By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
While Frank Zappa was often accused of being a dictatorial bandleader, no musician who came under his influence could disparage the voluminous body of minisymphonies that trickled out of his witty, irreverent mind. Thirty-plus years after creating seminal works like Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Freak Out!, and We're Only in It for the Money (an album that mocked hippie folly way back in 1968), members of his band, the Mothers of Invention, are still enraptured by their departed leader's outpourings. As the Grandmothers, percussionist Jimmy Carl Black, keyboardist Don Preston, and saxophone player Bunk Gardner travel the world with a kaleidoscopic array of musicians (including a Dali-esque Italian guitarist named Sandro Oliva), performing the compositions they helped achieve cult status. It's likely that Zappa would have done little more than smirk at the exercise, but a live Grandmothers show leaves no doubt as to why the composer chose these characters to perform with him in the first place. The Grandmothers play Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Paradise Lounge at 9 and 11:15 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 861-6906.
For those who love them, the Devil-Ettes are the best thing since sliced bread; for those who find fault with spangled-and-horned synchronicity, the group is a glamorized -- albeit Mission-style glamour -- cheerleading squad. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, there is little doubt that the 14-woman troupe has been one of the sparks to ignite the '60s-styled go-go revival in San Francisco (yes, there is one). To further the cause, the Devil-Ettes have teamed up with Scott Moon, publisher of Planet X Magazine and avid collector of musical jukebox films from the mid-'60s, to present Le Scopitone Fevre. At this special event, the Devil-Ettes will kick up their heels while Moon supplies the rare Scopitones (the precursor to music videos which were usually seen through an awkwardly large viewer); Lynn Peril, author of Pink Think: How to Become a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessonsand editor of the zine Mystery Date, will lecture on the history of go-go culture; and a trailer for an upcoming documentary on the Devil-Ettes will screen. Jon Fast from the Please Leave the Bronx comedy troupe MCs Le Scopitone Fevre on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Roxie Cinema at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 863-1087.
There is a general consensus that those who can't create art, write about or teach it. So when a CD arrives from a music journalist, it's easy enough to ignore; easier still when the critic has written for your own paper. One can cite "conflict of interest" and other vague journalistic principles as a gentle means of dismissal. Occasionally, though, the work in question is a thing of such stirring beauty that it sets up house in your CD player for weeks and, then, finding your CD player too limiting a venue, creeps into your sleep and influences your thoughts. Under such circumstances, remaining "principled" is more akin to being deceitful. Such is the case with Feast, the new EP by drummer Dave Clifford's band, the Slaves. Skulking with a piano line found in the recesses of a derelict cabaret, Feast opens with an opiate farewell shrouded in vague mutterings, shimmering cymbals, and inebriated guitar lines. Andy Rothbard's voice skims through "Goodnight" with lazy glam-rock indulgence, like the philosophical drunk at the end of the bar whose eloquence and elegance is tempered by unpredictable violence. "Any Port in the Storm" offers the aural promise of frivolous good fun, with T. Rex hooks and calliope strains, just before plunging into the well-organized madness of a man driven to the edge of possibility. And that's just the beginning. Feast, with only five songs, is a glorious banquet -- lush, dark, and opulent -- offering new sensory experiences upon each listen. And, unlike more visceral repasts, it need never end. The Slaves perform at the CW Saloon on Friday, Sept. 22, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 974-1585.
It's been the better part of a decade since we were treated to a new recording by the ramshackle delinquents of Thelonious Monster, but perhaps this reunion show will serve as an impetus. Certainly, there is no shortage of fans -- among them John Doe, Tom Waits, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Soul Asylum -- eager to splash around in the lyrical brilliance of Bob Forrest. At a very recent solo show at the Brain Wash, at which Forrest was accompanied by a full orchestra, the Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante and the Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland were seen wrapped around the Odwalla machine, smiling and nodding along. Sunday night holds similar promise, with a rumored guest appearance by Keith Morris of Circle Jerks and Black Flag fame. Thelonious Monster performs on Sept. 24 with Zmrzlina, the Chantigs, and Todd Costanza from Granfaloon Bus opening at 5:30 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill. Tickets are $7 and include all-you-can-eat barbecue; call 621-4455.
Though I have nothing to say that I haven't already said about the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Flogging Molly, and the Gadjits, the fact that all three bands are playing together demands attention. Rarely has a single show offered such ample opportunity to bounce, jig, and skank away the tribulations of the real world, while keeping your foot solidly sunk in the grit and grime that we love so well. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones perform at the Fillmore on Monday, Sept. 25, with Flogging Molly and the Gadjits opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19.50; call 346-6000.