News Column

El Paso Times, Texas, Doug Pullen column

August 23, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 23--There was a time when that little ol' band from Houston, ZZ Top, played here routinely.

I can still picture a show at the Coliseum in the early '80s that was so packed -- the crowd estimate was around 10,000, if memory serves -- that people were literally clinging to the support beams holding up the roof.

That was then. These days, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame blues-rock trio plays amphitheaters (which we don't have), big festivals (like this year's Bonnaroo) and casinos (which we have, but ours don't do shows like that).

But Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard will make their first area return in years -- a 1997 Coliseum

show is the last one I can track down -- with an 8 p.m. Oct. 11 concert at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, just outside Ruidoso.

The band, known for hits like "Legs," "Cheap Sunglasses" and "La Grange," is on a summer and fall tour that includes several Texas dates and an Aug. 31 appearance at the Harley-Davidson 110th anniversary in Milwaukee.

While ZZ hasn't been here in years, Gibbons has. He was here in 2011 promoting that smooth Texas tequila of which he's part owner, Pura Vida, the same one Godsmack singer Sully Erna promoted when he was here for the KLAQ Balloonfest last May. Good stuff.

Gibbons is buddies with Ministry frontman Al

Jourgensen and has recorded at his 13th Planet Studios in the Upper Valley. He also has a relationship with Tony Rancich and his Sonic Ranch studio in Tornillo.

He also revived his '60s psychedelic band, Moving Sidewalks, for shows this year in Austin and New York.

Tickets for the Inn of the Mountain Gods show cost $35, $60, $80, $90 and $125, plus service charges. They're on sale at the box office and through Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.

Country Hootie?

Speaking of the Inn, the Mescaleros' casino and resort has snagged another big name -- Darius Rucker.

The husky-voiced singer will perform there one night before the ZZs, at 8 p.m. Oct. 10. Tickets are $30, $65, $75, $90 and $125, plus fees, at the box and through Ticketmaster.

Rucker has scored six No. 1 country hits since his pop-rock band, Hootie and the Blowfish, went on hiatus in 2008. His newest and probably biggest country hit so far, "Wagon Wheel," has gone double platinum. It's a cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show song, which takes from a Bob Dylan obscurity. Lady Antebellum is featured on the track.

Rucker, whose other country hits include "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" and "This," recently told Rolling Stone that Hootie, whose songs "Hold My Hand" and "Only Wanna Be With You" helped make them one of the best-selling acts of the '90s, will reunite for an album and tour. Eventually.

It's Zoe time

Speaking of Sonic Ranch, did you know that Mexican rockers (and El Paso favorites) Zoe cut their new album there?

The first single, "10 A.M.," was released to radio and as a digital download this week.

The Mexican alt-rockers' new album, "Programaton," comes out Oct. 22. It's their first album in five years.

It was produced by Phil Vinall, who has worked with a number of Mexican bands, including Jumbo and Quiero Club, as well as U.K. groups such as Radiohead, Pulp and Placebo.

Rockin' BBQ

KLAQ's 28th annual end-of-summer barbecue will feature Filter and Hoobastank on Labor Day (Sept. 2) at Western Playland.

Filter is still fronted by singer Richard Patrick. It's working new album "The Sun Comes Out at Night," which it most assuredly will at the event known as the KLAQ BBQ.

Hoobastank, best known for its ubiquitous 2003 hit "The Reason," is touring on last year's "Fight or Flight" album.

Doors open at 2 p.m. for the family-friendly event. Tickets cost $15 in advance, on sale at All That Music & Video, Regular Joe Haircuts locations, Teaze in Sunland Park Mall, Walgreens stores and seizethedeal.com. They're $20 at the door.

Lit up

Buckcherry, a band that has played El Paso several times in recent years, will bring its tour in support of sixth and newest album "Confessions" to the Speaking Rock Entertainment Center on Sept. 10.

It's a free, indoor show. No one younger than 18 will be admitted. Girl on Fire (an all-guy band) will open.

Bachata fest

Speaking of Labor Day weekend, the newly opened Club Station (formerly Don Quintin and Love), 420 N. Campbell, will host a Latino Festival Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Headliners include bachata-rooted up-and-comers Alex Wayne, 4Ever, La Morena del Mambo, DzO and ex-Marcy Place singer JC.

The event will include rides, games, food and more. Doors open at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 and 1 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Admission is $10 at the door, $25 VIP, free for kids 6 and younger.

If it sounds familiar, that's because it's basically the same three-day festival originally planned for the XL Lounge in the Lower Valley.

School jam

One last end-of-summer/back-to-school gig to report.

El Paso rockers Low Luster League and Alameda join forces for the Back to School Jam this weekend.

It's from noon to 3 a.m. today at Angelina's Party Hall, 6596 Montana. It's an all-ages show. Admission is only 3 bucks at the door.

They'll have hot dogs, nachos, candy and pop available.

Low Luster League's Hapa Martinez said it's a "show of gratitude" to his band's younger fans who can't get into their shows, which are usually for 18 and older. Angelina's is a new party hall he's opened with his mother and sisters.

Lowbrow shows

Austin's Splendid Sun Productions has added two more, very different shows at the Lowbrow Palace.

Former black metalist T.J. Cowgill brings his band King Dude to the club at 9 p.m. Sept. 10.

His music has evolved since the metal days into a melding of country, blues, gospel and folk with lyrical themes that can be dark or uplifting, or, as he describes it on his Facebook page "more of a modern day hymn then (sic) your average pop song."

The band just released the single "Born in Blood" on its new Not Just Religious Music label.

The show is for ages 18 and older. Tickets cost $8 in advance, $10 at the door ($11 and $13 for those 18 to 20).

The club also will host Wild Belle, the Chicago sibling duo, which combines pop, ska, funk and rock.

The duo, which released debut album "Isles" in March, will play there at 9 p.m. Oct. 1.

It's also an 18-and-older show. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door ($3 more fora ges 18-20).

Tickets for both shows are on sale at All That Music & Video, Happy House, the Headstand, the Pizza Joint and holdmyticket.com.

Justin case

Canadian singer-songwriter Justin James is making the most of a swing through this area, booking four performances over a three-day stretch.

He'll play the 5 Points Bistro, 3019 Montana, at 9 p.m. Sept. 6, followed by a 3 p.m. Sept. 7 show De La Vega's Pecan Grill and Brewery, 500 S. Telshor in Cruces, a 9 p.m. Sept. 7 set at the Buzz Bar, 10910 Montana, and a 3 p.m. Sept. 8 gig at Aceitunas Beer Garden, 5200 Doniphan.

They're all free shows, sponsored by El Paso's Dos Lunas Tequila. It's part of a four-month "Bright Side" tour in support of his fourth album, "Islands."

James has opened for Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, once sang in a boys choir, and was a pro surfer as a teenager until a shark attack almost killed him.

That's when he switched gears and turned to the more dangerous task of trying to make it as a professional musician, or so his bio says.

This is a roundup of concert and other event information from Doug Pullen's blog, Pullen My Blog, at elpasotimes.com/blogs. He may be reached at dpullen@elpasotimes.com; 546-6397. Follow him on Twitter at @dougpullen and facebook.com/dougpulleneptimes.

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