Preview: Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) at Scolari’s, July 21

My little sister comes for a visit tomorrow–and so does Yakuza’s Bruce Lamont, who will be appearing at Scolari’s Office. Under the best of circumstances, taking your little sister to a show at Scolari’s Office could be considered asking for trouble. Mine’s eleven, so I won’t be taking her there at all. That’s too bad, really, because I think seeing Bruce Lamont there tomorrow night would be a good thing for her.

Bruce is the singer and sax player (and songwriter) for Yazuka, a Chicago band that makes expansive terms like progressive, experimental metal seem confining and not quite accurate. They say people are judged by the company they keep, so perhaps getting to know Yakuza in the context of their tours with Opeth, Isis, Dysrythmia, and Behold the Arctopus would be a better introduction than my turgid prose. Bruce has lent his voice and horn to records and live shows by Cephalic Carnage, Tortoise, Battles, and Ken Vandemark and others. Word on the street (or, more accurately, on IM) is that he’s been asked to play on Mastodon’s next record. All this proves he’s got a lot going on that’s relevant to a variety of genres and scenes. That’s usually the sign of a gifted, interesting musician–or a sign that most people playing sax still wear silk suede shirts and look like they’re auditioning for Paul Shaffer’s orchestra circa 1986. I report, you decide.

Bruce on left. Typical “sax man” on right.

PS: If any of my readers out there are better situated in the metal scene than I (which almost definitely is the case), please post about this show on any metal boards–to the extent that they exist around SD. And, assuming they do, email me so I can get hip to the new shit.

Battles/Ponytail at Beauty Bar, June 29

Alas, I am going to miss this show. In fact, I’m writing from the airport at the moment, getting ready to head east for my step-grandmother’s funeral. Jason and I got bumped from our first flight (we’ve been here for five hours now) but in return got an upgrade to first class (a definite solid, as we’re headed to Connecticut) and two round-trip tickets gratis.

Anyway, I saw Battles a couple of years ago. I met John Stainer, their drummer, who was the original force behind Helmet. Nice enough guy. Much nicer than Damon Che, drummer for Don Caballero and former conspirator with Ian Williams, Battles’ guitarist. I interviewd Damon Che a while back–the man was incredibly standoffish, though a great interview. Anyone who references Lee Majors and Farah Fawcett, the size of his ass and bar rags in a forty second span is worth listening to. Their split was acrimonious to say the least; judging by Myspace plays at this point, it seems like Williams is winning. I still think Don Cab is superior, but that mostly goes back to their record American Don, which is probably the pinnacle of instrumental math rock.

I can’t figure out why this show is at the Beauty Bar, except that the Casbah has Steve Poltz and Anya Marina that night. Something tells me both shows will do fine. I’m having trouble imagining the individual that will feel genuinely torn between Battles’ Nintendo rock and Steve and Anya singing songs about whales and moonlit walks.

I’m still not quite sold on the Beauty Bar as a legitimate alternative to the Casbah from a sound reinforcement perspective, but a lot of the bad press from the rock crowd is a little undeserved. Sure, it’s frequented by hipsters who still need training wheels, but they serve beer and booze just like every other venue and the security team strike me as being agreeable dudes. So I’m going to second (or third) cat dirt and tell people to go there. Just be aware that you may be treated haughtily by a certain bartender. I find that kind of behavior hysterical: you’re selling beer in the middle of a “neighborhood in transition” to college kids, and you’re acting like you’re writing the great American novel.