Music Tonight: Though they moved their world headquarters to Austin, Tex., a while back, The Heartless Bastards will always be a Cincinnati band in the minds of both their local fans and the band members themselves (band leader Erika Wennerstrom said as much when the group performed on David Letterman’s show a couple years ago). And they always keep Cincinnati in mind when plotting out tour jaunts, including their current all-acoustic jag, which brings them to the Southgate House tonight. R. Ring, the acoustic duo project featuring local musician/engineer Mike Montgomery (Thistle, Ampline) and Dayton’s Kelley Deal (The Breeders), warm things up at 9 p.m.
Wennerstrom is certainly no stranger to performing acoustically — she played that way for a Cincinnati Entertainment Awards event at MidPoint several years ago (when she was still a little nervous about the naked format) and will often strap on the acoustic for radio and in-store appearances. Below is a clip of Erika performing the title track from the group’s third album, The Mountain, at the offices of Rolling Stone.
(Leave your suggestions/promote yourself or your favorites by telling everyone about your favorite music event recommendations for the day in the comments below.)
Just Announced: It appears that the Taft Theatre is back in the music game with a full head of steam now that restorations have been completed. The latest show to be announced is star R&B singer/songwriter Brian McKnight's Sept. 16 stop on his Just Me Tour in support of his latest release, Just Me, a two-disc set with a handful of new songs and lots of live and unreleased material. Tickets will be $35.50-$59.50 (plus fees). They go on sale Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster.
Momentous Happenings in Music History for July 28
Underrated Irish Punk-era rockers The Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays” was the group’s biggest hit in the U.S., but it only reached No. 73 on our singles chart. In the U.K., though, on July 28, 1979, the song became the Rats' second single to reach the No. 1 spot. Frontman (and Live Aid founder) Bob Geldof wrote the song after reading reports about 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who had gone on a shooting rampage at an elementary school near her home in San Diego. Spencer killed two adults and injured eight kids and a cop.
When Spencer tried to explain her rash actions to a San Diego Tribune reporter via telephone during a SWAT stand-off, she gave Geldof his most famous song title. The tune was written quickly and performed live within less than a month of the tragedy.
“I just did it for the fun of it. I don't like Mondays,” Spencer told the newspaper. “This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig, I think, and I want to shoot more. I'm having too much fun (to give up).”
Spencer is still in jail. At parole hearings, she tried to sway the panel by once saying she was on PCP; she later tried the “my father abused me” excuse. She was last denied in 2009 and won’t be up for parole again until 2019.
The song, while sad, is still far less depressing than the real story. Enjoy this live version from The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball in 1981.
Musical folks born on July 28 include legendary guitarist Mike Bloomfield, who played with Paul Butterfield and also on Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited (1944), late Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright (1945), Rock vocalist Rachel Sweet (1962), Papa Roach singer Jacoby Dakota Shaddix (1966) DeAndre Cortez Way, who you probably know better as rapper Soulja Boy (1990) and Nick Banks, drummer for recently reunited (for concert dates, at least), theatrical British Indie Pop faves Pulp. The group's reunion dates feature the band from the Different Class album, arguably Pulp’s greatest lineup — and inarguably Pulp’s greatest album. (Fun aside: At a concert earlier this month in Scotland, singer Jarvis Cocker mock-wiped his ass with the final edition of the scandal-ridden The News of the World, saying, “That's the only thing that piece of shit has been good for in 168 years.”)
Here’s the band’s huge hit from the record, “Common People," as well as the surprisingly enjoyable (yet still pretty silly) version by Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, with some help from Ben Folds and Pop Rock great Joe Jackson (who kills it on the chorus). The Shatner clip is one of many "fan made" ones that popped up on YouTube.