Jandek (with John Darnielle, Anne Gomez and Brian Jones)
Gerrard Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill
Sunday, Feb. 21
Jandek spent the first 26 years of his career removed from the very human perils of live performance. During those decades, the prolific Houston songwriter/ improviser/ label head did just two interviews, made no public appearances, never revealed his true identity, and communicated with his zealous cult following only through a voluminous recorded output, mysterious album art and elliptical handwritten notes. In 2004, however, Jandek broke this embargo, playing a surprise set backed by Brit experimentalists Richard Youngs and Alex Nielson at a festival in Glasgow. Over the next four years, he joined musicians like Tom Carter, Susan Alcorn and Loren Connors for 40 concerts across the world, fronting minimally rehearsed pick-up bands organized by the show’s respective promoter. Sunday night, he appeared for the 42nd time ever, playing Gerrard Hall in Chapel Hill.
Toby Love/ Girlz Talk
Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
Sunday, Feb. 22
Bronx bling met Dominican swagger Sunday night at the Lincoln Theatre, where “crunckchata” chanteur Toby Love and his protegés, Girlz Talk, played to a house of about 50. Love, neé Octavio Rivera Jr, is Puerto Rican, “but I have Dominican family,” he says.
A former member of bachata boy band Aventura, Love claims he’s 24 (though other sources add 5 years to that). At least he owns the youthful image, spicing our interview with “yes ma’ams” and wears a black chainmail hoodie and “Gucci” backpack, plastic still covering the double G’s like Love's a teenager on his first day of school.
Dr. John & The Neville Brothers
Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill
Tuesday, Feb. 24
The eye sockets of the skull perched atop the grand piano glared at the sold-out, seated audience in Memorial Hall last night. Dr. John spent his Mardi Gras away from his New Orleans home to be in Chapel Hill, and, although it had been showered with beads beforehand and encouraged to get up and dance, most of the crowd sat quietly and tapped its feet as Dr. John led his band onstage.
Luckily, a few numbers finally pulled some people out of their seats.
Double Negative, Birds of Avalon, Whatever Brains, The Plague
A House, Raleigh
Saturday, Jan. 21
"We are The Plague," exclaimed Hank Williams, the long-time Raleigh concert promoter, nearly breathless after the premiere of his new band, The Plague, "and you're dead." He was almost right: Saturday's show at a house somewhere in Raleigh was a sardines-and-sweat affair, crowding revolving-door groups of a few hundred into a living room and in a stairwell to see three of the city's best bands—Whatever Brains, Double Negative and Birds of Avalon—and one of its newest, The Plague. The steam within the tiny living room was nearly asphyxiating. People slid off of one another and into the floor, only to be lifted high above the pit to crowd surf and bump into Christmas lights. Between the short sets, the masses spilled out of the front and back entrances, smoking, sweating and steeling themselves with the cool February air in preparation for the next round. A perfect night. [Photos by D.L. Anderson]
On the Triangle's preeminent hip-hop message board, "The Lawn," local rapper/producer K-Hill recently voiced his opinion regarding the lack of coverage that I've been giving to North Carolina hip-hop in the music pages of the Independent Weekly. The comment stemmed from a thread announcing a show featuring local R&B songstress Keisha Shontelle. "Who the fuck is Keisha Shontelle?" I asked, jokingly. In essence, I was suggesting that, given Shontelle's relative disappearance from this music scene lately, I wasn't even sure if I remembered her anymore. But I did.
"Ask Grayson," K-Hill responded. "He actually writes about the other movements that reside in N.C. Take that one however you want to."
I'm a little hesitant to link to Jordan Blum's review of The Curtains of Night's excellent debut, Lost Houses, for fear of driving traffic its way. I'm especially hesitant since I'd actually forgotten that Delusions of Adequacy, the Web site that published said review, existed, although it has been around since 1999.
But Blum's review is, frankly, one of the biggest misses I've ever read (The Curtains of Night does not sound like Opeth, especially since the band does not make music), and I'd feel much worse about not sharing it than poking fun at it. Such foolery happens after the jump.
Well, kind of: Matador Records—current and/or former home to lil' ol' bands like Pavement, Superchunk, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Sleater-Kinney, Bardo Pond ... I think you get the picture—will distribute Mt. Whatever, the three-song, two-side 7-inch from the Raleigh quartet Whatever Brains.
We've been raving about the Brains for the last few months ("Raleigh's best new band," "shaggy garage punk sing-alongs," "Rookie of the Year" ... I think you get the point again), so this tickles us, of course. It's also big news for Bull City Records, the store/ label that made Mt. Whatever its first release ever. The first batch of vinyl is on the way to Matador any day now, and I'm also supposed to say that Brains frontman Rich Ivey occasionally writes about music here. Oh, also, if this band was a snake, it woulda done bit Merge Records by now.
For the full review of the 7-inch and Whatever Brains' Soft Dick City tape, which runs in tomorrow's print edition, jump off that there diving board.
MC Chris [N.C. Comedy Arts Festival]
Saturday, Feb. 21
During his performance of “Hoodie Ninja” Saturday night, MC Chris commanded the gathered masses to do The Twist. When people on the sides of Cat's
The crowd Twisted.
“They’re like the Mexican Beatles,” says Edgar Ramírez, waving a tri-color bandana and sporting a heavy, black felt cowboy hat covered with the signatures of Los Tigres del Norte in calligraphic, silver Sharpie ink. Outside of Disco Rodeo, fans endure freezing temperatures to pay $60 to see these Godfathers of Norteño, but Ramirez won free VIP access on La Ley 96.9 FM’s call-in contest.
Meanwhile, Merch sellers patrol the floor with signable stuff—cowboy hats, photos, T-shirts, stuffed toy baby tigers. “Tigritos,” a border guard once dubbed the four juvenile Hernández brothers when they first came to the U.S. in 1968. Now, 40 years and over 55 albums later, Los Tigres del Norte are acknowledged as the definitive chroniclers of the “American dreams” for Mexican migrants.
Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel
Durham Performing Arts Center
Friday, Feb. 20
Row I, Seats 307 and 309
Drunk man wearing boat shoes with no socks: [to leather-clad faux Harley chick sitting two seats from him.] Your hair is so black! What's your ethnicity?
Faux Harley chick: Ethnicity? I don't know ... Southern?
[5 minutes later.]