Thursday, April 18, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 133


 
 









 

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
showmanship.

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 studio.

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
Nance St.).

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 mind."
 
 
 
 
 

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