J.G. Thirlwell is timeless. Or at least no one seems to know how old he actually is. One of his agents -- and there have been many -- took a halfhearted stab at it: "Oh, I'd guess somewhere in his mid- to late 30s. Maybe." A gent at one of his record labels -- and there have been many -- tried a bit harder: "Um, OK, I saw him for the first time in New York as Clint Ruin with Lydia Lunch. He must have been about 25. I was 15 and now I'm ... wow, he might be in his 40s." Undoubtedly this is the sort of vagueness that Thirlwell desires and encourages. He has, after all, released 33 recordings in 15 years under 19 different aliases (and a fine selection of aliases they have been, too: Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel, You've Got Foetus on Your Breath, Foetus Interruptus, Foetus Inc., Steroid Maximus, Garage Monsters, Wiseblood, etc.). Thirlwell is clearly not someone who wants to be pinned down, but two things are certain: Jim is a mighty strange bird and one hell of a performer. Last year, when he came out of a five-year fetal hibernation with Gash, fans trekked to the Trocadero expecting, at best, a trip down memory lane; what they got was a mindblower. Thirlwell sauntered onstage in all his goaty splendor; he growled and writhed; he stripped down to his waist despite his boozer's physique; and he quite rightly convinced the entire crowd that they were in the presence of an industrial deity. The new live album, Boil, was culled from performances in Glasgow, Brussels, and Dublin, with members of Pigface, Ministry, Pussy Galore, and Revco. Although it would be nearly impossible to capture the intensity of a live Foetus experience, Boil comes pretty damn close and features a smashing cover of the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer." There's no telling who will be backing Thirlwell on this jaunt (literally, no one could tell me), but I can guarantee that you won't come out unscathed. Last time around, Foetus invoked actual smiles from the entire Troc staff. It must have been Thirlwell's depraved rendition of "I Am the Walrus." Coo, coo, ca-fucking choo. Loudspeaker and Zen Gorilla open. The massacre begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Trocadero; call 995-4600. ... Although Abida Parveen is not considered a deity, she is thought to be the queen of Sufi mystic singing by millions of devoted followers in India. Her concerts are said to conjure states of spiritual ecstasy that can be experienced on both the physical and ethereal planes. Even in the West, it would not be uncommon to find a roomful of devotees swaying in a trancelike state to the narcotic repetition of Parveen's voice; or clapping rhythmically and shouting "Allah!" under her gentle tutelage; or rushing to the stage to drop grateful dollars at her feet. Parveen's hypnotic musings are drawn from love poems written hundreds of years ago by Sufi saints with the intention of furnishing not pleasure, but actual ecstasy. The cadences that Parveen shapes with her voice and body are visceral, nearly primordial. Her music contains the fervor of gospel, the honesty of soul, the abandon of rock, and the vocal complexity of scat, but more than any of those it speaks to your blood whether or not you're Sufi. The service begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Ramada Inn Addarash in Berkeley; call 789-8467.
By Silke Tudor