Sid Vicious-taught bassist Jah Wobble drops by; the Violent Femmes mark their 26th year of weirdo rock

If Sid Vicious hadn't once loaned Jah Wobble a bass to tinker around with, the world would have been robbed of one of its most adventurous players. Wobble's first gig was with Vicious pal John “Rotten” Lydon's postSex Pistols group, Public Image Ltd., which earned a bit of respect in the pre-alternative days of the early '80s. In the decades following, Wobble amassed a large discography, collaborating with artists like Can, Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, and Bernie Worrell. He's always defied the image of the silent bassist; his larger-than-life personality gets in the way of that. In fact, he's also developed his spoken-word poetry over the years, so expect a witty vocal component to what promises to be a bold exploration of low-end theory. Jah Wobble & the English Roots Band, with Tryptophan and Giant Haystack opening, will have a punky reggae party on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Bottom of the Hill; call 621-4455 or visit for more info.

They just don't build bands like the Violent Femmes — now in their 26th year! — anymore. All those faux teenage angsty groups that clutter the current altrock landscape have nothing on Milwaukee's finest rock trio. Emo, shmemo: This group's enduring classics like “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Add It Up,” and “Blister in the Sun” still sound fresh and still fill a void for the lonely and neglected. Conveniently enough, the Femmes' recent release is a greatest-hits called Permanent Record: The Very Best of Violent Femmes, and it's as good a tool as any with which to get acquainted with the act in a hurry. The band is joined on this tour by the soulful punk outfit the BellRays, fronted by the amazing singer Lisa Kekaula, a lady versatile enough to rock with these boys and then turn around and guest on a dance single by club-music kingpins Basement Jaxx. It all goes down on Friday, Feb. 3, at the Fillmore; call 346-6000 or go to for more info.

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