Listening Post

QUICKIES: St. Louis choppy post-punk band Five Deadly Venoms celebrate the release of their debut full-length, Shape Shift, put out by Chicago's Thick Records, at Karma on Saturday, May 29. The record was produced by Dave Trumfio of the Pulsars and, recently, the Mekons. Also on the bill are Chicago's Dirt Nap and Collinsville's revelatory Mei Ling.

As mentioned in "Night & Day" (see p. 26), the Washington Avenue Street Festival is Sunday, May 30. Bands performing during the day include Stir, Toledo (who play at the Delmar Lounge later in the evening), Pave the Rocket, Vitamen A, Bellyfeel and My Blue Life.

Publication of issue No. 3 of St. Louis-centric zine Silver Tray will be celebrated at the Side Door Thursday, May 27. Featured performers at the event are a reunited Boo Rays, the Wingnuts (featuring St. Louis musical stalwarts Tony Fafoglia, Mike Martin, John Ferber and Danny Hommes) and Tinhorn. The issue, "on a diet" at 16 pages, features stories on the Bishops, the Tics, Solarcane and Peter Lang (of Danger Girl, Corporate Humour and E.J. Quit) and is published by the RFT's Thomas Crone. (RR)

FRESH PHOENIX: Vince Bell died in 1982, but that hasn't stopped him from writing songs so lively and wise they'll be remembered long after we're all gone. After a session with Eric Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan in December '82, Bell was driving down the Texas roads he explores in song, broadsided by a drunken driver and pronounced dead at the mangled scene. He was, however, revived, only to spend a month in a coma, but it took 12 years of physical and psychological therapy before he began performing and recording again. You might know Nanci Griffith's ethereal take on his "Woman of the Phoenix" (from the first Other Voices, Other Rooms album -- the good one), and I'd say you should hear Bell's own version, except that his remarkable post-crash album Phoenix (Watermelon) has vanished. But Bell has resurfaced on Paladin with Texas Plates, a suite of soulful, elliptical homages to Texas and the phoenixlike force of love. Produced by Robin Eaton (who has also worked with Tommy Womack and the Haynes Boys), the album was cut in just two days in Nashville. Its surging, lush, acoustic sound owes much to the studio smarts of Elijah Shaw, formerly of Enormous Richard and Three Fried Men and now a much-demanded engineer in Nashville (Shaw also shaped Steve Forbert's weird, recent Rocking Horse Head). After all Vince Bell's been through, he may be forever coming back -- he's worth following all the way. (RK)

Contributors: Roy Kasten, Terry Perkins, Randall Roberts

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