Playing With Knives

Punk's past rears its pretty head

THURS 7/31

Ain't nostalgia grand? It will always ensure that if you were too young or out of touch to catch something the first time, you'll be able to relive it via artistic simulacrum or straight-up tribute. It appears, for example, that the footprint of 1977 punk will never be completely erased from the beach of history. Where there were once fewer than a million punks worldwide, now there are entire generations of kids who have to hear geezers saying, "Man, back in the day, NOBODY was into those guys." The recent resurgence of bands attempting musical retrofits isn't such a bad thing: The world is much better off with updated Damned and Clash riffs than with the Pink and Britney crap we're smacked upside the head with on the radio. One revivalist combo is Sacramento's FM Knives, whose members appear to have bought the Buzzcocks oeuvre whole, without irony, just re-stuccoing the face and updating the wiring. They've nailed Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley's romantic angst and melodic hooks, while somehow finding new chord configurations to complete the structure. See them now -- or wait until 2023 for the FM Knives cover band. Killer's Kiss and Knockout Pills open at 9 p.m. at the Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph (at 23rd Street), Oakland. Admission is $5; call (510) 444-6174 or visit www.storkcluboakland.com.
-- Kevin Chanel Pit Crew
You rock me all night long

TUES 8/5

The best place to be in San Francisco tonight is in the middle of the pit at the Gossip show. Unless you don't like rebel girls or full-on rock 'n' roll, in which case you'll want to stay the hell away. Please. Lead singer Beth Ditto is everyone's favorite punk rock Etta James, tearing down decades of scenester pretension with a single growl. Guitarist Nate and drummer Kathy rip into the band's old-fashioned tunes like they were there when Ike & Tina rocked every teenager in every rec center in Southern California: They're just what the doctor ordered to back up a voice as powerful as Beth's. Dolled up as the singer always is in flimsy black stuff, Ditto gets people to do pretty much whatever she says, and tonight she'll be telling you to dance, or else. Openers Tami Hart and Sleetmute Nightmute start at 9 p.m. at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Missouri), S.F. Admission is $10; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser It's a Stretch
Mom-centered theater is born

SAT 8/2

Most people's images of motherhood seem to come straight from treacly Hallmark cards or saintly Madonna-with-child paintings. But such idealized pictures miss the icky moments: loaded diapers, runny noses, chafed nipples, and long, long nights of baby wails. It's just these kinds of warts-and-all anecdotes that give theater piece Stretch Marks: Growing Into Motherhoodits saucy life. Written by four mom/playwrights who between them count seven children and 22 years of child-raising, Stretch delves deep into motherhood's reality, serving up stories that are silly, sad, serious -- or all of those at once. The performance starts at 2 p.m. at Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California (at Webster), S.F. Admission is $18-24; call 346-1720, ext. 32.
-- Joyce SlatonDrinker's Block

WED 7/30

Do you hate poetry? Good. Then you'll definitely want to hear poet Bill Taylor, because he hates poetry, too. Taylor's this farfrom cynical -- more Bukowski than Jewel -- but he doesn't so much glamorize booze and depression as try to find their meaning. It won't hurt much. Besides, you're tough; you can take it. Drink along at 8 p.m. at the Savoy Tivoli, 1434 Grant (at Green), S.F. Admission is free; call 362-7023.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

 
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