San Antonio bands represent at the South by Southwest music showcase in Austin.
ACCORDION TO PONTY BONE
As a kid, Ponty Bone used to ride the Zarzamora Street bus every day to Stark Brothers Studio to take accordion lessons. A half-century later, Ponty, now a revered Zydeco accordionist, and his band the Squeezetones, are among the genre's most world-renowned bands, mixing Mexican and Carribean rhythms blues, and R&B.
In addition to solo work, Ponty has collaborated or performed with such Texas luminaries as Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Angela Strehli. The Squeezetones' 2001 album, Fantasize, featured the irresistible "Now's the Time (Do What You Do Best)."
The South by Southwest Web site lists the Squeezetones' genre as "other," but if the organizers were at such a loss for words, a better description would have been "amazing." The band plays Saturday, March 15 at BD Riley's.
In the dance music industry, there are producers and there are DJs. Then there is Eddie Scott. In 2002, Scott produced five extended play tracks for as many labels, garnering a "Hey DJ" profile in URB magazine. Scott's stylized works feature ethereal vocals backed by live percussion for a hard, house beat, and have appeared on the playlists of DJs Mazi, Jay-J, Chris Lum, David Duriez, Murray Richardson, and Phil Weeks, as well as on the producer's own turntables. Scott, who spins as DJ Spettro on the side, will showcase his goods on Thursday, March 13 at Zero Degrees.
Audiences can expect to hear fresh, new cuts from Scott, whose most recent productions are scheduled for release in the spring on various labels, including Austin producer/DJ Merrick Brown's Chalant.
TONS OF FUN
In Texas, where there are more honky-tonk bands than longhorns, Two Tons of Steel pack the halls because they deliver - every time. At its heart, the five-piece is a dance band that knows its mission is to make people forget the weekday world and live for Saturday night - or, in this case, Thursday night, March 13 at Broken Spoke.
|Two of Two Tons. Photo by Mark Greenberg|
The band built a following at Gruene Hall, starting in 1995 as an opening act. They eventually worked their way into a summer houseband gig at the legendary dancehall on Tuesday nights. Bartender Travis Kelsey started calling the weekly show "Two Ton Tuesday." The name stuck, the reputation grew, and so did the crowds. "We're a working band," bandleader Kevin Geil explains, "just trying to make it."
While San Antonio's DJ Jester, the Filipino Fist, travels the continent with Kid Koala and DJ P-Love, showing the masses what the Lone Star state has to offer in the way of sampleriffic, scratchified sets, the two remaining members of his homegrown DJ powerhouse, the Supa Brotha Scientists, will show the SXSW crowd that the Alamo City is more than just a one-horse town when it comes to turntable skills. DJs Donnie D and Klassen have enlisted the talents of Scuba Gooding Sr. to replace the Fist for the showcase gig.
On Saturday, March 15, the turntable trinity takes over Spiro's with four turntables, two mixers, and one of the most eclectic vinyl collections in the country. Engaging in a musical conversation more akin to jazz, the three turntablists work together as one, feeding off each other's beats and taking the groove whatever direction the set takes.
Although the crew has earned a reputation for its impressive technical skills, the Supa Brotha Scientists also attract crowds by bringing a little something for everyone. During a typical set, the DJs raise the roof with Donnie D's signature soul and hip-hop grooves, Scuba's old-skool party rock, and Klassen's genre-crossing, if-it's-on-vinyl-it-will-work eclecticism.
This is fund-drive season for local college-radio stations, and KRTU's recent campaign proved to be a resounding success. The station, which had been rocked in recent weeks by the firing of operations manager Ben Donnelly, had scheduled its pledge drive to last 10 days, but after reaching its stated goal of $50,000 two days early, it ended the drive with an on-air party of live jazz.
In other KRTU news, the station has hired veteran jazz DJ Aaron Prado as producer/chief announcer. They continue to interview candidates for operations manager and director of fundraising, underwriting, and promotion. •