In last week's issue of the Pulse, an interesting story on why Chattanooga doesn't often receive major music acts was published. According to the article, Jeff Styles, local radio-talk-show-host and music lover, was quoted as saying that the reason for this is mainly due to the lack of alcohol sales in our city's major music venues, such as McKenzie Arena and Memorial Auditorium. Even the Tivoli, with its beautiful, lush interior that harkens back to the glory days of silent film, only offers alcohol in its lobby only.
In an effort to revitalize the MLK Boulevard area, the Bessie Smith Hall and the Chattanooga African-American Museum are hosting the first ever Bessie Smith Heritage Festival this Saturday, August 23rd.
MLK Blvd., or "the Big Nine," was once a music mecca for the blues and jazz, rivaling Beale Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans. What now provides little more than a link between downtown Chattanooga and Brainerd Road, with decaying buildings and a few struggling businesses, MLK Blvd. used to be called Ninth Street before it's name was changed around thirty years ago. Grocery stores, restaurants, department and retail stores, gas stations, and plenty of music clubs lined the street all of the way down to Highland Park. Musicians from all over the country traveled to Chattanooga to play at various venues and Bessie Smith, the "Queen of the Blues," used to sing on area street corners when she was a little girl. Many of Chattanooga's prosperous African-Americans lived, worked and played there.
Unfortunately, time has not been kind to the area and though there are businesses that have survived and the MLK neighborhood has gone through an impressive revitalization with new and restored homes, the boulevard itself has been limping on for decades.
The Bessie Smith Heritage Festival includes a demonstration and lecture on Bessie Smith and the history of the blues, as well as live performances by Just a Few Cats, Calvin Richardson and, unfortunately, Ruben Studdard of American Idol fame.
For more information, check out this week's issue of The Pulse or go to their website:
We're happy and proud to support this historical event. After all, preserving Chattanooga's musical history is one of the reasons we started this magazine. If that means sitting through Ruben "the Velvet Teddy Bear" Studdard's performance, then so be it. But, if Aiken shows up for a surprise duet, then we're sooo out of there.
Check out the Chattanooga African American Museum's website:
Also expect some changes in design and content as well as some new stuff. So, please be patient with us as we are still growing and learning on our blogging journey along the Internet highway. Thanks for your continued support and check back often!
Literally forming two hours before their first show on February 14, 2005, Hotpants Romance is a Brit-chick, garage/punk trio from Manchester, U.K. Originally, after a band backed out of a gig at the last minute, the idea was to play once a year on Valentine's Day. But, after their 2 1/2 song live debut, they were a hit.
Finally, after releasing their first tape in 2005, selling out all fifty copies and releasing their demo EP in 2006, band members Lowri Evans on bass, Laura Skilbeck on guitar and Kate Armitage on drums have released their first official album on Athens, Georgia record label Happy, Happy Birthday To Me.
It's a Heatwave is simple, fast and loud. In fact, not a one of the girls can sing very well but they sound so cute with their British accents, you learn to ignore it. I guess you don't have to be able to carry a tune if all you're going to do is yell and scream. And that's what they do; which, to their credit, some of the most successful musicians in the industry can't sing. Look at Bob Dylan. That's not to say their songwriting is brilliant, because it isn't. Yet, there is something about this band that is appealing. They're fun. This album is fun. It's not meant to be taken seriously and the band knows that. After all, they did form quite by accident.
The twelve tracks that comprise It's a Heatwave are all under 2 1/2 minutes, with three of them under a minute long but each is memorable in their own way.
"Hotpants No Chance," the first song on the album, is perhaps the closest thing to talent on the record. It's a steady stream of clean, jangly guitar rock about...well...hotpants romance. "Heatwave," fourth in the lineup of garage-pop tunes, consists of two sentences: It's a heatwave (repeat three times) and "Don't get burnt." Don't worry.I didn't.
At worst, Hot Pants Romance arouses curiosity. At best, they might just become your new favorite band.
Hotpants Romance plays Tuesday night at JJ's Bohemia along with Cars Can Be Blue and the Burberries.
Resistance Magazine is in the process of redesigning a new layout! Upon first starting our online magazine, we felt that the current design was simple and effective.
But, the more we post, the more convoluted and messy our once simple design seems to become, making it not-so-reader-friendly. Frankly, I don't like squinting when I am reading.
So, in the next week or so, you will be seeing some changes to our web site. If you happen to have any suggestions, please let us know. Thanks for you continued support and we can't wait to unveil our new design to you!
Republican Jim Hammond won the Hamilton County sheriff's race after previously running twice as a Democrat, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Democrat Greg Beck received just 26% of the vote.
For Hamilton County School Board District 2, Chip Baker won yet again, beating out newcomer Joe Dumas. This is his third straight victory for School Board.
Debra Matthews beat Gregg Juster for District 4 and Michael Dzik lost to Linda Mosley in District 7.
Rhonda "the Hairdresser" Thurman ran unopposed.
Will our new leaders make a positive difference in Hamilton County? We'll see...