Word has it that the Damned has gone back in the studio -- with Captain Sensible -- and the results have been "utterly splendid." So musically invigorated is lead singer Dave Vanian he's found the creative fortitude to write new Damned material and redouble his energies on his side project, the Phantom Chords, who will be touring until the Damned do (we hope). Fueled by shadowy tales of timeless cowboys, endless motorcycle rides, and bottomless bottles of booze, the Chords snake through hip-shaking tableaus of western-Gothic rockabilly that perfectly frame Vanian's plush baritone and wan pallor. The current lineup -- this time, embracing Yank musicians as well as idiom -- includes the Plimsouls' Eddie Munoz, Foetus' Christian Gibbs, Wayne Kramer's Dave Sobel, DI's Mike Wilcox, and Doppelganger's Roseanna Curtale. David Vanian & the Phantom Chords perform on Wednesday, July 5, at Slim's with the very amazing Amazing Crowns opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10-12; call 522-0333. And on Thursday, July 6, at the CW Saloon with Throwrag and the garage gospel of the Deadly Snakes featuring Greg Oblivian performing at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 974-1585.
It is my belief that good art jars the non-artist out of the complacency of his everyday perceptions. (Great art might jar the non-artist out of complacency, tap into his human propensity for saudade (the inexplicable longing of the soul), and transform it into a thing of stark beauty, but let's not get in over our head.) Among the surest ways to lay perception on its ear is to engage predictable things in unpredictable ways, or to instigate outlandish happenings in ordinary places. Before there were the situationists, the surrealists, the yippies, the punks, the Marx Brothers, or jazz, there was dada. Of course, there is good dada and bad dada. Good dada is a 30-piece Velcro Symphony (in which certain newspaper editors, who shall remain nameless, took part) and meticulously autographed toilet paper sheets; bad dada is a woman screeching about a failed love affair accompanied by a slowly deflating balloon and flour-dancing. No doubt you will see all sides of dada, even without the help of the prerequisite squad of naked dada people, at the two-day Dadafest. This year's fete includes Bishop Joey of the First Church of the Last Laugh, Mark Growden, Hank Hyena, Carol Queen, Sister Kitty of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Kaosmic Kitten, among others. Remember, dada is an armadillo. And as Tristan Tzara once said, real dadas are against DADA. The Dadafest will be held on Friday and Saturday, July 7-8, at Somarts Gallery (934 Brannan) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7-10; call 861-1554.
Repent, oh, you sinners of seitan! Bow down, you self-righteous lovers of lentil! I have received the word: "Snack Food Armageddon" will happen within our lifetime. You must embrace the glory of spongecake and the divine wisdom of aerosol cheese or be consumed by the great wave of sweat, Tofutti, and green tea. Be not afraid. The Go-Nuts, those saintly snack-food superheroes with a garage band, have come to walk among us, armed with junk-food gospels and weapons of great, sugary destruction. Their snack budget is as high as their calling, and the NutBlaster 2000 promises to bring forth typhoons of sugarcoated cereal and torrents of powdered minidoughnuts to suffocate the wickedness of fitness. Any remnants of organic produce will be stomped out by the go-go gorillas and Sir DanceAlot & His Romancing Pranceteers (the Phantom Surfers' Mike Lucas offering a garage-twist spectacular), after which California Kid and the "Gang" at "Sugar Shack" will spin bubble-gum pop, cartoon jingles, and glam rock. And if that's not enough, the Hi-Threes -- the Hi-Fives minus one (math is for sissies) -- will also perform, perhaps amidst a barrage of television commercials from the '70s if you are pure enough of heart. The first 60 disciples will receive scrumptious Drakes Cakes on Sunday, July 9, at the Cocodrie at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 986-6678.