South by Whatever

Once again, the Valley music scene took it on the chin from the showcase selection committee of the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference.

No point in going off about it at length, 'cause it's the same tired story, year after year.

There's one new twist for '97--this time 'round, instead of admitting a lot of bands from Tucson and just a couple from the Valley, the gatekeepers for the music industry's annual megaschmooze dissed both nerve centers of AZ music.

Here's the list of bands representing our state in Austin, Texas, next month:

Azz Izz (Phoenix)
Beat Angels (finally)
Giant Sand (Tucson)
Sand Rubies (Tucson)
Scenic (Sedona)
Zack Phillips Band (Phoenix)
Yep. Six bands.

That's one more than Wisconsin and one fewer than the Netherlands has going to a Southwest regional music festival.

I know, I know. SXSW is big-time now. Still--think about your roots, man!
Here are four bands from the Valley that clearly deserved a chance to strut in front of the suits--Honeybucket, Polliwog, Rusty Jones, and the Suicide Kings. And, yeah, they all applied.

Also conspicuously absent from the above list is Black Moon Graffiti of Tucson. Maybe that slot was lost to Blue Moon Ghetto, hailing from Omaha, Nebraska.

If you're too broke to make the jaunt to Austin this year, Charlie "The Godfather" Levy has capitalized on the flux of quality indie bands passing through town en route to SXSW. Witness "West by Southwest," at Nita's Hideaway, the week of March 6 through 13.

Here's the deal: eight nights, 16 bands, 16 bucks for a badge that's good for all eight shows. That's a buck a band, in case you're fogged in today. Most of the bands are playing Nita's on their way to Austin to do a showcase spot.

Here's the sked: March 6 Xtra-Fancy (California) and Wing Nut Supreme (California);

March 7 Sand Rubies;
March 8 Pansy Division (California) and the Dragons (California);
March 9 Pilot (Washington) and Churn (Washington);

March 10 Sukia (opened for Beck at Celebrity Theatre, front man Ross Harris played the little kid who dissed Kareem in the first Airplane flick--betcha didn't know that);

March 11 Love Battery (Washington), Flake (Washington) and Spectator Pump (Oregon);

March 12 Suicide Kings, Gerald Collier (Best Kissers in the World) and Marc Olsen (Washington);

March 13 Chopper One (ex-Weezer members) (California).
All panel discussions will be held at the bar. Industry workshops on the patio.

Behold: Phoenix lords of industrial N17 just signed a four-album deal with Flip Disc Records. The Chicago label is immediately rereleasing N17's 1995 full-length self-release Trust No One, and the band is headed soon for Tornillo, Texas, to record a follow-up in a studio housed in a hacienda on an 1,800-acre pecan farm. Neil Kernon (Flotsam & Jetsam) is set to produce. Trust No One release party is April 4 at Electric Ballroom.

There were shots fired (no one hit, as usual) in the parking lot of the Ballroom the night of Sunday, February 16, during a local hip-hop night that was not promoted by TMC Presents.

TMC's Tyree Michael Carter is trying to lock the Ballroom into an exclusive deal allowing TMC and TMC alone to put on hip-hop shows at the only major venue in the Valley to risk them. Carter's fear is obvious--a smalltime promoter throws a smalltime show where someone gets shot, and no more hip-hop, period (TMC's got KRS-One, De La Soul, Jeru the Damaja, and, double word-up, DJ Shadow booked for the near future, so Carter has cause to worry). I hope it doesn't come to that, but the ruckus is starting to take on a Tupac vibe of inevitability.

When it comes to hip-hop, I love the music, but hate the bullshit. Raves are safer. Just look at it from my perspective as a critic. I write a bad hip-hop review, somebody comes up to me at a club, tells me what I wrote was wrong, and says the next time he sees me I better have a gun. I write a bad techno review, somebody comes up to me at a club, tells me what I wrote was wrong, and gives me a hug.

'Nuff said.

--David Holthouse

David Holthouse is now wired.
The Web site is Mothership. The address is The options are myriad (multigenre criticism, archives, rave data, freak links).


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