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Jesus Lizard
I've seen Jesus Lizard singer David Yow deliriously throw down shot after shot of cheap booze before a gig, prance atop a tiny bar kicking bottles to and fro, then crash backward onto a hardwood floor. I've seen him crowd-surf for nearly half a set -- fans shredding his clothes -- and never miss a note. I've seen him drop trou for a stagefront of drunk boys, yank his tool like he's in a Jim Rose sideshow, then just stand there while the band cranked out fistfuls of gnarled riffage.

In an interview years ago, Yow said he only drinks on the road; doesn't indulge in groupies because he loves his wife; and won't be able to physically punish himself night after night for much longer. When he retires he wants to teach art at a Chicago community college. And he pulls down his pants, Yow said, because it's fun.

After playing larger venues like the Fillmore and Great American Music Hall over the past few years, this weekend's gig at the Bottom of the Hill marks a return to the small stages the band built its fan base from. One of only four U.S. dates before Jesus Lizard heads to Europe for a lengthy tour, the show will see the group test-driving material from its forthcoming record. Even though original drummer Mac McNeilly has been replaced by Jim Kimball, guitarist Duane Denison's sidekick in his instrumental project DK3, don't expect radical changes from JL; the band has scarcely altered its sound -- a blissful ear-bleed of bludgeoning rhythms, serrated guitar, and fuzzed-out babble -- since tossing out the drum machine in the late '80s. Yow's rock 'n' roll excess makes Jesus Lizard a must-see live act. (Even though we know he only does it because it's fun.)

-- Sam Prestianni

Jesus Lizard perform on Saturday, Jan. 24, at midnight at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas). Zen Guerrilla open at 10 p.m.; Stanford Prison Experiment follow. Tickets are $10; call 626-4455.

 
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