The House of Tudor

You remember gutter punks. (In Britain, they were called grebos.) They were a surly but colorful lot. In the old days, they used Super Glue instead of hair spray, because it lasted longer and got you higher. Safety pins were accepted as both facial adornments and instruments of clever tailoring. Solvents were as valuable as beer. Abandoned buildings were squats and everyone in them knew the next gig to panhandle for. Well the look has changed -- facial tattoos have taken the place of liberty spikes -- but the attitude's the same. If you shy away from brutal language and harsh reality, the film Gutter Punks may not be for you. In the first in a Center for the Arts screening series called "True Stories," 23-year-old Brent Sims interviews homeless teens in New Orleans who tell stories of abuse, neglect, violence, and addiction with candor and rage. Gutter Punks plays at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 552-3456.

If you love both AC/DC and guys in pantaloons, you're gonna really like the Upper Crust, four (sometimes five) grown men who dress up like 17th-century French dandies, complete with powdered periwigs, satin knickers, and big moles. They prance around in public and sing songs about the joys of aristocracy and getting laid in the boudoir. Now, you're probably thinking, "That's just silly." Sure, but there is a sense of perverse logic to the whole endeavor. See, the Crusties are recorded on a label owned by Peter Getty (heir to the Getty fortune) and the label, Emperor Norton Records, was named after Joshua Norton, the famed San Francisco loony who declared himself emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in the Barbary Coast days. Also, the Crusties have a couple of Harvard grads in their ranks (read: money) and one of them (the one who claims to no longer be with the band even though he keeps showing up for gigs) happens to be a speech writer for the National Security Council. All this means that the group can work phrases like persona non grata into rock songs with ease. So far so good. Now, can they rock? Let me tell you something, if you ever wanted to see AC/DC or Kiss in a tiny club, this is as close as you're going to get. The Upper Crust perform at the Bottom of the Hill on Wednesday, March 11, with House of Large Sizes and Piston opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 621-4455.

Every psychobilly fan knows that real psychobilly, on par with the Guana Batz and the Meteors, is only nurtured and appreciated in places like Germany, Denmark, England, Holland, and Belgium. No one knows why. Denmark's Godless Wicked Creeps are a prime example. After three short years, they have the violent vocal energy of late oi! bands like Combat 84; the noir guitar style of New Model Army; a stomping upright bass that blends traditional rockabilly, surf, and garage styles; and a drummer who knows how to take out the trash. That is not to say that we don't have some damn good psychobilly bands right here at home. San Francisco can lay claim to the neck-cracking Mutilators, and San Diego has a bunch of sicko inbreds named the Barnyard Ballers who have a superfan named Ol' Man Tucker who, when not carving the band's name into his chest, enjoys throwing punches while slam dancing. (This is a practice called "wrecking," which is an appropriate way to show appreciation at a psychobilly show.) All three groups perform at the Covered Wagon on Thursday, March 12, at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1585.

Zeke appeared in Kurt and Courtney as a band "inspired by Nirvana," but anyone who knows better will tell you they have more in common with the Dwarves in their heyday than anything Cobain ever did. Zeke are fast -- faster than a souped-up V8 powered by demon piss, and they're loud -- louder than a turbojet engine cranked up in a nursery school at naptime. They sing about cars and motorcycles and sometimes about girls and booze, but mostly about cars and motorcycles. Zeke perform at the Paradise Lounge on Friday, March 13, with Bimbo Toolshed, Walrus, Magnolia Thunderfinger, and the Wags opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 861-5121.

Speaking of the Dwarves, this may be the finest band lineup for Incredibly Strange Wrestling that is humanly possible. The Dwarves, who also appeared in Kurt and Courtney, were called "one of the most violent bands" to play Seattle just for their habit of kicking audience members in the head. Check them out at the Transmission Theater on Saturday, March 14. Also on this bill: the ever-witty, supershiny, garage-punk chunks of Gas Huffer, who will pull you into madness with sadistic tales of Viking attacks and homemade explosives; and Los Infernos, who could have been Gas Huffer three years ago if they weren't so angry; with Slender, Phoenix Thunderstone, and the Bleeders opening at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $13; call 861-5121.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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