Random acts

Of note

Still reeling from recent underhanded local political machinations? If so, you might want to check out Jr. James & The Late Guitar‘s new on-line single, “Too Much Trouble,” a humorous take on the recent political woes in Woodfin. Visit www.atonemusic.com.

Roster update … the Asheville-based heavy-metal band Redshift has a new member. Guitarist Kyle Bronson joined the band in late March, marking the second change in that band’s line-up in just under a month. For more information on the band, visit their Web site at www.redshiftband.cjb.net.

Local punk band Junior Varsity has found a new singer. Drew Thomas replaces Matt Anderson, who left the group late last year to form the punk outfit Holiday Rd. Rumor has it that the band will take on a harder, more aggressive style than in their previous work. For more information, visit www.juniorvarsity.net.

Front-row reviews

Who: Squat

Where: The Grey Eagle

When: Saturday March 30

Not even the spirited yells of “Hell yeah!” by highly enthusiastic — if moderately intoxicated — concertgoers could break the cool mood that Squat had created. The Athens, Ga.-based four-piece has a true gift for atmosphere that enabled them to make even the rootsy Grey Eagle feel like an inner-city jazz club in the early ’50s (of course, the multiple Coltrane covers didn’t hurt either).

Their set was fairly diverse, including Latin jazz, a handful of harder tunes that almost bordered on funk, and even a few originals, which seemed to take inspiration from the jam-band set. Like most jazz outfits, Squat relies heavily on improvisation to lend energy to their music. The vast majority of the show was seamless, as in the band’s version of “Softly As the Morning Sunrise,” which featured some extremely captivating moments, including one of the best drum solos this reviewer has ever witnessed.

What: Flicker Film Festival

Where: Vincent’s Ear

When: Thursday March 28

It’s time to stretch the boundaries of Random Acts. This review isn’t about a recent concert. In fact, it isn’t even about music. It’s about film — and not your fancy, seven-bucks-a-ticket kind either. No, we’re talking real film: the kind you can only get from sweating behind a Super-8 for hours at a time while yelling at your marginally talented thespian friends to stop goofing around and read their lines — this time without cracking up.

This review is about the latest installment of the Flicker Film Festival and how, even without a line-up of bands, it rocked. Even the best Super-8 film looks humble when compared to a mainstream Hollywood opus, so the pressure on newbie filmmakers to create a cinematic masterpiece takes a back seat to having a good time.

Among the best examples of this spirit were the two works by filmmaker Jack Conrad. As the sole local contributor to the festival, Conrad had much to prove. His first film, the fishing comedy “Gone with the Fin,” is a lighthearted nod to the fast-paced slapstick shorts of the silent era. His second offering, “His Last Waltz,” moves around in a different mood altogether, being a sentimental piece about an aging man’s dance with fantasy.

Both borrow heavily from the masters of early cinema — but, to his credit, Conrad’s short films don’t come across as knockoffs.

This Flicker Festival included several other films of note; the best, by far, was Ricardo Villegas’ surprisingly professional “Ten Thousand Buddhas.” This story, about a mail-order bride fleeing her absurdly abusive husband, raised heavy cheers from the Vincent’s Ear crowd and was truly one of the evening’s highlights.

Top threes

Top-three new bands set to perform at “Band Benefit Bash Special Olympic Fundraiser” at Mamma T’s on Friday April 12:

• One-Eyed Fish

• Hanna Curtis Band

• Unit


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