Martin Luther King Jr. March & Commemorative Program
More than 100,000 are expected to attend San Antonio’s 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. March. Themed “Realizing the Dream: Jobs, Justice and Freedom,” the march steps off from MLK Academy (3501 MLK), continues through the East Side and culminates at Pittman-Sullivan Park (1101 Iowa) with a commemorative program featuring guest speaker Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant and music by gospel recording artist Wess Morgan (noon-2 p.m.). Those unable to march are invited to an MLK early morning worship program in the park (9 a.m.-11 a.m.), which includes a screening of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the “I Have a Dream” speech (above). For a map of the route, visit sanantonio.gov/mlk/mlkmarchroute; free VIA bus service to the march offered from Freeman Coliseum and St. Philip’s College. Free, 10am-2pm Mon, MLK Academy (3501 MLK) & Pittman-Sullivan Park (1101 Iowa) dreamweek.org. —Bryan Rindfuss
Winter BrewHaHa featuring Passafire & Ballyhoo!
Life is good for Savannah, Ga.’s Passafire. The four-piece reggae, dub and prog-rock band’s fifth album (and first with Easy Star Records), Vines (2013), debuted at No. 1 on iTunes’ and Billboard’s reggae charts, the latter feat involving knocking Snoop Lion’s Reincarnated to the second spot. At the time of this writing, the album is 17th on iTunes and no longer on Billboard’s top 10, but guitarist/vocalist Ted Bowne is still enjoying the sweet smell of success.
“The coolest thing is that something so DIY could become so popular,” Bowne told the Current on the phone from his mother’s home in Salisbury, Md. “It was a very nice treat. We were hoping to repeat what we did with [2011’s] Start From Scratch [which peaked at No. 6 on Billboard’s reggae chart], and we did, I guess: You can’t get any better than number one.”
Start From Scratch, the only album not self-produced by the band, also marked the beginning of the band’s SA connection, as it was produced by the Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary, who also mixed Vines after the band decided to go back to the roots and do it all themselves.
“We love Paul, but we needed to cut costs,” said Bowne. “We even financed the whole record ourselves, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Vines, as well as the previous two albums starting with 2009’s Everyone on Everynight, were recorded at arguably the band’s favorite place on earth: Sonic Ranch Studios. Located in Tornillo, right next to El Paso, it is the world’s largest recording complex.
“We wanted good sound, good equipment and good engineers, and Sonic Ranch is the place for us,” said Bowne, who also recorded guitar and vocals at his home studio in Georgia. Even though he and bassist/vocalist Will Kubley had a more hands-on approach to the project, the album was a truly collaborative effort, and keyboardist/guitarist Mike DeGuzman and drummer Nick Kubley (Will’s brother) had considerable input. The result is one of the best-sounding Passafire albums, especially for Bowne.
“[Leary] did an amazing job mixing,” said Bowne. “When he was producing [Start From Scratch]
I sometimes used my own amplifier and sometimes what was in the studio. But [on Vines] you’ll hear my real tone, the actual settings I play with live.”
Better than any other Passafire album, Vines reflects the band’s strongest facet: an identity devoted to Jamaican grooves but not artificially confined by it.
“We play reggae but we don’t ever try to sound like something we’re not,” said Bowne. “I don’t try to sing with a Jamaican accent or adopt a foreign sound. We play reggae because it’s part of our collective musical consciousness, this is the music we grew up loving.”
Vines also sounds like a band expanding their sonic map, branching out and starting to incorporate forms of rock, folk and funk, without abandoning reggae but also staying away from a pseudo rasta image and sound.
“We’re not trying to prove to ourselves or anyone that we’re capable of playing any particular type of music, nor do we try to appeal to any particular listener,” he said. “We want to appeal to everybody instead of trying to earn some street cred by being, say, ‘rootsier.’”
San Antonio is a usual stop for Passafire. Bowne remembers dates at the White Rabbit in 2008, Warped Tour in 2011 and a bunch of dates at Jack’s Bar, including one last year.
“San Antonio is a great place with a lot of history,” he said. “[Leary] always told us how great it was growing up there. Austin’s great, but SA has its own flavor and we always love it, and that’s why we keep coming back. When we play the harder stuff in SA, things tend to get rowdy.”
Needless to say, Passafire has its mellow moments, but it’s far from being a chill-out band. The sound is closer (at least in spirit) to the militant side of reggae.
Mostly minor chords and with the artists usually mad about something,” said Bowne. “When I was getting into reggae I was also obsessed with Rage Against the Machine. I think both Zach de la Rocha and Bob Marley had the same militant outlook on the changes that needed to be made in the world. That’s where our harder stuff comes from.”
On Tuesday, Passafire will be all over the place, following their usual formula of every five songs ?coming from each of their five albums. It’s a fun band, but not necessarily a party one. They move around a lot, throwing in slow songs here and there, but mostly keeping it upbeat, with Bowne and DeGuzman adding dueling guitar solos.
“It’s not your typical reggae show,” said Bowne. “You’re not going to come and nod your head the whole time, but [you’ll] probably jump into the mosh pit at one point.” $10-$15, 9:30pm Tue, Jack’s Bar, 3030 Thousand Oaks, (210) 494-2309, jacksbarsa.com. —Enrique Lopetegui
Nicolette Good with Matt Harlan
Throughout January, local singer-songwriter Nicolette Good holds down the Liberty Bar each Tuesday, fresh off a songwriting residency at New York’s The Lighthouse Works. Good says the songs she wrote in New York, which will be featured at her Liberty gigs, aren’t a total departure from her lovely Americana-tinged sketches, but they feature more fingerpicking technique and explore “more playful subject matter.” Good also invites some of her favorite collaborators to these events. This week she’ll have Houston’s Matt Harlan with her. Last year, Harlan won Singer-Songwriter of the Year at the Texas Music Awards. In a 2012 interview with the Houston Press, Harlan described his music as “T.S. Eliot and Norman Blake drinking with McMurtry,” and the Press had previously described him as “basically a young man’s James McMurtry.” Free, 7:30-9:30pm Tue, Liberty Bar, 1111 S Alamo, (210) 227-1187, liberty-bar.com. —Callie Enlow
Tue 1/21 - Wed 1/22
Ghost the Musical
Based on the 1990 "romantic fantasy-thriller film" starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost the Musical features a book by Bruce Joel Rubin paired with music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Set in modern day New York City, the Tony-nominated adaptation combines “a timeless fantasy about the power of love” with a “limitless array of dazzling effects.” Broadway in San Antonio brings the national tour to the Majestic.
$26-$81, 7:30pm Tue-Thu, 8pm Fri, 2pm & 8pm Sat, 2pm & 7:30pm Sun, The Majestic Theatre, 224 E Houston, San Antonio, (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com. —BR
Bury the Hatchet Tour
Las Vegas’ post-hardcore outfits Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse have a long history together
and apart. In mid-2008, singer Ronnie Radke was kicked out of Escape the Fate (above) after addiction and legal problems. He spent almost three years in prison for his involvement in a Las Vegas fight that left an 18-year-old dead (Radke wasn’t the shooter but was convicted of battery after claiming self-defense). He then formed Falling in Reverse, and the two bands swiftly began trading insults through the press, but no more. “There are surprises and special things happening on this tour that you’ll only find out about if you come—people can expect the unexpected,” Radke said in a statement. “This tour will change the long-standing tension with Escape The Fate—we’re now friends and all is forgiven.” With Chelsea Grin and Survive This. $20-$23, doors at 6pm Wed, Backstage Live, 1305 E Houston, (210) 698-2856, twinproductions.frontgatetickets.com. —EL