After nearly four years, the fearsome leather-clad marauders of Deadbolt have embarked on another savage escapade. On Zulu Death Mask, the boys crawl out of the alleyways of Tijuana into the darkest depths of Africa. While the setting may be different, the Deadbolt sound is as immutable as their waxed hair. Creepy organs lurk in the underbrush, bass lines stalk wild prey, guitar lines slip through the Amazon, and drums call for blood. Over the sound of English tourists being engulfed by alligators, greasers rumble with intimidating threats. Clowns beware: According to Deadbolt, the only good clown is a dead clown. Deadbolt go with what they know at CW Saloon on Thursday, Sept. 17, with Slender & Spunk opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1585. Deadbolt also play for free Saturday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m. at Central Records.
If this weekend's Blues Festival sounds about as interesting as, say, Robert Cray on a warm day surrounded by pasty Marin matrons, might I suggest a little taste of the authentic mash. At 92, Homesick James is the oldest living blues artist still performing. In days gone by, James traveled and performed with Robert Johnson and recorded with Elmore James. It don't get much closer to the source. Homesick James performs at Biscuits & Blues on Thursday, Sept. 17, with Doug MacLeod & Lisa Otey at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $17.50; call 292-2583.
In 1984, Twisted Sister ruled the airwaves with Stay Hungry. Young boys throughout America felt the tug of lipstick-and-leather rebellion. Their theme song was "We're Not Gonna Take It"; their fan club was "S.M.F." ("sick mutha fuckers," in TS-speak). Dee Snider leered out of our MTV, heavily rouged and highly permed. He had big plans -- to grow out his bleach-blond locks until he could perform onstage in nothing but boots. Sadly, in the ensuing years, kaleidoscopic spandex came in and whore-blue eye shadow went out. But Snider hasn't been idle since the glory days of high camp and hard rock. He went on to form Desperado, as well as a Twisted Sister cover band called Sick Mutha Fuckers, which included TS fans Twiggy (bassist for Marilyn Manson) and Robin Fink (guitarist for Nine Inch Nails); he kept the pedal to the metal with his radio shows House of Hair and Metal Nation; and in his off-hours he wrote StrangeLand, a screenplay thriller about a cyberpsycho who persuades innocent netheads to perform dark rituals embracing body mutilation. The soundtrack, eagerly awaited by SMF die-hards the world over, features a reunited Twisted Sister performing new material for the first time in over 12 years, as well as some old fans like Megadeth, Anthrax, Nashville Pussy, Pantera, Marilyn Manson, and Kid Rock. To kick off the film's imminent release, fellow soundtrack performers Soulfly, Snot, hed (pe), and dayinthelife will be appearing with Dee Snider at the Maritime Hall on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $13-15; call 974-0634.
Irvine Welsh has never shied away from the merciless reality of human nature or Scottish life -- it's his life and trade. In The Acid House, Trainspotting, Marabou Stork Nightmares, and Ecstasy he drove readers into the world of characters venal, vicious, lazy, and mad alike. Amid all the muck, Welsh's sharp humor and surreal vision gave relief. Not so with his latest, Filth. The novel, which has caused quite a nasty uproar back home for its unflattering cover (a pig in a police cap) and title (a pejorative term used for the boys in blue), sends us slipping and sliding through the vile, purulent mind of a corrupt cop. He takes drugs, he beats witnesses, he robs friends and fucks their wives, he picks his ass until it bleeds, he forces young girls to suck his scab-encrusted cock. He is everything The Bad Lieutenant was and worse, because he is inescapable. With The Bad Lieutenant, the audience was afforded a certain amount of distance by watching events unfold on a shadowy screen. With Filth, the reader is forced inside the man. Casual conversation between characters appears only as a chilling reminder that this carnal monstrosity sounds completely normal to his associates. There's no comedic reprieve; there's no graceful camera shot; it's just the filth creeping into your mind. Irvine Welsh reads from his new work at the Edinburgh Castle on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 ($7 for the unemployed); call 255-8292.
-- Silke Tudor