With the newly relaxed touring schedule of the Barenaked Ladies, bass player Jim Creeggan and former BNL keyboardist Andy Creeggan can flip through the pages of the Brothers Creeggan at their leisure. The cover of their third release, Trunks, shows two spindly young boys sparring in oversized boxing gloves; the family remembrances inside offer the same easy warmth and "uncouth" delight -- lilting, dreamy piano ballads about the time Jim got locked inside the refrigerator or the time he decided to run away when the family was traveling across Canada, or the instrumental "rumba" representing an average dinner at the Creeggan household. Problem is, as irritatingly well-balanced and wholesome as their Canadian upbringing might look on paper, in song, the Creeggan prowess shines through, giving numbers like "Fondly Yours," "There's a Melody," and "She Married a Cowboy" an unshakable, inexhaustible allure. The Brothers Creeggan perform at Slim's on Thursday, Feb. 3, with the Kurtens opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8-10; call 522-0333.
After excesses engendered by years of crisscrossing the country with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, even the most bad-ass guitar slinger might require the solace and surety of familial love, a quiet interlude in which to cool his wild stage-light stare. For that, Judah Bauer needed brother Donovan and 20 Miles. Twenty miles is that final stretch of interstate between you and your destination in which relief and excitement mingle with the clicks of the odometer. Traveling as a duo, the Bauer brothers take it easy, shambling from coffee cup to coffee cup, gently soaking up the miles while Judah spins yarns about the women he's drunk and the bottles that got away. At times, his mien is that of the prematurely aged long-haul driver; at others it's that of a teenage hustler preening after an exile on Main Street. Always the guitar rolls along, painting a landscape as varied as the cities it's seen. I'm a Lucky Guy moves a mite faster than the first 20 Miles, but it is no less soulful, or grateful, sounding. "She's got my soul," Judah sings, speaking for a friend in "Johnson's Blues" before counting his own foolhardy stars in the jubilant gyrations of "Like a Fool." It's a mighty pleasing turn. And just to counteract that Bauer sincerity, Doo Rag's Bob Log III will be along for the ride in support of his latest, Trike, which bears charming song titles like "Ass Computer," "Booby Trap I and II," and "Clap Your Tits." The latter song boasts the talents of two session breast flappers, creating a percussive tonality that audience members will, no doubt, be invited to duplicate. 20 Miles and Bob Log III perform on Friday, Feb. 4, at Bottom of the Hill with Bo Grumpus opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.
It is the hope of Atticus Finch that its performances open with a reading of poetry, not surprising for a group whose own words sit within sighing parentheses framed by lush orchestral curtains, all drawn with the precision and detail of romantic poets. "I reach for the lantern and carry myself from the train ... hand to the tunnel wall I felt the truth in the clay," intones the luscious voice of Chris Moore-Backman under a rolling swell of snare and the dripping caress of violin. This is the sound of rainy nights spent inside crumbling Victorian walls painted in burgundy and gold. It is the sound of melancholy pop-stars-in-waiting whose pensiveness has transcended their age. Atticus Finch performs Sunday, Feb. 6, at Cafe Du Nord at 8 p.m. Tickets are $3; call 861-5016.
But what this town really needs is an all-women flag football team. If you couldn't agree more, haul your sorry ass down to the "Pigskin," where '99 Drag King Barry White will help promote the suffusion of sweat, sod, and estrogen along with the Jackson Villains, Bern, and Terese Taylor on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at El Rio. Tickets are $5-8; call 282-3325.