Tapir Productions to celebrate
4/20 with jazz, bluegrass music
By Chris Goodier
Daily Cougar Staff
Who would have imagined the growth of an
inside joke exhibiting such international influence?
Starting as a customary appointment between
students at southern California's San Rafael High School in the early 1970s,
the phrase "4:20" referred
to a midday meeting at the foot of a local
Louis Pasteur statue. Here, a clique calling themselves the "Waldos" (known
for their affinity for the Marx
Brothers' stand-up comedy and, above all
else, cannabis) would lace interaction with the occasional spliff.
Others soon adopted the "4:20" reference
as slang, culminating in pollination by travelers of Deadhead culture.
The contraband connotation spread
much like microbiologist Pasteur's own
discoveries linking germs to disease, transcending the homegrown origins
of the West Coast phenomenon.
The time reference was soon adopted by
popular culture and carried into a date, making every April 20 "International
Intake Mild Hallucinogens Day."
In commemoration, Houston's own Tapir Productions
will put on an extensive show at Last Concert Cafe this Saturday. Tapir
Productions began in the
spring of 2000 as a response to Houston's
reputation as an unfriendly scene for jam bands and improvised music.
Being the largest metropolitan location
between the live music meccas of New Orleans and Austin, Houston provides
an untapped potential to draw
nationally recognized jam-based performers.
Relying on the large number of local college
students and the Space City's strategic geographic position, Tapir Productions
has stepped up to book
acclaimed bands. Past shows have featured
The Slip, Yonder Mountain String Band and The Time O'Brien Band, groups
whose popularity rests on a
foundation of musicianship.
Tapir Productions, the name a testament
to public access in recording its shows, continues the 4:20 legacy with
a three-band bill thick with talent. First,
the Greyhounds brings funk with jazz sensibilities
all the way from Los Angeles.
Comparisons have aligned the Greyhounds
with New Orleans groove chefs Galactic, but with more emphasis on blues
and jazz ingredients. The
band's live shows are recognized for inciting
the gyration of bodies while retaining mellow undertones.
Two additional bands front for the newgrass
school, a genre based in the tradition of bluegrass while fusing elements
of jazz and the energy of rock
From Vermont comes Smokin' Grass, a "hot-pickin'
quintet" capable of belting out layered vocal harmonies. Having played
with the likes of Leftover
Salmon, Moe and the String Cheese Incident,
Smokin' Grass promises an outpouring of dueling dobro, mandolin and bass.
The band stops in
Houston in support of its latest In the
Barn release, a long-player recorded at Trey Anastasio of Phish's Farmhouse
Headlining is The Tony Furtado Band from
Boulder, Colo., featuring banjo extraordinaire Tony Furtado. Finger slide
usage should be redefined against
the canvas of his custom dobro-banjo.
A dobro is similar to a traditional steel-stringed
acoustic, but has a large metal dish set over the sound hole to amplify
its distinct raspy hum. Dobros
are characteristic of the Deep South and
Delta blues musicians and can produce a bowel-wrenching timbre.
Furtado uses his axe to drive upbeat Appalachian
stomps through acrobatic obstacle courses of finger-picking ability.
All who are interested in hearing great
musicianship in a relaxed fashion should celebrate 4/20 with Tapir Productions
at the Last Concert Cafe (1403
The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets
are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. This event is not for everyone, so
attendees should heed Louis Pasteur's
advice: "Chance favors only the prepared