Shotgun Franny

Local blues diva gets some Texas-size love from the Red-Headed Stranger

The Real Kids, which formed in 1976, can count itself among a handful of elite cult groups -- Big Star, the Replacements -- whose influence and enduring popularity have far surpassed whatever small success they might have enjoyed at their commercial peak. Though some have tagged the Kids as the world's first New Wave band, the group's sound was always beyond simple pigeonholing. They were even given their name by their good friends, the New York Dolls, who, like the rest of the Bowery/CBGB punk scene, embraced the four Beantowners and their gloriously simple brand of riffage and pure pop romanticism.

For his part, Felice is one of those characters on the pop-culture periphery who's lived an almost Forrest Gump-like existence. He was an early member of the Modern Lovers, roadied for the Ramones and passed on joining the Heartbreakers. The Real Kids' self-titled debut album from 1977 yielded one bona fide classic, "All Kindsa Girls" (which has been included on a number of compilations), and a slew of other memorable three-minute, three-chord moments ("Do the Boob," "Taxi Boys").

The Kids broke up in 1982, and Felice spent the next decade working construction and continuing to play music in New England with his new band the Devotions. In 1991, the Real Kids reunited for the first time during a show marking the closure of the infamous Boston club the Rat. Throughout the late 1990s, the group enjoyed a renaissance, playing to legions of newfound fans, but it wasn't until last year that the group resumed a fairly regular schedule and released Down to You, an excellent EP of new material. A promised full-length follow-up has yet to materialize but is reportedly still in the works.

Boston pop-punk legends the Real Kids rave on at the 
Emerald Lounge this week.
Boston pop-punk legends the Real Kids rave on at the Emerald Lounge this week.
It could happen: Dead Hot Workshop kicks off a 
mini-reunion tour this Thursday at Long Wong's.
It could happen: Dead Hot Workshop kicks off a mini-reunion tour this Thursday at Long Wong's.

Modesto Mouse: Modesto indie-rockers Grandaddy skipped Phoenix during their last national jaunt in July, opting instead to play Tucson, a show which those in attendance raved incessantly about afterward. This week, the band will be making its Valley debut opening for Elliott Smith (see page 100) as part of the -- ahem, shameless plug -- New Times-sponsored Indie Concert Series.

Ever since the release of Radiohead's 1997 concept album OK Computer, unwitting indie bands favoring bittersweet melodies, electronic flourishes and cracked falsetto vocals have been saddled with comparisons to the group. Grandaddy certainly falls into that category. The band earned a slew of "best album Radiohead didn't make this year" accolades for its latest V2 Records offering, Software Slump. As it happens, Grandaddy put the disc out in the same year Radiohead decided to actually follow up Computer with the just-released Kid A.

A side-by-side breakdown of Software Slump and Kid A proves that Grandaddy can still lay claim to the best Radiohead-sounding record of 2000. Despite the unprecedented secrecy and advance hype surrounding its release, Kid A is a meandering, bloodless affair, lacking any real focus, direction and, most important, quality songwriting. Software Slump, by very stark contrast, is a humble yet accomplished affair. Full of genuine songs and real hooks, it still manages to delve into OK Computer's arty/conceptual territory with ruminations on the roles of man and machine in the modern age.

Grandaddy is scheduled to take the stage at 8:30 p.m. Monday, October 16, at Nita's Hideaway in Tempe.

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