Lakeside to Riverside: Concert previews

Where Y’at magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment publication in New Orleans, and the first outlet to give me a regular writing gig after I graduated college. I covered everything from NBA basketball to restaurant openings to fireworks extravaganzas, but music was my main gig. I eventually weaseled my way into the position of Music Editor, where one of my favorite duties was compiling monthly previews of  upcoming shows of note. This one from August 2004 is pretty representative.

A good portion of this month’s picks are from Texas. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence, or if it maybe means something in the grand scheme of things. I do know that even for a state that big, Texas seems to produce more than its share of outstanding musicians. And it’s not just guys in cowboy boots and tremendous hats anymore (not that there’s anything wrong with that, Lyle Lovett). It’s also hardcore punk gods like DRI, indie weirdos like David Garza, and a host of other talents from every stripe of the musical rainbow. Are Texans just genetically superior? I won’t hazard a guess, but I will say this: from what I’ve heard, God blessed them, one shouldn’t mess with them and their stars at night are big and bright. I don’t know about you, but I respect that.

Lyle Lovett
Friday, July 30
Saenger Theatre
143 N Rampart St
Quality American radio has been virtually annihilated by the forces of Clear Channelization, and country stations in particular have been beaten almost beyond recognition. Nowadays one need only insert a hint of vocal twang or a few licks of pedal steel to pass a mediocre pop tune off as “country”, the result being a bastardized blandness that is, to use an apt Texas phrase, “all hat and no cattle.” Thank heavens for Lyle Lovett, who has been laboring tirelessly for the past twenty years to keep old school Texas swing and lyrical integrity in the country vocabulary. Lovett’s onstage sets are marked by the easygoing coolness he exudes in his TV appearances and occasional movie roles, a frank familiarity that allows him to shift from the raucous oddness of songs like “Church” or “Penguins” to the mournful seriousness of “The Road to Ensenada” or “Promises” without jarring. In an age of singers undergoing treatment for “exhaustion”, Lovett was hospitalized a few years back after being mauled while rescuing his uncle from a rampaging bull. It doesn’t get more country than that. – IB

DRI, Strong Intentions, Antarctica vs. the World, Face First
Dixie Taverne
Sunday, Aug. 1
The existence of a hardcore punk scene in New Orleans is probably news to anyone who isn’t already active in it, but if by chance you’re a hard-rocking newbie looking for immediate street cred, this is the show you’ll want to be seen at. The Dixie Taverne is one of the city’s more underrated venues and virtually the only place in town to regularly feature small label punk shows. This evening sees them playing host to the original godfathers of hardcore, Houston’sDRI (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles), with a couple of killer local openers, Face First and the band with the best name in town, Antarctica vs. the World. -IB

Appetite for Destruction, Ratt Poison
Friday, Aug. 13
Howlin’ Wolf
828 S Peters
I know, I know, you’re still holding out hope that Axl’s finally gonna get his shit together and that comeback album he’s been talking about for the last decade is gonna come out and it’ll kick major ass and Slash and Izzy and Steve and Duff and Matt and Dizzy and Gilby and maybe even Buckethead will hear it and be so enthused that they’ll all chuck Scott Weiland to the curb and hop back on board the GnR train and they’ll tour and it’ll rock and leather jackets and acid wash jeans will come back in vogue and your Iroc Z-28 will be cool again and your hairline will miraculously regenerate and your wife will drop twenty pounds and rediscover her fondness for wearing tube tops and swilling warm Pabst in parking lots and everything will be way bitchin’ the way it used to be. But none of that’s going to happen, so why not go check out this Guns n’ Roses tribute band instead? In other news, it is apparently possible to making a living playing Ratt covers… – IB

David Garza, David Thies
Thursday, Aug. 19
House of Blues Parish
225 Decatur St
David Garza was Austin when Austin wasn’t cool. One of the most prolific and hard to categorize artists in the game, the Texan’s catalog of 20-odd genre-hopping, mostly self-released albums makes him the definitive indie rocker. His warbly tremor can be joyful or spooky depending on the material, but it’s a pleasure to hear regardless. Garza is also one of the most reliably engaging live acts working today, prone to fraternizing with the audience between sets and even taking the occasional request. He’s currently touring in support of his exhaustive (5 discs) but moderately priced (under $30) box set A Strange Mess of Flowers, so expect rarities and weirdness alongside college radio hits like “Discoball World”, and don’t be surprised if he pulls out the odd piano lounge set or Prince cover. By the way, it’s pronounced “Dah-VEED”, not “DAY-vid”. And that’s one to grow on. – IB

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