It's All Geeks to Me There's a connection between the muddy utopianism of Woodstock and 'Hell and High Water ... Geeks to the Rescue," a multimedia benefit for Nicaraguan survivors of Hurricane Mitch. Specifically, it's an electronic connection, between Woodstock's CyberVillage in upstate New York and Geeks here in the city. Thanks to a video conference hookup, Woodstock MC Wavy Gravy and festival musicians will be swapping notes with Summer of Love musicians and leaders attending the Geek party, and getting an earful of Geek performers. Technological marvels aside, the Geek fest is an old-fashioned variety show with honorable intentions and worthwhile attractions. Multi-instrumentalists Rube Waddell will create a roving three-man carnival with rusted-out Appalachian folk, back-porch blues, and drunken sea chanteys, while the Ali Khan Band will texture Sufi music with reggae and hip-hop grooves. And that's just the beginning: look for Carnaval dancers Birds of Paradise, Lilith alum Deb Pardes, and a slew of others on four stages throughout the night. The show starts at 9 p.m. at the Transmission and Paradise Theaters, 11th Street & Folsom, S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 643-0270 or check out www.geekapalooza.com.
Play the Blues, Punks! You could say that Andre Williams and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion need each other; Williams gives Spencer credibility, and Spencer gives Williams exposure. Williams was, and is again, everything that Spencer admires: an impeccably dressed bluesman with a salacious smile and a dirty mind. Williams' first big hit came in 1956 with the slow-grind "Bacon Fat," followed by an insinuating little number called "Jail Bait"; by the '60s he was producing for Motown, which fired and rehired him half a dozen times. By the '80s, he was strung out and broke, but rehab and persistent fans revived his career, and in 1997, punk label In the Red (which released Spencer's first album) put out Silky, a raunchier-than-ever comeback -- songs like "Pussy Stank" don't leave much room for misinterpretation. Last fall's Blues Explosion party album Acme finds Spencer's wife (Boss Hog's Christina Martinez) getting down with producer Williams, musically speaking, in bluesy hootenanny with hip-hop stylings supplied by the Automator and Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff. Andre Williams & the Countdowns open for the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $16.50; call 346-6000.
Boogie Chillen Of course, if Jon Spencer just seems like too much of a scene, there's always the weekly barbecue and hoedown known as "Swamp Boogie." Pray for good weather, because jambalaya and pineapple upside-down cake taste better with summer heat and cold beers, and from a diner booth on Eli's back patio (decorated in fine style with old car parts and cookware doubling as musical instruments), you can watch the sun set behind the power lines and unruly bougainvillea blossoms spilling over the fence. The Oaktown Medicine Show stages a bluegrass jam for mandolin, washtub bass, and washboard; roots band Joe Buck shows off its thunder broom and pedal steel prowess. The music begins at 6:30 p.m. at Eli's Mile High Club, 3629 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland. Admission is $6; call (510) 655-6661.
There's a Riot Goin' On With 60 Second Wipeout, Berlin's Atari Teenage Riot has perfected the art of bracing, blow-your-hair-back white noise. It's digital hardcore, a kind of electronic entropy created by shrieking, knob-twiddling kids who bend screaming metal riffs around the clanking of heavy machinery and adrenalized dance beats. It looks like glassy-eyed teens who've spent too much time in the dark. It sounds like a semi plowing into an angry mob. Eventually, of course, it'll sound like the X Games or some kind of soft drink, so enjoy its perverse pleasures while you can. Mocket opens the show at 9 p.m. followed by Add N to X at the Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F. Admission is $12-14; call 885-0750.
It's a Terrible Thing to Lose One's Mind The music that didn't fit in to the Flaming Lips' four-CD sonic experiment Zaireeka eventually became The Soft Bulletin, which the Lips bring to the Music Against Brain Degeneration Revue. The Lips' release of Zaireeka, whose four CDs can be played simultaneously or alone, stemmed from their "Parking Lot Experiment," a kind of chance music created when hundreds of people got together to blast singer Wayne Coyne's various cassette tapes from their car stereos. Fans have come to expect that kind of mind-bending provocation ever since the Lips' psychedelic mash of guitars, fuzz, and static hit college radio, which is where tourmates Robyn Hitchcock and Sebadoh always found a home for their musical musings as well. Thanks to Jonathan Demme's Storefront Hitchcock, more people have discovered Hitchcock, late of the Soft Boys, and his happily surreal little world of dead wives and men with light-bulb heads. Lou Barlow, meanwhile, seems to have adjusted his thinking with The Sebadoh: The lyric lo-fi lovesickness has been tempered by a new drummer and guitarist Jason Lowenstein's harder rocking edge, and ever since Folk Implosion, Barlow seems less interested in killing former bandmate J Mascis. Sonic Boom's E.A.R. opens the show at 8 p.m. (also Wednesday) at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F. Admission is $21.50; call 346-6000.