In a week dedicated to saccharine hearts and cloying phrases like “Be Mine,” it does an old sour-mash soul good to hear tunes like “Lumpy, Beanpole and Dirt,” in which a disenchanted beau tells his lady love to “Buy me some wine and some good old turpentine and give yourself a healthy little squirt.” The Bad Livers began as an Austin-style lark: A single banjo/guitar picker, optimistically billing himself as the Danny Barnes Trio (with the hope other players will show up), hooks up with an upright bass and tuba player named Mark Rubini and they release a psychotic bluegrass rendition of Iggy Pop's “Lust for Life.”
Local music critics were happier than pigs in shit when the pair broke onto the Austin scene in 1990, but since then, the integration of country and punk has grown as commonplace as milkweed. So the Bad Livers deserted their bucolic covers of Motsrhead and Metallica tunes and turned to more fertile pastures. Over the course of four increasingly eloquent and consistently mirthful albums, the Livers have continued to merge rock posture, klezmer abandon, and bluegrass instrumentation with a jazzy virtuosity, but lyrically they have settled comfortably down-home. Industry and Thrift finds our boys joined by a slew of friends pluckin' and blowin' their way through a joyous mutation of the klezmer traditional “A Yid Ist Geboren inz Oklahoma,” a solemn nod to Walt Whitman in “Captain, Oh Captain,” and the slap-giddy “Brand New Hat” with its hard-pressed clod of truth, “It makes you look like somebody else/ It's hard enough to keep track of yourself.” The Bad Livers perform at Amoeba Music for free on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 5:30 p.m.; call 831-1200. And at Great American Music Hall that same night with the Tony Furtado Band opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 885-0750.
If “Taboo Tiki” makes you think of pineapple cock-rings or erotic rituals involving a larger-than-life wooden phallus, you may have to look elsewhere. Or not: Tiki News has been known to throw some pretty wild parties. Their new monthly collaboration — with the Space Cowgirls and Sounds Good — does promise a custom-tailored “Tiki Love Dance” by the Dare Devil-Ettes, a live performance by the ukulele combo Pineapple Princess, a muumuu contest hosted by Sisters Kitty and Dana, and aural concoctions spun by Tiki aficionado Otto and “Baby Judy's” DJ Alvin A Go Go at the Stud on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 252-7883.
There are those who believe the French, with their soft-tuned tongue and creamy palate, are the ultimate connoisseurs of love. There are others who prefer the more fiery passion of the Italians, with their robust sauces and penchant for hair-pulling. Strangely, the Russians are largely overlooked as objects of romantic desire. These are a people whose lips burn with poetry and strong drink, whose hearts smolder with Oriental secrets, whose bodies must be kept warm with vigorous activity, and whose stoicism demands that unrequited affection be squelched forever in the nearest ice-covered river. Whether it's Tolstoy or Bulgakov, it's romance — tragic and comedic, but undeniable. You might be able to catch some real love stories at the 11th annual Russian Festival (find an interpreter because you are unlikely to hear much Eng-lish) while eating borscht, blini, and pelmeni, and drinking from the world's largest assortment of flavored vodkas. There will also be Russian folk dancing, paintings, and opera at the Russian Center, 2450 Sutter (at Divisadero), Friday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13-14, at 11 a.m. Tickets are $5-8; call 921-7631.
Perhaps you are so enamored with your loved one that a single night of publicly sanctioned romance cannot possibly encompass the breadth of your passion. Maybe you need a large-scale Valentine's party that not only sanctions, but implements, deliberate acts of PDA. If so, the Make-Out Fest should set your heart to fluttering. Not only are they offering a large, cushy make-out room where you can fondle each other to your cockles' content, but also a “Dungeon of Desire” with DJs spinning danceable fancies. And if you still need to work off some excess hormones, move to the fab live sounds of NoRm, Taw Shabella, the Odd Numbers, the Plus Ones, and the ever-sexy Hi Fives at Cloyne Court in Berkeley on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call (510) 849-2480.
At one time or another, Brigitte Bardot's curvaceous form was romantically entwined with Warren Beatty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Marlon Brando, Mick Jagger, Louis Malle, and a menagerie of other morsels too lengthy to print in its entirety. If we take Bardot at her word — “I have always adored beautiful young men. So if I can still have them, why not?” — maturity should have no bearing on the delights of love. So, my advice: Dress swimmingly and see what sweet entanglements you might find at “Bardot A Go Go” where DJs Pink Frankenstein, Brother Grimm, and Alec from “Cherry Blossom” will be spinning the very best in French ye-ye — France Gall, Jacques Dutronc, Francoise Hardy — while the gals from Chez Paree wiggle in front of a romantic display from Liquid Lights. Proceeds benefit KALX, and the dance floor will distract even the most forlorn heart at the Cocodrie Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 986-6678.
— Silke Tudor