In '92 the Cramps released Blues Fix, a delightful four-song tribute to the likes of Captain Beefheart and Lightnin' Slim. In the same year former Pussy Galore frontman Jon Spencer came out with Crypt Style, which debuted his new trio, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Despite Spencer's decidedly Cramped delivery, comparisons between him and Lux Interior have faded over time. While the latter battles varicose veins and dodders around like a fading starlet, Spencer simply becomes more and more virile, thrashing through his sets like an Elvis who discovered dust instead of goofballs. Thankfully, Spencer's vision was in keeping with the music industry's revitalized interest in classic Americana and Delta blues. In 1994, he enlisted the wisdom and talent of bluesman R.L. Burnside, which imbued the project with a new depth of character and a shade of authenticity without hushing the high-energy East Village funky fuzz for which Spencer was already beloved. Add to the recording mix Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark and Doo Rag percussionist Thermos Malling and the Explosion sweltered. Last year's show sold out, but rumor has it that the crowd was, um, quite staid despite an abundance of joyful tomfoolery offered up by Burnside and crew. You've all had a few months to think about it. Let's try to do better this time around. The ticklish girls of Sleater-Kinney open the show at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, at the Fillmore. Tickets are $15; call 346-6000. ... Perhaps you're like me and you were thrilled that St. Patrick's Day fell on a Monday so that there would be four full nights of corned beef, cabbage, Irish stew, soda bread, lager, stout, ale, port, whiskey, rye, penny whistle, concertina, fiddle, mandolin, uillean pipes, cittern, guitar, piano, and button accordion. Perhaps you'll agree that even if the celebration were to last a full week it still wouldn't be enough. If so, the Boys of the Lough offer it all -- at least the musical portion of the list. The Celtic masters celebrate 30 years of music-making with the release of Midwinter Night's Dream, a soft, melancholy sort of yarn that is perfect for nursing the midweek hangover. The Boys of the Lough perform on Wednesday, March 19, at 8 p.m. at the Great American Music Hall. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750. ... How often have you sat watching King of the Hill, all the while tormented by a desire to have that exciting little cowpunk theme song for your very own? Well, Lookout Records denies all knowledge of any similarity between said theme and the opening track of Squirtgun's Another Sunny Afternoon, even though the quintet does hail from Lafayette, Ind. (suspiciously backwater, if you ask me). Request "Field Trip" at the next Squirtgun show and your itch for the TV jingle will fade away forever. Squirtgun performs on Thursday, March 20, at the Bottom of the Hill at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455. Also Saturday, March 22, at Gilman Street in Berkeley with Mr. T Experience at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5; call (510) 525-8180. ... Pink Floyd meets barbershop quartet! Need I say more? Pink Floyd the Barber performs on Thursday, March 20, at Cafe Du Nord at 10 p.m. Ticket price is $3; call 861-5016. ... Whether you believe an avocado to be a fruit or a vegetable is of little import, so long as you know how to shake your groove thang and you don't mind being called "mushhead" in public. Talentless hacks looking for a commercial career dressed as a dancing dish detergent bottle or sickos possessing fetishistic mascot ambitions might get their chance as "Cali," the California Avocado Commission's official avocado costume ambassador. The casting call, in conjunction with K101's "Tour de Bleu" morning show, is open to anyone 18 or over. Contestants must wear a homemade avo-costume and perform the "Cali Hustle" to a California-themed song. The winner will receive $1,000 and, more important, at least four chances to appear as Cali in public. The losers will be made into guacamole. The contest is held on Friday, March 21, between 7 and 9 a.m. at Chevy's Restaurant; call 538-5154. It's a perfect pre-work mocking opportunity.
-- Silke Tudor