By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
"Like a lot of things, [this show] was decided for us," says multi-instrumentalist Jeff Barnes. The group was approached last year by the LCS to perform these concerts, and after agreeing, the band picked songs for Abilene resident Ed George to rewrite for the sake of a full-piece concert. "The opportunity presented itself, and we said, 'Why not? Let's do it.'"
When asked what fans should expect from the symphonic Combo, Barnes isn't shy: "We have no idea what we're in for." As of Tuesday morning, the band hadn't even played its first rehearsal, scheduled for later that afternoon, but Barnes at least confirmed the schedule: At each show, Brave Combo will play a normal set, then the orchestra will play a traditional set of its own. For the finale, the two will join for a set of about a dozen Brave Combo songs, including "Flying Saucer" and "A Night on Earth," arranged for a full symphony.
No, there will not be a strings-and-woodwinds version of "The Chicken Dance," but the band doesn't see this show as much of a stretch. "Some of [our old songs] we made like we were an orchestra in some cases, synthesizing string parts and such," Barnes says, and it's fair to call the eccentric quintet a "little orchestra" even without the fine hands of Las Colinas supporting 'em. Just don't be afraid to dance at the concert halls.
A few more local acts landed on the SXSW list in recent weeks, including the sonic soldiers of Midlake, and right before going to press, we got a call from the Happy Bullets' Jason Roberts, announcing their last-minute add to the fest as well. What took 'em so long? Apparently, they listed bassist Andrea Roberts as their contact, and, well, another band with an Andrea Roberts was contacted by mistake. Word to the wise, bands: Always put the weirdest last name on the application. Another word to the wise: See the Bullets perform on Friday at the Cavern, opening for Austin's white-hot Voxtrot.