Odds & Ends

Ready for symphonic Brave Combo? The band sure isn't--"We have no idea what we're in for," says Jeff Barnes (second from right).

The Combo pairs up: Even the weirdest and most remarkable bands are tough to write about repeatedly. Case in point: Denton's Brave Combo grabs our attention with interesting news every few months, yet we always come up with the same canned story--Grammy-winning local polka band that loves "The Chicken Dance" and Matt Groening--that you've certainly heard before. So it's nice to see the little Denton band that could surprise even us for a change. This weekend, the band performs its first-ever concert with a backing symphony...and immediately afterward, its second and third. The decades-old quintet performs with the Las Colinas Symphony in Arlington on Thursday, Garland on Friday and Las Colinas on Saturday.

"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.


Brave Combo

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.

Upcoming Events

Dallas represents: Think we're crazy for supporting Dallas hip-hop with all of our heart? Then you can call the folks at SXSW crazy as well, as the Austin music festival has added local funk freak-out Pikahsso and snake-tongued Steve Austin to its March showcase schedule. Congratulations, guys. We imagine a few out-of-town heads will nod to what Dallas has to offer, even if both Dallas representatives lack anything in the way of rims, grills or other corny-ass mainstream-rap bullshit.

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.

Handstamps: We got a frantic call from Dallas Observer contributor Jeff Liles the other day begging us to pimp a band he'd just seen in L.A. called the Spores. "They're the best band I've seen in five, maybe 10 years," he gushed, raving about crazy onstage puppet shows, bitchin' songs and an immaculate presence in lead singer Molly McGuire (formerly in Queens of the Stone Age). Could be good, bad or outright weird, but our interest is piqued--we'll attend their Bar of Soap gig on Wednesday, February 22...The last time the pAper chAse played an all-acoustic show ranked with that band's best-ever concerts. See 'em try for acoustic greatness again at Rubber Gloves on Friday; Astronautilus, who impressed the holy hell out of us with some sick freestyle raps at Good Records last weekend, opens...We don't normally pimp house parties, but this one should be killer--Pegasus Now, fronted by chronically undernoticed local wonder Neu LeBlanc, plays its first-ever concert in someone's living room on Friday. Go to myspace.com/pegasusnow for info...Sick of driving to Denton for all these bands we keep writing about? Lucky for you, Bosque Brown and the Angelus are carpooling to the Double Wide on Saturday for your convenience...Sons of Hermann Hall hosts a dandy of a rock show on Saturday, headlined by Salim Nourallah and the Chemistry Set...Hometown girl Sara Radle makes a rare stop at the Barley House on Sunday.

Get ready: Next week, we'll start accepting public nominations for the 2006 Dallas Observer Music Awards through our Web site. More on that in seven days.

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