Soon after writing the remarkable autobiography No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, John Lydon began to record Psycho's Path, a deeply personal collection of songs that were perhaps an excrescence brought on by months of introspection. Where No Irish left off -- the poverty, politics, and disease that had conspired to create Johnny Rotten -- Psycho's Path took over, explaining who Lydon had since become. Still acutely political ("Grave Ride," based on Bosnia troubles), fiercely independent ("Another Way" and "Dog"), and, for the first time, somewhat insecure or, at the very least, human ("Take Me"), Lydon turned away from the narrative style over which he had just proven himself such a master, and back to his love of frenetic songwriting. It would have been a perfect follow-up to the book. Sadly, it took nearly three years before Lydon was ready to release Psycho's Path. Apparently, he needed some ready cash and decided to don the Rotten persona once again for the farcical Sex Pistols reunion tour in '96. Musically, Psycho's Path treads a similar path to darker PiL tunes like "Death Disco" -- stylized, moody, and heavily electronic, with Lydon's nascent whine riding uneasily over the top -- but where PiL was a collaborative effort, Psycho's Path is an entirely solo endeavor (the first of Lydon's 22-year career). For a character such as Lydon, creating music without having to compromise is as close to comfort as he will ever get (allowing him to dig deeply into his own psyche without losing face or control). But we all know that he's at his strongest when dealing with an antagonist, real or imagined ("Rise," "This Is Not a Love Song," the entire Pistols catalog). Without the personal conflict, Lydon's political tirades take on the distant, purely analytical cadence of an aging window-gazer (amplified by the ambient quality of most of the music on Psycho's Path). Thankfully, there are songs like "Sun" (a creepy, hypnotic number performed on accordion, toilet paper rolls, and cardboard boxes), "Psychopath" (loosely based on serial killer John Wayne Gacy), "A No and a Yes" (a subtler, more sophisticated echo of "Rise"), and "Stump" (a mean-spirited techno number that has Lydon wearing the face of a cultural dictator), which reveal that, two decades later, the other side of Rotten is still a creative force to be reckoned with -- and he's got good friends (Moby, the Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, and Danny Saber contribute remixes to the album). Lydon performs at the Fillmore on Thursday, Aug. 14, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20; call 346-6000.
For decades, luche libre -- a freestyle, high-flying form of Mexican wrestling that made an indelible impression on the sporting world in the mid-'40s -- has served as inspiration for visual artists of all kinds. The terrifying masks and fancy rope work lent themselves to paint, clay, metal, and film, and sparked countless gringo imitators. In celebration of luche libre as art, and in conjunction with Incredibly Strange Wrestling, nearly a dozen multimedia artists (from Mexico, SoCal, and here) have agreed to show work inspired by and dedicated to the spectacle. As with any art opening, expect live bands, food, and drink. Salazar Gomez will also preview his wrestling movie based on the fictional grappler Atomic Blue, and stars of ISW will be on hand to cause havoc at the Mission Badlands Gathering (2811 Mission at 24th Street) on Friday, Aug. 15, at 8 p.m. Call 920-0896 for ticket price. ... Now that you're good and bloodthirsty, check out the degenerate characters of ISW, who will be joined in the ring by authentic South of the Border wrestling talent: La Rosa Salvaje, the Unholy, Fabulous Dan Fabiano, and Captain Moro. Our Mexican compadres may not have props worthy of our own Ku Klux Klown or Kid Anarchy, but they sure know the meaning of "stranglehold." Live musical entertainment will be supplied by the Bomboras, Ghastly Ones, Crosstops, Orixa, and the Hellbillies in the Paradise Lounge and the Transmission Theater on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 861-6906.
New Wave City's DJ Shindog is apparently tired of playing Duran Duran week in and week out, so he has decided to unpack the vinyl in his attic and blow the dust off of his platform shoes. His new '70s night, "8Track," will include a variety of music from the era -- pop, glam, metal, soul, funk, and disco -- with an emphasis on '70s rock (don't cringe). Opening night brings local David Bowie tribute act Panic in Detroit out of semiretirement, complete with multiple costume changes to represent Bowie's facets throughout the decades. If the boys are feeling really randy, they might touch on their more unnatural disposition as Kiss tribute act Detroit Rock City. There will also be giveaways of Rhino's CD collection VH1 Track Flashbacks: The One Hit Wonders. Wear a polyester wraparound skirt (or other such nonsense) and get in for half-price on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 9 p.m. at the King Street Garage. Tickets are $8 (free before 10 p.m.); call 864-4689.
-- Silke Tudor