april 25, princess superstar
Everyone's buzzing about how potty-mouthed NYC rap babe Princess Superstar rivals Eminem on the raunch scale, with her blatantly sexual rhymes engineered to offend. But judging from her show at the Reverb, there's no reason for folks to have their tighty-whiteys in a knot.
After a too-earnest set of flaccid whiteboy reggae/punk/ska by the Degenerates, irony was welcome, and the artist still known as Princess had tons of it. But the set was too polished. The Evian-bottle fake ejaculation during Wet! Wet! Wet! was cute, but there wasn't much fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants excitement -- or raunch. I guess a woman who mocks her voracious sexual appetite is shocking enough for some.
april 25, need new body
The irreverent hard-blowing kicks of Need New Body's self-titled debut disc made the Philly phreaks' local premiere at the Horseshoe a promising prospect. Sadly, the lacklustre group could've used six new bodies. The double drumming of Chris Powell and Jim Reggiani provided sufficient thrust, but bicycle-spoke-poker Dale Jimenez and howling guitarist/banjoist Jeff Bradbury couldn't lock into a groove. Ring modulator expert Jamey Robinson tried to stir up some excitement by hopping into the crowd and spinning around woozy Owls bassist Sam Zurich, but the offstage foolery just increased the already steady departure rate.
april 26, rocket tits
The porn projected on the walls of Lee's Palace and the rotating roster of punks offering up an in-your-face onstage strip tease (complete with Cool Whip and a fountain of champagne) were just enough to distract the Vazaleen crowd from the fact that local kick-ass chick supergroup Rocket Tits don't have a particularly new or novel act. Still, they're a Faster, Pussycat-style riot, attacking AC/DC and Go-Gos tunes with sexy bravado, booming bass and loud guitars.
april 26, hank engel & the hoosier daddies
Any place that hillbilly cat Hank Engel and his Hoosier Daddies set up, the party tends to follow. That's exactly what happened when the Sudbury boppers descended on the Cadillac Lounge and started beatin' out the boogie at the cozy Queen West hideaway. Three tunes in and Engel was already sweating like Mayor Mel at an OCAP barbecue, while the curious few who wandered in off the street to see what was the commotion were dirty-dancing around some giddy hombre stroking his air guitar.
Engel and company will be at the OPM Den (418 Dundas West) Saturday (May 4), and following the release of their new disc, All Hopped Up (On Hillbilly Bop), they'll take over the Cameron Family Singers' Saturday matinees (5:30 to 7:30 pm) at the Cameron House for the month of July. For further updates, check Hank's Web site at www.hankengel.com
The seemingly redundantly named first annual Fringe Jazz Festival kicks off Sunday (May 5) at the Music Gallery. The six-day jazz-travaganza divides up its program into six thematic categories: world-beat-inflected Mondo; vocal-focused, a cappella and scat-heavy Vox; instrumentally inclined Nota Bene; far-out experimental Nebula; Six Degrees, which shows off six different bands performing together in various permutations; and miscellaneous Idiom, for all the folks whose music didn't fit in anywhere else.
With 60 performers chosen using a lottery system, there's no quality guarantee. But try out venerable dub poet Lillian Allen with the Kevin Barrett Ensemble at the Music Gallery (197 John) Sunday (May 5) at 9:45 pm, big band the Hot Five Jazzmakers at the Tranzac (292 Brunswick) Tuesday (May 7) at 7:30 pm and jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner's and clarinettist Lori Freedman's Queen Mab collaboration at the Poor Alex Theatre (296 Brunswick) Tuesday (May 7) at 11 pm. Other venues include Hugh's Room and the Stealth Lounge, and ticket prices range from $15 at the door to 75 bucks for a full festival pass. Check www.fringejazz.com for the full schedule and ticket details.