Another week, another anti-Bush rock show. On Friday, Sept. 24, punk rock heavies Anti-Flag, Midtown, Strike Anywhere, Plea for Peace founder Mike Park, The Epoxies and Tom Morello will share the stage at the Sunshine Theater for a Bush-bashing bash featuring outrage and dissent in a loud, punk rock fashion. And you don't even have to be of legal age to vote to attend and join in the fun! Stay tuned for info on upcoming “Resurrect the Kerry Kampaign” shows. ... For those of you who don't already have enough anger and hatred weighing heavy on your mind and compelling you to commit violent crimes, the “Harsh Reality” Tour, featuring the soothing sounds of Freakhouse, Lyzanxia and Sybreed hits the Launchpad on Tuesday, Sept. 28. ... On Wednesday, Sept. 29, Outpost Productions and Burque's own Goddess of Arno Balkan Band present Esma Redzepova, the Queen of Macedonian Romani Song and her band, Ansambl Teodosievski, at the Sunshine Theater as the “Voice of Hope” Tour pulls into town. Tickets are $20 general, $15 Outpost members, and are available at Ticketmaster and Alphaville Video in Nob Hill. Call 268-0044 or 243-6276 for more information. ... 12 Step Rebels debut album for West Coast label Dead Body Records, Go Go Graveyard Rockin', officially hit the record stores on Tuesday, Sept. 21. Produced by Geoff Kresge (Tiger Army), the new disc is a psychobilly fan's delight. Ask for your copy by name at one of the few remaining independent record stores in town.
Though she once provided background vocals on recordings by Shawn Colvin and Nanci Griffith, New York-based singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky has long since established herself as a unique presence in the singer-songwriter world. The Red Thread (Red House) is a lush collection of five stunning originals written by Kaplansky and her husband, Richard Litvin and five covers (including James McMurtry's “Off and Running”) that is infused with her significant life experiences of the past three years—from the events of 9-11 which she basically witnessed first-hand to the recent adoption of her infant daughter—and of the threads that connect all of us. And, as always, Kaplansky illuminates the proceedings with hints of alt.country and “new folk” sensibility that sets her apart from most of her contemporaries. And she calls on an A-list of guests to assist in punctuating her songs, including Richard Shindell with whom she has toured and recorded as part of Cry, Cry, Cry, Jonatha Brooke (The Story) and Eliza Gilkyson.
Friday, Sept. 24; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): For what seems like the past 26 years, Breaker 19 have relied on that greezy, redneck mystique that separates the truckers from the real men. Only now, well into their third decade of existence, the Breaker boys have finally put a spit-shine on their debut record and released it at truckstops from here to Tulsa. Was it worth the wait? That depends. Do you prefer breakfast buffets that feature a minimum of four different styles of pork and fried bologna? Do you subscribe to the belief that a good cup of coffee needs to have “mud” at the bottom? Do you fear God as much as you fear homosexuals, Democrats and longhairs? Are you able to explain in detail how glow plugs work? Do you own any David Allen Coe cassettes? Did you have to look up the word “subscribe” in the dictionary just now? Yeah? Then Keep it On the Road was definitely worth the wait.
Sunday, Sept. 26; KiMo Theatre (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Of the literally thousands of musicians I've seen live over the years, exactly two of them have rendered me impotent to accurately describe or explain their respective performances and techniques. One is flamenco maestro Paco de Lucía. The other is Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
Saturday, Sept. 25; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 9 p.m.): As a member of “The Wrecking Crew,” producer/alleged murderer Phil Spector's legendary session band, Leon Russell contributed heavily to some of rock music's earliest and most enduring gems, recording with and writing songs for everyone from the Beach Boys to Ike and Tina Turner before scoring his first hit with Joe Cocker's version of “Delta Lady.” The same year, 1970, Russell released his own eponymously-titled debut album, introducing rock listeners to an idiosyncratic blend of swamp boogie, blues, country and southern-fried rock that would later make bands like the Doobie Brothers household names.
Being a self-professed alcoholic is a cliché lost on AMC's Mark Eitzel. There are gobs of songwriters regularly crediting their insights to booze and drugs, but few of them actually write from that place between reality and sad, slow death. Eitzel, unquestionably, is one of them. The pain, loss, heartbreak and sadly accurate worldview he crafts songs with can't be faked. As a result, AMC's first studio album in 10 years bristles with passionate suicidal tendencies and the kind of yearning that'll reduce you to tears—proof that giving up may well be the first step in starting over.