Bruce's Lament

After a lengthy hiatus and a revolving door of lineup changes, Connole and company return with a revamped Revenants

Creatively, Connole's new batch of material is as impressive as ever. Notable is the influence of his recent bluegrass detour, as the high lonesome themes and banjo of "Lila's Lament," "If You Can't Drown a Heartache" and "The Shape I'm In" indicate.

Regardless of what emerges from the Revenants' latest reformation or Connole's continuing efforts, it's clear that the singer hasn't lost any of his infamous edge.

"It's really terrific. I play music now because I want to, not because I have to. So it's like, 'If people like it, fine. If they don't, sorry. Maybe you'll figure it out when I'm dead.' It's not that I'm so amazing, but it's just frustrating sometimes. I mean, I know the shit is good."

Together again: Richard Taylor, left, is set to rejoin Bruce Connole, right, and the Revenants this week.
Together again: Richard Taylor, left, is set to rejoin Bruce Connole, right, and the Revenants this week.

The Revenants are scheduled to perform on Friday, April 21, at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe, with Chicken. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Beckology: Nita's Hideaway will be hosting an eclectic bill this Saturday featuring a headlining set from DJ Swamp. Swamp will be pulling double duty that evening as he will also be manning the turntables for rock's most revered "Loser," Beck. Though no one has confirmed it (or even hinted at it officially, for that matter), rumors have been swirling that Mr. Hansen may make an appearance at the club after his Mesa Amphitheatre concert.

DJ Swamp is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 22, at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe, with Oto, Coppe, Z-Trip, and Morse Code. Showtime is 9 p.m.

By George: Sitting in his dowtown George & Dragon pub, Dave Wimberley is playing the role of ebullient Englishman full tilt as he discusses the bar's annual St. George's Day Festival. Though he's sipping on a Mountain Dew instead of draining a pint, Wimberley punctuates his conversation with obligatory "cheers" and "right, mate" euphemisms as he recounts the colorful history of the festival's honoree -- the patron saint of England.

The legends and myths surrounding Saint George are varied, as his lore is part of several different religions and cultures. The most famous bit, however, concerns his famed defeat of a dragon. The story, set in about A.D. 200, involves a pagan town in Libya being terrorized by a giant reptilian monster -- apparently a creature that, while common during those times, had not yet been, shall we say, domesticated. To placate its ravenous appetite, the townsfolk kept throwing sheep into its lair. When it remained unsatisfied, they started sacrificing some of the citizenry. Finally, the local princess was to be thrown to the beast, but just in the nick of time, Georgie came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair maiden. As one might expect, the act was impressive enough that the city's residents quickly converted to Christianity, and thus the legend of Saint George was born.

While his own life story isn't as heavy on dragons and damsels, Wimberley is quite a character himself. A native of Ramsgate, a city in the southernmost section of the U.K. ("If I were from any farther south I'd be French"), Wimberley spent his youth roaming the streets as a high-fashion glam rocker à la Velvet Goldmine. "The heels I wore were so big that I had to walk sideways to keep from falling over," laughs Wimberley, recalling his Ziggy period.

Immigrating to America and settling in Houston ("That's where I get my Southern drawl," he notes in an accent that's about as Texan as Rex Harrison's). Wimberley spent most of his adult life in the publishing business. A change of setting and careers signaled his move to Phoenix, where he opened George & Dragon in February 1995. Modeled after the pubs of his homeland, Wimberley has succeeded in creating one of the more successful and distinctive watering holes in the Central City area.

Capitalizing on the Anglophila of desert dwellers, Wimberley decided to launch a festival celebrating the English martyr with a portion of the benefits earmarked for charity (this year's cause is the Phoenix Crisis Nursery). The festival, a daylong outdoor affair held in the lot adjacent to the bar, has become an annual rite of passage marking the end of spring and the coming of the Arizona summer with an orgy of live music, food and, of course, lots and lots of pints.

The event has also been a showcase for some of the biggest names in Phoenix music. And while this year's event lacks a true headliner, the bash will, as usual, offer a healthy cross section of local acts. This year's bill features 11 Valley combos including punk-trashers the Sonic Thrills, blue-eyed R&B shouters the Van Buren Wheels, the singer-songwriter stylings of the Carrie Johnson Band, and Tempe quartet Ghetto Cowgirl. Those who attend can also expect appearances from pop faves Haggis, Phoenix alt-rock outfit ZPB and a closing set from the Beat Angels.

The Sixth Annual St. George's Day Festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. It will feature performances by the Pennydrops, Eating Divas, Della Street, Van Buren Wheels, Sonic Thrills, Frank Lloyd Vinyl, Carrie Johnson Band, Ghetto Cowgirl, ZPB, Haggis and the Beat Angels.

Radio, Radio: A few weeks back we posed a question as to what kind of true Americans we would be if we didn't engage in a bit of rampant self-promotion from time to time. The reason on that occasion was to trumpet New Times' extraordinary Internet radio program Scene, Heard. We won't rehash the details except to say that the show (which "airs" on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at features the best in new and unreleased music as well as the unbridled sexual tension between co-hosts/music critics Robert Wilonsky and Zac Crain.

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