Punk Royalty Still Reigns Supreme: Naked Raygun and Suicidal Tendencies

One day in 1970, Japanese singer Kenji "Damo" Suzuki was heard busking on a Munich street by members of innovative German rockers Can. That very night, Suzuki became Can's new frontman, his eerily elastic, voice-as-instrument approach dovetailing with the band's rocking, jazz-informed improvisations. After recordings albums Tago Mago and Future Days, Suzuki left Can to become a Jehovah's Witness. But he left his mark — note the Fall's tribute, "I Am Damo Suzuki." In the mid-'80s, Suzuki returned to music, occasionally accompanied by Can alumni Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli — still sounding like no other. The Damo Suzuki Band performs on Friday, Nov. 30, at the Hemlock Tavern at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $12; call 923-0923 or visit www.hemlocktavern.com for more info. — Mark Keresman

The self-titled debut of Austin band Voxtrot follows an interesting arc from quiet to rocking to cinematic and back. As a body of work, though, it tends to frustrate, since nearly every cut has a twin elsewhere in the set; "Easy" doesn't give us anything we didn't hear earlier in "Kid Gloves." Individually, though, these cuts are great, "Steven" offering a bouncy Britpop piano romance, "Every Day" crafting a drum machine symphony. This might simply be a case of too much of a good thing. Or perhaps a case of "woulda made a great EP." Voxtrot performs Friday, Nov. 30, at Bimbo's at 8 p.m. Admission is $16; call 474-0365 or visit www.bimbos365club.com for more information. John Vettese

Probably the most influential group in Chicago punk history — single-handedly writing the blueprint for melodic punk anthems that would end up making otherpeople millionaires — Naked Raygun rarely toured during its 1980s prime and thus never cashed in on the post-Cobain gold rush. Raygun's trademark mash of meaty power chords and rousing sing-along choruses is basic, elemental, and so inscribed in modern hardcore's DNA that even youth hearing it for the first time feel like orphans suddenly reunited with their biological fathers. San Francisco's own punk torchbearers, The Swingin' Utters, and Chi-town's Shot Baker open this show. Holler the words along with the mob at the Elbo Room on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Admission is $12-15 at the door; call 552-7788 or visit www.elbo.com for more info. John Graham

Whether it's the hardcore punk classic "Institutionalized" from the film Repo Man, the band's 1990 thrash metal/crossover Lights, Camera, Revolution, or leader Mike Muir's funk-metal side project Infectious Grooves with bassist Robert Trujillo (now with Metallica), Suicidal Tendencies has spent the past 25 years making a name for itself. The group was banned from playing its hometown of Venice, California, for almost a decade and has never shied away from controversy. The one constant (besides frontman Muir) throughout all these years and lineup changes has been Suicidal's reputation for high-energy shows. Since the group hasn't released a new album since 2000, it's gotta be classic material and an ass-kicking delivery that keep fans coming out to watch the band play live. Suicidal Tendencies performs on Sunday, Dec. 2, at Slim's at 8 p.m. Admission is $25; call 255-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com for more info. — Toph One

Sheffield-born Chris Watson is a pillar of Britain's post-punk, industrial, and avant-garde electronic scene, as a founding member of both Cabaret Voltaire and the Hafler Trio. Despite such a dossier, he abandoned the music world for yet another noisy world, that of nature, becoming a sound recordist for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. In addition to taping feathered creatures, he also made hundreds of recordings out in the field, from high-pressure weather systems to bats and frogs to — as his newest single for the esteemed Touch label puts it — "the voices and rhythms of the Humboldt current around the Galapagos Islands." Such immersive sounds captured both on land and underwater can be heard on Friday, Nov. 30, at Recombinant Media Labs at two different performances (8 p.m. and 11 p.m.). Tickets have sold out; call 650-255-8947 or visit www.recombinantmedia.net for more info. Andy Beta

 
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