Let It Blast, one of my top-10 favorite albums of 1999, was sadly released in 1998, which means I'm at least one full year behind in my BellRays adoration club dues. Led by the wild-haired abandon of garage-soul diva (yes, I really mean soul diva) Lisa Kekaula, the BellRays had the entire Bottom of the Hill staff standing gape-mouthed with half-full pints of beer in hand last time they came through town. Think young Tina Turner with a free-'fro and leather hot pants fronting the MC5 and you might get the idea, but not the wallop, of seeing the BellRays perform on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Bottom of the Hill with 440 Six Pack opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.
What is Holiday Drag Racing? Two-for-one week at the track? A size-14-and-up shoe sale at Foxy Lady? How 'bout a little of both? Ian Brennan, he of the peerless musical taste and silly concepts, has invited Joaquina, Wilson Gil, Gun & Doll Show, !Tang, Applesaucer, Aquamen, Kirby Grips, and Amateur Night to perform, in drag, for charity. Catch is, the bands have to race Big Wheels, in drag, to determine their time slots, and everyone will laugh when their heels get caught in those teeny tiny little pedals. All proceeds will benefit CAHEED, a Hunters Point welfare-to-work day-care center in need of a playground, and the Omega Boys' Club, which is in need of a van. The Devil-Ettes will provide a rooting squad and synchronized dance routines between races and sets at the DNA Lounge on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 626-1409.
Apart from a belated beginning that found Voivod Marc Bee changing his last name to Ramone just after Rocket to Russia, and apart from a little sabbatical, which found him replaced by Richie Ramone on Too Tough to Die and Animal Mind, Marky has characterized the Ramones' drum sound for a rock 'n' roller's eternity (15 years and 14 albums). However, unlike the other mop-headed progenitors of punk, Marky isn't ready to give up the ghost, or the jacket; he is tramping into the new millennium with Marky Ramone & the Intruders. Don't worry. Although Marky penned most of the songs on The Answer to Your Problems, this is not a tragic case of drummer-turned-frontman. With the help of Rancid singer Lars Frederiksen producing, and Frederiksen sound-alike Ben Trokan singing, the Intruders sound like any contemporary, well-seasoned punk band whose aggression and sense of determination have been happily and purposefully undermined by innocuous lyrics like "My computer's obsolete/ My girlfriend has webbed feet/ My radio won't work/ My friends are all jerks/ Life sucks" and "I wish I won the lottery/ I'd stay up 'til half past three/ Watching movies all night long/ Scan the Web 'til the break of dawn." Maybe that's what Marky meant when he said, "The Intruders are basically the Ramones with a '90s edge." There's little chance you'll hear the splendid duet with Joan Jett and Ben Trokan singing, "Don't blame me/ 'Cause it hurts when you piss," but you may get a quadruple-speed version of the Beatles' "Nowhere Man" when Marky Ramone & the Intruders perform on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the CW Saloon with Grannies and Dead Lazlos opening at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 974-1585.
Too much tiki? Don't be silly. The last TikiFest held at the Hi-Ball Lounge was one of the more pleasant surprises of my nightclub life in that it offered much much more than I was led to believe -- real Polynesian fire-dancers, real bad Los Angelino ukulele-playing stand-up comics, real good surf bands, real cool surf flicks, and real hot flaming cocktails in a coconut. TikiFest '99 promises, at the very, very least, a tribute to Martin Denny, the "Savage ritual of the Tikis," Hawaiian tunes from the '20s with members of Ape (ex-Swamis and ex-Sloe Gin Joes), and real-deal players from the Temple Bar. But there's bound to be more at TikiFest '99, to be held Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Hi-Ball Lounge at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 397-9464.