If Texas Music is the new classic rock, then the Stephen Pointer Band is the new Journey, a solid outfit that delivers no-nonsense, no-frills, melodic bombast: a lot of technical flash coupled with a lot of substance.
(But no exploding amps – yet.) Last week, frontman Pointer and his mates won 95.9 The Ranch’s annual Texas Music Showdown, taking home some fancy equipment and studio time, and also securing a spin or two on the commercial country radio station. (Let’s hope he fares better than last year’s winner, Steve Tenpenny, who flamed out not long afterward and quit the biz.) Beginning in February, select contestants piled into the White Elephant Saloon every Tuesday to perform, mostly for their supporters but also for a small panel of judges – the Weekly’s Jeff Prince was a regular arbiter of taste, along with a few other local industry dignitaries, including Billy Bob’s Texas’ band booker Robert Gallagher and veteran singer-songwriters Larry Joe Taylor and Sonny Burgess.
About a dozen bands participated, and the two finalists – Pointer and Jordan Mycoskie – faced off in front of a packed house. (The White Elephant could have done well to give the two or three bartenders on duty some help, even though they and the waitresses performed valiantly.) For the finale, Prince was unceremoniously dispossessed of his spot at the judge’s table. His and the other judges’ seats were taken over by the folks giving away the prizes, including reps from Crown Royal and Guitar Center and restaurateur Tim Love (Lonesome Dove, Duce, Love Shack).
Free to enjoy the music as a fan rather than as a critic, Prince had this to say about the performances: “Both bands brought their A-games, but Mycoskie was on freakin’ fire, throwing down a rough, edgy, Supersuckers-style of punk-country that kicked ass and that was apparently too much for the judges. Pointer’s band had several advantages, including playing second, his group of large, loud, and rowdy fans, and, perhaps most importantly, performance savvy. The band toned it down a notch, chiefly because the sponsors weren’t looking for the Next Big Indie Hipster Band but something more in line with The Ranch’s mission.
So Pointer won the big prize, which includes a spot on next week’s Larry Joe Taylor festival – not a bad gig. It draws a shitload of folks. The cool thing is, Pointer and Mycoskie are both great guys. They bought each other beers before the finale, wished each other luck, and helped each other move equipment between sets.” I missed Mycoskie’s performance, so I can’t make a call, but I do agree with Prince that while both guys are talented and classy, Pointer is more Ranch-y and Mycoskie more Denton-and-Wreck-Room-y.
Visit StephenPointer.net and JordanMycoskie.com. … And the Spune Productions Empire continues its quest for hipster world domination. In addition to booking shows at The Cavern (Dallas) and 6th Street Live (Fort Worth), Lance Yocom and his all-purpose music company will be doing their part to keep Austin not weird (gag!) but cool. Spune will be booking national shows at The Mohawk, a relatively new outdoor-indoor bar/venue on Red River Street downtown. Rosa Madriz from Green Potato Ventures will still handle local/regional booking.
Visit MohawkAustin.com or MySpace.com/MohawkAustin.
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