Eye on the Scene

Beary Complicated

Just when we thought the city was getting over its paint-a-bear craze, a brand new one recently appeared on Gay Street, in the vicinity of that big bronze cowboy thatâ"truth be toldâ"we think is kind of cool. The jury's still out, though, on the new bear, whose theme combines images of the second plane preparing to hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the White House going up in flames. Oh, and tying it all together are some melty clocks that portray what happened whenâ"does anyone else hear Salvador Dalà rolling over in his grave?

No doubt it's all well-intentioned, but something about the new bear feels a littleâ well, even we're not sure how we feel about it, and we're a pretty opinionated bunch. The horror of what happened on that morning in 2001 is something all Americans already live with on a day-to-day basis, and while it's important that we preserve those memories, the line between honoring them and exploiting one is a fine one that our country is only beginning to explore. Is a three-foot tall bear statue on a public sidewalk really the best canvas for a 9/11 memorial? Maybe, if nothing else, the bear will force us to start asking ourselves those sorts of tough questions.

Hell, yes!

Mensrea , the metalcore/apocalyptic quintet that features members of GWAR , will be at the Electric Ballroom on Friday, May 18, at 10 p.m. GWAR, the scumdogs of the universe, have been kicking the snot out of lesser metal gods for nearly three decades.

Cory Smoot (a.k.a. Flattux Maximus when he dons the white dreadlocks and dinosaur-head shoulder pads as GWAR's lead guitarist) plays all the head-splitting metal we love, and he'll throw in a healthy slathering of experimental noise for good measure.

Local CD Review

Chris Durman and Steve White

Off on Exit 65

They first started playing in Knoxville back in 1986. Since then they've been notoriously unreliable, appearing every now and again to play a couple of gigs before disappearing without a trace. They're back, once again, playing the lively Appalachian folk music that's been a success for the last 20 years. Chris Durman and Steve White , both members of the eclectic folk band Exit 65 , have recorded a collection of energetic Americana that can be deceptively simple, reminding us of lazy days, when everything seems to make sense, if only for a moment. But the album explores shadowlands, too, like on â“St. James Infirmary.â” The song begins with a crazed mandolin, tearing through the strings like a ghostly wail.

Things begin simply enough, with a little a capella before an understated guitar and mandolin thread the song along: Break out them cases/ And tune up them guitars/ The folks here, they are ready to roll/ I says your late, again boys/ And the crowd's turning angry/ It's time to tune up, or pack up and go.

Welcome back, guys.

Local CD Review

East Coast Standards Time


Even for the non-jazz enthusiast, the latest album from East Coast Standards Time is not difficult to latch onto. Impressions has a laid back quality that conjures images of cabanas and vast ocean views (as seen on the back of the CD case). There's no need to have a working knowledge of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue to enjoy the seamless flute work by Rex Wertz on â“Speaking of Wesâ” or Rich Walker 's guitar as it keeps pace with Wertz's tenor sax on â“Blues Jr.â” Produced by percussionist Carlos Fernandez 's Knoxville-based label, Altru Music, the album isn't the typical lock-step reworking of sets by Davis and John Coltrane , though Walker, who is no stranger to local jazz clubs, arranges a quality Coltrane tribute on â“Stumblin' (in the footsteps of giants).â”   It's 11 tracks, seven of them original that will introduce you to the softer, gentler side of jazz.


Thursday , May 17: Sometimes we stay at work late on Thursdays, and the bossman gets all impressed, but really we're just waiting till 7 to leave our downtown office and walk to Calhoun's on the River to hear The Shoe Shakerz , drink beer, and feed the mutated giant carp. (Don't knock it till you've tried it.)

Friday , May 18: Tall Paul at Paul's Oasis. Two different Paul's, one helluva good time. Especially if you're Sittin' in a bar on the inside/ Waitin' for a ride on the outside.

Saturday , May 19: Dear Band Bookers: Does it bother you that   Brackins Blues Club in Maryville (of all dang cities) booked Blue Mother Tupelo and you didn't? Signed, â“Curious.â” Dear Curious, Not everyone likes funky blues perfection, OK? So shove it. Signed, Band Losersâ er, Bookers.

Sunday , May 20: -Do you think the guys in Army vs. Navy are competitive with each other? -Dude, it's one guy. -He's schizophrenic?! Cool! (With digshoveldig at Sassy Ann's.)

Monday , May 21: So Chad Melton and Friends are playing at Preservation Pub tonight. Do you think that Melton's â“Friendsâ” are really friends? Or maybe just people he knows who also play music and want to ride his coattails since he booked a show at one of the coolest places to chill in the summer? Nah. They're probably friends.

Tuesday , May 22: Austin? Austin, Massachusetts?

Wednesday , May 23: -Been a while since we seen those Medford's Black Record Collection boys down at Backroom BBQ, ain't it? -Yup, shore is. One of 'em just got back from a tour in Japan. - Like, a military tour, or like, a tour tour? -A tour tour. -No shit! -And the other'ern just kep' playin' 'round Knoxvilleâ"all seven instruments, by hisself. -I'll be damned!

â"Leslie Wylie, Kevin Crowe , LaRue Cook, Leah E. Willis



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