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Kings of the Road:
Rockabilly rules at Road Kings show

By Sarah Quelland

THE GREASERS AND ROCKABILLY DUDES were out in force to catch the Road Kings, who rolled into the Agenda Lounge last Wednesday (Aug. 25). Listening to the Road Kings deliver a scorching rockabilly-punk show, I got the idea that the edgy Texas trio is accustomed to rowdier venues than Agenda. But they rocked the joint and had people on the dance floor swinging with kicking songs like "Hurdy Gurdy Monkey Shine," "Hot Wired" and the dark "Casting My Spell."

Mr. Big gave a fine performance at the Edge last Thursday (Aug. 26) (with Empty and the Recruits opening) and brought elements of arena rock into the intimate club. Featuring vocalist Eric Martin, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Pat Torpey, and with Richie Kotzen taking on guitar duties, the hard-rock band has actually aged well. In fact, Martin (who's reportedly somewhere in his 40s) looks like he hasn't aged a day since he was 16 and displayed all the energy of a teenager. Kicking off with "Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (The Electric Drill Song)" from 1991's platinum-selling Lean Into It, the band went through all the old favorites, among them a supersexy version of "Voodoo Kiss" and the power ballad "To Be With You." Sticking to the admittedly dated Mr. Big sound, the band also debuted new material, including a song called "Superfantastic" from its forthcoming album Get Over It.

The Cactus Club had an interesting lineup Saturday (Aug. 28) with RetroMotive, Dealership, Stunt Monkey and Imperial Teen. With only four bands on the bill, everyone had the luxury of playing long sets, which was nice for a change. Local RetroMotive opened the night with its melancholy mysteriousness and moody soundscapes. The band performed newer material--"Siren" and "Satan's Game"--along with its dark cover of Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper." The other local band on the bill, Stunt Monkey, also performed new material from its latest release, Kid Tested, Mother Approved, including "Hypochondriac" and "Stupid."

Supercharged local metal outfit Sketch has officially changed its name to Party Casket after obstacles prevented the band from trademarking the previous moniker. The interesting choice seems to generate strong initial reaction (largely negative) from anyone who hears it, but frontman Simon Woodstock doesn't seem to mind. He says it's just part of the "band you love to hate" image and claims that Party Casket will be bigger, bloodier, fierier and more outrageous than Sketch. The band doesn't have any local gigs lined up right now, but www.partycasket.com is up and running. Check the new site for updates.

There's some exciting news for Tool and Primus fans. Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan brings his side project A Perfect Circle (which features former Primus drummer Tim Alexander) to the Usual this Saturday (Sept. 4) as part of the Fishbone/Triple Seven show. Difficult to categorize--what with its intensely heavy, hard, almost orchestral rock, dark, intellectual lyrics and extended musical sequences--the unconventional, boundary-pushing Tool has distinguished itself from the rest of the pack. Its 1996 album, Ænima, went double platinum in the U.S. just this month. While details on the side project are scarce, with freakish frontman Maynard spearheading the operation, A Perfect Circle should be something different, to say the least.

After its successful debut last year, Korn's brainchild Family Values tour is gearing up for round two. Last year's tour, with Korn, Ice Cube, Rammstein, Orgy and others, grossed more than $6.4 million in 27 dates. Let's see if this year's can match or beat that as Limp Bizkit (who's on fire these days with sophomore album Significant Other) headlines. Filter and Crystal Method are also in the lineup, and DMX and Method Man and Redman will switch off. Family Values makes its closest stop Oct. 19 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

More details on Smash Mouth's so-called secret show have come to light. On Oct. 22, the band will perform at the Usual. This one's not as easy as just going out and buying a ticket, though; it's a private party, and there are special requirements to get in. Find out about those beforehand at the club.

PLAN AHEAD: Los Straitjackets, Sept. 5 at Mitchell Park Amphitheatre in Palo Alto; Mojo Nixon and Hayride to Hell, Sept. 8 at the Cactus Club; Queens of the Stone Age, Sept. 11 at the Cactus; Brooks & Dunn, Sept. 11 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

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From the September 2-8, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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