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The House of Tudor 

Wednesday, Sep 24 1997
Fans of X might be pleased to know that Exene Cervenkova (nee Cervenka) has deserted her less-than-inspired solo attempts at "mature" music. X fans might also be pleased to know that her new outfit, Auntie Christ (with X drummer D.J. Bonebrake, bassist Matt Freeman from Rancid and Operation Ivy, and Cervenkova pulling double duty on guitar and mike), sounds more like X than anything X put out during the last couple of years that they were together. Cervenkova sounds genuinely pissed off again -- comforting in the way that slipping on an old, familiar pair of combat boots can be. Her rhythm section is, of course, impeccable -- hard and fast, just the way we like it. In fact, Auntie Christ's Lookout! debut, Life Could Be a Dream, appears to be faultless. It's a spiked ramrod of pure punk/teen angst. Except for one thing: Cervenkova is no teen-ager, and, like most adults, she likes to lecture her youngers. "Nature was perfect until it invented us," she screams. "Hear the alternative muzac [sic]/ That's bad/ That's bad like the Prozac fad," she admonishes. "Why don't you throw up all that modern junk/ Why can't you all be straight-edge/ Why can't you all be punk," she demands. Fast food, TV, and malls are all crap. Guns and drugs are government conspiracies (here, archnemesis Ronald Reagan makes a weak cameo). Alien benefactors may abandon us. We must go out and destroy public property. Doctors use us as test monkeys. Then, the final indictment against the youth of today: "They're not into Johnny Thunders 'cause he's not on MTV/ Stupid fucking kids, wake up/ Stupid fucking sheep, you're asleep." Now, while I'm a huge fan of Thunders and government conspiracies, on paper, this sounds a lot like some wacked-out old hippie-paranoiac telling X that they have shit for brains because they don't like Led Zeppelin. It must be tough. Punk rock was all about tearing down the old guard; now, apparently, punk rock is the old guard. Auntie Christ appear at the Bottom of the Hill on Thursday, Sept. 25, at 8:30 p.m. Stone Fox and Hecate open. Tickets are $8; call 621-4455.

Friends from the Great Northwest say that the Makers are the best rock band that Washington state has to offer. This would be a hard thing to actually prove, especially if you lived in Spokane, where the boys currently reside. Over time, Michael Maker, James Maker, Donny Lee Maker, and Jaybo Maker have been systematically banned from playing gigs in their home state, as well as from most of Texas. This has something to do with their unrepentant conviction that a Makers show can't end until everything in the vicinity is broken. If you ask me, that's what rock is all about -- busting things up. And the Makers are very rock. Folks who know say this isn't just a contrivance for the group's superfast, '60s-saturated, musical nastiness. These boys have bad attitudes -- all the time. They always break things, even in their own homes. They always wear sunglasses indoors. They always dress like a gang of thuggish undertakers. They always sneer. They always drink a lot. They always play rock -- exciting, dangerous, furious rock. If you already own their latest CD, Hunger, and really just want to hang out with them (as I do), forget it. They won't like you. They only like other Makers, and you're not one. The Makers perform at the Kilowatt on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. Count Backwurdz and La Donnas open. Tickets are $7; call 861-2595.

During the late '70s and early '80s, writing a women-in-rock article would have been impossible without including Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Poly Styrene, and Pauline Black. Black was the sweet '60s-style-baby-doll voice that defined the Selecter, one of the first Second Wave ska bands to come out of Coventry. Unlike colleagues such as the Specials and the Beat, who relied heavily on the First Wave "bluebeat" (as popularized by Desmond Dekker or the Skatalites), the Selecter had a near-new wave sensibility. (All this talk of waves.) There's no doubt that No Doubt learned more from the Selecter than from Madness. Songs like "On My Radio" and "Missing Words" were essentially catchy pop tunes crafted around ska rhythms. With their first album, Too Much Pressure, and their Two Tone label, which they co-owned with the Specials, the Selecter helped define the Second Wave of ska. Still, despite several worldwide hits, they split after only two years. Black went on to become a musicologist for the BBC, having a popular TV and radio show until 1991, when she and original co-frontman "Gaps" Henderickson recruited Bad Manners keyboardist Martin Stewart and bassist Mick Welsh. Unlike the Specials, who have rested on past laurels (their last attempt was no more than a cover album), and despite ska fans' partisan love of nostalgia, the Selecter have not stood still. Taking advantage of the liberty afforded by American Third Wave bands like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (see this week's listings for show info) or the Voodoo Glow Skulls, the Selecter have dared to mix hip-hop beats into their new material, and to release a live album that puts the high energy of ska-punk to shame. Their latest is a best-of collection that mixes pre-breakup favorites with infectious new material. The Selecter perform at Bimbo's 365 Club on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. The Friggs open. Tickets are $15; call 474-0365.

-- Silke Tudor

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Silke Tudor


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