Scene, Heard

With special guest: Music Centre at Fair Park

When is the Smirnoff Music Centre not the Smirnoff Music Centre? No, not when you're too 'faced at Edgefest to remember where you are. The correct answer is July 1, when a tour featuring Aaron Carter, his sister Leslie Carter (both siblings of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter) and the A*Teens come to town to play there. For that day and that day only, the venue will be known as the Music Centre at Fair Park instead. Personally, we liked their second choice better: All That is Evil in Music Centre.

Why the change? Apparently, even though the Ste. Pierre Smirnoff company spent $6 million just to slap its name on the former Starplex Amphitheatre last August, it also had to agree to a unique contract clause, given the product it is best known for. (Vodka, for all of you teetotalers. Or, for you youngsters, that clear stuff that makes Daddy fall down.) The clause bans the Smirnoff name from appearing on any tickets and advertising for any show at which at least 70 percent of those in attendance are under 21 years old. You know, wouldn't want to put bad ideas into the kids' heads. That's what school is for.

In the case of the Aaron Carter/Leslie Carter/A*Teens bill, almost everyone onstage and in the audience--save for a few soccer moms and unfortunate dads--won't be old enough to vote, let alone drink. (For that matter, most of them won't be old enough to drive or refrain from writing Justin Timberlake's name on their Trapper Keepers over and over.) So, to protect their young minds, for one night only, Smirnoff Music Centre will be renamed the Music Centre at Fair Park; wonder if they can get a refund of some of that six mill.

Just in case, you know, people can't figure out where they're going, the Music Centre will be referred to in ads as the venue formerly known as Starplex Amphitheatre. If you ask us--and if you're reading this, you might as well have--the whole thing is completely pointless. Trust us, if your kids are making you sit through an Aaron Carter record (or worse, one of his concerts), they've seen their share of vodka...

If you've been waiting for cntrl-alt-del-u, the EP the pAper chAse was supposed to release earlier this year, you're just going to have to keep waiting. But not too much longer: The disc, released on Chicago's Divot Records, is set to hit stores July 11, but the band will have copies for sale at live shows and on its Web site (www.thepaperchaseband.com) at the end of May. If you want a copy on vinyl, however, you probably won't be able to get one until July, which is when Matt Barnhart of Quality Park Records (which is handling the vinyl release of the disc) says he'll have copies.

"We realize, of course, that we thought this record would have been out long ago, and we're sorry for the wait," singer-guitarist-shoe-clapper John Congleton says via e-mail. "Hopefully there won't be any more impedance."

Congleton went on to describe the concept behind the EP. We'd say explain, but unless you already know where the pAper chAse is coming from and wants to go, Congleton's description doesn't clarify much. Which is, perhaps, the point.

"As it says in the album notes," Congleton begins, "'This record is a commentary on the average human's reliance on technology and the division it has drawn between nature and such. It's an A to B conversation, if you will. As to who A and B are, is at your personal digression...By the by, this is not a suggestion on how we can do better, it is only to point out how bad we are, in fact, doing. Sleep well.'

"As for how the material sounds, we have been fairly hush-hush about it," he continues. "As you may have noticed, we have not really been performing it live. My personal assessment as far as what you can expect is less guitar and more drums and vocals. I believe the word is 'primal.'"

Congleton, however, has moved beyond cntrl-alt-del-u, even though no one will hear the disc for at least another month. The band--now filled out by keyboard player Matt Armstrong--is in the planning stages for the next pAper chAse full-length, hide the kitchen knives. "I hope to begin work on it as soon as touring dies down," Congleton says. "This record is going to be our most 'mean-spirited' and sociopathic to date, guaranteed." Which is, uh, good news...

Ruffled Feathers should have released their debut album (which was titled Whole Year Inn, at one point) for Copper Records a while back. Should have, but didn't. And now, most of that album has been scrapped, and whenever it's ready to go again, Copper Records won't be releasing it. In fact, it seems as though Copper won't exist at all anymore. Daryl Clingman, who runs the Houston-based label and who recorded Whole Year Inn, has decided to get out of the music business, according to Ruffled Feathers singer-guitarist Chris Purdy. Instead of involving lawyers, Purdy said, the band has decided to re-record the album and figure out something else to do with it. A bit of advice: Suck it up, scrape together some money and release it yourselves, fellas. No sense involving a label until you absolutely have to.

 
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