By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Except that was kind of the point. The random garbage strewn on the roof? Part of the décor. The poorly spelled sign saying the door was broken? Yep, that, too. All that fiberglass? But, of course. See, while we thought the building was merely going to seed, the owners of the nearby XPO Lounge, located just up the street, had bought the place and were giddily hurrying the process along, transforming it into a low-culture landmark, Double Wide, snug between Deep Ellum and Exposition Park. With trucker's caps currently the height of fashion, it's the perfect time for this kind of joint.
The bar, with its trailer-park tornado hovering just above the roof and outhouse out front, also happens to be the area's latest live-music venue. And it should be a good one. There's a little grand-opening shindig planned for June 26, followed by performances by Vibrolux (June 27) and a Pleasant Grove/Josh T. Pearson/Panda triple bill (June 28). Nice way to start. (By the way, though we've made light of the recent goings-on involving Pearson and his erstwhile band mate Andy Young, we still respect Pearson as a musician and a person. Known him since we moved up here from Austin, and he's always been a solid fella. But we are also extremely sarcastic. Something had to give.)
Speaking of Pleasant Grove--as we just were, allowing us to not-so-smoothly change the subject--the band has just returned from San Francisco, where it recorded six new songs for Badman Recording Co. Nothing has been signed yet, but according to Last Beat's Tami Thomsen, who has been working with the PG boys on this, "the label has 'officially' stated that they want to do a record with 'em," tentatively scheduled for sometime next year. Badman, if you didn't know, and you likely did not, is also home to fine singer-songwriters such as Mark Kozelek, Hayden, James William Hindle and Patrick Park, and has also released discs by the extremely whup-ace My Morning Jacket (including the upcoming vinyl version of the band's bordering-on-brilliant It Still Moves). Couldn't imagine a better home for Pleasant Grove.
Martin's work on piano and organ and various other keyboards provided a sturdy yet supple foundation for Schmidt's songs, providing the missing element he has long sought. (He joked before the show that he always wanted a piano player in his band, and as soon as he found one, there wasn't a band left.) The duo's first show featured at least one new song, cuts from both LCC albums (as well as some unreleased tracks the band was playing before it recently splintered apart) and some pretty schweet cover tunes, including a kick-to-the-junk take on Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen." Which finally made us realize what the show had been reminding us of: Costello's similar outings with keys player Steve Nieve a few years back. (Warner Bros. released a five-disc boxed set culled from those shows, a collection that is sadly now out of print. Pick one up on eBay--you won't be disappointed.) But more specifically: Schmidt is the closest thing to Costello this town will ever see. Start treating him as such.. .
Hand stamps: The Tah-Dahs and the Servo open for the Mink Lungs on June 26 at Trees, and Buzz-Oven presents Eisley, the Adventures of Jet and the Jimmi Sticks there June 28; The Theater Fire supports the Pernice Brothers at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on June 29; Baboon's at Club Clearview on June 26, followed by Speedealer the next night; The Flying Machine plays Curtain Club on June 29; Save the Radio, who just released its debut EP (Extended Play), performs June 26 at Liquid Lounge.