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How much can one fan of OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) accomplish in just a couple of years? Plenty, if it's Rockzilla, aka photographer Michael Johnson. From 2003 to 2005, rockzilla.net was a chronicle of the alt.country scene from a uniquely Texan perspective. But all good things must end, and Rockzilla has retired from the online 'zine scene.

This mirror site was copied from the rockzilla.net site with the express permission of Rockzilla hisself. If you don't believe me, go to the KHYI-Fans email list and ask him! Buddy will back me up, too.


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Notes From TMR and Other Miscellaneous Observations

by Scott Snidow
 
     
 

As many of our readers know, this past Sunday was the sixth annual Texas Music Revolution. For those of you who live either in parts outside of Texas or else lead very sheltered lives, the Texas Music Revolution, or TMR as it is popularly referred to, is a showcase of musicians from all across the Lone Star State that is sponsored by local radio station KHYI. Two stages operate in supposed conjunction with one another, and in a matter of 12 or so hours 17 acts are paraded before the gathered horde of fans that seems to swell to ever greater numbers in each successive year. It is a music fan's delight, a veritable smorgasbord of some of the state's finest alt-country and Americana acts, all under one roof. Below are some of my scattered tongue-in-cheek observations of this event, in no particular order, and with no seeming rhyme or reason.

 

The Venue:

Congratulations are in order for event organizers, who saw fit to move the show from South Fork Ranch to the Plano Centre. The event seemed to have outgrown South Fork's rustic confines two years ago. Besides, it was nice to be able to walk to the car without the fragrant wafts of cow manure filling my nostrils.

I do have one comment to make on the Plano Centre, before I continue. Who the heck named it the Plano Centre? I know that Plano has long held the belief that they are the cultural benchmark for the rest of North Texas, but come on guys...Centre? We aren't in England, nor are we some European outpost. Around these parts we spell it "Center." While I am at it...it ain't colour, odour, theatre or any or those other hoity toity spellings either. Hell...my spell checker is having conniptions every time I write these words this way. So, if I ever get myself into political causes, my first order of business will be to have everything spelled in good old American spellings, Of course, since my political prospects seem dubious at best, I will bet that they will still be calling it the Plano Centre a decade from now.

The Plano Center(see, it looks fine in American) is a wonderful venue for TMR. Lots of parking, though I noticed that as the day wore on, many folks were having to park over at Collin County Community College's parking lot. There is plenty of room inside for all of the guests, vendors and artists to mill about. None of this going in and out if you don't want to either. Both stages are in the same complex. This is a definite plus. The main hall where the main stage was is cavernous, able to hold the entire population of my hometown if need be, not to mention more than spacious enough for all in attendance. The only negative thing that I witnessed was that the acoustics in the hippie stage area were a little less than what I would have liked to hear. A purchase of several yards of cheap drapery material could solve this problem though. All in all, though, I think that KHYI may have found a good home for future TMR's.

 

The Vendors:

TMR always draws a rather interesting group of vendors. There are of course the usual site based vendors selling food and beverages. While I feel compelled to recognize that $3.00 for a little plastic cup of beer is much better than the $5.00 for a little plastic cup of beer from years past, I am still not prepared to pay that much for a little damn cup of beer. That was why I made frequent trips to the beverage cooler out in the car. Let's see...ice cold Shiner for about $.80 a bottle, or three bucks for a little plastic cup of lukewarm Bud. Hell...it's a no brainer! Besides that, I had my hip flask of Pinch (thanks Mary), in the event that I didn't have the inclination or the desire to make the trek to the parking lot. As far as food goes, I have had some damn fine barbecue in my day, but I have yet to taste the barbecue that is good enough to compel me to separate with $5.00 for one thin little sandwich. So for cheap skate me, it was a steady diet of Goldfish, Lunchables, and various other junk style munchie foods.

As far as the other vendors go, there was a booth for W.W. Fairfield's, where scantily clad little cowgirl hotties were giving away something...though I could never focus my attention on the promotion long enough to figure out what it was. Some girl just handed me a pen and told me to fill something out, and like every other red blooded male there I did just that, several times! This was a case of the promotees being far more interesting that the promotion. Southern Junction and Love and War in Texas also had booths to promote their establishments and upcoming events. I happened to notice them in passing every time I headed for the Fairfield's booth. There was also the T-shirt guy there, selling all kinds of Americana oriented t-shirts, a booth for a local music publication, another for a local guitar store, a CD vendor, and a recruiter for some branch of the military, though being far too old for conscription I paid little attention as to which branch. (Also, they were right across from the W.W. Fairfield's booth, so I really was unable to focus on anything militarily oriented.)

I do have one thought that kept rattling through my head that day. With all of the Polaris ATV's that were there, it occurred to me; just how many ATV's are sold at music festivals?! Somehow the two don't seem to go together, though they did make for some fine places to park your keester. (They were some situated near the Fairfield's booth.)

 

Security:

There was ample security on hand for this event, though there appeared to be little need for their services as the crowd all seemed quite affable. How do I know there was ample security on hand? Because they were all gathered around the W.W. Fairfield's booth!

 

The Crowd:

TMR has the habit of drawing one of the most eclectic crowds you can ever hope to be a part of. Just a quick perusal of the parking lot is evidence to that. There are upscale cars parked along side work worn pickups. Deadhead stickers alongside Parrothead license plates next to trucks with their NRA stickers. The vehicles simply mirror the crowd inside. Young urban professionals lined up beside aging hippies who are talking with cowboys who are making fun of me...since I seemed to be the only person in the crowd who thinks that bright yellow Hawaiian shirts and jeans and sandals are a fashion statement that will never be passe. Ah well...so much for trying to remain nondescript.

One thing that did become apparent to me as I observed the throngs of people making their way through the Plano Centre, and that was that plastic surgery is alive and well and making a killing in Dallas, Texas. Too bad that back in my crazy college days I didn't see the joy and money that could be had in augmentations! Here was a career with my name on it! I understand the desire to want to look your best, I just can't afford to look my best! And while I am on this topic...ladies...if your are toting a gut around that compares to mine (and those of you who know me know that is rather ample), please refrain from wearing mid-drift tops. You aren't doing anyone a favor, especially yourself. We both know that they are no more comfortable than big baggy t-shirts!

Guys. This one is for you. Let's face it...we are all getting older. The comb-over is a thing of the past, something that our fathers did. Either go bald gracefully as I have chosen to do, join the ball cap set, or lay down the bucks for the implants (see plastic surgery above).

All in all, though, as in years past, this was a very pleasant crowd to be a part of.

 

The Entertainment:

Once again KHYI had a stellar line-up for TMR. It never ceases to amaze me that a person can see so much fine entertainment in one place for such a low price. Forget those $65.00 season passes to Six Flags! At roughly a dollar an act, TMR is the best entertainment value of the year for DFW.

The previous night's hangover was still looming large as I made my way into the hippie stage area to catch Rockzillaworld perennial favorites the Domino Kings. I wasn't really sure at this point that I was ready for any auditory input, least of all loud audio input, but Newman and company convinced me otherwise. They delivered up a rather cocky and mood setting set that cranked me up for the remainder of the day. (Note to self: keep a copy of Life and 20 in the CD player for those mornings when I really need a jump start!)

One thing that I did notice about many of the performances at this TMR that I hadn't noticed in previous years was that many of the performers were willing to take some chances with their sets and play some tunes that weren't expected from them, in others words they seemed a little more willing to lay it on the line for the sake of performance rather than taking the safe course and play the songs the audience expected from them. Case in point, Kevin Deal and Full Metal Racket closed out their set with an exceptional rendition of "The Mississippi Kid," a decision that I know Deal didn't make until right before showtime. However, it proved to be the right decision. (Note to Kevin: listen to Kim from now on!) The bluesy harp solos by Deal and the delta style vocals and mandolin playing by Freddie Spears proved to be a real crowd pleaser, luring folks back into the room that had already starting moving to the outdoor smoking area.

Another argument that looms large for this spirit of chance taking was Davin James' entire in-their-face-kick-em-in-the-ass set. James spurned many of his own tunes to play some serious rock and roll and blues. Hell, I was keeping my eyes on the ceiling waiting for the fire sprinklers to kick on at any minute; his set was so hot. No wonder he was the hands down choice for guitar player of the year by the Rockzillaworld readers.

Speaking of in your face sets, Trent Summar and the New Row Mob delivered up their usual on stage antics. If you have yet to see a live Trent Summar show, then neighbor, you don't know what you are missing. Summar et al delivered up some great tunes with pure punkabilly attitude. It is a show that has to be witnessed to be believed.

There were many other performances that are worth making mention of here; Bruce Robison, Larry Joe Taylor, Jack Ingram (a TMR mainstay) and many of the other artists that were there put on exceptional shows, but space constraints limit me from going in to detail on each performance.

One thing I was wondering about. With the abundance of female talent in the Texas music scene, where were they at TMR? Last year, Rosie Flores and Allison Moorer kicked some major ass at TMR. This year, the one lone female act scheduled, Heather Myles, was a no show. Consider this my vote for a few more artists of the fairer sex at next year's TMR.

All in all, though, KHYI and their sponsors once again did a tremendous job putting together and pulling off another exceptional program in what has become one of the truly big events in the annals of Texas music. Now, what say we all head over to W.W. Fairfield's for a few drinks?! I have to anyway, just to make sure that I wasn't signing over the deed to the house when I was filling out whatever it was they had me fill out. Gotta learn to focus!


You can contact Scott Snidow at: scott-at-rockzilla.net

 

 
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