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House of Tudor 

Black Panthers, the "Time of the Season," and a little British dude named Goldie

Wednesday, Feb 25 2004
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Finding himself fascinated by the history of American race relations after having worked as a cameraman during the 1992 L.A. riots, director Lee Lew-Lee turned his attention to the Black Panther Party. The result of his research is All Power to the People!, a fast-paced, conspiracy-packed documentary that combines archival footage with interviews of Panthers, CIA and FBI members, journalists, and other political radicals. And where better to contemplate the issues of civil rights activism, government-ordered assassination, and the rise and fall of the Panthers than in the city where it all went down? All Power to the People! is the third installment of "a 6-week celebration of our unsung city," held at the Oaklandish headquarters. Future movies include Julia Morgan: A Life by Design, Sun-Ra: Space Is the Place, and Hells Angels Forever. All Power to the People! will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. at Oaklandish, 411 Second St. (at Franklin), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 451-2677 or visit www.oaklandish.org.


Due to notable scholastic achievements and a refusal to be chuffed by the R&B bar band circuit, the Zombies were considered square and somewhat snobbish by their class-conscious countrymen and were thus largely discounted by the British press. It is perhaps for these same reasons that they may be counted as my other favorite band from the British Invasion. Exceptionally literate, with a penchant for modulation, morbidity, choral harmonies, and unexpected time signatures, the Zombies wrote lush, sophisticated, melancholy pop songs. While no collection of '60s-era teeny-bop would seem complete without the Zombies single "Time of the Season," marked by Rod Argent's classically trained, soulful organ-playing, that suggestive "ahhh/ahhh/ahhh" backing track, and the smarmy, unforgettable lyric, "What's your name/ Who's your daddy," the song should not be dismissively lumped together with other hits put out by groups like the Yardbirds and the Kinks. Upon deeper reflection, songs such as "Changes," a slice of transcendent psychedelica easily comparable to early Pink Floyd, and "Butcher's Tale," a haunting war protest that opens with the calliopelike lope of the Mellotron and rides a high-tension wire through the breathless, wailing tenor of Colin Blunstone, carry the Zombies into much more rarefied territory. In keeping with their unlikely approach, the Zombies refused to regroup at the height of their success, just after "Time of the Season" was released in the United States as an afterthought to the commercial failure of the brilliant Odessey & Oracle, which makes this reunion, featuring both Argent and Blunstone, all the more thrilling. The Zombies perform on Sunday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Independent, 628 Divisadero (at Hayes), S.F. Tickets are $24.50; call 771-1420 or visit www.theindependentsf.com.


After being shunted back and forth between foster homes throughout West Midlands, England, Goldie finally secured a name for himself by marking up the walls of London. By 1986, he was juggling art commissions and starring alongside his hip hop hero Afrika Bambaataa in the graffiti-art movie Bombing, which was filmed in Bristol and New York's South Bronx. Provided with an opportunity to live in the States, Goldie fully embraced the b-boy lifestyle, supporting its trappings by peddling the gold teeth that would become his signature. His style and intensity distinguished him from other hip hop heads back in England, and when he returned, it was the burgeoning breakbeat culture and hardcore techno that focused his talent and concentration. In contrast to the happy, shiny dance music of the rave scene, the "dark songs" that Goldie came to create were eerie and complex, taking cues from reggae and R&B, and relying on extremely fast polyrhythms and breakbeats. By 1995, Goldie's own jungle label, Metalheadz, had become the watershed for all that was deep, dark, and heavy in British electronic music, and, with almost no radio play, his double album Timeless made it into the top 10, exposing a wide demographic that had been all but invisible before then. As a colorful, enigmatic figure at the forefront of England's only purely indigenous dance music movement, Goldie was truly golden. Timeless led to a huge Euro/American tour supporting Björk, which led to a brief engagement to the Icelandic iconoclast; Goldie did remixes for the Fugees, KRS-One, Slipknot, Roni Size, and Garbage; appeared in movies with David Bowie, Robert Carlyle, and Brad Pitt; and even garnered a role in the long-running British soap EastEnders, but all is not pseudo-drama and daytime TV. His most recent offering, 2001's Goldie.co.uk, recorded for Moonshine's "Trust the DJ" series, is a dense crucible of ferociously percussive tracks smelted by Goldie and performed by Metalheadz like Future Cut, Total Science, and the Rufige Kru, proving that the king of jungle is still a very heavy cat. Goldie performs on Sunday, Feb. 29, as part of "Compression SF" at the DNA Lounge. Daily Situations, Similak Chyld & Aye~n, MC Duh, Audio Angel, and MC Intalekt open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12; call 626-1409 or visit www.dnalounge.com.

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Silke Tudor

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