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[whitespace] Apocalypse Now

Elusive singer-songwriter Stuart Davis outdoes himself with bright new album

By Sarah Quelland

GENERALLY KNOWN FOR his wickedly perverse sense of humor and provocative songs with complex and unusual themes--among them sex with a sea creature ("Mermaid"), switching dependencies from alcohol to alcoholic support groups ("Only Changing Drugs") and running amok on a global vandalism spree ("Asshole World Renown")--independent recording artist Stuart Davis has just released a new album, Bright Apocalypse (on his own fan-funded Post Apocalyptic Records label). Bright Apocalyse Now is something of a departure for the talented singer-songwriter. The most contemplative of his eight releases (including Kid Mystic, previously his most serious work), Apocalypse delves into mysticism with songs about communion with God, death and the potential for human divinity.

Influenced more by writers than by musicians (with the possible exception of Elvis Costello), Davis takes inspiration from books like Tao Te Ching, The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Cloud of Unknowing, as well as works by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Rumi and Ken Wilber (an essay by Davis will be included in Kindred Visions: A Complete Guide to Ken Wilber; he's also contributing a piece to The Spirit of Gen X). Although Davis' lyrics may seem daunting, his catchy, upbeat songs are accessible and inevitably leave a profound impression. Highlights of the thoughtful album--which as a whole conveys a mood of ancient wisdom, magic and mystery--include "Infinity Hymn" (on which he sings, "Forget Creation, forget Big Bang and the chance mutations of Darwin's gang/The universe is made of notes that only exist in someone's throat," followed by a resounding "hmmhmmmm"), "World War Three," "Alms" "Caravan" and "Eclipse."

"Your House," with its pulsing musical heartbeat, also stands out: "It was easy when I thought I had to go somewhere to find you/Now I learn I must attend to my own funeral/So you may look through these eyes and draw breath through this nose/And reach with these fingers and pulse with this heart." Though his winning live solo performances are usually acoustic (Davis is a remarkably skilled guitarist), the well-produced Apocalypse features a live band with Enrique Toussant, Dirk Freymuth and Jimi Englund.

Minnesota native Davis is currently based in Palo Alto, but he is frustratingly elusive and rarely performs locally, preferring to spend his time here reading, meditating and golfing. However, he recently returned from a tour of the Midwest and will appear at a CD-release party Saturday (Jan. 29) at the Espresso Garden & Cafe, 814 S. Bascom Ave., San Jose (408.298.0808). Though Bright Apocalypse is his latest creation, Davis will surely perform his more satirical material, along with some unrecorded songs, like the powerful "Dresden," "Penquins" and "Immanence," on which he quips, "Sex is proof the Holy Ghost crawls around in stuff that's gross." Doors open at 8pm. CDs will be available for purchase at the show, or contact Peppermint at 800.633.7020 or www.peppermintcds.com to order one.

A little reminder that the Cactus Club hosts live bands during happy hour every Thursday at 5-9pm in the game room area. Bands interested in performing should contact Dave Miller at 408.356.6211 or email him at [email protected] Upcoming happy hour shows feature the Forgotten and Not Hot tonight (Jan. 27), State Faire Apocalypse (Feb. 3), Sweet Duration (Feb. 17) and Descent (Feb. 24) ... Moodfrye also performs at the Cactus Club's main stage Thursay (Jan. 27) with Mr. Roper, 9 Circles and Diversion.

PLAN AHEAD: Local Oddity, Breach and others, Jan. 28 at the Cactus; the Hi-Fives, Jan. 29 at the Gilman in Berkeley; Flogging Molly, Chicken Coupe DeVille and Clay Wheels, Jan. 30 at the Usual; Fear, Feb. 4 at the Cactus; Boy Kicks Girl, Feb. 4 at the YWCA in Palo Alto; Cher and Lou Bega, Feb. 5 at the San Jose Arena; Anthrax and Fu Manchu, Feb. 5 at the Warfield; Dee Dee Ramone, Feb. 6 at the Cactus; Cracker, Feb. 9 at the Catalyst; Smash Mouth and Luscious Jackson, Feb. 12 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium; Insolence, Feb. 19 at the Cactus; Spearhead, Feb. 23 at the Usual; 2 Live Crew, Feb. 24 at the Usual; Korn and Staind, Mar. 3 at the Oakland Arena.

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From the January 27-February 2, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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