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House Of Tudor 

Hammertoes; Jucifer; Duncan Wilder Johnson; Jump Up! Records Showcase; Einstürzende Neubauten; Who Wants to Shag to Be a Millionaire

Wednesday, Jul 19 2000
For a whimsical moment, I imagined the Hammertoes had slipped into my room to catch the music that leaks out of my dreams, distilling it into a grainy salve and smearing it across the instruments they carry. It seemed that within the breadth of a single listen the Hammertoes and I were on intimate terms. I Too Have Sinned -- a luxuriant simmer of gypsy jazz, carnival reels, loungey bossa nova, tension-filled torch songs, and Waitsian howls -- was recorded during dark, sweltering nights in a shack lying somewhere in Arizona's Avra Valley, where monsoons raged and raged and Michelle Sutherland's guitar rolled and wept. Singer Casey Wade's dog-weary voice unfurls like the road that led him from New York to Chicago and, ultimately, to Phoenix, where he and Sticmen co-founder Bob Jacks discovered an escape from the stultifying claustrophobia of so-called cultural centers. Here, they write broad songs about devils, freedom, and love, concepts that are interchangeable in the Hammertoes idiom. Despite the presence of eight players on nearly twice as many instruments -- vibes, violin, accordion, flute, cello, saw, keyboards, clarinet, and a ghostly megaphone among them -- the Hammertoes sustain the sense of open space that speaks to their American "gypsy" hearts. That space is dark and warm and offers a quality of breath that sets them miles apart from other bands that have tried to travel a similar road. The Hammertoes support Captain Zohair on Thursday, July 20, at the Starry Plough in Berkeley with Brian Kenney Fresno opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $4; call (510) 842-2082.

Comprised of the snarling coo of guitarist/singer Amber Valentine and the destructo drumming of her beau Ed Livengood, Georgia-based duo Jucifer erects a wall of sound that absolutely defies physics. There're only two? As thick and murky as the tainted sludge left trailing behind Black Sabbath and the Melvins, but with shafts of Portishead moonlight cleaving through the darkness, Jucifer defies aural dynamics. There's only one. Jucifer opens for the Sick and the Thumbs on Thursday, July 20, at Bottom of the Hill at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.

Think spoken word has to be about broken hearts and women's studies? Think again. Duncan Wilder Johnson is a spoken word artist, and he's pretty metal. He says so right at the beginning of his nine-minute soliloquy about going to the mall to get autographs signed by Slayer. At once self-deprecating (capable of fathoming the super-geekness of true metalheads) and passionate about his culture, Johnson speaks honestly about all the things a metalhead living in Massachusetts must ponder: Guns N' Roses, Henry Rollins, nose-sucking, regional mosh pits, and mirror thrashing. It's pretty funny. Duncan Wilder Johnson opens for the Bottom, Matterhorn, and the Cutthroats .09 on Friday, July 21, at the CW Saloon at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 974-1585.

It's going to be a mod and suedehead orgy at the Jump Up! Records Showcase with Chicago's kings of uptempo rocksteady-reggae Deal's Gone Bad, the Northern soul big-band the Inciters, and Sacramento roots rockers the Steady Ups. We're talking sharp threads and knees up on Saturday, July 22, at the Cocodrie at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 986-6678.

The release of 1996's intensely cinematic Ending New marked the departure of Einstürzende Neubauten's co-founding guitarist F.M. Einheit and drummer Mark Chung and contained the first love song written for the band by singer/guitarist Blixa Bargeld (the only other love song performed by the industrialist German act being Lee Hazelwood's "Sand"). Silence Is Sexy is a still more personal exploration of Bargeld's emotional world. Much more lyrically accessible and musically delicate than anything Einstürzende has yet composed, Silence Is Sexy is perhaps the closest the group will ever come to constructing an atmospheric lounge album. Sounds of screeching metal and distraught machinery still litter the landscape but they do not overbear the sound of a single match being struck in the night. "Silence is sexy," sings Bargeld in a delicate whisper, "but not yours." Silence follows. Apparently undaunted by the close relationship between Bargeld and Survival Research Laboratories, Bill Graham Presents has booked Einstürzende Neubauten on Saturday, July 22, at the Fillmore at 9 p.m. Tickets are $21.50; call 346-6000. BGP might not know what it's getting into, but you do. Bring earplugs.

Occasionally, you read about a woman who is trying to break the world record for most men consecutively fucked (currently standing at well over 600) and it makes you wonder: Who is this woman? What sort of books does she read? How much lube will she use? How many strokes is each man allowed? Speaking of the men, how does the 597th guy feel about his position? It's unlikely you'll get these questions answered at "Who Wants to Shag to Be a Millionaire," a contest in which five amateurs will be competing to break the world record and win cash and a modeling contract, but you can witness the Herculean effort. If you get bored, say, after the sixth guy, you can find a date to take advantage of the 30,000 square feet of fetish space. The event will be held on Saturday, July 22, at an undisclosed location from noon until midnight. Spectator tickets are $50 (men interested in participating must bring proof of PCRDNA testing for admission); please call (888) 981-SEXY or visit for tickets and location.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


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