A week on the scene
Gris Gris' spell
While the Gris Gris take their name from a particularly potent form of New Orleans voodoo, this quartet has nothing to do with either the Crescent City or the swampy R&B the name might suggest.
An Oakland, California band formed by Texas transplant Greg Ashley, the Gris Gris specialize in a dark, murky, gothic psychedelia. Their new, self-titled Birdman Records debut is spare but noisy, with sheaths of feedback that occasionally bring to mind Roky Erickson fronting the early Jesus and Mary Chain.
The Gris Gris will be in town as the opening act for Boxcar Satan's pre-tour sendoff gig at Taco Land on Monday, September 27. Boxcar Satan will hit the road on September 30 for a three-week U.S. tour that will hit both coasts and points in-between.
Campanas at the crossroads
Las Campanas de America, San Antonio's own mariachi institution, celebrates their 25th anniversary this month with a special concert at Crossroads Mall on Saturday, September 25th, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.00. Joining Las Campanas for this unique open-air performance will be several special guests from the mariachi scene. Additionally, in what approximates a San Antonio version of (Mexican) American Idol, Crossroads Mall is hosting a ranchera competition for young mariachi hopefuls earlier in the day. Win the judges over with your best Chente-fired version of "Volver, Volver," and someday you too may find yourself performing alongside the men and women of Las Campanas.
Van Gee's passing
James Van Gee, a fixture on the local music scene for the last 25 years, passed away in his sleep on September 5 at the age of 59. A native of Scarborough, Maine, Van Gee settled in San Antonio in 1979 after serving in the Air Force and playing bass in various Los Angeles bands. In recent years, he primarily worked with country groups, but was known and admired for his musical versatility. Among his local credits: Cripple Creek, Perpetrators, Los Keys, Hartwell and Company, and Mark Stewart & the Pop a Top Band. He also taught guitar and bass at several local music stores, including Caldwell's and Alamo Music Center. On Sunday, September 12, Stewart and his Pop a Top Band hosted a jam session in Van Gee's honor at Double T's.