“The blonde waitresses take their trays/ They spin around and they cross the floor/ They got the moves/ You drop your drink, then they bring you more/ All the school kids so sick of books/ They like the punk and the metal band/ When the buzzer rings/ They're walking like an Egyptian.”—“Walk Like an Egyptian” written by Liam Sternberg and performed by The Bangles on the album Different Light
“Walk Like an Egyptian” was one of my mother’s favorite pop tunes. Otherwise, she favored The Beatles and Billy Joel. Mom liked the song because it’s happy. She used to blast it on the car stereo as she drove to Coronado Mall. One supposes the activities described therein are indicative of a certain joie de vivre. She slipped the bonds of this mortal coil nearly 20 years ago, but I clearly recall her musically induced joy. Hearing this song on the ’80s station makes me smile too, as I look toward a season of ice cold drinks and punk and metal bands filling local venues. Follow on as I walk like an Egyptian toward that lofty goal.
Fifty percent of Melt-Banana
Courtesy of artist
Melt-Banana, a Japanese band known for noisy, metallic indulgences relayed through pop pronunciations, have a gig on Friday, May 8, at Launchpad (618 Central SW). Active since the early '90s, the work of surrealist bananas Yasuko Onuki and Ichirou Agata evidences an eclectic experimentalism that verges on the chaotic but maintains a tuneful bond to essential rocanrol ruminations about love and life. Agata’s guitar work adds intense texture to the band’s underlying melodicism.
The lately ubiquitous and always alluring ICUMDRUMS, starring Kris Kerby, opens the evening’s descent into loud, lovely longing. It’s $12 to get through the airlocks at 8pm, and the 21-plus scene lifts off at 9:30pm.
Up the road a ways, there's a dance party on the roof of Effex (420 Central SW) on Friday night too. This jam features Los Angeles electro wizards David Lee Crow aka Ghastly and Tony Fresch aka Dr. Fresch dueling and dropping beats in a back-to-back ritual designed to raise spirits, spill drinks and get you and yours swaying and shaking as a springtime starscape cascades overhead.
Ghastly's ability to spin multiple genres into believably taut, timeless tirades should be an awesome contrast to the good doctor’s percussively glitchy invitations to the dance. Tickets for this 21-plus trek are available through Red Fish Entertainment (redfishevents.com).The party starts at 9pm.
The evening of Saturday, May 9, presents an opportunity to check out one of the city’s grooviest venues, as the historic El Rey Theater (622 Central SW) hosts Beats Antique. An amazing tribal fusion outfit, Beats Antique is fronted by belly dancer and experimentalist Zoe Jakes. Jakes' work combines a hefty dose of enigmatic electronica mixed with mischief and meditation; the result is an unforgettable sensory experience.
Accompanists and co-conspirators David Satori and Tommy Cappel add an intriguing sense of jazz, psychedelia and worldbeat conceits to the ensemble. Beats Antique's recent recordings A Thousand Faces: Act I and A Thousand Faces: Act II are notable for their use of traditional instrumentation buoyed by high-tech production and electronic atmospherics. Fans age 16 and older should arrive at 7pm and enjoy the sights and sounds until midnight. Tickets are $17 and are available at electrostub.com.
Sister (407 Central NW) will be the scene of a droning clamor on Monday, May 11, when the venue welcomes Earth and True Widow. Earth is the progeny of Olympia, Wa., native Dylan Carlson. For over 25 years, the dude has been busting eardrums, discomfiting the square set and worshipping Satan—or some semblance of the goat-god—while producing music that is as perplexing as it is compelling. Dense, dark and full of distorted guitar gymnastics, Earth has seen its share of members ascend and fall. Throughout the fracas, the band has managed to maintain a precise take on a dark side of drone-inflected Americana that includes influences as diverse as Roy Buchanan and Merle Haggard.
True Widow, a Texas trio comprised of D.H., Nikki and Slim, plays the kind of music your mother warned you about; she may or may not have tried to steer you toward The Bangles instead. True Widow is heavy, guitar-centric and much like the comfort of a detuned radio when one is trying to outrun the apocalypse. Though some have branded the group as shoegaze or ambient pop, their concert spectaculars rise past such foggy notions, approaching an alluring and high-strung soundscape. For a winsome way to spend an otherwise blue Monday, admission is a superstitious $13. The concert is open to folks who are at least 21, and it wouldn't hurt to be familiar with the dark arts. Doors open at 8pm, and movement toward the lower levels begins at 9pm.
Speaking of the number 13, revel in raucous ramblings at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW) on Wednesday, May 13, when Author & Punisher and Death Convention Singers invade the North Valley joint to provide a semblance of something called art rock. Author & Punisher is the techno-torture template that artist Tristan Shone uses to explore music in a disturbing fashion reminiscent of postmodern boundary dwellers like Survival Research Labs and Burque’s own Kris Kerby. A mechanical engineer by trade, Shone shines rather darkly within the doom-encrusted musical machinery of his own design. Current work includes the erotically charged, defiantly dissonant release Ursus Americanus.
As for Death Convention Singers, the name says it all. Doom-tastic, wantonly experimental and damn satisfying in their approach to large-ensemble cacophony, Death Convention Singers brings the vision of composers and provocateurs like Raven Chacon, Marisa Demarco, Luke Hussack, Bud Melvin, Tahnee Udero and many others to fruition within recitals that resemble the aftermath of human civilization. Father of the Flood and Frighten & Amaze open. Not-so-average listeners can acquire tickets to this ultra-noisy, semi-divine discourse for $8. Low Spirits opens at 8pm, and the river roars into darkness beginning at 9:30pm.
While walking like an Egyptian toward these hellacious shows, keep in mind that what happened along the Nile so long ago was memorable because humans just like us made it so. Create your own memories in early May by going out and supporting the local scene. Maybe a few thousand years from now, a pop band on Saturn will make a record called “Walk Like a Burqueño” on your account.