VINCE NEIL 4/28, JOE'S Critics' darlings may age more gracefully or burn out more heroically, but there's something to be said for the audacity of endurance beyond decency--even when his own band didn't want him anymore, Vince Neil kept going. This solo tour, which promises "all the hits," is most likely an attempt to pump the new Motley Crue autobiography, The Dirt, due out next month from Regan Books. GARY NUMAN 4/28, HOUSE OF BLUES In some ways the story of Gary Numan's comeback is a heartwarming one. A gifted artist who explored social alienation via a cold, removed persona, the synth-pop pioneer has been the subject in recent years of renewed appreciation and acceptance; a few of his old hits have even reemerged on the British charts. But his new album, Pure (Spitfire), is an object lesson in what happens when time catches up to someone who was once way ahead of it: obviously Nine Inch Nails and their spawn could never have existed without Numan, but Numan's current techno-goth sound probably wouldn't have evolved as such if it weren't for Trent Reznor. T.W. WALSH 4/28, SCHUBAS As arena rock starts to look more and more like a big locker-room towel-snapping match, indie boys have grown stubbornly delicate: recent records by Dave Fischoff and Songs: Ohia make Bryter Layter sound like the sound track for a monster-truck rally. On T.W. Walsh's second album, Blue Laws (Truckstop), the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter seems to be on the verge of evaporating, playing quiet songs with ambiguous lyrics on guitar, piano, bass, and drums. (Scud Mountain Boy Frank Padellaro rounds out the arrangements with some slide guitar and extra vocals.) If you listen closely, though, you'll pick up on a few zingers, like this nice lyrical turnabout from "Massachusetts Militia Fight Song": "I shouted out, 'Who killed you and me?' When after all, it was the Kennedys." MISFITS 4/29, HOUSE OF BLUES Whatever you may think of punks who don't seem to know their careers were supposed to be short, this 25th anniversary tour is sure to pull all the old fiends out of the woodwork: undaunted by the departure of singer Michale Graves and drummer Dr. Chud, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein have put together a lineup that at press time was to feature special guests Dez Cadena (Black Flag), Robo (Black Flag, Danzig-era Misfits), and Marky Ramone; the first shows of the tour reportedly featured sets of Black Flag and Ramones tunes. Opening the show are the X-rated glam-rock circus the Impotent Sea Snakes, the Independents (a sort of horror-ska band that Only manages), and Desinence (a metal band in which Only's teenage son plays bass). OLD BLIND DOGS 4/29, ABBEY pub From the northeastern coast of Scotland, where the weather is harsh and the music is sweet, this optimistically named folk-fusion group mixes fiddle, cittern, pipes, and whistles with African drumming courtesy of teenage percussionist Paul Jennings. They're not quite the Afro-Celt Sound System yet, but their new fifth album, The World's Room (Green Linnet), is a pretty decisive move toward "world beat." MELVINS 5/2, METRO The granddaddies of grunge don't have a lot of ideas to spare, judging from their newish eight-song album, Electroretard (Man's Ruin). After the introduction of one new track, "Shit Storm," which sounds like it's being played backward, the Melvins rework four older tunes with minor electronic flourishes and play three covers: "Missing," by current bassist Kevin Rutmanis's former band the Cows, the Wipers' "Youth of America," and, most dementedly, Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive." But as is exemplified by their even newer release, the single-song live album Colossus of Destiny (Ipecac), that deep, dark heaviness of theirs can still shake your belly like a bowl full of bloodred jelly. They share the bill with the Folk Implosion, which this time around means Lou Barlow, his Sebadoh bandmate Russ Pollard, and Imaad Wasif of former Melvins labelmates Lowercase. SELBY TIGERS 5/3, EMPTY BOTTLE In the downtime they've got between tagging along with Bratmobile and the Donnas and joining this year's Plea for Peace tour (with other kiddie faves like the Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music), this Minneapolis quartet is playing a benefit for Ladyfest Midwest Chicago, a regional reprisal of a grrl party held last summer in Olympia. They're also plugging their relatively new Charm City (Hopeless), which as it happens arrived in the most spectacularly shattered jewel case I've ever received. Somewhat miraculously, it played, and I'm glad. It's catchy, rousing power pop with a pulsing punk density; lone "lady" Arzu Gokcen, one of the band's two guitarists, trades off vocals with drummer Dave Gatchell, sometimes within a single song a la John Doe and Exene. It gave me the sort of feeling you might get when one of those strangers who insists on telling you his life story actually turns out to be smart and cute.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Steve Gullick.