1970's guitar rock icon Ronnie Montrose, whose blistering leads inspired and paved the way for much of the guitar driven rock heard today, lost his battle with cancer yesterday.
With a career that started in 1969, over the years the 64 year old Denver native led a number of his own bands as well as performing with a staggering number of musicians, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, Gary Wright, Tony Williams, The Neville Brothers, Dan Hartman, Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter just to name a few.
The Empress of Soul, Gladys Knight, still has it,and tonight she brought it to a sold out ACL Live show at the Moody Theater. Even at 67 the singer shows no signs of slowing down, releasing a new single just last year.
Gladys Knights current tour takes a break after their Auburn Hills, MI show on March 6, but starts back up in Washington state on Match 30. For tour info see gladysknight.com
Keeping the seventies alive, Earth, Wind, & Fire blew into town and sold out ACL Live at the Moody Theater at the foot of Austins swanky W Hotel. Though it was a reserved seat show, no one on the floor remained in their seats very long, as it is understandably hard not to dance as they tore through their deep catalog of hits.
Earth, Wind, & Fire are celebrating their 40th anniversary with this tour, the US leg of which ends in Bossier City, LA on March 10th. For info see earthwindandfire.com/
Formed in 2000 by former Tripping Daisy frontman Tim DeLaughter, the Dallas Texas based choral-psychedelia group The Polyphonic Spree packed up their van (it must be a big one) and stopped at La Zona Rosa to fill the stage with sights and sounds, and people, and doing a wicked "Tommy/Pinball Wizard" cover.
The Polyphonic Spree hits the road again at the end of March with a tour of the West Coast. For info see thepolyphonicspree.com
It was difficult to tell who drew more of Austin's music fans to the Moody Theater, Wilco the headliner, or British songwriter Nick Lowe who has a relationship with Austin that stretches all the way to January 25, 1978 the Armadillo, when he and Dave Edmunds and their band Rockpile opened for Elvis Costello and the Attractions. That show turned out to be a seminal influence in Austin's own nascent alternative music scene, and sparked dozens if not hundreds of local bands.
Noted in the audience were Austin Chronicle writer Raoul Hernandez, singer Aimee Walden and her guitarist husband Micheal Moyer, and Austin singer-songwriter-author Jesse Sublett, who like I was at that early Austin gig 30+ years ago. Click here for more pics of Nick Lowe.
Slayer's Kerry King has an infamous tattoo on his left bicep that he like to point out from time to time that says "GOD HATES US ALL" and I couldn't help but feel that sentiment as I rose from a bed that had spent most of the night spinning. I rarely drink anymore, and then usually only with Kerry so the skill set I acquired at college(s) had long ago run their course.
As the hot water spraying on my forehead rolled down my neck and back, any soothing feelings I hoped for were blocked by the steady constant THROB THROB THROB at my temple and the naked glare of the incandescent bulbs above the sink. Though I was looking forward to the show, I knew it would be a long row to hoe to actually gear up, drive down, park and then hike the half mile across the river that is Austin's Town Lake down to Auditorium shores, with about 50 pounds of gear. THROB THROB THROB.
Throwing my gear in the car I headed off into Austin, arriving at parking garage an hour later, at about 5:00pm. Popping into Thundercloud for some needed rations, a large chicken salad sub on wheat, provolone, and black olives, I washed it down with the largest Mountain Dew they had, along with 800mg of Ibuprofin. By the time I had passed the Occupy Austin camp and crossed the bridge the combination of calories, caffeine, pain killer, and blood flow had made my head clear just in time for - the dust.