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The House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Nov 12 1997
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The crowd is clad entirely in Road Warrior-esque coal-black leather. In every corner of the room human skulls bare their teeth; foul vermin skitter across the spit-stained floor. Violence hovers, dread seeps. Three ominous figures step through a thick bank of curling smoke. They are big men, mean men, vulgar men -- men who think O.J. did it and Nicole deserved it. They call themselves Deadbolt, but the sideburns and the handguns make their last album title seem like a more fitting moniker: Tijuana Hit Squad. They launch into their first number with cigarettes clenched between their teeth. Singer Harley Davidson growls narratives about murder, booze, and contempt over a rumbling quake of moody voodoobilly.

Such is the scene at a typical Deadbolt show. While the sounds are darkly seductive and the lyrics humorously sinister, fans can expect other things, too: Davidson uses hair spray to set the front row aflame, drummer Les Vegas mutilates small animals onstage (well, stuffed ones anyway), and the bass-playing Phantom cuts the locks of any long hair within arm's reach. (No lie; you have been warned.) The Cosmic Psychos headline and the Mutilators open at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 626-4455.

Every young boy has fantasized about being James Bond for a day (the wristwatch camera, the seaworthy car, the exploding ring, the sharp suits, the chicks), and more than a few young girls have fantasized about being Mata Hari, Emma Peel, or Agent 99 -- at least for the cheekbones. "Shaken Not Stirred: Tribute to the Spies" offers a night of martinis and (possible) sexual conquest as well as a Beatles cover band (huh?) and she-male Buffy Wong singing 007 theme songs. The party benefits the uplifting "terrorists" at the Scottish Cultural and Arts Foundation and prizes will be awarded to the secret agent with the best costume at Edinburgh Castle on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 885-4074.

If Deadbolt and she-male Buffy Wong are a little too lowbrow for a person of your discriminating tastes, might I suggest an evening with Willie Brown, Don Johnson, Boz Scaggs, and, oddly enough, Joey Ramone? Our mayor is almost too easy a target, but nevertheless he'll be crisped at the annual Thunder Road Roast and Jam. Musical guests include Memphis soul man Booker T. Jones, '70s demistar Al Stewart, and transplanted Brit John Wesley Harding. (Scaggs, Ramone, and Johnson [!] will be singing as well.) The, um, star-studded affair will be held Saturday, Nov. 15, at Bimbo's 365 Club at 9 p.m. Tickets are a steep $100-195, but the big bucks pay for dinner and benefit the Oakland-based teen-age drug and alcohol treatment program; call (510) 653-5040 for more information.

Tomatohead Records' new release, Bay Area Ska, features five local groups with happy feet and a bouncy skank, but shies away from both punky ska and the even more insipid poppy ska. When the groups play live, the approach is more traditional; that's not to say that everyone onstage will be wearing dark suits and shades. Nope: You'll still get mohawks, indie rockers, skaters, mummies, and rudeboys. It's proof that anyone can catch the 2-tone pyrexia. Slow Gherkin, Monkey, Blind Spot, Flat Planet, and the Adjustments perform at the Trocadero on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 437-4446.

A young girl's laughter fills the room and a clear-voiced Englishman asks, "Have you ever been tickled and laughed like that? Have you laughed till you cried so that tears ran down your cheeks?" So begins the self-titled release from Bentley Rhythm Ace, an airy masterpiece of wood-flute samples, wiggy trumpet, zipper scratches, police sirens, elephant song, and vaporous techno beats. A collaboration between Pop Will Eat Itself bassist Richard March and lighting wizard Michael Stokes, BRA know how to play: They wear stupid costumes, tour with a polystyrene car, and create music that is more comfortable than a pair of bunny slippers. This is far too cheery and cuddly to be called electronica -- instead, BRA call what they do "carbootechnodisco" because they found their samples on old records sold out of the backs of people's cars. Is that why it makes me feel so at home? BRA perform at Bimbo's on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 474-0365.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor

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