Melodic grandstanding from our boisterous buddies in Muse

If the pounding pianos and shrieking voices on last year's Six Demon Bagcaught you off guard, consider this: There was a time when Man Man was exponentially weirder. On its 2004 debut The Man in a Blue Turban With a Face, the Philadelphia avant-rockers came off less like a band, more like a laissez-faire assemblage of white-suit-clad art students having a fit. Violin and melodica flourishes sounded like they were played on busted instruments, while arrangements were meandering. Some of that mess carried over to Demon, but comparatively the album is a cleaner offering of those Tom-Waits-doing-Kurt-Weill theatrics, now mixed with genuinely fun cuts. Man Man appears live on Wednesday, April 4, at the Independent at 8 p.m. Admission is $13 adv.; call 771-1421 or visit www.theindependentsf.com for more info. John Vettese


Just what is it about the American South's eerie literary tradition? Authors Tennessee Williams, Harper Lee, and Flannery O'Connor established the Southern Gothic tradition, chronicling the region's kudzu of corruption and noir-type intrigues lurking underneath down-home propriety. Little did they know they'd spawn a musicalSouthern Gothic tradition, one having nothing to do with dark eye makeup or flanged bass — examples of such singers include Bonnie Prince Billy and North Carolinian David Karsten Daniels. With discreet orchestration worthy of Van Dyke Parks and poignant, quavering vocalizing, D.K. Daniels' fourth release, Sharp Teeth, is a collection of musical dramas rife with ambiguity, wry understatement, and majesty. Seek & find DKD on Friday, April 6, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $10; call 923-0923 or visit hemlocktavern.com for more info. — Mark Keresman


Do you like choco-chip pancakes and smutty puppet shows? Is four hours of electro-sonic mayhem your idea of bliss? Then you'll love this Sunday's Electronic Puppenhorten show. Local and out-of-town noise mongers scheduled to perform include Dimmer, Sharkiface, Loachfillet's ‘Worm Peril,' Slujun, Marauder & Alibi, and more. Who, you ask? Well, suffice to say the Puppen-Master vouches that they're all "top-notch electronic wigcakes." Arcane 78-rpm discs will be spun between sets. Expect four hours of serious weirdness when the Electronic Puppenhorten fest starts on Sunday, April 8, at ArtSF (110 Capp St.) at noon. Admission is a $3-10 donation; call 552-7873 or visit www.myspace.com/godwafflenoisepancakes for more info. Mike Rowell


One of the best Blendercolumns hands over $848 to a band, then documents how the rock stars spend the cash. When England's Muse got its hands on the corporate rag's ducats, the trio took a fantastic mushroom trip, complete with bouncy castle and costumes. It was a fitting fete for a group that had subtlety erased from its lexicon long ago. Muse has bloomed from a faux Radiohead to a grandiose melodic pop act in its own right. At times the music is ridiculous, pretentious, grand, and wonderfully overwhelming; live, it's 100 times more so. Prepare for a Vegas-style onslaught of theatrical angst when Muse hits town on Monday, April 9, at the Bill Graham Civic at 8 p.m. Admission is $35; call or visit www.billgrahamcivic.com for more info. Jennifer Maerz

 
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