BOOGIE SHOES 9/5, DURTY NELLIE’S, PALATINE What they play isn’t quite acid jazz, nor is it really funk, and I think it would be stretching it to call it hip-hop. But just about every one of the 23 tunes on their overly generous Bust It…Bust It…Bust It (Novo) sounds like it’s trying to be all of these things all the time. The chops are there, but Boogie Shoes ought to go back to their extensive record collections and listen for dynamic range. I also wish they’d drop the boom-box retroisms–we’ve got to leave something for future generations to rip off.
POWER STATION 9/5, House of Blues At least they’re not capitalizing on nostalgia.
TOASTERS 9/5, MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART Let Billboard hype the revival of ska (or was it the revival of the revival?)–I’ve yet to see any hard evidence that it ever went away. New York’s Toasters, out in support of their sixth LP, Hard Band for Dead, have kept the faith ever since their early-80s debut. Their retail shop and label, Moon Ska, has provided a center for the northeast scene for a decade and a half, with a diverse roster of releases by everyone from Connecticut teenage ska-punk bands to 2-Tone veterans to original rudies like Laurel Aitken and members of the Skatalites. They interrupt their west coast tour to fly in for the first-anniversary bash of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s First Fridays series–apparently their dedication has earned them fans in strange places.
BAD LIVERS 9/6, LOUNGE AX Still getting good mileage out of this spring’s eclectic and rambunctious Hogs on the Highway (Sugar Hill), this Austin-based trio of bluegrass terrorists makes a welcome return to Lounge Ax. Though former fiddler-accordionist Ralph White III was missed at their last show here, guitarist Bob Grant compensated with a devastating concentration–though he played some of the most frenzied “traditional” music I’ve heard this year, nothing moved but his fingers, and they were a blur.
HARPER 9/6, FRANKIE’S BLUE ROOM, NAPERVILLE Peter Harper, the serendipitously named harmonica player and vocalist for this Aussie R & B outfit, has a sonorous soul belt, and his band gives up a functional groove, like the Commitments without the movie. Their CD Live at the Soup Kitchen (recorded in Detroit for authenticity) features a serviceable Sonny Boy Williamson cover and a jammy Bill Withers one, showing that their hearts are in the right place–even if the rest of their bodies usually aren’t.
EUGENE CHADBOURNE 9/10, LUNAR CABARET What with the current flush of noisy, sometimes serious, sometimes rambunctious experimentation, it would be a shame if longtime provocateur Eugene Chadbourne got shunted to a back burner–it’s not just anybody who could collaborate with both Evan Johns and John Zorn. The North Carolina native’s latest, End to Slavery (Intakt), which is something of a career retrospective, features heartfelt yet inescapably backhanded tributes to Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Bill Monroe–and two of them are dedicated to dogs. This show will include the second local performance of his flexible new composition “Insect and Western”–inspired, Chadbourne says, by “listening to insects and ripping off their techniques”–this time with percussionist Carrie Biolo, oboist Carrie Shull, and Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie; a set of Chadbourne’s cracked country tunes will follow. It’s part of the popular Rhino theater festival, and the Lunar Cabaret is tiny, so reservations are strongly recommended.
AUNTIE CHRIST 9/11, FIRESIDE BOWL When X broke up for the second time, Exene Cervenkova (formerly Cervenka) could easily have retreated to the spoken-word hinterlands for good. Instead, perhaps inspired by her recent collaboration with LA punk ladies the Red Aunts, she grabbed a guitar and stepped out in front of a primitive punk trio with X drummer D.J. Bonebrake and Rancid bassist Matt Freeman. They seem to be aiming defiantly low, releasing their Life Could Be a Dream LP on Berkeley’s Lookout label and opting for the all-ages bowling-alley gig here–so what they’re doing on the G.I. Jane sound track is anyone’s guess. Is Demi a fan?
DAMIEN JURADO 9/11, EMPTY BOTTLE Sub Pop is comparing this friend of Jeremy Enigk’s to Doug Martsch, Daniel Johnston, and John Cale. But since none of them is likely to make an album of Gordon Lightfoot covers any time soon, those of you wanting to hear such a thing should snap up Jurado’s Waters Ave. S. (Pell Mell fans, be advised that Steve Fisk, who plays theremin, Mellotron, harmonium, and organ on the album, isn’t in the touring group.) –Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Auntie Christ photo by Viggo Mortenen.