Tuesday, February 24, 2009

in thanks to the pilot light

I am increasingly impressed with the music scene in this town, particularly with what the Pilot Light offers up in late night shows.

I'll get back to that in a minute, but first some dance tickets for your calendar:

Unknown Hinson returns to Patrick Sullivan's this Thursday, the 26th. I love Unknown Hinson, hillbilly country vampire creep show that he is. He's an Andy Kaufman-esq front who never breaks character in public, who's named after his father (listed as 'unknown' on his birth certificate), who's ridiculous, hilarious and silly, all the while being a completely and utterly talented singer/songwriter. He also provides the voice for Early Cuyler of Squidbillies (my favorite cartoon). Seeing a show at Patrick Sullivan's can be great fun, too, up on the 3rd floor with its dirty curtains and crooked floor. Every time I'm up there, I feel like I'm going to fall right out the window or that maybe the building is going to collapse in on itself.

Tesla is playing at the Bijou on Friday, the 27th. If you have a sense of irony or just love 80s rock, then Tesla is your dance ticket.

Crowd-pleasers Wilco are returning to the Bijou on April 18.

I'm extremely excited to hear that Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (Will Oldham) was just booked at the Bijou for a show on May 26. That's some pretty incredible good old music right there. He's got a warbly kind of voice, sweet and pained, and his music is in the Americana/folk tradition, though he's not one who likes to be labeled.

Unrelated to music but deserving a mention: No Reservations chef Anthony Bourdain will be speaking at the Tennessee Theatre on April 4. VIP tickets, including a Q&A after the show catered by Northshore Brasserie, are available. I am curious to hear what Bourdain, ex executive chef of Les Halles, has to say about the Brasserie. How could you describe Bourdain? A lovable jackass? I sure do like him.

Those are the recent gigs that stood out to me. I am curious to hear if anyone went to the John Prine show last Friday and how it went. I was bummed to be on a late flight back to K-town that night.

But back to my original thought: god bless the Pilot Light. Not only does it continue to bring us great 'big' acts like AA Bondy, Black Mountain, Bon Iver and Peelander Z, but its showcase of local talent is phenomenal. I'm always happy to see Woman, or the Cheat or Deek Hoi any time they play, and to accidentally see new-to-me bands on any given night. The Invisible Giants opened for AA Bondy last week. My guess is they've been around awhile but I'd never seen them until last week. It was a great show.

On Saturday we headed to the Pilot Light after 11, not sure if the Tenderhooks show we wanted to see would have started yet. Lucky for me, it hadn't and we accidentally stumbled into the tail end of Matt Jones's set. I was dumbstuck. Here was a man with just his voice and a guitar, with this phenomenal cello player accompanying him. The four of us just sat there, dazed. (Me and my 3 friends; there were others in the audience who I am sure were similarly tranced). This was beautiful, intriguing music. It was a gift to catch that show. Turns out, too, that Matt Jones is from Ypsilanti, Michigan, just a stone's throw from my hometown. Since I can never resist a fellow Michigander, I spent a few minutes talking to him after his set. His CD, The Black Path, is available on Itunes. Go buy it. My accidental introduction to Matt Jones is reason enough for me to be very thankful for the Pilot Light, great weird little place that it is.

Matt Jones, free rights image courtesy of Wikipedia.com


ck said...

Early's voice is coming to Knoxville?!! I'm there.

Mickey said...

I'm intrigued by your description of Unknown Hinson. And we just started watching Squidbillies on DVD on your recommendation.

The Modern Gal said...

I've seen Matt Jones once before too, though I can't remember where, and I absolutely agree with your assessment. I had no idea he was here.

I'm dying to see both Wilco and Anthony Bourdain. And a Memphis favorite -- North Mississippi AllStars -- is coming to Bijou in April too. I just need to figure out how I'm going to pay for all those tickets.

benjamin said...

i'll be at bonnie 'prince' billy... so excited...