The House of Tudor

While the greatest strides in electronic music have come from the U.K., it has not been the British media proclaiming -- out of plain desperation -- that electronica is the "next big thing." After all, until recently, electronic music was simply club fodder. Of course, across the Atlantic, it is clearly understood that dance music always has, and always will, serve as the catalyst that shapes youth culture. It was only when the average Joe on the street began to glean the method behind the madness that an "electronica phenomenon" could arise. Among those innovators who are likely to leave the most lasting impression on the club scene are the folks at London's Ninja Tunes. If you caught them on their last tour through town, you know what I mean. These are DJs who know how to throw a party while still pushing the form forward. Funki Porcini, Ollie Teba from the Herbalizer, Amon Tobin, and Stevie Bear with DJ Task from Up Bustle and Out, will be presenting their wizardry on five turntables, giving the party the guise of live performance. Once again, Ninja Tunes has joined forces with San Francisco's finest: Felix the Dog from the Black Diamond, Darkhorse from the Gardening Club, Andrew Jervis and Paul Craven from On the One, and Kevin from BulletProof. The Ninja Tunes Stealth Tour lands at the Transmission Theater on Friday, June 20, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $15-20; call 331-1500 ext. 663.

In keeping with her continuous evolution into Holy Earth Mother-cum-Reigning Diva of Trash, Nina Hagen has dedicated 100 percent of the proceeds from Nina's Trashy Auction -- a new Website that sells art and personal items belonging to celebrities, artists, and musicians -- to the Shri Babaji Charitable and Research Hospital. The facility offers the only medical attention in the Kumaon region of India -- an area in the foothills of the Himalayas that has an estimated population of 1 million -- and was founded by the Shiva Mahavatar Babaji (a Mahavatar is a human manifestation of the Divine who can materialize into a body at will). Hagen will give a preview to her upcoming concert and auction off art at 111 Minna on Friday, June 20, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8-10; call 777-4975. There will also be a celebrational tea (5 p.m.) and concert (7:30 p.m.) of Indian devotional music at the Northbrae Community Church in Berkeley on Saturday, June 21. Musicians will include Hagen; Italian troubadour Turkantam, who fuses ancient Indian musical styles with modern technology; composer/producer/musician Emam, who has been a student of tabla master Zakir Hussain since 1977; award-winning bansuri player Mindia Devi, who combines Indian, Balinese, and jazz styles; and Peter and Dana DeLong, who join reggae and classical compositions with Sanskrit mantras. Tickets for the show are $15-18, with tea $108; call 681-9226.

Pulsing Moogs, oscillating Pro-Ones, vibrating Casios, and resonating guitars collide with flickering celluloid at Sonoptic Overload 2. If Sonoptic Overload 1, held at ATA earlier this year, was any indication, this is a show that should not be missed by anyone searching for a visual antidote for bad Saturday night TV. The film program includes works by Gibbs Chapman, Danny Plotnick, Sal Giammona, Jim Swanson, Ken Miller, David Munroe, Al Alvarez, and Mark Taylor; live music will be supplied by Warpodisc avant-noise band Chore. Prog rock meets projection at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Saturday, June 21, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 821-9322.

It may be shameful to admit -- maybe -- but I'm one of the people who could never really get behind Sonic Youth. This is probably because of an old delinquent friend of mine who turned me on to the Urinals over Black Label beer when I was 12. The Urinals were a fabulous punk trio created as a joke in 1978 by three UCLA students (two film, one philosophy). While they never reached the status of the Dils -- SoCal's largest-drawing punk act in the late '70s -- it was not for lack of ballsy punk greatness (they did wind up sharing stages with Black Flag, the Descendents, Circle Jerks, and the Meat Puppets; and their final show in 1981 was played out at UCLA's Ackerman Grand Ballroom with the Go-Go's and X). The recent AmRep release Negative Capability ... Check It Out! features three long-out-of-print 7-inches and a slew of live material recorded during the Urinals' short career. It is the stuff of prepubescent fuzziness, but it is also a reminder that sometimes things just can't be improved upon. As we crawl up our own aurally recycled behinds, it is clear that energetic punk one-hitters like "I Hate" will not be matched by any homogenized retread. Without trying terribly hard, the Urinals played songs like "Surfin' With the Shah" that rival, in beauty and texture, most of today's "avant-garde" lo-fi fuzz popsters. The Urinals perform at the Kilowatt on Saturday, June 21, at 8 p.m. Creeper Lagoon and Dismemberment Plan open. Tickets are $6; call 861-2595.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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