By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Honestly, even with the February 20 fire at a Great White concert in Rhode Island that took almost 100 lives and the stampede in Chicago a week earlier that killed 21, we're not too concerned. Then again, we're so caught up in our own lives (and by "lives," we mean "TV," and by "TV," we mean "Real World/Road Rules Challenge") that we're not worried about much of anything. We didn't buy the 72-hour kit, the house isn't covered in plastic sheeting and duct tape and we can't tell the difference between an orange or a yellow alert. So dying at a show isn't even really on our oh-shit list. The threat of Emily getting kicked off RW/RRC? Now that's something to sweat.
Still, when we went to the beyond-packed Roots/Cody Chesnutt gig at Gypsy Tea Room on March 7, it was heartening to see that at least one club has sprung into action following the nightclub tragedies in Chicago and Rhode Island. (Don't take the "at least" or "one club" parts of that sentence the wrong way; GTR happened to be the first club we've been to recently. We're sure every other joint in Deep Ellum and beyond is up to code and cares about its patrons. Save your letters for when we review the forthcoming Alligator Dave disc.)
Gypsy has added plenty of noticeable exit signs and a new escape hatch near the side of the stage, giving the audience four separate means of egress (code enforcement term) in the event of a fire or fight or Evamore set. Wouldn't be surprised if a few more clubs modify their floor plans and/or the way they do things in the near future. Also wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing many more fire inspectors out and about on the weekends. And while we acknowledge that the inspectors are just doing their job, and it's an important one, it's still kind of a drag. Those guys are about as fun as chores on Christmas. Or an Edgewater gig.
After a few false starts and a few more breakup rumors, on March 25, The Adventures of Jet will release its second album, Muscle, a pop-punk-prog opera revolving around street racers and their muscle cars. (Hence the title.) Of course, in the hands of AOJ (singer-keyboard player Hop Litzwire, drummer Rob Avsharian and guitarist-bassist Tony Janotta), that theme has more in common with, say, "Deadman's Curve" than The Fast and the Furious. Though 2000's Part 3: Coping With Insignificance was also somewhat of a concept record, Muscle is more along the lines of what we were expecting when Bobgoblin morphed into The Adventures of Jet in 1998. Litzwire described the new direction back then: "I still love the big guitars, as loud as I can get 'em. I just think that these songs are a lot more musical-sounding in a way, and by musical, I mean West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof." That quote is even more appropriate now. Expect a few Dallas shows sometime around the release date, and expect to be floored. Seriously. Pay attention this time.