Sound and the Fury
Life o' the party
Prince's June 9 show at the SBC Center had the giddy feel of a birthday bash for the Minneapolis monarch, who turned 46 only two days before.
Prince and his New Power Generation couldn't have planned it, but the performance also turned into an unofficial party for Sydney Schroder, a Houstonian who turned 8 on Tuesday, June 8, and attended the concert with her Prince-adoring dad, Greg, a capital-investment executive.
In the early stages of the gig, Prince smiled and pointed at Sydney, which sent both father and daughter into a fit of sheer jubilation. Later, she received two autographed drumsticks from Prince's funky, stick-twirling beat-keeper, John Blackwell. During the climactic medley that began with "U Got the Look" and finished with "Kiss," Sydney was among the 15 or so female dancers invited onstage (and the only one under voting age). While the more mature invited guests did their best bump and grind, Sydney dutifully played the cowbell, bringing an unmistakable grin to Prince's face.
When he observed that she knew the words to "Life O' the Party," he put the mike in front of her and let her sing part of the chorus. Later, she worked the stage by his side, playing an androgyny-symbol tambourine handed to her by one of Prince's bandmates. Upon exiting the stage after a good 20 minutes in the spotlight, she not only kept the tambourine, she got sax goddess Candy Dulfer (one of Prince's favorite concert foils) to sign it. She also earned a high-five from dad. Unfortunately, she didn't get the opportunity to play the guitar solo on "Purple Rain," but that gives her something to look forward to on the next tour.
Mr. Ritmo's reward
Local percussionist Henry Brun (known to his fans as "Mr. Ritmo") and his Latin Playerz were recently among the first-round selections for a 2004 Latin Grammy. The band's most recent disc, Spiritual Awakenings, received the consideration in the Best Latin Jazz Album category.
In other local news, two San Antonio groups emerged victorious from Ernie Ball's battle of the bands and will appear at the June 27 Vans Warped Tour show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. The SA bands, Airtight Alibi and Firekills, will be joined by Austin mainstays Powderburn and Rubberhead on the festival's Ernie Ball Local Heroes Mobile Stage.
Compiled by Gilbert Garcia