According to one well-placed source who asked to remain anonymous, here's the deal: The building that housed the club, as well as the parking areas surrounding it, was owned by a single private owner ever since a Goodyear garage occupied the space back in the '40s. The owners of Coconuts had a lease on the building that was set to expire in April 2007, but the city was interested in buying the property before then. So, the city struck a deal with the club's owners that required the city to find Coconuts a new home, and pay for moving expenses, by April 2006, so they could take it over. But, last week, inspectors condemned the building, a move that negated the city's responsibilities in the agreement and left the club's owners out in the cold. (Our source, who believes the club won't reopen, also noted that the building had been declared safe not long ago by the fire marshal.)
In the meantime, all shows previously scheduled to appear at the Stone Avenue venue will now be headed over to the Rialto Theatre, including The Bled's upcoming CD release party on Aug. 23, Twizted on Sept. 18, Unearth with The Dillinger Escape Plan and others on Sept. 28, and the Nintendo Fusion Tour headlined by Fall Out Boy on Oct. 29. For a complete rundown, check out the Rialto's Web site at rialtotheatre.com.
Meanwhile, we're a bit perplexed about Koufax's Hard Times Are in Fashion (2005, Doghouse)--or more accurately, the press kit that accompanied it. Admittedly, Hard Times is the first Koufax release we've had the pleasure of hearing, but unless they sounded remarkably different on previous releases, we don't understand, say, CMJ New Music Monthly comparing them to Hall and Oates, or Elvis Costello's collaborations with Burt Bacharach, or the highly respected music authorities at MaximOnline.com recommending them to "fans of the clever sounds of Joe Jackson, the not-so-clever sounds of Supertramp, the expansive pop vision of E.L.O., the tight pop vision of Squeeze" (calling Supertramp "not-so-clever" pretty much makes us dismiss this opinion out of hand, but we won't get into that here). Elsewhere, the Beach Boys and Van Dyke Parks are mentioned, somewhat inexplicably.
Well, on Hard Times, I hear maybe a bit of the melodic sense of Squeeze or Jackson, but I don't hear much in the way of anyone else mentioned above. What I do hear is a fine songwriter both lyrically and melodically, Robert Suchan, musing on topics such as pretending you're Canadian because you're embarrassed to be American these days ("Colour Us Canadian"), as well as the old standbys of liquor ("Get Us Sober") and aspiring actresses who end up waiting tables ("Isabelle"), combined with a piano-heavy bed of indie-rock-informed pop goodness. Suchan is a crooner of the variety that the Strokes' Julian Casablancas brought back into fashion (and, like Casablancas, he often sings in a faux British accent), but the sound as a whole reminds us of no one so much as Philadelphia's criminally overlooked The Trouble With Sweeney. This is pop music for those who don't like their pop mindless. (And just in case it piques additional interest, it should be noted that Koufax's rhythm section of Rob and Ryan Pope also do time in Kansas City emo heroes The Get Up Kids.)
Limbeck, Koufax, The Crowd (ex-Our Cure the Rocketship) and Japanesion Barbie perform at an all-ages show on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Things should kick off around 8 p.m., and cover is $8. For more information, call 622-8848.
And, speaking of The Get Up Kids, in an odd coincidence, that band's Jim Suptic brings his own new project to town this week. Blackpool Lights also include members of The Belles, Ultimate Fakebook, The Start and The Creature Comforts. Formed just less than a year ago, the band has recently been working on their full-length debut. Catch a sneak preview tonight, Thursday, Aug. 11 at Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Rorschach open at around 9 p.m., and admission is a five-spot. Questions? Ring 'em up at 622-3535. (Those with a high-speed Internet connection looking for a sneak preview of the sneak preview can head to myspace.com/blackpoollights, where you'll find demos of four songs. Like any self-respecting Luddite, Soundbites is still rockin' the dial-up.)
While we were less than enthused about Two Cow Garage's gravel-and-whiskey-voiced set the last time they hit town, Soundbites seemed to be in the minority, as the newly converted snatched up copies of their CD in between breathless raves. We're more than happy to give 'em another chance, especially considering our love for openers Grand Champeen's combo platter of all things great about '80s and '90s Midwestern twang-rock. Think The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Uncle Tupelo, plus a penchant for Cheap Trick; wipe the drool away, then go see 'em do what they do best (I can tell you from personal experience that it's not playing Texas Hold 'Em). Also on the bill are locals Creosote, whose recently released remastered version of their album Blacksmoke is awfully darn good.
Things get underway at 9:30 p.m., and Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. And it's pretty tough to beat three fine bands at the low, low price of $4, innit? 798-1298 is the magic number.
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., features the bad little monkeys that go by the name of Chango Malo, who will be supported by a newly revamped Ride the Tiger, Is to Feel and The Provocative Whites. 9 p.m. is the time to arrive, and $4 is the amount to pay at the door. Call 622-8848 for more details.
Over at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., you can check out an increasingly rare performance from inventive synth-poppers-and-more Let's English, plus opening sets from the Ten Percenters (who seem to get better with each show) and, um, The Provacative Whites? Someone please tell The Provocative Whites they're double-booked, woncha? This one kicks off at 8:45 p.m. and costs 3 ducats. That number again is 798-1298.