By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
A Hard Night´s Day
Winner for: Cover Band
These fellows, fab and all that, played a friend's wedding not long ago, and for weeks after I had no desire--no need, let's say--to hear a Beatles song. The reasons were clear enough: A Hard Night's Day has it down, every note and phrase and echo--everything in its place, everything played for a reason. They're chained to history, fetishists first and musicians always, respectful without a hint of irreverence slipping into their game. They're very much like all those early cover-tribute bands to get regular Club Dada gigs: dead things keeping hope alive for all those too young to see the real things in their prime.
But there's a difference between a band like A Hard Night's Day and fellow nominees Queen for a Day: When the former play, they satisfy a particular jones by giving you not merely what you want but what you've known by heart since you were a child; they provide a sing-along soundtrack, nursery rhymes so familiar from womb to tomb. There are no surprises, because there can't be (these are songs made in, and for, the studio, for the most part), and they're such good musicians they're dying to show off how well they can carbon-copy the carbon-dated. Queen for a Day, on the other hand, sends me running to the CD collection because it's less a slavish offering than a spirited interpretation--a hint of what I missed, in other words, rather than the smorgasbord that leaves me sated for weeks. Still, A Hard Night's Day gets to play "Across the Universe," and has the added advantage, as a colleague says, of playing the Beatles--and you can't screw up the Beatles. --R.W.
Winner for: Metal
Pete Thomas is the kind of guy a girl could take home to Mama. He's quiet; he's polite. He has short hair and dresses spiffy in his black-rimmed glasses and cardigan sweaters. On all counts, this should completely disqualify him from fronting a band that qualifies as Dallas' best metal act. But here he is--again--along with his Slow Roosevelt bandmates, guitarist Scott Minyard, drummer Aaron Lyons and bassist Mark Sodders. (Seriously, Slo Ro's fans should just start engraving these things themselves. Or using their collective powers for other purposes.) Last year, we used this space to complain about other bands getting record contracts, hit singles and platinum plaques, while Thomas and company got some free drinks, another DOMA for the practice space and not much else despite having the intensity, the hooks and the smarts that metal lacks these days. While there are still no gold records or magazine cover photos, Slow Roosevelt's third album, Weightless, will be released June 3 on Reality Entertainment and distributed in Europe by Sony. In addition, there's a summer full of national and European tours, a song on Discovery Channel's Monster Garage and another in the HBO movie Gristle. They joke that they've finally sold out. We think they're just finally getting their props. And another fancy doorstop. --S.S.
The Adventure Club
Winner for: Radio Program That Plays Local Music
Sunday nights offer little to look forward to but Six Feet Under and, for the past nine years, The Adventure Club on 102.1 KDGE. Every week, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Edge loses its Clear Channel-y vibe and lets a DJ make your day, offering up the kind of music freaks and geeks seek out and own. Captain at the Adventure Club helm, Josh Venable will throw on Bright Eyes, follow with the once local Pennywhistle Park and let the ghoulishly romantic Nick Cave take the audience to commercial. No other radio show so effortlessly dishes up Idlewild and the Libertines and Ash alongside locals such as Eisley and Panda and Taylor Reed, and maybe even a little Kermit the Frog (really, as in "The Rainbow Connection"). Venable has taken his share of criticism over the years, but in defense of the only DJ we could call "shy," he supports local music on the air and in person. He goes to shows, stays for the whole gig and if he approves, adds it to the AC playlist and supports the hell out of it. That's the dedication an audience should expect from their musical tour guide. --M.M.
Reverend Horton Heat
Winner for: Rockabilly/Roots
I'm sorry I said this about the Reverend Horton Heat's 1998 album Space Heater: "Honestly, it took me three tries before I even got halfway through, but it took only once to realize it wasn't really worth it." I'm even sorrier I said this about the group's 2000 album Spend a Night in the Box: "The Reverend Horton Heat has been going downhill for so long, it's difficult to remember exactly what made the band worthwhile in the first place. And, obviously, they don't remember either, or else they might have hit the brakes before landing at the bottom, which is exactly where the group has ended up with Spend a Night in the Box." And saying in one of my Scene, Heard columns that Jim Heath tried to find us at Trees one night so he could put his fist against my face, and not in a nice way--well, that was pretty inexcusable, especially since it wasn't true. There's much more I'd like to apologize for regarding my treatment of Heath and the band that carries his stage name, but those are the main three. Or, at least, those are the three I can remember off the top of my head.