By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Friday, March 6
The band that spent much of the past 12 years equally as broken up as it was together began in the late 1970s as a group of fusion-loving jazzheads. Singer ("throat") Paul "H.R." Hudson and his brother Earl on drums, guitarist Gary "Dr. Know" Miller, and bassist Darryl Jenifer discovered punk and reggae after hearing The Clash and seeing a Stanley Clarke/Bob Marley show. Inspired by Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, they adopted a "PMA" ("positive mental attitude") that evolved into Rastafarianism's bluesy, militant positivity, spurred by its vision of an African prophet in Haile Selassie. Early Bad Brains took their cues from The Damned, whose "New Rose" inspired their single "Pay to Cum," as well as other non-Africans' music.
Bad Brains' legacy has been their ability to channel hardcore's aggressiveness without its negativity. H.R.'s chimerical, PMA vocals — whelping howls, Smokey Robinson-like crooning, jaw-gnashing snarls — leapt from the abrupt time changes, jazz flourishes, and blinding but still-swinging tempos. Where other bands started out as three-chord thrash outfits and outgrew it, Bad Brains excelled in it, making punk their bitch, becoming the Charlie Prides of hardcore. Hobey Echlin
Against Me!: With Flogging Molly, the Aggrolites, and Dub Trio. Pompano Beach Amphitheatre, 1806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach. Show begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $24.50, or $70 for a four-pack. All ages. livenation.com
At the age of 15, Against Me! singer Tom Gabel was beaten up by a gang of ten cops in Naples, Florida, badly enough to be hospitalized for two weeks. This radicalized him from skate-punk brat to political anarchist, and over the next few years, he picked up the guitar, moved to punk mecca Gainesville, and became a folk-punk troubadour.
In 2001, Against Me! jumped into the big leagues as a proper band with the album Reinventing Axl Rose, an anthemic melting pot of folk, reggae, and punk rock with enough gang choruses to please an English soccer crowd. Every coffeehouse dreadlocked punk across the world fell hard for Against Me! These fans were to be bummed out in latter years when the band moved first to punk giant Fat Wreck Chords and then to major label Sire Records — which released its latest album, New Wave, in July 2007.
New Wave features enough midtempo, Gang of Four-via-Fugazi rock to make angry young men cry, "Sellout!" And one did, in a Tallahassee coffee shop in August 2007. Gabel subsequently caught a battery charge for allegedly introducing the would-be-conscience-of-punk-rock's face to a table. But Gabel and company are on the road, living their dream — and 90 percent of kids who bitch about selling out are going to wind up selling insurance after they realize their poly-sci degree is worthless. Tom Bowker
Eschewing convention, this Toronto electro outfit — with a name only a motherfucker could love — doesn't use computers to create its hallucinatory soundscape. Compelled by an aesthetic defined as "find something in the trash and plug it in," founding members Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh create their effects using tape machines, cheap keyboards, those annoying toy laser guns, and even a 35mm film sequencer (extra points to the bright girl or boy who can identify that device in the music). The act's second album, LP, received a Juno Award nomination (Canada's Grammy) for Alternative Album of the Year as well as a Plug Independent Music Award nomination for Avant Album of the Year. Backed by a solid rhythm section, Borcherdt and Walsh sweep listeners into an electro-industrial, psychedelic dream world straight out of Fritz Lang's id. See Holy Fuck live and the name will make perfect sense. Matt Scheidler
Saturday, March 7
King Khan and the Shrines: With Tigercity and Jacuzzi Boys. The Vagabond, 30 NE 14th St., Miami. Show begins at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Ages 21+. 305-379-0508, thevagabondmiami.com
King Khan's twisted rock 'n' roll ride landed him in a damn fine place. From his stint in trash rockers Spaceshits to the dual lineup of King Khan and BBQ Show to his current leading-man role with the Shrines, there has been a helluva lot of howlin', struttin', and shirtless-stompin' showboating. Khan screams in a raspy yowl like he's trying to break up a fight or get in one, a bit of Little Richard exuded through the Shrines' big band horns into a mess of a good time.
And party time fits them well. After all, Khan was originally a would-be protégé of Mike Mariconda of garage punk hepcats the Raunch Hands. Both the Hands and Khan present unrefined schlock, to be sure. But it's showmanship at its finest, going for the type of stage show Khan envisions as its most pure, born of the frantic early days of rock 'n' soul in the '50s and early '60s. Road-tested by a guy born to Indian parents and raised in Canada who launched his career and is now based in Berlin, this is also music fully at home in our own raucous time. Chris Toenes