Dispatches from the clubs and the street
♦ The biggest crowd we saw on Second Avenue Monday night wasn't ogling the coaster cuties at Coyote Ugly or downing cuba libres at the Havana Lounge; it was inside B.B. King's Blues Club, where reunited Nashville soul group The Valentines drew a nearly full house. One of the highlights of the still-rolling Night Train to Nashville compilation, they remain best-known for their single "Gotta Get Yourself Together," and members Charles Myers, James Moon, James Clemmons and Paul Easley rehearsed this reunion gig for months. The work paid off: the re-formed vocal group filled the club's dance floor to capacity with its polished Motown Revue showmanship and high-energy renditions of '60s and '70s soul faves. The cheesy backing band didn't have the same oomph as The Valentines themselves, and it would be great to hear the singers tackle some deeper-catalog R&B. But a group that can pack a room with free-spending fiftysomethingson a Monday night, no lessand generate that strong an audience response obviously has a second wind in its sails. (Indeed, the club's booker was reportedly floored by the turnout.) Seen in the crowd: fellow Nashville R&B performer Frank Howard; the redoubtable producer/guitarist Mac Gayden (who wrote "Gotta Get Yourself Together"); Grammy-winning Night Train producers Michael Gray and Dan Cooper; Swan Dive's Bill DeMain; Dawn Oberg from the Country Music Hall of Fame; and award-winning NPT producer Kathy Conkwright. Which makes this a good time to ask: why don't NPT and the Hall of Fame pool their resources and produce a Night Train concert/documentary for national PBS? It beats the hell out of the Bee Gees on those long, long pledge nights.
News you can use
♦ Yeah, we loved to make fun of it while it was here: 12th & Snorter, 12th & Poser...the list goes on. (Well, not really, but those two are pretty good.) Yet there's no denying the void in Nashville's music scene since 12th & Porter shut down last year. Sure, newer clubs like Mercy Lounge and the revitalized Basement provide great venues for live music, and old reliables Exit/In, The End and 3rd & Lindsley keep plugging along. Still, in many ways, 12th & P was our city's mostwell, rock-clubby rock club. It was intimate, yet big enough to take on a couple hundred people. It had a two-tiered balcony, if you got there early enough to snag a spot. It had a bar and restaurant next door when the ears needed a rest. And it had just the right mix of hip and seedy to make you feel that, at least for a night, you weren't in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Well, this Saturday night, 12th & Porter reopens, fittingly, with Kim's Fable, featuring the lovely and enchanting songstress Kim Collins. The official word is that the restaurant/club has undergone substantial changes, while still maintaining the original's "allure and integrity." Go find out for yourself Saturday. The show starts at 9 p.m.and better yet, it's free.
♦ Nothing brings out the local media like a few icy tubs of Miller Lite, and the club scene's illuminati turned up at the Mercy Lounge's press conference announcing its new summer concert series, the Miller Lite Cannery Row Revival. The series is essentially a huge backyard blowout in the Lounge's parking lot every Saturday through August, with frat-party favorites onstage and tons of inexpensive beer (wonder what kind). As announced by organizer Brian Wagner, confirmed acts include the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Mile 8 (June 18), Denny Diamond and, yes, the little-people KISS tribute band Mini-KISS (June 25), reggae legends The Wailers (July 1), the Drive-By Truckers and Scott Miller & the Commonwealth (July 16), and The Spin Doctors (July 23). ("They have a new album," Wagner said helpfully.) The series closes Aug. 27 with Radio Lightning residents Big Head Todd & the Monsters.
♦ It's about time we heard something from that long, lean, red-headed drink of water Trent Summar and the New Row Mob, who haven't had a studio album out in the five years since their cover of "It Never Rains in Southern California" stormed CMT. Outside Bongo Java with his publishers, Writer Zone Music's Rand Bishop and Steve Bloch, Summar said he's now in the studio with Mobsters Michael "Supe" Granda (bass), Ken McMahan (guitar) and longtime friend Dave Kennedy (drums). Adding even more punch, the studio band is augmented by yeoman rock guitarist Dan Baird, Pinmonkey keyboardist Mike Webb and keyboardist Pat Buchanan. Bishop is producing; no release date set yet.
♦ Attention porno freaks: The original ODB, X-rated proto-rapper Blowfly, brings his red hot and blue material to The End for one show July 22. The man responsible for the deathless "Shittin' on the Dock of the Bay" will be touring in support of a new party record on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label: the title is Fahrenheit 69. We can only hope it doesn't feature Michael Moore.
Shows this week
♦ Folk troubadour Jamie Kindleyside recently released a new record, kind-le-sid. His voice brings to mind a rootsier Cat Stevens, and the new record includes rollicking old-timey sounds à la Leon Redbone along with mountain spirituals and more current folk-rock reminiscent of Steve Earle and Malcolm Holcombenot to mention "Bobby Orr," the first anthem for an NHL legend that's crossed our desk in ages. Kindleyside plays Friday night at Bongo Java, where he'll open for Justin Earle, and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, at the Bluebird Cafe, where he'll share a round with Keith Lamb, Shawn Byrne and Hollie Poole (who played and sang on his record).
Upcoming and cause for excitement
♦ The politically charged power pop of Ted Leo & the Pharmacists reaches Nashville June 8 at the Exit/In. Tix for the 18-and-over show are $12 advance.
♦ The first time they played Nashville, Sleater-Kinney hit the same night as the first-ever local appearance of Stereolab, and S-K's Carrie Brownstein wasn't amused by the joker down front at The End who kept hollering for the other band. No conflict this time: the trio play The Cannery Ballroom July 2 in support of their new AOR-ish album The Woods. Dead Meadow open.
♦ Attention, local bookers: it looks like there's an open date for Rilo Kiley on June 12, the day after their Bonnaroo appearance. We're just saying, that's all.
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