Alternatives

By Terry Shannon

Though February is not exactly a prime touring month for rising alternative bands, most seeming to prefer holing up in their heated homes and taping Ren and Stimpy episodes, there are still plenty of interesting shows taking place for those of us indifferent to the weather.

Phoenix Hill Tavern takes the lead this month with back-to-back special events. First, on Wednesday, the 3rd, the Rough Diamond Music Network brings us an original showcase including Dr. Smith, Goodnight Maxine, Dodge City, and the Karmadogs. Then, on Thursday, the 4th, Spotlight Productions presents Thelonious Monster with special guests Hula Hoop and the Blueberrys.

The no-cover Tuesdays continue at Butchertown Pub with music beginning at approximately 10 p.m. Lexington's Strictly Wet grooves into town on the 9th, dripping with a hooch-mixture of rap, funk, and soul. On the 16th, C/Z recording artists from Seattle, My Name, perform with guest TBA. They don't sound like Nirvana or Soundgarden, but lean more to fuzzed-out , jazz-influenced noise. Wrapping up the February Tuesdays, on the 23rd is the biscuit-eating trio from the backwoods of North Carolina, Southern Culture on the Skids. S.C.O.T.S. recently wrapped up the recording of a new CD in an abandoned gas station somewhere in the hills of N.C., much to the chagrin of their new label, Safehouse (part of Caroline Records). Incidentally, the man who signed them, Ken Katkin, formerly handled A&R for Homestead records and has supported homies like Bodeco, Paul K and the Weathermen, and King Kong in the past.

Moving into the Highlands, Tewligans offers an interesting selection this month. Big Hat from Chicago returns on Saturday, February 6, with a fresh shipment of candles to illuminate their moody yet popular art rock experience. The following Wednesday, Feb. 10, sports an edgy combo of local denizens Crain opening for Dischord recording artists Slant 6 from Washington, D.C. Following up this show with equal volume and anger on Wednesday, the 17th, are 4AD recording artists Unrest from D.C. Unrest recently completed tours with Superchunk, the Breeders, and several dates with Sonic Youth. On a less anguished note, a new group on Twin-Tone records from Minneapolis, God's Favorite Band, opens for Groovezilla on Saturday the 20th, but if it's God's favorite band, why aren't they headlining? This and other ultimate questions will be answered at 11 p.m. for the small indulgence of $5. In addition to these spectacular events, watch for punk rock type shows by Agent Orange and the real Cinderblock at Tewligans during the first week of March.

There have been some nasty rumors floating around town that Uncle Pleasant's has closed or is closing down. These are NOT true. Just ask anybody who works there and doesn't get home until 5 a.m. on weekends. Uncle P's is still kicking on South Preston Street, as you can see for yourself on Saturday, the 13th of February, when Lexington's Born Crosseyed trucks into town to make everybody feel good in a dead sorta way. Most of the calendar is devoted to blues this month, but you'll still be able to catch some of your favorite local artists performing live there; just call the club for up-to-the-minute listings.

In closing, I wish to notify you of an alternative to alternative music at Coyote's downtown. On Sunday, February 28, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones appear with electro-jazz-fusion master Al Dimeola. Bela Fleck features ex-New Grass Revival members and the amazingly talented Wooten Brothers as the rhythm section. Victor Wooten has amazed Louisville before with his bass prowess, first with Jonell Mosser and Enough Rope and later as part of the "Bass Instincts" segment of the Lonesome Pine Specials series. This fine event is brought to you by Undercover Productions and tickets are available at ear X-tacy, Coyote's, and the Kentucky Center for the Arts.