Back when Athens was covered by a giant inland sea and pterodactyls ruled the skies, I serendipitously stumbled upon a once-a-year phenomenon, ironically situated around the Dreifort household toilet. A lone white ray, presumably originating mere minutes earlier from our local star, shone brightly through the window into the bleak bathroom, illuminating an otherwise unsightly water-filled porcelain bowl.

For a few lingering moments, I stared blankly... transfixed upon the brilliantly shimmering, glowing feces receptacle. It was a sight of true exquisite beauty; gripping at my inner child, suppressed since that frightening trip through the birth canal.

Then, as Atlas shrugged, the harbingered ray of temporal aestheticism moved on, perhaps to bestow its strange gift upon fortunate observers near the commode next door.

This anecdote comes to mind as yet another fiscal AMS year comes to a close. As the annual rite of "This is our last show... EVER" passes, many bands will in fact disappear forever.

But just as the mighty forest fire clears the way for new life, new bands will inevitably sprout to fill the void of entertainers parted. Though it may seem that our little musical enclave is empty and lifeless, the proverbial sunshine in the toilet bowl is just around the corner.

Come to think of it, I was delivered via C-section. Hmmm...

THURSDAY

Tonight's lone show is the Joe Bob and Junebug Birthday Party Show at the Casa Cantina. Musical cohorts Catfish and Patti Waltz will join birthday boys Steve and Eric as they perform in various solo, duo and trio incarnations throughout the night.

Expect a Nashville Style songwriter's circle, a la the famous Bluebird Cafe, early, and a balls-to-the-walls electric set towards the end of the night "after the liquor kicks in." Tune in for a fine evening of variegated music, "dualistic drunkenness, non-linear twinning, and other such nonsense."

FRIDAY

The Casa Cantina hosts a blues and R&B uprising on Friday featuring the Royales. Also known as "The funkin' kings of rock and soul," The Royales are touted as such because... well, that's the way it is, damnit! Look for the refined cohesive bass stylings of Mr Swamp Boogie himself, Roman Warmke, the impeccable drumming of Chris "Stix" Aubel, tasty guitar licks a la John Spataro, and Pat's classy shoes -- as usual worth the price of admission alone.

The Blue Spruce Band CD release bandwagon leaves Toledo early in the morning and hits Mama Einstein's on Friday night. Rumored to feature many members of the Old Rivermen, TBSB blends folk, rock, jazz, and more into their unique, and seemingly mutually exclusive, song-oriented improvisational act.

O'hooley's finds local roots-rock act Stella on the stage on Friday. Leftfield covers abound as this fine entourage weaves an often-mesmerizing melange of wannabe college-rock. Listen for the subtle intricacies of Catfish's lead work, and just try to avoid the hypnotic lure of the voice of lead siren Laura Nadeau.

Pomeroy's Riverside Amphitheater beaches itself on the Athens Music Scene shores on Friday for this summer's first Pomeroy Blues and Jazz Society show, featuring Bill Dutcher. Anybody remember Athens' main supergroup from the 1980s? Nope, it wasn't ABBA, and I'm not talking about the Snapdragons either... Mr. Dutcher was lead axeman for the near-legendary late '80s Athens band known as the Crunch. Bill now plays solo with an acoustic. His originals are said to be reminiscent of Michael Hedges as he uses alternate tunings and employs a lot of slappin' and poppin'. The show starts at 8 p.m., is free to the public, and includes food vendors and local artisans. Severe weather will cancel.

SATURDAY

A few simple equations best illustrate Casa Cantina's Saturday show.

Moviola = hushed indie rock meets the Mamas and the Papas minus the big lady, thrown in a blender with jangly guitars.

Moviola = genuine lo-fi pop coolness.

The Bygones = cool opening act playing Beatlesesque rock with country twang.

Homunculus takes a break from producing their latest CD to return to Mama Einstein's on Saturday. Homunculus is easily the best regular import act to visit Athens. Though they won't necessarily please the ardent fan of edged indie rock, their impressive repertoire of originals will delight fans of avant-garde rock in the Zappa vein, funk aficionados, and alterna-poppers alike. If you're not into diversity, smooth harmonies, and way-cool organ work, look elsewhere.

Cashing in on the PB&J fest buzz, the Court Street Grill, Pomeroy's premier entertainment establishment, invites former Crunch guitarist Bill Dutcher to the stage on Saturday for some hot, solo, acoustic action.

J.D. Hutchison and Realbilly Jive are featured at O'hooley's Saturday night, featuring J.D.'s hard-living vocals and songwriting, and the dead-on picking (and plucking) of Athens' most experienced players. Ask J.D. to autograph his CD and we betcha he'll oblige. Word has it that Hutchison and Realbilly Jive already have another record in the can.

After playing the Yellow Springs Street Fair earlier in the day, Mountaintop Removal plays a contra dance Saturday night at Amesville Elementary School. MTR shuns the flashier aspects of music, focusing on tight group interplay and intense, authentic old-time dance music. Beginners are always welcome. Caller TBA.

Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch hosts a dinner concert featuring Zeke Hutchison of Hutchison Brothers fame on solo mandolin. Munch on oriental food and listen to Zeke's bluegrass-inspired pickings in the most accessible of settings. Ahhh... www.furpeaceranch.com for more info.

That's it. Props out to Junebug for the most eloquent press release of the year. Don't be alarmed if the AMS takes a few weeks off during the summer, and remember to support local music.

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