Dunno if it's the fairly recent full moon, the shifting seasons or that freaky transformer explosion that happened a few days after Labor Day, but something is in the air, friends, and the wack factor is high. There's no better evidence than the citywide musical lineup for the next seven days. Oh sure, we've got the usual indie rock, hip-hop, screamo and electro-distorto-confessional-experimental-noise-rock going on, but what's a grown man yelling Manson-esque nonsense into a megaphone compared with, say, pirates? That's right, the, uh, pirate rock band The Bilge Pumps are just one of the many oddities that present themselves as music events in the upcoming week. Let's take a brief survey, in no particular order, shall we?
1) Talk Like a Pirate Day, with The Bilge Pumps
Saturday, September 15, at Chandler's Landing Marina, Rockwall
Equal parts theme park and Decemberists album, the Bilge Pumps boast enough members to man a barnacle-laden cutter. Of course, they're landlubbers from Grand Prairie, but we can count drinking Lone Stars on the banks of the Trinity River as sailing the seven seas, can't we? Regardless, the Pumps are a hardy crew of grown people—men, mainly—who dress up in elaborate pirate gear and sing tunes that combine sea songs, chanteys and Celtic music (?) with a touch of comedy. Yes, it sounds gay, but really it's a good time if you get into it, in a Medieval Times kind of way, and plus their original song "The Dark Lady," is a great song, all dark lyrics, lonely flutes and dirge-y rhythm, like Will Oldham with a good case of scurvy.
2) Hapa (Hawaiian folk rock)
Thursday, September 13, at Poor David's Pub
Billing their band as "Polynesian music for the 21st century," the guys in Hapa are a confounding group: Many of their songs list toward those tapes you hear while you're getting acupuncture treatment—the only thing missing is the crashing sound of computer-generated "waves"—but then some of it is dazzling and hypnotic, evoking the eerie melodies of a band from a completely opposite meteorology, Iceland's Sigur Ros. Other times, utilizing multi-culti tendencies (they cull from Polynesian tradition, ancient chants and even Latin influences), the band teeters toward latter-day Paul Simon. All throughout, there are flickers of modern pop sensibilities. An intriguing band.
3) Hollywood Nights dance party, hosted by Perez Hilton
Friday, September 14, at House of Blues
Note to self: When referring in print to über-bitchy Internet gossiper Perez Hilton, do not use the phrases "love him or hate him," "no matter what you think of him" or "Perez Hilton is a fat pig jerk who is not a guilty pleasure so much as someone who makes us want to throw up in our mouths a little."
From what we can gather (thanks mainly to the Dallas Voice's Daniel A. Kusner, who interviewed Hilton a couple of weeks ago in the Voice), the concept behind this party is: Come dressed as a celebrity. Pay $15, $40 if you want VIP lounge. DJ Mike D will play. Hilton will be there. He may or may not talk to people. He may or may not do some sort of MC thing. He may or may not make us throw up in our mouths a little.
4) Druha Trava (Czech bluegrass)
Friday, September 14, at Poor David's
Must be international mash-up week at Poor David's. Which is cool, because after the mellow island strains of Hapa, you'll probably be all fired up for a big helping of that which Eastern Europe does best: bluegrass!
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OK, bluegrass is just one of the influences this group claims, but they choose to link themselves with the genre, and we can go with it (Druha Trava means "second grass" in Czech). And grass of a different kind might be an appropriate reference, as listening to these guys is a bit of a trip. Banjo player Lubos Malina plucks the strings like a gap-toothed Appalachian; Lubos Novotny (Is everyone from the Czech Republic named Lubos?) jams on the Dobro like he's got a gut full of moonshine and writer/singer Robert "Lubos" Krestan pulls some crazy melodies out of his hat to match some of their more traditional fare. The group has won awards from the Bluegrass Association of the Czech Republic (betcha didn't know about that one) and the Czech version of a Grammy. Definitely something different.
5) Invasion of the Naughty Schoolgirls, Back to School Edition
Saturday, September 15, at the Lizard Lounge
Do we really need to explain this one?