Eye on the Scene

Not Just Bluegrass

You have a notion of what you're likely to find at WDVX's daily lunchtime show, Blue Plate Special: bluegrass, old-time, country, maybe some folk, Americana. Every once in a while, though, they like to prove nothing's set in stone. Last Wednesday's show set a new standard for exceptions.

The first half hour went to the band Alash , which is unlike all bands touring America. Four men from Tuva, near Mongolia, they play traditional Asian fiddles and other stringed instruments, but what stuns audiences senseless is that all four sing in the full throat style of Tibetan monks, whistle - like highs and rumbling lows at once, each man a chorus, in effect, singing in their native language, whatever it is. The crowd, many of whom came expecting bluegrass, gave them a standing ovation.

And that wasn't all. Next was Albannach , a Scottish band composed ofâ"judging by their tattoos, eccentric hairstyles, and general maniacal furyâ"professional pirates. All members of the seven-piece band except for the bagpiper are drummers, and uncommonly enthusiastic about their jobs. It has our vote for being the acoustically loudest show in Blue Plate history. It rattled the commemorative blue plates, and in fact one drummer was pounding so furiously he sunk a drumstick into his skins and also knocked a few blue plates off the walls. â“Don't worry, we had them made of Plexiglas,â” station manager Tony Lawson consoled. Albannach played a scheduled show at the World Grotto that night.

The appearance of Alash seems to have been less anticipated, and mostly serendipitous, for Knoxville and maybe Alash as well.

The manager of Stir Fry at Turkey Creek happened to be in the crowd, and instantly offered the fellows a paid gig that night. Alash will reportedly return to the Blue Plate on Wednesday the 13th, and play a show at the Grotto that night. Word is that the rare visit might also result in their being a last-minute dark-horse entry at Bonnaroo.

Keep In Touch

Knoxville will miss Marcelle Good , who left us last week for New Yorkâ"to accept a major scholarship to study mathematics at Columbia grad school. Over the last few years, the classically trained violinist and cellist played for several local bands; she toured with the elusive (now defunct) avant-garde band W-S Burn , but also played semi-regular gigs for much larger audiences with the blues-based anthems of R.B. Morris and the Irregulars . Most recently, she played a more central role as cellist for the groundbreaking harmonic trio Double Muslims , known mainly at the Pilot Light. Despite the distance, that rare instrumental band, which also includes guitarist Eric Lee and drummer Jason Boardman , has intentions of remaining together, and is working out details of a Northern tour this summer.

I, Audience

Last Thursday, right before Sadville took us to hell and back, well before Dixie Dave and the southern-fried sludge of Weedeater took us robo-tripping through an onslaught of sleaze-metal, Imp was onstage at the Pilot Light, dishing out some hard, bass-heavy grinds. It took us back to simpler times, back when the heroes of thrash metal looked like any other beer-guzzling mosh-starter on the planet.

Andy Kohler , who is best known as one of the heaviest drummers in town, was on bass, and his snarled groans put Egyptian-themed metalgod Karl Sanders to shame. It was only Imp's second show but, in spite of a few glitches with the equipment, it was as brutal as we had hoped for, a grumbling feast of cultic noise.


Thursday, June 7: Check out Flipside Runner at The Maxx.   Seriously, that place needs people to come in and buy drinks because that building is cursed. Remember Bogie's? It didn't even last a summer. The Maxx at least deserves a shot at a football season.

Friday, June 8: We've always wondered what it would be like to have three first names and no last names. Was there ever an identity issue? Could Mom and Dad just not compromise? These are the questions we will ask John Adam Thomas at The Pint House.

Saturday, June 9: Quorum is the number of members necessary to conduct a binding vote. It's also the genitive plural of the Latin word qui, which means who or whom. It's also a band that will be playing at Preservation Pub. But this is all according to the Wiktionary, so take it for what it's worth.

Sunday, June 10: Alas, earwax.  

Monday, June 11: No matter what day it is, there will always be someone, somewhere, strumming a guitar for people. If this is your type of thing, go to the Wilson Chapel at Maryville College and see the Steve Kaufman Acoustic Concert Series .

Tuesday, June 12: The Wild Boar Carnival will be at Pilot Light at 10 p.m. We don't know if this is the real thing or not, but if there isn't a Ferris Wheel, funnel cake and cotton candy, we'll be pissed.

Wednesday, June 13: My roommate and his brothers all have the same middle name (Shanahan), which I thought was kind of weird, but he seemed to think it was perfectly normal. Coincidentally, the Shanahan Brothers will be playing at Kingston Alley.

â" Jack Neely , Kevin Crowe, Eric Connelly



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