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Tonight: Canada/The Cotton Jones Basket Ride/The Right Villanous John Hall @ Willy's (+ Wild Moccasins on KTRU!) [3/11/2008 03:20:00 PM]:
This week's killing me, I swear. In addition to needing to tend to the work & home life, I feel awash in the head-high tide of SXSW sideswipes with which our fair city's currently being blessed -- tonight, for example, what would otherwise have been a humdrum, nothing-goin'-on Tuesday night is instead filled to overflowing with awesome-sounding shows. I've already ranted/raved about tonight's Jonah Matranga and Parts & Labor shows, but there's also Anathallo/By the End of Tonight @ Walter's, Flogging Molly @ Warehouse Live, Von Iva/Pash/Wicked Poseur/Lenny Briscoe @ Rudz, The Cribs/Ra Ra Riot/Jeffrey Lewis @ The Engine Room, NYC-dwellin' country boys The Weight @ somebody's house at 1601 Castle Ct., thedeathset/Ponytail/These Are Powers @ Boondocks, & Warhammer 48K/Cop Warmth/Wallbangers @ The White Swan. phew. And those are just the ones that stick in my head; there's more out there.

There's also this little gem of a show -- tonight the misleadingly-named Canada (they're from Detroit; way to play off the current wave of Canadahype, y'all), The Cotton Jones Basket Ride, and Houston's own The Right Villanous John Hall will all be doing their thing over on the campus of my own alma mater, Rice U., playing at the beloved Willy's Pub, smack-dab under the Student Center.

Now, for one thing, it's nice to see Willy's alive & well; the last time I saw it, it was in ashes after a drunk asshole burned the fucking place down in a fit of stupid, alcoholic vindictiveness. Up to that point, it had been a cool place to hang out w/friends, watch somebody play guitar, or do dumb (yet non-destructive, mind you) college student crap. I think I first saw fabled Houston math-prog-rock trio Dyn@mutt, who were like The Jonx but were totally at the wrong time and the members of which are now scattered as far afield as New Zealand, SF, and Austin, down in the basement. Heck, once, long, long ago, I even played Willy's, meandering in my craptacular way through the Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" for our college's Talent Night (Team fuckin' Wiess...). Good times, good times.

Anyway. It makes my soul's frown turn upside down just a wee bit to know that the place has not only survived but is once again hosting musical events. And luckily for the audience-to-be this evening, the bands tonight are much better than yours truly (no Pumpkins covers, I don't think). Headliners Canada are gentle-but-smart, sweet, ensemble-ish indie-folk-pop, kind of like a less-morose Winterpills or a much (much) mellower Okkervil River. You can check out "Hexenhaus", "Record Function", & "Beige Station Wagon", all off their 2006 full-length, This Cursed House.

Before they hit the stage, though, there's also The Cotton Jones Basket Ride, who're grooving and kinda old-timey-sounding, with a bit of '60s haze swirling over the proceedings; interesting stuff, even if it's not entirely my thing. Check out "Had Not A Body", from 2007's Paranoid Cocoon.

And first but certainly not least, The Right Villanous John Hall opens the show with their quirky, twitchy, oddly '70s-sounding pop-rock. To these ears, at least, their debut EP (which I, uh, desperately need to write a damn review of...sorry, you guys? I suck...) come off like a snarkier, brainier Semisonic, with Tony Goddess of Papas Fritas on vocals and a bunch of theater nerds providing the music. No MP3s to swipe for your iPod, sorry -- you'll just have to listen via the Myspace link above.

(Disclosure time: yes, valiant SCR scribe Andrew P. plays in The Right Villanous John Hall, and yes, they know they missed the "i" in "Villanous"; it's intentional genius, people, get with it.)

The details: the show'll start at 6PM, a mere 3 hrs. from this posting, and will run 'til 9PM or so, which means that you (yes, you!) will be able to go here and then go hit one'a them other million shows in town. Oh, and it'll be free, daddy, free, which is the best price. Not sure how Willy's is pulling that off, honestly, since Canada & TCJBR are both touring bands with (several) mouths to feed, but the pub calendar says tonight's a "Jones School Live Music Event," which may mean that some kind MBA candidate/prof has agreed to underwrite the whole dang shebang out of the goodness of their hearts. That, my friends, means you're morally obligated to go. Right?

Radio, Radio: Speaking of things Rice-related, by the way, if you honestly just can't get down to the tree-lined boulevards of the University in time for The Rock Show, you can instead listen in tonight on KTRU's Local Show, where DJ Ian has cool, cool local kids The Wild Moccasins playing starting at 8PM. It won't be like seeing the show down at Willy's, but at least you'll feel some level of connectedness to the university. Kinda.

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