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House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Aug 26 1998
It's been four long years since worshippers of The Billy Nayer Show have been supplied with fresh physical evidence of the San Francisco band's progressive genius. We've clung to infrequent appearances, hoping to catch revelatory nuggets while still succumbing to the fervor of well-worn verse from "Bouncy Bouncy," "Ham," and "Apartment #5." Well, friends, our patience and faith will not go without reward. The Villain That Love Built begins with "Mr. Satan ButterWolf," a diabolic harpsichord-accompanied tale in which the namesake examines the carefree, happy faces of "Bunny Bob, Clark, and Karl, Bunny Biff, and Baby Bunny Sue" in the remainders of his stool. And then the album gets a little dark. "A Body Fell" plunges into a dilapidated, stench-filled tenement where slumping thuds follow screams. The sound is not nearly as horrifying as the internal world of Billy Nayer frontman Cory McAbee, who sings of this scene, "It was like something in a dream/ Like when I gave birth to a child/ And ate it like a sausage." In keeping with the record's main theme, "Run Coward Run" is an aural demon in jackboots that hunts with "a single shard of glass" picked up in a singles bar. Death, you see, is the "pretty thing sleeping next to you." In "My Funeral" McAbee fantasizes about seeing all the girls he's known "dressed in black from head to toe." He's reminded again of death by the approach of a beautiful young lady in "The Closer She Gets"; in "The Girl With the Vagina Made of Glass" he's spellbound by the way "her buttocks chew her shorts"; and in "Rainbow" he's broken by the newfound radiance of a woman whose heart he turned gray. Something weighs heavy upon the McAbee weasel heart, and the musical direction of drummer Bobby Lurie echoes the newly reconciled darkness. In the hands of a less elegant man, you might claim it's all been said before, but no one has ever said things quite like McAbee. This is the man who knows you drink the drink that tells who you are; he is the man who saw Jesus roll his truck; he is the captain of a cow with a fireplace floating on a sea of grass. The Billy Nayer Show celebrates its CD release at the Bottom of the Hill on Friday, Aug. 28, with Noe Venable and Soldier of Fortune Cookie opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 621-4455.

By the time Brian Jonestown Massacre moved away from San Francisco they had been banned from almost every live venue in the area. (Folks still remember, with a cringe, arena-sized temper tantrums thrown by the band at house parties.) Fistfights with audience members -- and each other -- outrageous drug episodes, and over 40 former members earned the group a reputation that completely overshadowed their music. Now that they've been the well-deserved burden of Los Angeles for the last year, we've had some distance. There were no horrendous reports after their last two performances (at Bottom of the Hill and Purple Onion) and, with the release of Strung Out in Heaven, we must admit few bands have produced edgy honey-soaked psychedelic pop quite like BJM. And, come to think of it, I miss their moxie. Brian Jonestown Massacre performs at Maritime Hall on Friday, Aug. 28, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 974-0633.

Imagine being rocked by gently lapping waves as a sea-green breeze ruffles your hair and long-legged fillies cha-cha across a sun-dappled yacht deck to the stimulating strains of one of the world's most highly acclaimed Cuban groups. This is not the futile dream of wage slaves trapped in fog-bound flats. Maraca, a 14-piece ensemble led by ex-Irakere flutist Orlando "Maraca" Valle, will be performing for the inaugural Yoshi's on the High Seas Yacht Party on board the San Francisco Spirit. San Francisco Bay might not be the most tropical setting, but the music will be hot and the drinks will be cold. Don't miss the boat, leaving Pier 39 on Saturday, Aug. 29, at noon. Tickets are $30; call (510) 238-9200. Maraca also performs at Yoshi's in Oakland Friday through Sunday, Aug. 28-30, at 8 and 10 p.m. with a matinee on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor


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