Featured Music: Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Unlike John Cusack, Chatterton doesn’t make you want to give them a hooligan-style beat-down.

Another long-form version of this week’s local music column.

By HearSay

It had been a long time since HearSay graced the Wreck Room on a weekend for a big local show. Either I’m “too busy” (read: sleeping) or the Wreck’s hosting some traveling act that I am, by dint of working for a Fort Worth-based publication, expected to avoid. Last weekend was a different story, with double headliners Chatterton and Darth Vato. The surly Chet-from-Weird Science older brother to Darth Vato’s self-conscious frat boy, Chatterton apparently played a great set. (“Apparently,” because I walked through the door as they were finishing.) Their gig wasn’t the only good news of the night: While chatting with frontman Kevin Aldridge afterward, I learned that songs from the band’s e.p. will soon be spun on Radio 1, a station owned by the BBC. (Unlike public media outlets here, the one in Britain is kinda hip rather than uppity and fussy. You could even say the BBC is occasionally phat.) To hear the sound of British fingers spinning Fort Worth-based music, go to www.bbc.co.uk/radio/ over the next few weeks and tune into Steve Lamacq, the guy who (apparently) broke the Strokes, weekdays from 1600 to 1900 GMT (11 a.m. ’til 2 p.m. here in North Texas).

“We’re getting shopped right now,” said Aldridge, referring to the phenomenon of a band’s hiring a management team to shop around for the best record label deal. “In the meantime, our lawyer said we oughta send our stuff to radio. ... We figure if a label likes us, we can say, ‘Well, look at what we did on our own.’”

Good news, no doubt, for both Chatterton and local scenesters in general, per the old saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” But, just as a sidebar, HearSay’s always been a little suspicious of contemporary British music industry types, starting with Nick Hornby, the dude who wrote the extremely popular, unbendingly corny, and annoyingly proper novel Hi-Fidelity, which was turned into the extremely popular, unbendingly corny, and annoyingly proper movie Hi-Fidelity, starring the downright annoying John Nutsack, I mean, Cusack and Jack Black, a comedian who is funny only when his mouth is full of filth (as in his novelty rock band Tenacious D) and is obnoxious otherwise (as in Shallow Hal and the God-awful School of Rock). British music blokes are just so cooler-than-thou. Every move they make, every article of clothing they tog, every line of prose they write just seems so ... contrived. (BTW, what business did Hornby have serving as the pop music critic for The New Yorker? Like, Robert Christgau isn’t good enough?! My ass!)

Anyway, while Chatterton and Darth Vato may not at first seem like a gellin’ bill, they’re actually so happy together: Both draw from the same listening pool, that of music lovers who — after contemplating life, love, and the Great Hereafter to the sounds of one band — usually like to drink their faces off to another, different, less-brooding rock outfit. After Chatterton had (apparently) handled the contemplative side of Saturday’s major rock experience, Darth Vato got the party started. Contrary to the way they approach some other stages in town, the Vatos were all business at the Wreck. Though still tight and upbeat, they were just a tad restrained and sober — and not nearly as shirtless (that’s you, bassist Steve Steward). Their next gig is on Oct. 29 during Halloween weekend at Halo (3051 S. University Dr., in Cowtown; 817-923-HALO). You can bet that the beer will be flowing like wine then.

One last thing: For those of you who were at the show and weren’t seeing double, you may have noticed the t-shirt on Vato frontman Kerry Dean. Pretty cool, eh? The top — a gothic-looking black-and-white job that features the words “Last Breath” on the chest — is the handiwork of a local company called, yep, Last Breath. The Vatos and the Sacramento-based hardcore band the Hoods are both being sponsored by Fort Worth outfitter. For more info, visit www.lastbreathclothing.com.

Local Round-Up

We Weekleteers are pretty close to infallible, but every once in a while we screw up. Well, “screw up” may be too harsh a term. Let’s go with “phone it in.” After the publication of the Best Of Fort Worth issue two weeks ago, several legitimate complaints came fast and furiously in response to two particular categories — radio show (“The Adventure Club”) and DJ (Josh Venable of “The Adventure Club”). How, oh, how could a Fort Worth-based publication tip its hat to a Dallas-based operation — let alone one owned by the Evil Empire, Clear Channel — as several decent Fort Worth-based radio DJ’s and programs continue lingering in semi-obscurity? The short answer: We goofed. Not that the AC doesn’t have its redeeming qualities, among them its ability to sound slightly more like a conservative college radio program than the mega-corporate sedative that it is. But since our publication is often a celebration of the unsung in Fort Worth/Tarrant County, I guess we could’ve dug a little deeper to find a worthy locally based winner (or better argued AC’s worthiness, possibly as a kind of going-against-the-alt-tide, anti-cool cool pick). One of the angry letter writers was good ol’ Tom Urquhart, co-host of “The Good Show,” heard every Sunday night on KTCU/88.7-FM The Choice. Sayeth Urquhart: “I’d expect the big-ass dailies to recommend the other big-ass media in town, but I rely on publications like the Weekly and the Observer to ‘find’ the special stuff under the mass-media radar.” He’s right, and TGS coulda been a contendah even if “The Adventure Club” were broadcast from the roof of the 7-Eleven on West Seventh Street. With help from co-host Chris Bellomy and totalitarian sidekick and Goodwin frontman Tony Diaz, Urquhart’s program not only subsists on a steady diet of Fort Worth/Tarrant County-based bands — and features some of the musicians jamming in the studio — the show also (sigh!) lends a hand to the community. On Oct. 21 at the Black Dog Tavern (903 Throckmorton, in Fort Worth; 817-332-8190), the radio show celebrates its fifth birthday by hosting a benefit concert for Therapy House (www.therapyhouse.org), a Fort Worth-based nonprofit that helps autistic kids and their families deal with the disease. Already slated to play are Goodwin, the Dirt Blazers, Man Factory, Smile Smile, Eaton Lake Tonics, and Lazer (not the malt liquor), with DJ Smiley of Giftculture on the wheels of steel between sets. The suggested donation is 10 bucks. “The Good Show” guys also plan on soon inaugurating a Friday Night Texas Artist series at the Black Dog with help from Spune Productions’ Lance Yocum and the folks at Sample Press. Look for the series to kick off around the holidays, after the club has relocated from its downtown address to the Cultural District. If you’d like to know more of TGS and the Madison County-esque bridge between our heart and theirs, on the Feb. 10 cover of the Weekly is a dynamic (read: lonnng-winded) profile on the boys in the booth by Associate Editor Anthony Mariani. ... The huge, locally based rock is in full effect this weekend. On Friday, you got the Undoing of David Wright at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios (411 E. Sycamore St., in Denton; 940-387-7781), with Mazinga Phaser II and Dur Wulftrape. Then on Saturday, there’s Flickerstick and Black Tie Dynasty at the Granada Theater (3524 Greenville Ave., in Dallas; 214-826-1885), with Envoy and Thief. ... Here’s a long-overdue apology. In case you don’t know, the newspaper in your hands goes to bed on Tuesday nights around 9-ish, which means that immediately afterward is when you can find HearSay raisin’ hell on the town (a.k.a. drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and trying to keep from falling asleep and/or having a nervous breakdown — crazy, dude!). I usually haunt the same spot for a while until I get bored or do something stupid and am not allowed back; this boozing cycle’s fave is an oldie but a goodie, the Moon (2911 W. Berry St., in Cowtown; 817-926-9600). As a result of several “relaxing” recent Tuesday eves there, I started going back on other nights. Wednesdays. Thursdays. Sundays. Well, one night, I happened on a performance by Big Mike Richardson. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Mike can cover just about anything you name — and name, I did. And name. And name. Though the rest of the bar just wanted me to shut the f**k up for f**k’s sake, Mike — ever the consummate showman — simply ignored me until I got the point. A little later, as I hung my drunken head in embarrassment, ready to leave, I heard the opening bars of what ended up being one of my all-time favorite songs by the one artist I clamored for. Mike’s version of Springsteen’s “Blinded By the Light” allowed me to live to cruise the Moon without shame another day. In other words: Sorry for being such a jackass, Mike. And thanks. Check out Big Mike either at the Moon every Wednesday or at www.bigmike.2ya.com.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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