Now that the Covered Wagon has been added to the endangered list, you can regard every drink order as an act of sublime altruism and every person you bring through the door to ogle the fleshy dancers as a sort of benevolent convert, but the idea here is not to preach to the converted (if you like gritty rock 'n' roll, cheap beer, lusty ladies, and trashy guys, you probably spend your nights here anyway) so here's the pitch: Besides being a former member of Ten Foot Pole and Scared Straight, Pulley's Scott Radinsky is also the left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. So, all you sports fans, get down to the Covered Wagon and do your duty on Thursday, Oct. 14, with Thumbs and Thorazine opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 986-6678.
As promised, the 10-piece go-go dance band Casino Royale has released its tribute CD Back to Back Bacharach, but what, you ask, is go-go music without the visual stimulation of leggy girls and liquid lights? I'll tell you what: a buoyant, glossy 17-song excuse to drink martinis during the afternoon while wearing fuzzy, high-heeled slippers and pastel lounging clothes. The players -- including vocalists Susan Z., Danny Shorago, and Lisabell -- on Back to Back Bacharach may not be international superstars but they could play them on TV; so delicious and enticing is their sway you might actually forget the Stranglers' version of "Walk on By," Naked Eyes' version of "Always Something There to Remind Me," and nearly every version of every Bacharach song popularized by Dionne Warwick. Of course, it'll be harder to block out memories of Dusty Springfield, Herb Alpert, Shirley Bassey, and Tom Jones, but what do you want for 10 bucks? How 'bout a swingin' CD release party with a spinning wheel of musical fortune and enough go-go platforms to satisfy a Russ Meyer vixen on Friday, Oct. 15, at the DNA Lounge at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 626-1409.
A dear friend bemoaned the heavy orchestration -- Hammond B-3 organ, violin, cello, bowed bass, full drum kit -- on Freakwater's new End Time, but for me, having never been a fan of Freakwater's earlier work, it was a pleasant surprise. The brash juxtaposed vocals of Janet Bean and Catherine Irwin, I always felt, are better suited to ballsy '70s-style country, à la Gram Parsons or Emmylou Harris, rather than the austere road Bean and Irwin had chosen. Ironically, with more instruments between us and them, the Freakwater gals have gotten more personal and the heart comes through in a way it never did when their music carried the melancholia. Freakwater performs on Friday, Oct. 15, at the Great American Music Hall with Sally Timms and Giant Sand opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 885-0750; and Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Starry Plough at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12; call (510) 841 2082.
On Tuesday nights, while all you losers are sitting in your stuffy bed/living rooms watching reruns of The Brady Bunch, Outdoor Cinema is serving up killer pig and tenacious toad documentaries, Jane Campion shorts, "Cine Rodeo," experimental movies from Tanzania, queer videos, local indies, Super-8 festivals, live soundtrack-inspired art flicks, and Day of the Dead supplements in the open-air milieu of palm fronds and barbecues that is El Rio's back patio (unlike the back-patio cinema beloved by yuppies down the road, the food and booze are cheap and the people interesting). Over the last two years, Outdoor Cinema has become popular enough to inspire program repeats on more than a few Mondays, but since the Outdoor producers still rent all their gear, additional shows come out of their own pockets and regularly scheduled sellout shows still just about break even. To raise funds for permanent equipment and celebrate Outdoor's two-year anniversary, the hillbilly thunder-machine that is Joe Buck, the honeyed punk rockettes in Kindness, and the fire-breathing surf maniacs from Aquamen are performing on Saturday, Oct. 16, at El Rio at 3 p.m. Tickets are $9-15; call 282-3325.