Archive for the Louisville Music History Category

Fiddlin’ While the Big Four Burns

Posted in Happenings, Louisville Music History, Louisville News, Transportation, Uncategorized on May 8, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Big Four Fire

We missed the big story yesterday — at the time we were either posting a Wendell Berry essay or we were cleaning up the house to have friends over for burgers — about the Big Four bridge catching fire in the afternoon (above photo from the Courier-Journal). What’s notable about the fire on the soon-to-be pedestrian bridge and landmark is that the blaze was battled from the Ohio River itself, due to its remote nature:

Flames shot from the Big Four Bridge yesterday as firefighters grappled with how to extinguish a blaze 70 to 80 feet above the Ohio River and a quarter-mile from the Louisville shore.

Because the wood crossties of the bridge have been rickety for years, Louisville Fire & Rescue Chief Greg Frederick decided not to put firefighters on the bridge.

So firefighters attacked the fire from the water, using a fire boat from the Harrods Creek Fire Department. The craft can create a stream of water that can reach the bridge timbers, something Louisville’s fire boat cannot match.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the bridge has caught fire. Back in the misty recesses of my brain I remembered there being some sort of fire on the bridge, back when back-then heavy rock radio station LRS 102 had both a sign and annual Christmas decorations on the bridge (see a photo from those days by D. Barlow here). Sure enough, the C-J article mentions that, as well as some more history of the bridge:

In 1987, a short in the wiring of Christmas lights started a blaze. Firefighters had to use more than 2,000 feet of hose and climb onto the bridge to extinguish the fire, [Chief] Frederick said…

The Big Four was built in 1895 and abandoned in 1969, after which the approaches in Louisville and Jeffersonville were dismantled.

Plans have been in the works to develop the bridge into a pedestrian walkway and bicycle path that connects Louisville to Southern Indiana.

On the Kentucky side, site work around the bridge is nearing completion and $4.4 million worth of steel for a spiral ramp leading to the bridge is soon to be ordered.

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The Return of the Web

Posted in Film, Happenings, Louisville Music History, Music on March 14, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Fruit Bat Republic

We can’t fucking believe it. Really. Sorry for the expletive and all, but one of Louisville’s best-ever bands — and I don’t just mean that lightly — is reuniting to play a show at the Pour Haus next week, opening for another fantastic band, the mighty (and mighty long-running) Pere Ubu. That’s right, The Web is back (description by The Web’s frontman Tony Hoyle, from show promoter/Black Velvet Fuckere/Sapat mainman Kris Abplanalp’s Myspace bulletin):

The Web, a rock band from Louisville, Kentucky, was formed in 1993. Distributed by labels Drag City, Damn Entertainment, and Ear X-tacy Records, The Web released two 45” singles, a 12” EP, and a full-length CD, “Fruit Bat Republic.” Prior to its temporary dissolution in 1998, The Web produced its magnum opus, “Chlydotorous Scrotodhendron”; the masters of these recordings have been unearthed and are set for a highly-anticipated label distribution this summer!

Among The Web’s many performances during the 1990s, it hit the road with recording artists Sebadoh, traveling throughout the Eastern half of the U.S.. Originally formed as a trio, The Web later expanded to an octet. However, most performances featured the classic quintet reforming this year: Andrew Willis on guitar; Gary Pahler on drums; Jason Hayden on guitar and bass; Steve Good ..boards, clarinet, bass clarinet and saxophone; Tony Hoyle on microphone.

Now some readers might not be convinced by that description, and that’s understandable, even if we would describe the Web as somehow a mixture of a great love for Captain Beefheart, the Stooges, the Fall, Neu!, Faust, G. Gordon Liddy, comic books, college basketball, science fiction, and well-brand liquor. Here at State of the Commonwealth, we truly believe in the “try before you buy” ethos of music on the internet, with both parts being key. So in favor of that policy, we’ve decided to upload a few tracks by the Web for you, our dear readers, to peruse at your leisure. If you like them, please do yourself a favor and see this awesome band live, next Friday the 22nd of March, at the Pour Haus. First, we have a zip file containing the Web’s first 7″ entitled “Azuza Inkh” — with the songs “Azuza” and “The Handcuff Hoax” and their 12″ EP record “The Pentagon,” featuring “Hail to the Chief,” “Rebel Yell” (parts 1 and 2) and “Five”:

The Web – “Azuza Inkh” 7″, “The Pentagon” 12″

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got zip files one song from their 1998 CD Fruit Bat Republic entitled “Tick” (a great little sorta almost Afropop-ish number) plus a live song “The Pentagon” from the Sourmash: A Louisville Compilation CD for your downloading pleasure:

The Web, “Tick”
The Web, “The Pentagon”

In fact, the only stuff by the Web that we don’t have digitized (but have on vinyl) is the “Freedom Hall” 7″. Can anybody send us that, please?

Anyway, both Fruit Bat Republic and Sourmash: A Louisville Compilation are on sale at ear X-tacy for $1.99 a piece. So if for whatever reason you can’t make the show, you owe it to yourself to pick up two great slices of Louisville music history, for super-cheap!