at Sloss Furnaces thanks to the Hot Strings Festival. Billing itself as “Birmingham’s Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival,” Hot Strings is a familyoriented festival benefiting The Foundry Rescue Mission & Recovery Center, which helps area homeless folks and others down on their luck. There will be performances by Act of Congress, Newgrass Troubadours, The Bluegrass Soul Pickers, Sweetwater Road, and Over the Hillbillies Bluegrass Band, along with a “Bring Your Own Instrument Jam Session” featuring flat-picker Glenn Tolbert. Additionally, there will be inflatables and multiple play and educational activities for kids, educational craft-making demonstrations, delicious barbeque and artwork by over 40 artists. The festival runs from 1 until 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 a person or $35 for a family of up to four. For more information, visit www.thefoundryonline.org.MON 16
CURE YOUR CASE OF THE MONDAYS: If you showed up to work Monday only to be racked with anxiety, a general feeling of loss and mild depression, and a feeling that, for five days a week, you live on death row, well then you’ve got a wicked-bad case of the Mondays that no visit to Chotchkie’s will cure, no matter if Jennifer Anniston works there or how much flare the servers wear. But despair not! There is, in fact, treatment available. You just have to make it through the work day first. But after that, relax for a bit and then at 9 p.m. make your way down to the Barking Kudu and enjoy the comic antics of Mike McCall, host of Comic-Kaze, an open mic comedy show. If you’re a comic, then killing gets you an HBO special, but epic suicide is just plain hilarious. So if you’ve got the nuts, sign up to do a couple of minutes in front of your friends, or strangers, or enemies, or whatever. But if not, just enjoy watching others either crash and burn or win you over. You’re bound to have a good time. The show is free! For more information, call (205) 328-1748 or visit www.barkingkudu.com.TUE 17
A NEFERTITI DOCUMENTARY: Egypt, you see, means a lot to me. There’s so much to see, whether it be the history or a mummy. There’s burial sites and pyramids of great heights, tombs with no light and bugs that bite. You couldn’t see all the sights in a year, not quite. We all know about King Tut but I say “tut, tut.” Tut ain’t but a teeny-tiny cut—an inch in the mile of the history that flows from the Nile. And that’s our style—our knees fold at the site of gold, and all that glitters is sold as the story that should be told. But there’s more to be told that’s not wrapped in gold. There’s a bust you just must see, a bust of the great Queen Nefertiti—she, too, is at the center of the country’s history. And now she’s a star of a well-titled documentary called “Nefertiti” that you can see at the Emmet O’Neal Library and it’s free. Queen Nefetiti’s mummy, see, is the quest of the documentary. Will they find Nefertiti? Come see at 6:30 p.m. and enjoy refreshments, like coffee or tea. For more information, call (205) 445-1117 or visit www.eolib.blogspot.com.WED 18
GETCHOO SOME WORLD- CLASS JAZZ: If you haven’t heard Cleve Eaton and the Alabama All-Stars then you need to. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame inductee is playing at Old Car Heaven for a new weekly gig. If you don’t know much about Cleveland Josephus “Cleve” Eaton II, you’re missing out. He’s one of Alabama and the nation’s great musical treasures, and he’s played his bass with the Count Basie Orchestra and numerous other notables (way too many to list). The Alabama All-stars often feature Ray Reach on the piano and vocals, John Nuckols on the drums, saxophonist Sam Williams and trumpet player Tommy Stewart. If you want to get a taste of Eaton’s music, you can visit his Myspace page (www.myspace.com/ clevelandeaton). The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5. To learn more, call (205) 324-4545 or visit www.oldcarheaven.com.
THE CAFÉ FORMERLY KNOWN AS… uh… what was it? I went to the coffee shop in Pepper Place several times while it was under its former name, and I enjoyed it. The coffee was good. The food was good. I had a good time with my friends there and really liked the layout. It’s a relaxing place. But I could never get over the name o kafes! To me it sounded like a sneeze, and I had to look it up to spell it. But now the coffee shop has changed names to the Red Cat Coffee Company and they’re hosting an Improvisor Festival event. (If you want to know more about the Improvisor Festival, check the Pick for August 14.) This concert is called Extended Play, and features performances by Karst, the Ultra Hip Review Improv Sensational, Cedro Danado, Charlie Rauh and headliner Them Natives. The show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, call (205) 616-8450 or visit www.theredcatcoffeehouse.com.