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"the View From Nowhere"

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Agenda Publications
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■ f there's any justice in this evil worid, this ■ time next year swarms of idiot record U company vermin will be buzzing around Ann Arbor, trying to sign up any number of the cool rock and roll bands that cali this town home. You'll hear phrases like "the new Seattle," "powerful voices from mid-America," and "25 years after the punk explosión of the Stooges and the MC5, a new era of music genius is bom." Very soon, Ann Arbor won't be a "nowhere" when it comes to getting national attention for it's wonderful local music scène. Cover prices will go up and you'll have to stand in long lines (progress isn 't a pretty thi ng sometí mes) to see your local faves, but musical historians may very well mark this month as the turning point. Why? Here's one reason. Big Chief s new CD, "Platinum Jive" (on the RevolutionCapitol label) is set for release on Oct. 1 8. BC's leader Barry Hennsler has been at the center of powerful, guitar-centered rock since his groundbreaking days in the Necros (coolest punk band of all time). And after the attention their Seattle-based independent Sub Pop release of last year drew, it was only a matter of time before a major label smelled blood and signed them up. Big Chief takes the two Motor City influences of import, George Clinton and the MC5, and ties both together with a sweet, funky, crashing guitar blend. Kick out the jams and burn the mother down. Another sign of the impending rush of attention is Wig, the second local band with a major debut this month. "Deliverance" is coming out on Island Records, Oct. 4. Brooding, metallic, intense, and moody are words press agent types are throwing around, but if you've picked up any of Wig's local releases the past few years orcaught one of their club gigs, mind blowing, brain melting, and hauntingly amazing, and kick-ass may be better choices. The band has an October 1 1 th date set for Rick's (18-and-over only), and it's probably your last chance to catch 'em in a club. Both Wig and Big Chief are signs SOMEONE is beginning to focus on A2 as a source of musical talent But with the sudden explosión of local music clubs - with Theo's and the Tap Room in Ypsilanti, the changes at Rick's with all-ages shows and a hipper booking policy, the Round Tree blues shows, the never ending surge of underground shows (note to the A2 News: don't help the pólice by printing any underground club addresses, ok?), the continuing importance of the Cross Street Station, and the Blind Pig- Ann Arbor now has a club scène that's as vital and important as any in the country. May Big Chief and Wig be the first of many. Amen. The Prodigáis self-titled debut cassette has been blasting from my tape deck for days and it's the best rockin' tape l've heard in months. Led by guitarist Chris Casello, the tape is loaded with surf music sounds, cool '60s guitar pop stuff, lots of country overtones, and ringing, blues-ish guitars too. This may sound like a mish-mash, but it's not The Prodigáis are a bar band with the talent to write great songs and draw on the classic roots of American rock and roll. "Sharkskin Buffalo" is the Ventures meet John Wayne in a three minute record. " Mary 's Cámaro" is a Torn Petty-sounding song about cars, suicide, and charge cards. "All My Friends Are In Jail" is a smoke-filled bar singalong. Every song is smart, funny, and played by a band that knows its stuff. They'll be playing at the Tap Room on October 8. Short notes: Jeff Wilkinson, ex-Ann Arborite, has the re-release of his debut album "Pitchin' Pennies" coming out on Gadfly Records (the East Coast-based label run by another ex-Ann Arbor person, Mitch Cantor) this f all. The Holy Cows, who recorded a live CDfor Philadelphia-based Big Popafewmonths back (which the label stupidly decided not to release) has a re-release of their1991 CD, "Get Along" coming out on the label soon, as well as plans for a second with new material to follow shortly thereafter. Katie Curtís, a singer songwriter with an angelic voice and heartbreaking tunes plays The Ark on October 20. Radio, local radio. I love kicking a dead horse, but I wanted to wait until the animal was safely in the ground before commenting on the death of "adult" WAMX-AM. While it was a brave experiment to try this sort of format (i.e. hip folk and pop by the likes of John Hiatt, Clannad, John Gorka, and the like), the music was a little too "adult" for my taste at least. It never had an Ann Arbor feel. It had one foot in the Crosby, Stills, and Nash-Carol King-oldiesswamp of put-me-to-sleep background music. And if WAMX had embraced local music (see WEMU-FM; see also higher ratings) on a greater level than the Chenille Sisters, maybe it's brand of "adult" sounds would still be alive. R.I.P. The Thursday Oct. 6th appearance of The TerraplanesforanunpluggedshowatP.J.'sis a good time to take note of plane pilot Jerry Mack and his vast contributions to the local scène the past few years. While Mack is a cool blues vocalist, and the record store gig will be a roof-rockin' treat, Mr. Mack and the Terraplanes have been hosting the Sunday night Blues Stage jam session at the Blind Pig (and other spots) for quite some time, giving the town's blues scène an important focal point. Mack's "Nothin But The Blues" show every Saturday aftemoon on WCBN-FM is always first class as well. He plays the giants of the blues, and uses his low-key, informative styleto make it all go down easy, and in the process entertains and informs without becoming a jive talking yuppie pretending to be "down home." The Blind Pig Sundays are a treat, but don't miss the P.J. show either. That's all of note for another month. Don't be shy. Continue to send hate mail, works of cassette genius, nformation of universal mportance, and lies about yourband to: AGENDA, The View From Nowhere, 220 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor, Ml 481 04.


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