After 15 years and 10 albums, Dead Can Dance dissolved into ether, leaving Brendan Perry alone with his dark, silt-damp voice and his melancholy musings. On his solo debut, Eye of the Hunter, Perry still travels through astral planes and shipwrecks with archangels, death, and sin, but the arcane language of Dead Can Dance has been replaced with very personal, forthright tales told in the musical setting of a roadside monastery rather than a cathedral. The pious will yearn for Lisa Gerrard's ethereal howl to lift Perry out of the earthly sphere, but these are the reflections of a lone traveler laid bare, and it's a journey worth taking at least once. Brendan Perry performs on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 17 and 18 at the Great American Music Hall with Kristin Hersh opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20; call 885-0750.
Comparisons to Chris Isaak seem impossible to avoid given Mark Fontana's breezy, matinee-idol vocals and Gary Brandin's sultry slack key guitar, but while Isaak typically chooses Hallmark card disconsolation, the Blue Hawaiians write exotica love songs for a true bête noire. Alto sax and Hammond organ add to the foreboding à la Morphine, and a swaggering Nelson Algren lyricism polishes it. On their debut, Savage Night, we find dangerous, original enticements keeping easy company with choice covers of Mancini's "Experiment in Terror," Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon," and Hazelwood's "A Cheat." Poor Isaak always had the players, but not the taste. Blue Hawaiians open for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Friday, Nov. 19, at the Warfield at 9 p.m. Tickets are $21.50; call 775-7722.
When Fear most recently appeared at the Cocodrie, Lee Ving played the beginning of the show from the back of the stage, near the drum riser, with his head down and a long graying ponytail swinging across his back, thoroughly confusing fans. Ving's center-stage anxiety may have been the result of a past San Francisco show where fans spit at him, then rioted when Ving stormed off the stage like a girl. But the Cocodrie proved to be something else altogether. By the third song, Ving was front and center, pitched over the crowd like a rock 'n' roll demigod as the growing pit sucked everything not bolted down into the vortex. It was all flailing arms and legs, naked torsos, pumping fists, storming boots, and crazy kids hanging from the rafters. No one watched Fear; they felt it, along with the sweat dripping off the ceiling. It was like the old days. Really. Perhaps again? Please. Fear performs on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Transmission Theater with Streetwalking Cheetahs and Phoenix Thunderstone opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 861-6906.
Looking like a female Stiv Bators and sounding like a narcotic-perdurable Janis Joplin, Texacala Jones made a reputation for herself playing with the Gun Club and fronting early cowpunk denizens Tex & the Horseheads, whose riotous amalgamations were once produced by John Doe. Her new band, the T.J. Hookers, finds Jones somehow tinier, prettier, and bluesier, in an Exile on Main Street-picking-its-teeth-with-barbed-wire sort of way. Their self-titled debut features an unbelievable cover of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar," an arousing AC/DC-in-a-breeding-corral grind called "It's Midnight," a spaghetti-western-on-speed ode to Johnny Cash, and a cover of Quincy Jones' "In the Heat of the Night" that reveals Jones' disturbing talent for singing like a choir girl and a gravel-munching bull rider within the same refrain. Texacala Jones & Her T.J. Hookers support Mark Curry on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the CW Saloon with Ding Dang opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 974-5906.