DKT/MC5 6/11, METRO Guitarist Wayne Kramer seems to have won this round of his turf battle with a pair of Chicago filmmakers over the MC5's documentary legacy (see Peter Margasak's Reader cover story from April), so the band has something resembling a new release to plug: Sonic Revolution: A Celebration of the MC5, due out on DVD in early July. With that in mind I reckon you can't blame the, um, MC3 for touring (the "DKT" stands for Kramer and the surnames of the other two surviving members, Michael Davis and Dennis Thompson). It's not the band's fault that they were never properly captured on vinyl, at least not legally, at the height of their powers, or that the zeitgeist they had such a symbiotic relationship with is long dead. And you can't hold it against them that two of the original five (guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith and singer Rob Tyner) are no longer on the earthly plane. What you can hold against them, though, is their choice of guest stars: for this show we're looking at Evan Dando, Mark Arm, and Marshall Crenshaw. DUTCHMEN 6/11, EMPTY BOTTLE The Dutchmen recently released a split seven-inch with Velcro Lewis and his awesome 100 Proof Band, and tonight they celebrate the release of their first full-length, Bloodthirsty (Threat). Despite the pirate-themed cover art, there are no silly gimmicks here: this Chicago foursome plays no-frills four-on-the-floor hard rock, with shades of AC/DC and maybe a touch of Free--it's much more Loop than XRT. If like me you're secretly pleased that the playlist of your typical classic-rock radio station has barely changed since you were in junior high, you're sure to get a kick out of hearing this stuff played so tight. BURNT BY THE SUN 6/12, FIRESIDE BOWL This quartet of New Jersey veterans draws heavily on death metal and hardcore, and could've gotten lost in a marketplace crowded by about a zillion angry young bands--but it has more to offer than most of that lot. Its second full-length, last year's The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Good (Relapse), is a fusion of raw riffing power, searing dystopian sci-fi atmosphere, and progressive ambition both musical and political. If it weren't for the genuinely unpleasant sound piece that closes the disc, I'd compare these guys to Neurosis--dominated by an EBS alert tone and at least half an hour long, it persuaded me that there's some sincere sadism going on here. Yakuza opens. JULIANA HATFIELD 6/12, DOUBLE DOOR In Exile Deo (Zoe) is Juliana Hatfield's first album since the two she released in one go four years back--and where they were scattershot, this one's tightly focused. Though she still sometimes sounds like she sings through her nose (and writes while studying her navel), Exile's sharp, clean alt-pop takes strength from her eye for character. Though the protagonist of "Singing in the Shower," who's going through a midlife crisis, might share some traits with Hatfield, he's more than just a surrogate for the songwriter. He lives and breathes as a separate person--as do the "daddy" in "Because We Love You" and the shallow younger man in "It Should've Been You." I'm in favor of a population explosion in Hatfield's private universe--it's a lot less uncomfortable in there if you don't feel like you're all alone with her. Interesting coincidence: one of Hatfield's former colleagues in the Blake Babies, John Strohm, plays an early show at Schubas tonight. MARAH 6/12, SCHUBAS I'm not sure what it is about this Philadelphia band that excites Nick Hornby so damn much--even after reading his borderline orgasmic piece in the New York Times a few weeks ago, I still can't quite match his enthusiasm. Maybe they inspire men of a certain age to remember a time when the young Bruce Springsteen seemed ready to connect a nostalgia for 60s R & B to scruffy literary rock for restless white boys. A generation removed from that promise, Marah's fourth album, 20,000 Streets Under the Sky (Yep Roc), sounds almost fresh, with its burly Whitmanesque excesses of passion and rhythms "rediscovered" in playground jump-rope rhymes. Like the Boss himself, this band never underestimates the power of someone else's idealized adolescence. MARITIME 6/12, BOTTOM LOUNGE Maritime is made up of veterans of the Promise Ring and the Dismemberment Plan, and they seem to be using this band to show us their sensitive sides. Don't laugh, I'm serious--their debut, Glass Floor (de Soto), is so self-consciously poetic, earnestly romantic, and nakedly angelic that it's bound to make even the manly men of emo squirm a bit, shy away from eye contact, or take up hockey. I suspect Maritime is trying to arrive at sophistication the long way around, by parlaying innocence into a kind of holy fool's wisdom. MR. AIRPLANE MAN 6/13, gunther murphy's These two Boston women have blown me away repeatedly in the past--their off-the-rails hellfire blues-rock outshakes a fair chunk of the Fat Possum catalog (well, the stuff from the younger fellows anyway). The best part is that they never mistake plain ol' volume for actual power; they're most intense playing sparse and scary (as on "Jesus on the Mainline," from their second album, Moanin'). Their third full-length, C'mon DJ (Sympathy for the Record Industry), produced by Greg Cartwright of the Reigning Sound, is a bit of a letdown in that respect--they're playing cat and mouse with a singsongy girl-group sweetness. But they haven't gone completely pop, and their trance-inducing versions of Howlin' Wolf's "Asked for Water" and the traditional "Travelin'" (essentially the same song as "Trampin'," which Patti Smith revives on her new album) make it seem impossible that they could. EXO 6/15, METRO This local four-piece just released their second album, The Safety Primer Justice (i4), and it sounds like their music will be well served by the biggish stage at the Metro: it's swirly, heady alt-rock with a bit of Rush geekiness to it. The band has the good sense to pull the rug out whenever a particular riff gets boring, but that can only save individual songs--overall the record still feels longer than it is.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Sara Joesphson.