Juveniles, Drive-Bys, and Melting U.F.O.s

With indie-bred insecurities declawing most guitar-based bands these days, there are so few "Damn!" moments left anymore. The Duke Spirit's debut, Cuts Across the Land, feels like a double "Damn!" Singer Liela Moss is a twentysomething, H&M-after-closing-time PJ Harvey heavy-breathing over a crack band of swamp-stomping six-slingers. Swagger is balanced with moan-along choruses and quieter moments, and Moss totally surprises with wailing harmonica solos. The album slinks around like a panther in heat and is the sexiest rock record in many moons. Live, the Duke Spirit can sometimes become more of a double "dang," as its Brit cool comes across a bit too practiced. But as for future promise — it's still "Damn!" The Duke Spirit performs Thursday, May 4, at "Popscene" (330 Ritch St.) at 9 p.m. Admission is $8; visit www.popscene-sf.com for more info. Eric Davidson


If you haven't already been convinced that the Drive-By Truckers are the shit-stormin', hell-raisin', three-guitar-grindin' saviors of Southern Rawk, goddamn son, listen to the raucous proof. The Alabama five-piece makes records that punch like a desperate bar brawler, recounting gritty tales of crooked lawmen, righteous sinners, and reluctant salvation. But the visual testimony offered by the recently released Live at the 40 Watt DVD is impossible to deny. During a two-night stand at the venerable Athens, Georgia, venue in August of last year, the band showed not just its full-throated, raw power, but also the bleak, back-roads poetics that draw listeners into a half-true Southern gothic tragedy; the Truckers are the Dixie-bred version of the E Street Band, playing like the Boss would if he came from rural Alabama instead of central Jersey. Drive-By Truckers perform Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, at the Fillmore at 9 p.m. Admission is $28.50; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info.Jonathan Zwickel


Staying current with Japan's Acid Mothers Temple crew and its myriad side projects is daunting; it's a wonder even the various members can keep straight their multitudinous lineups and releases. But the core outfit has always been Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. Founded in 1996, this configuration took a year-long hiatus recently, but now Makoto Kawabata, Atsushi Tsuyama, and company are back, touring the world with the stunning, often ear-shredding psych-rock eruption that is their live show. This Sunday, copies of the group's new studio album Have You Seen the Other Side of the Sky? will be available, as well as a tour-only CD called Power House of Holy and some limited-edition T-shirts — just in case anybody needs more AMT product. Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. performs Sunday, May 7, at Bottom of the Hill at 9 p.m. Admission is $12; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more info.Mike Rowell


A tour pairing Dirty South hit-makers Juvenile and Bubba Sparxxx may seem incongruous. On the surface, the rappers don't share much in common: Juvenile's upbringing in the rough Magnolia Projects of New Orleans is in contrast to Sparxxx's childhood on a Georgia farm. Juvenile is known for slanging hoe-rific rhymes from the streets that bang in the clubs, and Sparxxx typically comes with think-pieces, but each broadens his horizon on new albums. Juvenile's Reality Check expresses the most honest musical post-Katrina response to date, while Sparxxx's The Charm features the unrepentant single "Ms. New Booty." The latter is a shift in attitude from Sparxxx's more serious fare, but it's hard to deny that it's a tight club song. This is a rare sort of show to happen within the S.F. city limits, so be advised: Back that ass up and get down on Tuesday, May 9, at the Fillmore at 8 p.m. Admission is $35; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info. Tamara Palmer

 
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