House of Tudor

Badi Assad, the baby sister of the well-known Brazilian classical guitar duo the Assad Brothers, has transcended her role as yet another acclaimed guitarist in an already guitar-heavy family with her English-language major-label debut. Chameleon showcases the multi-instrumentalist's shifting hues in a dazzling display of vocalese, percussion, and guitar, with didgeridoo played by Steven Kent. Fueled by largely self-penned tales of love -- love of men, culture, and nature -- Assad's body is the primary instrument on Chameleon. Her voice, which occasionally edges toward the melodramatic, remains passionate and stirring through-out -- down to the blush-inducing moans on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Badi Assad performs at Kimball's East in Emeryville on Thursday, June 18, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call (510) 658-2555.

The "Minister of Enjoyment," King Sunny Ade was crowned the "King of Juju" in 1976 by the Nigerian Entertainer. Twenty-two years and over 40 albums later, the King is still high on his throne. A globally conscious innovator who is still considered Nigeria's greatest treasure, KSA was fundamental in drawing attention to world music, but it has not been completely selfless. Ade loves to perform. When a popular form of Yoruban pop called fuji threatened to usurp the sway of traditional juju -- a lively mix of Yoruban social-dance drumming, praise poetry, and Latin American rhythm performed with talking drum, guitar, and percussion -- KSA kept his fans enthralled by adding keyboards, bass, and electric guitars. At 51, Ade and his musical carnival of seven percussionists, five guitarists, a full chorus, and dancers is staggering to behold. King Sunny Ade & the African Beats perform at the Maritime Hall on Friday, June 19, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-18; call 974-0633.

Admirers of Portishead and Massive Attack who don't know about the Battersea-based collective Pressure Drop can count themselves among those grandly duped by the cagey demons who control commercial radio. The core of Pressure Drop -- DJs Justin Langlands and Dave Henley -- emerged out of London's post-punk party groove carrying a vast collection of Northern soul, ska, rockabilly, reggae, hip hop, lost Moog classics, scratchy foreign-language narratives, political requiems, and BBC sound effects. They made the scene at London's Wag Club in '86, but their genre-jumping mix was a little out of step with the rise of hard-core techno. Strangely, they were eagerly embraced by the none-too-temperate German underground, and their first two albums, released by that country's IDE, became quintessential club provisions. Now signed to Hard Hands -- the label owned by their longtime mates in Leftfield -- Pressure Drop finds the U.K. press tumbling over themselves with giddy praise, yet radio play stateside still eludes them. One listen to the aptly titled new album, Elusive, must confirm suspicions of airwave deviltry, or at least a strong bias in favor of all things trippy from Bristol. With smoky vocal performances by Yo Yo Honey's Anita Jarrett, Galliano cohort Constantine Weir, and newcomer Martin Fishley, Elusive is a seductive, brooding gem soaked in distorted backbeats and jazzy anguish. Pressure Drop open for Buckethead and Tipsy at the Justice League on Friday, June 19, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 440-0409.

The Trash Kings of Cult Cinema bring a little grit to the SFMOMA with two weeks of "fascinating films from the secret cellar of cinema's history." On Friday, June 19, S.F. film archivist and writer Jack Stevenson presents "Sleazy S.F. Sex Pics," rare films illustrating the sexual revolution and subsequent perversities. On Saturday, June 20, Dennis Nyback, curator of the Lighthouse and Pike Street Cinema, presents "I Know Why You're Afraid," a collection of disturbing "educational" films like Death Zones, Caught In the Rip-Off, and The Story of Menstruation that forever scarred the boomer generation; also on Saturday is "The Dark Side of Dr. Seuss," a store of suppressed films written and/or directed by the beloved child author Theodore Geisel. Next week, it's "Psychedelic Cult Films" and "Harlem in the Thirties." All screenings are at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $3-6; call 978-2787.

Often compared to Crash Worship, Salt Lake City's Ether create atmospheric baths of sound augmented by delightful fire displays and nude devotees. Unlike Crash Worship, whose primordial soup is largely comprised of drums and percussion, Ether peppers the beat with Moroccan flutes, clarinetlike wind instruments, gamelan-style bells, and various droning machines. As Ether says, "Our rhythms aren't as visceral [as Crash Worship's]. We're more cerebral, less physical." Still, it's a wild ride -- one highly sanctioned by the creatures of Idiot Flesh (before they broke our hearts and went away). Another important distinction between Ether and Crash Worship: Ether's naked devotees paint themselves lapis lazuli blue; Crash Worship's naked devotees smear themselves with fruit. Amber Asylum, whose exquisite string section has often accompanied Crash Worship during performances, will support Ether at the Paradise Lounge on Saturday, June 20, with Moe! Statiano opening at 9:45 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 861-6906.

-- Silke Tudor

 
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