Happy blew year
A more overrated holiday you won't find, when the whole world becomes one sloppy-drunk frat party. Call me old-fashioned, but if someone's gonna vomit on me, I'd prefer to know them--or at least be sleeping with them.

While I can't think of anything better than bidding farewell to this year, there can't be much of a reason to celebrate the impending one--Bob Dole in the White House, another Hootie and the Blowfish and Pearl Jam record in stores. All I can offer is this: Go to the Toadies-Brutal Juice-Baboon-Hagfish show; if you can't get in, stop by the Funland-Old 97's-Vibrolux gig instead; or stay home and wait for Dick Clark to drop his balls.

The Toadies are our proudest export (on a major label, at least), taking their boogie-punk to the Buzz Bin and the Top of the Middle of the Pops. A few weeks ago, when the band played Will Rogers Auditorium in Fort Worth, they proved they could do what no local band has done since Pantera packed the Fair Park Coliseum last year--sell out a local venue faster than most touring bands, playing to an audience who aren't fans merely because of geography.

The other bands on the bill are not to be dismissed: Label-mates Brutal Juice put on a powerful, explicit show--their brand of mock and roll to be laughed at first, felt second. (Last New Year's Eve, the boys cleared out the Galaxy Club by smashing open a piata filled with rotting road-kill, which spilled to the floor and emanated quite the stench.) Baboon, which is now on their third bass player, has finished work on their second album for Grass Records, due early next year. Hagfish is still hoping it's not too late for their brand of cheery punk and dopey pop to propel them to fame or, at least, higher-quality groupies.

There's also that Funland-Old 97's show at Club Clearview. These bands are paired together almost every week, dueling pop acts attacking familiar territory from different sides. Even with Vibrolux on the bill and Bassx, the latter there to bid their farewells before leaving to New York City, there's the not-so-little matter of the $20 cover.

There's always Pantera at the Tarrant County Convention Center--always my idea of fun at New Year's, especially the part about driving to and from Fort Worth loaded on whiskey and speedballs to hear Phil Anselmo usher in 1996 by leading the crowd in that old favorite sing-along, "I'm broken...yeee--unnnnh!" Hell, maybe this is the only way to usher in the new year--by beating all hell out of the old one, and the guy next to you.

--Robert Wilonsky


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