Every once in a blue moon, someone tears HearSay away from the local music scene to see a show by a national act. I admit: I’m usually complicit in the escape.

I’ll score free tickets to a gig by the Fiery Furnaces or Rush or Lyle Lovett or some other awesome national band and sneakily place them where I know a friend will find them and wait to be asked. ” ‘Would I like to see ‘Mr. Texas’ Lyle Lovett?!’ Need you even ask?!” Last Friday, ’80s pop-metal rockers The Cult were in town at the Ridglea Theater, and – nothing against the band – but seeing them was the last thing I ever would have imagined myself doing. Once inside, though, I was glad I went. Seeing a big rock show that’s loud and crystal clear really throws into relief the lack of world-class big-show venues here.

Maybe we don’t need more than half of one (the Ridglea), but in light of Dallas’ six or seven places to see huge rock, an alternative here would be nice. That there isn’t one may have something to do with another major deficiency of ours: the lack of a well-connected independent booking agent. For years I’ve been saying there’s room for an eager-beaver to step in and compete against Melissa Kirkendall, who, until recently shelving music for film production, was pretty much the only indie booker here. So what are y’all waiting for?! There is a caveat: Music snobs are strongly discouraged from throwing their trucker hats into the ring. A club can’t survive on “good” music alone. Crappy but popular stuff needs to play, too, to keep the money flowing. But most music snobs don’t understand. They’re above compromising their so-called “great” taste for money. To bend would make them feel as if they’ve engaged in that mythical concept they’re so obsessed with – selling-out. As for The Cult show, Ridglea co-owner Richard Van Zandt seems to have put the worst of his health issues behind him. He was up and running around and looking good. We’re glad to see he’s on the upswing.


… Welcome home (temporarily), Nathan Brown. The kick-ass one-white-man R&B band who moved to Arkansas not too long ago will return to his native North Texas turf to play a show on Sat. in Denton at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios (411 E. Sycamore St.; 940-387-7781). Now married and known as Nathan Browningham, in honor of his wife’s surname, Cunningham, Nay-Nay (as he’s affectionately known in these parts) takes ’80s cheese dead-seriously. Marshaling the best of Billy Ocean, Prince, the Pointer Sisters, Toto, and Scritti Politti into a non-stop dance-floor assault, Browningham is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Headlining will be Warren Jackson Hearne and the Gloomadeers.

… On Wed., March 22, Dallas’ Hard Rock Café will host auditions for the CBS reality series Rock Star. Last season’s inaugural winner became lead singer of INXS. This year’s will join “another big-time band.” Maybe the show should be re-christened, Karaoke With ’80s-Era Has-Beens. To my rock-star friends who may be allowing the idea of trying out to linger in their brains for longer than a split second: Don’t even think about it. I will hurt you. Bad.

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