State of the Airwaves
Avalon, Axis, and Anniversary!By Dan Katz
How suitable that Campus Preview Weekend falls exactly one year after I started writing this column as a wee prefrosh. In that first installment, I whined about Fat Boy Slim becoming famous for what was probably the worst song on his sophomore album (“Praise You”), gave props to “Let’s Make A Deal” by Dangerman (who are hopefully still alive somewhere) and complained about Eagle-Eye Cherry’s first two singles being identical. (Since he never released a third, he may be the most consistent musician of the nineties. And no, that’s not a good thing in this context.) The original incarnation of the column was very formal, boring, and read by essentially nobody. Today, in its thirty-fifth installment (trust me, the math works out in the end), Airwaves is much more laid-back, humorous, and still read by essentially nobody. I suppose some things never change.
With shameless self-promotion out of the way, let’s promote some concerts instead. I’m going to give the Airwaves Show of the Week crown to Sunday’s concert at the Avalon with the Charlatans UK and Stereophonics, simply because they’re two great rock bands who rarely tour the States. Personally, however, I’m more inclined to go see 3 Doors Down tomorrow night at Axis, appearing with Peter Searcy and Nickelback (Shades Apart was scheduled to play too; they’re still listed on Pollstar but not in recent Boston Phoenix ads, so I’d call it a gamble). Also a good bet on Saturday is a gig at TT and the The Bears with Honest Bob and The Factory-To-Dealer Incentives, the only MIT alumni band I know that sounds like They Might Be Giants and covers Nine Inch Nails. Monday at Axis is a bill of Methods of Mayhem and Crazy Town; Methods of Mayhem are Tommy Lee’s new baby, an electronically influenced metal band that has impressed me a lot more than I ever expected, while Crazy Town lean toward the rap side of rap-rock. And of course, if you haven’t picked up your tickets for the TMBG/Reel Big Fish show on spring weekend, you should take care of that roughly now.
It completely slipped my mind that I had a eulogy to deliver last week. In a sad development for alternative music, Soul Coughing are no more. After a year in which all four members have dabbled in solo projects (Sebastian Steinberg and Yuval Gabay have a drum-and-bass group called UV Ray, Mark De Gli Antoni released a mediocre album under the name Horse Tricks, and front man M. Doughty did some solo tour dates), the group has mutually decided to part ways and concentrate on those projects. Although it’s sad to see them go, it’s nice to know that they went out on a high note (their third album, El Oso was my Album of the Year pick for 1998) and that Doughty’s solo album is finally on the way to completion. I’d like to see a B-side compilation before they totally pack it in, though. Rare songs like “Michael Jackson,” “Buddha Rhubarb Butter,” and “C’mon and Dig Me Cause I’m The Fly Pygmy” are just screaming for mainstream release.
If you liked Orgy’s “Blue Monday,” you’ll love Dope’s rendition of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record).” If you didn’t ... well then you won’t. That was simple. If you’re in the former category, the song is available on the American Psycho soundtrack, but it’s not likely to be a single for a while, since Dope is currently working “Everything Sucks” (which shares its name with a Reel Big Fish single) up the charts.
Future concert warning: in the current Renaissance of “metal,” I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that Ozzfest is looking like the summer festival to beat this year. The bill includes some of the most innovative groups making hard rock today, including Incubus, Static X, Methods of Mayhem, Monster Magnet, Kittie, and one of my personal favorites hiding on the sidestage, Pitchshifter (dysfunction is their function). They’ll be in for two days over the summer, so if you’re gonna be around, check it out.
That’s about it for this week. We’ve come to the end of the birthday party, where you start to feel old, go off in the corner, and mope for hours. (I’m pretty sure that’s what I did for my first birthday.) Cheer up the old geezer that is Airwaves with mail, mail, mail, regarding anything that strikes your musical fancy, delivered to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I read everything, even though the eyesight’s going. For the next seven days, have a week and keep expanding your horizons.