APRIL 9, 2007
Last Saturday it sleeted. In April. In Austin. That can’t be a good sign. This Saturday you may want to pack a Kevlar umbrella for the plague of amphibians that will surely rain down – probably frogs or toads, but you don’t want to rule out Barton Springs salamanders. The Almighty is not without a sense of irony. Who invented irony in the first place, right? It wasn’t George W. Bush, although he would certainly be on the multiple-choice test. So anyway, what next? Will the Colorado River run red? Blood red? Something has to be causing that horrible stench. We’re already up to our ear holes in gnats and flies, which inevitably seems to beget a plague of ineffectual Ziploc baggies filled with water and pennies. Unhealable boils? They’re called herpes. Most estimates show that more than 60% of the population has either simplex 1 or 2. That’s a plague by even the most conservative standards, but don’t go painting your doorpost with lamb’s blood just yet. We still have fire, locusts, and darkness to cross off our lists. Fire is actually the tastiest of the three Taco Bell sauces although hardly spicy enough to justify its name. It is a plague nonetheless (though maybe not as calamitous as their Chihuahua ads) because of the insipid quotes printed on the back of the packet, presumably so TB could print the ingredients in an even smaller, more illegible font. Could be potassium sorbate, could be sodium benzoate, could be pureed locust extract. Taco Bell would certainly need a plague of locusts to fill all those packets, wouldn’t they? If last Saturday is any indication, the Lord will provide. As for the Darkness, they’ve pretty much become passé since their second album tanked, Justin Hawkins went to rehab, and Dan Hawkins’ guitar tech became the frontman. That doesn’t mean they won’t rise like a phoenix from the ashes and unleash a whole new plague of arena rock on us, but it does make it less likely. If you want to hear a truly interesting take on some arena rock, head down to the Continental Club this Saturday night when Jeff Hughes and Chaparral celebrate their 25th Anniversary. No one does a better countrified cover of “Sweet Child of Mine,” or “You Shook Me All Night Long,” but Chaparral has been earning its keep since 1987 by keeping the dance floor packed by playing an interesting blend of traditional country, interesting covers, and well written originals. Any band that lasts more than a year or two in Austin deserves a medal, and by that standard Chaparral deserves a plague of medals – or at least a plague of silver dollars in the tip jar.