The Russian Futurists keep it simple

More Concerts of Note

Tokyo Sex Destruction

Tokyo Sex Destruction with Bullet Train to Vegas and Viva La Foxx

Thursday · Radio Down

I once interviewed a Cincinnati-based band whose singer was bemoaning the fact that too many new groups were falling into an abstract abyss when it came to lyrics and intent. Nobody was singing about "the scene" (referring to old Punk bands like Youth Brigade and Seven Seconds) or anything real. "Now it's just, like, 'This one is called 'Silver Tea Wedding Spoon,' " he joked. He isn't the only musician who thinks that music should be based on something other than sound waves. Though they hail from Spain, Tokyo Sex Destruction's closest Rock & Roll brethren is Detroit's MC5, somewhat in their sonic bombast but implicitly in their sociopolitical ethos. The sleeve-design of the band's CD, Le Red Soul Communitte (10 Points Program) (Dim Mak), is littered with "Black Power" images, and each all-white member has adopted, Ramones-style, the surname of MC5 manager/guru John Sinclair, the leader of the so-called "White Panther Party." A rambling doctrine emblazoned on the inner sleeve encourages free thinking and fighting uniformity but, in a nutshell, TSD's cult of individuality seems to be based on letting yourself go and enjoying their endearing brand of bloated Blues and blistering Stomp Rock, which archly mimics American Garage Rock legends, distantly cops vintage R&B rousing and even directly quotes Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music." Rock & Roll is their only dictator. It, of course, comes off as big-time shtick (the group sports matching suits and there is a pretty blatant conflicting dichotomy in telling people not to conform), but TSD's music is the most important declaration to take away from Le Red Soul. Singer R.J. Sinclair's street-preacher sermons are akin to those of Ian Svenonious (Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up), rambling in broken English about fighting The Man and living how you want over the rest of the band's volatile, frantically-paced Rock & Roll.

Which is what Rock & Roll was supposed to be all about in the first place, si? (Mike Breen)

The Russian Futurists with The Cathedrals

Friday · Radio Down

Having never made a SynthPop album in my bedroom, I can only imagine where the creative process leads. When lyrical and melodic ideas dry up, there is probably a lot compensating with samples and effects. Ontario native Matthew Adam Hart has not yet had this conundrum. His two acclaimed one-man wonders, The Method of Modern Love (2001) and Let's Get Ready to Crumble (2002), hint at a limitless fountain of lo-fi '80s splendor. The albums have Flaming Lips sensibility, but the bubble gum beats and tinkly-toy keyboard hooks consistently take center stage, making The Postal Service a closer cousin (hell, let's call them siblings). As such, tension builds as the disembodied vocals are endlessly at odds with the poetic and often brilliant lyrics ("We stitched and sutured ill-fated futures/Amassed the past in archaic computers/Come join the ranks in our data banks/It's a life without thanks"). Also, giving the middle finger to Pop tradition, lyrics are rarely repeated, but somehow it all works out for the best. While Hart remains committed to a near-solitary songwriting and recording regime, he has in the past enlisted several keyboardists to assist in the reconstruction of the Russian Futurists in a live context, even adding the occasional (gasp) acoustic guitar. Shows have been understandably short on theatrics, but long on engaging performances. Friday's Radio Down stop is the first on this four-date mini-tour, so there's no telling in what context Hart might come bearing his seductively simple songs. (Ezra Waller)

Disarray with Pain Link, The Socials and Execrator

Saturday · Sudsy Malone's

Take my advice and leave that sappy, romantic dinner crap to Dweezil and Lisa. Disarray has everything your Valentine really craves. Blending the frenetic chug of Megadeth and the heavy swagger of White Zombie, this Tennessee trio means business. In the decade since high school friends Chuck Bonnet and Shane Harmon decided to make their mark on Rock, Disarray (with recently added bassist Vance Wright) have fed their collective Metal jones while not letting their Punk-ethos subscription lapse. They have toured continuously and self-released several meticulously produced albums. The grassroots methods kept the band afloat, barely, until one of their demos landed in the hands of Dave Brockie of GWAR. He was impressed and arranged to produce their Eclipse Records debut, In the Face of the Enemy. This release bolstered the band's mainstream Metal cred, as did opening slots for GWAR, Clutch and Biohazard, plus numerous compilation appearances. Last year, constant lineup changes and mounting frustration almost forced Bonnet to throw in the towel. But the reappearance of Harmon (who had been absent for many years) held things together and allowed Disarray to create their finest work to date, the pain-packed Edge of My Demise. Bonnet puts it best himself on the band's Web site: "What I love most about this record is the fact that it is the meanest, most hard driving music we have ever created, but at the same time it is very modern and catchy. You can kill somebody to it and be singing along at the same time." Awwww. I told you your sweetheart is going to love it. (EW)

Opeth with Moonspell and Devil Driver

Monday · Bogart's

For the past decade-and-a-half, Opeth guitarists Peter Lindgren and Mikael Åkerfeldt have recognized the commonality of precision, imagery and emotion that exists between the visceral mayhem of Extreme Metal and the bombast of Progressive Rock. Although the Swedish aggregation has been subjected to a revolving membership over the years, the clear artistic vision of Lindgren and Åkerfeldt has guaranteed that Opeth's direction has remained relatively unchanged because of it. The band actually began in Stockholm in the late '80s when Åkerfeldt was recruited to play bass in a formative version of Opeth, which was abandoned by its founder soon after. Lindgren was left in charge and revamped the lineup by moving to guitar and bringing in Lindgren, and altering the sound of Opeth to suit his own creative vision. Their demos earned them a three-album deal on the basis of their already evolving sonic singularity, a tension between their brutal Metal intensity and their proggy acoustic melodicism. Although Opeth's first album, the groundbreaking Orchid, didn't arrive until 1995, the band has released six albums since then, including their Prog Rock masterwork, Blackwater Park, and last year's dual release of the crushingly heavy Deliverance and the dreamily muted Damnation (all of which were produced by Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson). This year sees the release of Lamentations: Live at Shepherd's Bush 2003, Opeth's first venture into the DVD arena, featuring the two-hour set list of the disc's subtitled show (including the entire Damnation album) along with an hour long documentary detailing the evolution and creation of Deliverance and Damnation with commentary from the band and producer Wilson. Opeth is a rare breed in the Death Metal community, a band that understands the relationship between volume and silence, aggression and passion, noise and melody, chaos and calm and exists comfortably in the space between its extremes. (Brian Baker)

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