The House of Tudor

Don't let the angelic photo lull you into a false sense of security. If Reid Paley turned his sunken eyeholes toward the camera, you would see, recorded there in the dark folds that cushion his glowering peepers, a life of dank nights, throat-searing booze, and hard-hearted women.

Things haven't changed. Paley was pissed off when he was the frontman for Pittsburgh's the Five in the 1980s, and he's pissed off now that he's a guy with a guitar, and he still likes to drink. In fact, being a drunk with guitar is what he's best known for back home in Brooklyn (he's even won an award for it) and his material is steeped in the living truth of Wild Turkey. It comes in the form of admonishments ("I ain't never gonna drink with you again"), warnings ("Sometimes I get drunk"), and admissions ("Maybe I'm too fucking drunk"), but rarely regrets. Paley's singing style -- akin to a machete-wielding Fozzy Bear with a four-pack-a-day habit -- is not conducive to the simpering notion of regret. Even when a song seems sodden with wasted possibilities ("If I Knew Then"), Paley hollers and beats his guitar with the fierceness of a man who believes the best defense is a good offense.

While slightly terrifying, Paley's personal revelations of hatred, revenge, and violation are, at the same time, strangely heartbreaking and entirely convincing. Clearly, Reid Paley has every right to be fucked off with the world and every right to be drunk, and if we had half the brain he does, we'd probably be drunk, too. A full-length CD, produced by ex-Pixie Frank Black, will be released this spring, and rumor has it that, since this is Paley's first excursion into the Bay Area, Black will be on hand to admire and contribute. Reid Paley performs at the Paradise Lounge on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 861-6906.

Tabla, mridangam, kanjira, tavil, ghatam, morsing. Saying the names of the instruments employed by the Indian percussion ensemble Tablarasa conjures images of a muddy brown Ganges thick with bright flower garlands and heavy with ceremonial incense smoke. With a unique fusion of the lyric poetry native to northern India and the syncopated compositions found in the south, Tablarasa create a rhythmic backdrop to heighten the mental photoplay while cello, Persian tar, sarode, bansuir flute, saxophone, and Chinese sona add classical melody. Tablarasa perform at Venue 9 on Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6-10; call 626-2169.

It's yet another wacky and unpredictable night of cartoon art, spoken word, and live music at the "Roving Underground." Tonight's salon includes artists Brad Johnson from Blab!, Gabby Gamboa from Murder Can Be Fun, Gayle Nelson from Smokin' Devil, and painters Richard Whitney, Scott Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Paul Allen, Julie Fisher, and Kathryn Skvaraca. Spoken word will be supplied by the ever-lovable Bucky Sinister, founder of the Anti-Nose Fungus Campaign; Whitey Sims, editor of Behave; Jason Flores, West Coast editor of Prison Life magazine; and John Longhi, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Leg. Music will be supplied by indie-poppers Halo, Plotte with Jessica Mass, and the rock trio Ohm-a-Revelator. "Roving Underground" will be held at Cat's Alley Club on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 440-1327.

In the third installment of "Sonoptic Overload," filmmaker Danny Plotnik presents two evenings of experimental reels with live scores. On Friday, Jan. 9, Dominic Angerame's Deconstruction Site -- the first, and arguably the finest, piece in his trilogy on man's need to construct, destroy, and reconstruct -- will be accompanied by vocalist Barbara Jaspersen and bassist Kevin Barnard. As with Angerame's stunning In the Course of Human Events (also of the trilogy), inanimate objects and heavy machinery become living metaphors for generation through the director's signature use of high-contrast, time-lapse, and double-exposure photography. Also screening, Nathan Lehmann's Kings Are Falling, with live score by the Piltdowns. On Saturday, Jan. 10, Gibbs Chapman will show Meet the Thinking Fellers with Sal Giammonna's The Trip, Rock Ross' Till My Head Caves In, and many others. The silent films will be accompanied by the spacey Moog sounds of Chore, who recently signed to the avant-noise label Warpodisc. Both shows will be held at Venue 9 (Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 8 and 9:30 p.m.). Tickets are $6-9; call 626-2169.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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