By Ian S. Port
By Tony Ware
By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
At her most pop, the diminutive, wavy-tressed Nina Storey belongs at the intergalactic roadhouse, funking it up alongside Jamiroquai frontman Jason Kay and all the other hip young performers with classic lungs and new-millennium eyes. But at her most soulful, Storey slips past the footlights of stage divas like Aretha Franklin and Etta James to sing high gospel in some metaphorical church where divine inspiration usurps the need for vocal training. Given Storey's youth (she's 25) and her insulation by family ("Mommy" is business manager and co-songwriter, "Daddy" is road manager and sound engineer) and hometown enthusiasm (voted Denver's top vocalist by numerous local magazines), the traditional blues idiom might seem a little forced under Storey's pen, but it doesn't matter much. After the first uttered note on Shades it's impossible to conjure the playful face of a little white girl from Colorado. Apparently, life experience isn't what imbues a person with soul or, if it is, Franklin better watch her back -- Storey's on tour and performing on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Boom Boom Room at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 673-8000. And on Sunday, Nov. 28, at Fuel 44 in San Jose at 4:45 p.m. Tickets are $7; call (408) 295-7374.
Reading this paper, you'd think the city was crawling with secret agents: There are spy parties, spy bands, spy fashions, spy cocktails, spy stories, and now, with the release of The World Is Not Enough, 007 dementia is sure to ensue, not because the new Bond flick is marvelous but because it's as good an excuse as any to attend "Bond A Go-Go." The Jimmy Bond Orchestra promises at least nine out of the first 10 movie themes, and while songs like "Goldfinger" and "From Russia With Love" aren't exactly a cakewalk, Casino Royale has elicited some expert help. As always, supervillains and go-go girls are most welcome. "Bond A Go-Go" will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the Hi-Ball Lounge at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 397-9464.
Like a Southern Gothic heroine, Michele Muldrow stands in a pool of light, her pale, willowy frame sway- ing under the heat of the lamps, her dark eyes searching the washed-out faces in the crowd, her vibrant, waist-length hair giving physical form to her band's moniker -- Bloodroses. Since her days with Eyesore, Muldrow has been an enigmatic figure on- stage and while her voice lacks the Flannery O'Connor disquiet you might expect -- like, say, that of Paula Frazer -- she is more compelling as a dreamy declaimer of rustic folk than polished pop. On their second album, From St. Paul to San Francisco, the Bloodroses -- Muldrow's husband and former Jackson Saint Eric Meade, Clarke Nova drummer Tommy Rickard, and Dean Del Ray's Hammond B-3 player Ben Jacobs -- are joined by acoustic guitarist Cindy Giuliani and Kuntry Kays slide-guitar player Adam Hancock, who deepen the shadows and cracks along the road. As with all archetypal western love stories, Meade's leather-tanned vocals brace Muldrow's appealing fragility, but on standout songs like "Friend of Mine" and "Brushfires" the real strength is found in delicate but sure hands. Bloodroses celebrate their record release on Friday, Nov. 26, at Bottom of the Hill with Sex66 and Court & Spark opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 626-4455.
Surprisingly, our greatest Judy Garland impersonator is not a teetering drag queen, but swing chanteuse Connie Champagne, whose vocal ability, campy sense of humor, and gift for character study can transform her within a flick of a fake eyelash. Under the theatrical direction of F. Allen Sawyer (Christmas With the Crawfords) and musical direction of Joe Collins (aka Trauma Flintstone), Champagne presents "A Judy Garland Christmas" -- featuring holiday favorites and Garland gems like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" -- which should whet your appetite for the larger show of the same name (with Champagne, Garland's daughter Judy Luft, and Jan Wahl) at the Castro Theater in December. "A Judy Garland Christmas" will be held at Piaf's every Sunday through Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 with brunch and will sell out early because of limited seating; call 864-3700.