Random acts

Of Note

Rockin’ in the Teen World: Rumors can be a nasty business. Yet for the Teen Rock benefit on Saturday, Dec. 13, they may just help a good cause.

Word’s circulating that once-local guitar god Warren Haynes may be on hand to check out the three headlining local teen-rock groups — No Comply, Lost Cause and Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

Sure, all the buzz could be nothing more than a load of hype to fill seats and raise a little extra cash for McDowell County’s hospice and Meals On Wheels programs — but you won’t know for sure unless you drive out to the National Guard Armory in Marion and pay your $7 admission.

Call (828) 756-4826 for more information.

The Eyes have it: Asheville-based poetry-zine publishers Eye for an Iris Press plan to launch their new collection, #10, this week. Two fury-fueled readings — on Friday, Dec. 5 at Beanstreets Coffeehouse, and on Sunday, Dec. 7 at The Future of Tradition in the River District — kick off the release. Both shows are at 8 p.m.

For more information, e-mail to: eyeforanirispress@etoast.com.

Fade to black

Will Sime tap his sticks lightly on his drum heads, awaiting his moment to unleash thunder. Then, softly, a bass line begins its low hum into life, courtesy of a cool, detached James Crabtree. Meanwhile, mere feet away, and poised as if to strike, rhythm guitarist Aaron Gunn‘s gaze is fixed on a thin, shirtless man in a tiny straw hat.

In fact, they’re all staring at him.

There is a pause then in the music, and vocalist and guitarist Jared Jacobs lets loose a loud, hacking cough before spitting into a waiting trash can. Then, as his band mates’ sonic buildup threatens to come crashing down, Jacobs whispers softly into his microphone.

And out of nowhere, chords spark.

Jacobs’ smoldering vocals immediately ignite with his band’s rhythmic fuel, creating an explosion of noisy melody. The unleashed song is both melancholy and aggressive — a lamentingly angry, bittersweet howl.

Sounds splatter everywhere — on the floors, the ceilings, the walls — provoking feelings of hatred for the one you love, remembrances of things so happy they hurt, and the sense of waking from a nightmare to find yourself completely alone.

The young men collectively known as That Outre Hammer then run through other songs in their set, working at perfecting each one. Their unbelievably cramped rehearsal and living space — a tiny Montford apartment — smells of vegetables waiting to be cooked, last night’s red wine and the sweat of exhausted musicians.

This dark, dramatic group came to be only a few months ago. Originally, Jacobs had planned to be Gunn’s backing guitarist for a series of Pritchard Park shows, but as the two started working together more closely, plans changed.

“Instead of me learning Aaron’s stuff, he ended up learning mine,” Jacobs explained.

Crabtree and Sime eventually joined the line-up, with occasional backing musicians and singers pitching in. The new group, with its collective sense of dramatic performance and its penchant for darkly ornate fashions, became increasingly tight-knit, producing music of surprising depth.

That Outre Hammer have since begun describing themselves as “Gloth-rock” — a flamboyant hybrid of the shine of glam and the morose, haunted underpinnings of goth. (The same term has been applied to groups ranging from Marilyn Manson to The Black Heart Procession). Though it’s an apt description of their music — which can be both dark and beautiful — That Outre Hammer goes beyond any mere catch-phrase or gimmick.

The band is a potential force in the local-music scene, though they’ve yet to really make their presence known.

That Outre Hammer, which has only played a few shows since forming, have already had some great moments — most notably their Pritchard Park debut that ended with the band and backing members crowded around a single mic for a song that was half lullaby, half Beatles homage.

They had the entire crowd of listeners eating out of their hands.

That Outre Hammer plays with Kerouac or the Radio at Stella Blue’s local-music showcase on Tuesday, Dec. 9. Admission is $2. For more information call 236-2424.


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