I recently found myself sucked into a debate about whether a band member deliberately shooting snot rockets and spitting onto the audience during a show improved or diminished the live music experience. The guy who attended the gig thought being the target of bodily fluid projectiles ramped up the excitement. Most of the rest of us said, "Ew."
At this point in my life, I've seen over 2,000 bands. I've seen lesbian folk acts, old school punks, art rockers and grunge heroes. I've seen drummers get naked, singers swing from the ceiling, guitarists bleed from their fingers, a doorman puke from being so grossed out by Haunted Garage's horror show — all the usual stuff and then some. A lot of really good bands, several really lousy ones and many, many forgettable acts. At no point in time ever did I think, "You know what would make this show better? If the accordionist would ramp it up even more by discharging a loogie on me!" But, hey, to each their own.
Now, if you're looking for something out of the ordinary that, as far as I know, does not involve someone else's mucus accompanying the music, please be thrilled that The Slow Poisoner is coming to the Little Red Lion on Thursday night. Andrew Goldfarb started out as the leader of a five-piece band, The Slow Poisoners, named after a chapter in Charles Mackay's 1854 book Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, which detailed a murderous fad among 17th Century European wives. Now it's just Goldfarb, who bills himself as "a cross between Johnny Cash and Alice Cooper" — rootsy, but weird like a late-night horror movie host or a creepy camp counselor. The Cramps are an obvious (and excellent) influence. Based on watching several wacky (and well-done) videos, you can expect songs about headless chickens and hot rod worms, props that include painted signs and dancing spiders, and a show that will entertain to cataclysmic proportions. The music starts around 9 p.m., show is 21-and-over.
Sometimes a music lover gets jaded, wonders what happened to the youth. When did they stop playing guitar? Why are all the rockers in A-town over 40? But then comes along the melodic and crunchy High Crimes, which will infuse a much-needed dose of talented 20-somethings into the scene at Hum Brews on Saturday night. Kimmy Kennedy's singing ranges from ethereal to striking, inspiring infatuation from her first note in "Punks of Jazz" from the band's eponymous debut. Bandmates Harrison Laver (guitar, vocals), Ben James (bass/vox) and Alyssa Jung (drums) provide a perfectly balanced blend of restraint and attack. Get to know them, along with Neighbors and Wrecks Goliath starting around 10 p.m. Cover's $5, show is 21-and-over.
Meanwhile, over at the Alibi, The Songwriter Circle Of Death V will spin you right round, baby, with four mics, four guitars and four individual performers in the form of The HiLL's Burly Dent, the Yosemite Weavetone's Christopher Weaver, Courtney Jaxon of The Lost Luvs/The Monster Women and one-man prince of disinterest, TheBoredAgain. Things begin to roll around 10:30 p.m. with a $5 cover charge and, yes, be 21-or-over.
The Little Red Lion is owning this week with a Monday night gig by Boston's Bent Knee, an atmospheric, avant-garde experience. One could invoke both Radiohead and Ravel in attempting to explain the impressionist nature of Bent Knee. Local good timers The Tweeners and The Fairy Rings open. Little Red is a bar, so do not attempt to attend this show if you are not yet of legal drinking age. Everyone else, the show starts around 9 p.m. and as far as the Internet is concerned, there's no cover.
Don't despair, however, under-twenty-oners! The Works hosts The Trashies, Seattle/Oakland's premiere post-hardcore psychedelic '60s grunge garage act, along with local lovely lady retro rockers The Lost Luvs and all ages are invited. Be prepared to dance starting at 8 p.m.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to email@example.com. And do let me know if you get spit on.