Music Tonight: Ohio musical pioneers Rocket From the Tombs perform at the Southgate House with local greats Buffalo Killers and SS-20. Formed in 1974 in Northern Ohio, the pre-Punk legends might not get the credit of some of Punk's other earliest engineers, from New York and the U.K, but their importance in shaping the music (and the New Wave/Alterntaive/Indie music that followed) cannot be overstated. Like many great artists (Van Gogh, Poe, Kafka, etc.), RFTT weren't appreciated in their time, something not surprising considering they existed for only about a year and never released a lick of music. The band's split spawned two other wildly important bands — Dead Boys, featuring Stiv Bators and TFTT's Cheetah Chrome, and Pere Ubu with RFTT's David Thomas and Peter Laughner (who passed away in 1977). Both "new" (and distinctively different) bands took some Rocket tunes with them — Dead Boys claimed songs like "Ain't It Fun" and "Sonic Reducer," while Pere Ubu took with them "Final Solution" and "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" — all "Punk" classics. In the ’00s, RFTT compiled live and archival recordings so the band would finally have something in the record stores and, in the process, reconnected and, in 2009, the band convened to record its official "debut album" nearly 35 years after originally forming. Read Steven Rosen's interview with frontman (and Art Rock icon) David Thomas for this week's CityBeat here. Showtime tonight is 9 p.m. and admission is $15. Click below to listen to Rocket From the Tombs' rendition of "Sonic Reducer."
• Though only recently legally old enough to drink, Houston-bred singer/songwriter Robert Ellis is being treated by the music press like a veteran artist who’s been in the game for the past four decades or so. That’s largely due to Ellis’ wise-beyond-his-years talent, something evident to anyone who has spent time with the songwriter’s first two timeless Country Rock albums, most notably Photographs, which is loaded with proof of Ellis’ rich writing gifts. High-profile press accolades have come from The New York Times (which compared him to Jackson Browne and George Jones), Spin and U.K. magazine Mojo, to name but a few. Ellis — who just played a show in New Jersey last night with acclaimed Roots/Rock band and former MidPoint Music Festival favorites Dawes — plays a free show tonight at MOTR Pub with like-minded local singer/songwriter Mark Utley (of Magnolia Mountain). Below is a clip of Ellis performing recently for Americana site, MusicFog.com.
• If you want to hit Over-the-Rhine a little earlier, yule find some holiday cheer waiting for you at Mr. Pitiful's starting at 5:30 p.m. The free, fourth annual Over-the-Rhine Neighborhood Holiday Party will feature music by host band Messerly & Ewing, plus a string a guests, including Mike Fair, Shiny & the Spoon and many others. Give a listen to the opening track from Messerly & Ewing's fantastic recent full-length, Every Bitter Thing, right here:
Momentous Happenings in Music History for December 8
On this day in 2004, one of the most tragic, stunning moments in Rock & Roll history occurred when pioneering Metal guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot to death while performing with his band Damageplan at Columbus, Ohio, Rock club The Alrosa Villa, which remains open to this day. The venue's website greets visitors with the message "Three Heroes and A Legend," followed by "December 8, 2004 Rest In Peace" and photos of Darrell and the three others murdered by the deranged gunman, said to be Pantera fan (the band that brought Dimebag into the limelight) upset that Pantera was no longer active.
Dimebag's slaying was caught on video and it's one of the more disturbing, sad pieces of footage you'll ever view (I recommend NOT looking at it; the shit is soul-searing and you'll never forget it).
Instead, enjoy some music from Dimebag and Pantera, two of the more legendary, influential Heavy Metal entities in the music's history.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a Dec. 8 birthday include: Singer, actor and all-around entertainist Sammy Davis Jr. (1925); Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, as member of the R&B vocal group The Impressions ("It's All Right," "People Get Ready"), Jerry Butler (1939); "The Man with the Golden Flute," Sir James Galway (1939); dead Doors frontman Jim Morrison (1943);"complicated" singer/songwriter Sinead O'Connor (1966); member of Texas Hip Hop legends The Geto Boys, Bushwick Bill (1966); and Rock legend Gregg Allman (1947).
Allman (born Gregory Lenoir Allman) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 with the group he founded with his brother Duane in 1969, The Allman Brothers Band. One of the great Blues/Rock bands of all time, the Allmans came out of Jacksonville, Fla., but they have at least one interesting, historical tie to Cincinnati. The band's performance at the Ludlow Garage in Clifton just a year after forming was recorded and became one of the more popular bootlegs in bootleg history until it was officially released in 1991. The show preceded the Allmans' live recording of a concert in New York City in 1971, which became the breakthrough, two-platter At Fillmore East live album, which launched the band into Rock & Roll superstardom.
Though also a double album, Live at Ludlow Garage: 1970 is really one record with seven tracks, plus another with a one long version of the improvised, instrumental "Mountain Jam." It's the "Big Bang" that, in a sense, launched the "Jam Band" phenomenon that continues to thrive today. Got 44 minutes to spare? Give it a spin below.