A COUPLE MORE GIGS AS THE YEAR CLOSES OUT, WITH 2 GREAT AUSTIN BANDS ON THE FIRST ONE, (THAT'S AT THE ABBEY UNDERGROUND IN DENTON, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20), AND A CHRISTMASY SALVATION ARMY BAND STYLE FLOURISH ON THE SECOND ONE, (AT DAN'S SILVERLEAF IN DENTON, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9), YO HO HO, HO HO HO!
November 11, 2015, dateline Denton, Texas,
But a couple of gigs are closing in now, and so it's time for this update. And naturally it's running late and terrible bad overdue. But here goes, and thanks for being there, and here, and for taking the time to let me pull on your coat with the news. Paper, mister?
In the first place, LJM et al were asked to be on the bill with a couple of exceptionally wonderful Austin bands—The Invincible Czars and Opposite Day, to be exact. We've never played with them before, but this is going to be really quite something.
First, a quick video introduction to each of the Austin bands.
The Invincible Czars, with "Greyhound":
and Opposite Day, with "Safety First": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUO6sUrb4EY
Then some verbiage, this from the Invincible Czars website, http://www.invincibleczars.com/
The Invincible Czars are a hard-to-classify quintet from Austin, TX. They're not even always a quintet. Regarded as Austin's emperors of eclecticism, they make music for thinkers, geeks, nerds and seekers/lovers of all things in the "other" category. The group brings a curiosity and sense of adventure to each project with a belief that their audience shares a desire to explore a broader gamut of emotions, sounds and styles than is typically found in a single act or in most mainstream entertainment.
The Invincible Czars perform their own blend of riff rock, classical music, lounge-y grooves, spacey klezmer, country shuffles, and circus-y polka in hopes of moving the mind as much as the bee-hind. They draw from a myriad of disparate influences from Tchaikovsky to Zappa, Louis Armstrong to Van Halen, and Buck Owens to Mulatu Astatke, all with the spirit of DIY post-punk groups like NoMeansNo and Fugazi.
Their shows are always entertaining and out of the ordinary. You can find them performing their own soundtracks to silent films, playing holiday dance parties or rocking their meticulously arranged melodic original tunes in theaters, nightclubs, art spaces, museums, universities, backyards, restaurants, living rooms and street festivals all over.
And this, from Opposite Day's reverbnation presence, https://www.reverbnation.com/oppositeday
Opposite Day are Austin's reigning kings of math-pop. Performing with the technicality and energy of a metal band, coupled with the finesse of a jazz combo, they are able to seamlessly weave catchy melodies and hooks along with deceptively complex rhythmic patterns, funky grooves, heavy riffs, and improvisation into finely-wrought musical arrangements. Although they can shred with stop-on-a-dime precision that few bands can achieve, they would rather engage you with clever, educational lyrics and memorable songs that just happen to be performed with virtuosic levels of musicianship.
Since 2001, this musically agile trio has been performing shows of pure creativity that inspire the musicians in the audience to go home and practice, along with the songwriters to rise the next day to create. They are always fun, always smiling, always smart, and never pretentious. As recording artists, they have constantly kept it fresh with songs about animals, personified glaciers, and Sci-Fi, always tracked as a muscular trio before the ample embellishments get slathered on. They've done an alternate score to the original "Tron" film, a covers album of all of Madonna's 80s hits in their own style, and are about to release the second installment of a concept album about traveling the solar system in order to find out what it tastes like.
So with introductions out of the way, please come to the show. These bands are ridiculously, singularly, and collectively brilliant. This should be a night for the record books, and a great one-stop-shopping opportunity to see 3 great bands, all comfortably/uncomfortably shoehorned into/under the "none of the above/all of the above" umbrella rubric. Never one to miss an opportunity to mix metaphors. And I didn't get where I am today.
It is my current understanding that Opposite Day will open, followed by LJM, with the Invincible Czars headlining. LJM personnel for the night will be:
Please and thank you, seriously don't miss it.
But there's more, there's much much more, and it's—
LITTLE JACK MELODY and his YOUNG TURKS CHRISTMAS SHOW
I know what you're thinking. No really. (I'm putting your thoughts in italics and center spacing just below, which proves that I really can read your mind.)
What on earth is going on? What would a Little Jack Melody and his Young Turks Christmas Show be about? Would I like it? How strange would this be? Oh dear...
So let me explain. This will be an early show, starting at 8 pm. And it will be a Christmas show, because just around half-time, before we take a short break and start the second set, LJM et al, plus special guests, will be playing 8-10 Christmas carols, and you will be singing along, to the best of your ability. And ability is always subjective, and all is forgiven, and thankfully and joyfully received.
But the signature musical element of this portion of the program is that the playing will be Salvation Army Band street corner plaintive style, as close to poignant as we can make it. My pathetic attempts at Bb cornet, (the alto part), anchor this Children's Crusade, but we'll be joined by Jeffrey Barnes on some saxophone or euphonium or other, and Danny O'Brien on valve trombone, to round out the basic hymn book soprano-alto-tenor-bass arrangements. It just doesn't sound any better than this.
Visions of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, Amahl (a mall) and the night visitors, Burl Ives, the Pogues doing "Fairytale of New York," Kris Kringle pealing a bell out in front of Macy's, and Tiny Tim and the entire Cratchit family will jockey for position in your mind's ear and eye, crowding the visions of sugar plums and BB guns already dancing there. This is no idle Chistmas threat, this is a Christmas guarantee!
Young Turks on this occasion will be:
YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS ONE TOO. EITHER.
In the meantime, we're looking forward to seeing you all at these two gigs.
I've taken up enough of your time, and thanks for hanging in there. But I've got to go walk the dogs now. And then it's happy hour, somewhere. Like here.