Eye on the Scene

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan

Bobfest III, a Dylan birthday tribute and fundraiser for public library programs, was effectively a sellout: 250 tickets were sold, the capacity of the room at the ET History Center. More stood in the lobby.

MC Steve Dupree led a chorus of â“Happy Birthday,â” snarled Bob Dylan -style by several hundred, a rare experience which doesn't necessarily need repeating.

The crowd had a higher compliment of semi-professional musicians than your average room, but they were frequently on their feet applauding. There was lots of splendid music: Michael Crawley and the Mac Daddies did a surprisingly powerful Springsteen -powered version of â“I Want You,â” and string-jazz band the Tennessee Sheiks added their own mandolin-powered take on â“Don't Think Twice.â”

The biggest surprise may have been the Black Cadillacs , five teenagers sounding something like early Stones or the raw tapes of the Cavern-era Beatles when Pete and Stu were still in the band, did rousingly snotty rock'n'roll versions of â“From a Buick 6â” and â“It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.â”

Sentimental favorites Guy and Candie Carawan , the most authentic performers for this occasion, considering they were established folkies in New York when Dylan showed up, joined with son Evan , for several classic folk-era Dylan tunes, including â“The Times They Are a-Changin.'â”

Singer Maggie Longmire hurled a scalding version of â“With God on Our Side,â” later to be joined by the other birthday honoree, organizer Steve Horton , her old Lonesome Coyotes bandmate.

The oddest contributor was Sarah Schwabe who false-started â“Mac the Knife,â” claiming she thought the fete was a tribute to Bobby Darin . But her able Yankee Jass Band proved that Dylan's later work from Love and Theft suits their style fine. Drummer Phil Pollard freaked everybody out with â“Tombstone Bluesâ” as an urgent psycho-rap.

Pollard, who also fronts the incomparable Band of Humans , announced this week that he's leaving town at the end of the summer, to move his family to Richmond.

Lend Me A Tenor

Memphis has always had a lot to brag about when it comes to parenting groundbreaking musical acts. From Elvis to Justin Timberlake , there's no denying that that particular segment of the grand ol' Mississippi Valley represents a confluence of right place, right time, right talent that the city's eastern cousin (cough, cough, Nashville, ahem) will always envy.

Sure, Knoxville's made a small mark here and there, what with Deana Carter 's â“Strawberry Wineâ” and jag*star frontwoman Sarah Lewis 's recent designation as the â“Fresh Faceâ” of Wet'n'Wild cosmeticsâanyway, we here at the Metro Pulse are pleased to praise the success of Knoxville's own Brian Hinman , who is in his first year singing tenor for the Grammy-winning, internationally-acclaimed, 12-man vocal ensemble Chanticleer . OK, so maybe Hinman's from Chicago, but he lived here for 10 years, and he went to UT, so you know his blood runs orange, and we'll claim him as a native son for the rest of his professionally successful life. We may even buy the new Chanticleer CD from www.chanticleer.org .

Not exactly on the mainstream radar, you laugh? Well, once upon a time, neither was a geeky little Star Search competitor named Justin. Just you wait, Memphis. Just you wait.

Birdhouse Rocks

Formerly a daycare center, the Birdhouse sits on the corner of Fourth and Gill and is rented by several local artists and musicians, who are constantly looking for ways to shake up the local art scene. And in the past few months, this small group of artists has managed to bring a new sense of artistic exigency, bringing together enough bohos to turn their art space into a raucous party every time they open their doors.

One Wednesday, June 6, they'll host â“Sounds of the Disturbed.â” Starting at 8 p.m., there will be 10 performers, cranking out enough odd sounds to appease even the most ardent noisenik. As event organizer Brian Formo explains, there will be â“unspeakable drones, broken mechanics, fractured folk, static grooves, nitrous rhythms: You'll hear actual sounds by the truly disturbed.â”

Australian outfit, Alps of New South Wales , is slated to perform, as well as local celebs Will Fist , Julia Hungerford , Lord Fyre , Daniel McBride , Brian Lesion of Yee-Haw Industries and many more. Don't miss it.

Local CD Review

Mouth Movements

This is the Way We Reform You

Thick sheets of sound hit you almost immediately, courtesy of the dual guitars of Steve Gaskell and Joe Armstrong . The melodies are always lush, tempered with mammoth riffs. And Travis Kammeyer 's arrhythmic pulses keep everything together, never letting the music get too spacey or too riff-heavy. Everything feels balanced, even on their more atmospheric numbers, such as â“Make Time,â” right before the guitars break away again for some epic fretwork.

This is the Way We Reform You is a cohesive patchwork of prog, subtle drones and lots of electricity. As a whole, it's eclectic, ambitious and, more often than not, a grandiose offering that never seems to get boring. Mouth Movements will have its CD release show this Thursday, May 31, at Blue Cats. After that, the group heads out for a 7-week, cross-country tour. If you miss the CD release show, make sure you're at Old City Java on July 13 to welcome them home.

â" Jack Neely , Leah E. Willis , Kevin Crowe


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