Sunday, November 25, 2007

soundclash 2007 me thinking about soundclashes past and the fact that some of the venues (axis, wreck room) and bands (sin-c, brokers) that have been part of this event in the past now sleep with the fishes. soundclash originator joe vano, who celebrated his 40th trip around the sun today, is still here, though, as is his band, pablo & the hemphill 7, now in their sixth year as a unit. prior to the event i was also thinking about some of the ideas and dreams he and i have kicked around over the years that wound up becoming realities, and hoping that we can conjure some more dreams in the future.

while the weather probably kept some folks away, and at the peak of the festivities (that'd be darth vato's set), the place was jammed to capacity, 6th street live managed to accommodate the crowd, but it highlighted the dearth of venues in the fort with a capacity over 200 except for the ridglea theater, which you need 2000 people to fill (although i must confess i've never been to the rockyard or the rockstar sportsbar). at one point, a wrecker truck arrived and started towing cars that were parked on the south side of 6th street across from the club -- which is exactly what the developers who bought the wreck room threatened to do before brian decided to move. a disturbing note, if it's a harbinger of things to come.

pleasant surprise o' the evening was austin-based dub scientist mcpullish (a.k.a. carson hoovestol), performing with toaster the judge. mcpullish builds the tracks in a studio, stores them on a laptop, runs them through analog gear in a live situation, where he remixes them in real time. on stage, the judge was a dominating presence, an upful and engaging performer who also joined pablo for a couple of tunes during their set. but the real ear-opener was the cd we bought -- barn rockers (night owl dub 5), one of several mcpullish releases available (including two vinyl 7-inches) -- that will help satisfy my dub jones when i run out of lee perry sides to spin.

it'd been awhile since i heard darth vato, but every time i do, they sound like they're getting better at what they do, namely fusing hard rock (at this point i wouldn't even say punk -- for an instant, i flashed on uriah heep, but i suppressed the thought), ska, and reggae influences in a crowd-pleasing melange. their new record will be mixed in january and i'll be waiting to hear what they've come up with.

since marcus lawyer departed the fold in early 2006 (jeez, is it just me or does it seem like longer?), pablo has become a different band. they play harder now, and their sound seems more centered around steffin ratliff's guitar than it did in years past. in spite of having to be at work early the next day, it did my heart good to see vano stalk the stage and roar, his dreads full of "metal dandruff" that he got baptized with when the vatos called him onstage at the end of their set to get "the birthday song" sung at him, and to hear him sing old faves like "freedom" and "little man and chiva joe." pablo _still_ hasn't made a proper cd, but hopefully that will be remedied in 2008 (with a disc that, um, includes "the great bash" -- right, joe?).


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