AT THE DRIVE-IN
Reverb, Tues, October 17
A piece of friendly advice: don't piss off El Paso hellraisers At the Drive-In.
Midway through laying waste to the Reverb, well-coiffed shouter Cedric Bixler -- whose impressive afro was beginning to sag a bit in the heat by this time -- made clear just what he thought of NOW's cover story on the band.
"Shoddy journalism," Bixler shrieked while perched on his monitor. "Burn up the papers, then burn down their building and string up their editors." Yikes.
The gig itself was stuffed and intense, but someone needs to tell the Drive-In boys that more is not necessarily better. The quintet's Fugazi-damaged, high-octane power punk would have been devastating in a 25-minute burst. Stretched out for more than an hour, though, the gag starts to wear a bit thin.
El Mo, Sat, October 28
To top Hacksaw's matching cowboy getups and flaming-suitcase finale, Cleveland's Boulder would need to do more than fry the PA for the costumed crowd at the Sinisters' sixth annual Depraved Halloween Bash.
The resourceful Ohio foursome took off their shirts, pulled black cowls over their heads and stomped onstage shouting, "Het-ro-sexuals have a right to rock!" like a slouchy version of the Mentors. Only they forgot to cut themselves mouth-holes, which made breathing and singing a challenge.
Tattooed singer dude Jamie Walters -- with what looked to be a self-styled "I Venom" etched in his lower back -- tried turning his hood to shout and gob through an eye-hole but eventually gave up and tore the thing off.
He was still up for a bit of Halloween fun, however, and busted a beer bottle to carve up the daring few at stage front. When they recoiled in horror, Walters applied the jagged edge to his own left cheek and dripped blood down his chest. For an encore, guitarist Mark Gibbs guzzled a half-litre of lighter fluid and blew a plume of fire directly into the scattering crowd. A dangerous treat.
Shaolin master ODB goes MIA
Toronto media tastemakers were given a sneak preview of the new Wu-Tang Clan album The W (Loud/Sony) when the group's 35-year-old label boss, Steve Rifkind, personally delivered the highly anticipated disc to Sony headquarters Wednesday (October 25). But before it could be unveiled, the assembly of journalists, radio programmers, club DJs and video personalities had to first sit through the entire forthcoming Xzibit album, Restless, blasted at head-cracking volume.
After an hour of watching Xzibit walking around the room lip-synching his rhymes, the crowd was understandably fidgety, and the latest Wu tracks didn't appear to be exciting enough to keep folks from using their cellphones to check voice mail.
Apart from a couple of novel vocal collaborations with Isaac Hayes and roots reggae great Junior Reid, there was nothing particularly revolutionary about The W. It's being positioned as a "back to basics" hardcore set, but the almost complete absence of roughneck rhyme-ripper Ol' Dirty Bastard -- he appears briefly on the track Conditioner with Snoop Dogg -- will make that a hard sell when The W disc drops November 28.