Lift Off

A year or so ago, maybe two, England was losing its collective shite over Denton's Lift to Experience and the band's ambitious debut, The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads. We're talking five-star reviews and second-coming salutations all around, not unlike what happened when Uncut and NME picked up on what the Polyphonic Spree was laying down, and there was good reason: Texas-Jerusalem's 70-plus minutes of religion, redemption and really loud guitars were inspiring and inspired. Even Radiohead said as much. And EMI thought enough of Lift to Experience's present and future to give the group a lucrative publishing advance; the number we kept hearing at the time, and no one ever really gave us another, was around a million bucks. Everything was in its right place.

Then, just as suddenly, it wasn't. The band had trouble nailing down a U.S. outlet for the disc, and soon enough, the U.K. press moved onto the next shiny object that caught its eye. As they do. The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads was eventually released over here, but Lift to Experience couldn't quite capitalize on it: An American tour with Apples in Stereo and Clinic could-would-should have helped, but the group pulled out at the last minute. After that, the band, already a sporadic sight on local concert calendars, disappeared. Singer-guitarist Josh Pearson got as far away from the stage as possible, moving to a minuscule town near Mexia.

And now, that disappearance looks to be permanent, given the story we heard last week. Seems that Pearson gave drummer Andy Young the boot recently. Seriously. An actual boot in the mail, with this inscription: "The Boy"--Young's nickname--"gets the boot." Pearson has already been performing solo (including a show on June 14 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, with Explosions in the Sky), so the exit of Young sounds pretty much like a hammer hitting the final nail on the coffin. Wouldn't worry too much about Young, by the way: We hear he's already had an offer from celebrated singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt to appear on his next record. Good drummers are like left-handed pitchers; there's always a market for them.

If this is it for Lift to Experience, it just goes to show how fleeting these kinds of things can be, especially when the British press is involved. Members of the Polyphonic Spree, pay attention.

It came as no surprise, really, when we heard the Bronco Bowl Entertainment Center was being torn down to make way for a Home Depot. The Home Depot part, perhaps, was a bit unexpected, but not the fact that the venue was finally going under. Once NextStage pulled itself out of the horrendous financial mess it had gotten into during its first year in business, we knew Bronco Bowl could not last much longer. NextStage was more competition than they could handle, especially since Bronco Bowl lost one of its top talent agents to the venue. Besides, Bronco Bowl always seemed about a step away from this kind of thing happening, even without another venue to replace it. Since it was reconfigured in 1982 to make room for concerts (the first? The Clash), the venue's history has been tumultuous, closing in 1990, reopening in 1996 with a Bruce Springsteen show, bringing in big names, barely hanging on. We've heard there will be at least one final blowout at Bronco Bowl in a couple of months, but given what's happened so far, we wouldn't get our ticket money ready just yet. ..

If you happen to be one of the two people who haven't downloaded the new Radiohead album, Hail to the Thief, off Kazaa or some such, Mick's Bar is hosting a listening par-tay for the disc on June 7 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you don't feel like going to Lower Greenville on a Saturday night, you could just wait three days until the album is in stores...

Hand stamps: The New Final Friday happens May 30 at Gypsy Tea Room with Craig G of the Juice Crew, Headkrack, Massive and Aziz, the Free Agents, Strange Fruit and DJ Whiz T; Macavity and the Rocket Summer open for Ash on May 31 at Trees; Doosu, Tendril and the Record Hop play Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on May 30.