Thursday, November 12, 1998
Lookin'' for a party? Check out Doc''s Nightclub on Friday where Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs are playing. We''re talking revved-up roots rock with a high-powered stage show.
The last Forbidden Pig album I got my hands on was 1995''s The Other White Meat, and it rocks. We''re talkin'' music that''s somewhere in that thin grey area between, say, The Stray Cats and The Blasters. With a sort of Blues Brothers twist.
Whether you''re a new convert to the rockabilly/swing craze or you''re a dyed-in-wool aficionado of the music, you gotta like bass man/vocalist Billy Bacon, guitarist Jerry "Hotrod" Mink and drummer Randy "The Hammer" DeMink. And you gotta like the fact that these guys have been doing the music since ''84-long before it got trendy.
I guess you could go on about the band and the history, but bottom line, these guys are barroom rockers who''ve made it their business to ignite a party wherever they go-and they do go. Since the Pigs released White Meat, they''ve released at least one other CD, 13 Years of Bad Road, a compilation of live recordings from their extensive touring schedule, and they''ve got great reviews from around the country.
Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs, Saturday, 9pm. Doc''s Nightclub, 649-4241.
I hadn''t ever really appreciated Chuck Brodsky until I caught him at the Strawberry Music Festival this last spring.
I''d heard Brodsky''s first two CDs, A Fingerpainters Mural and letters in the dirt, and thought ''very nice.'' Then I put them on the shelf and never listened to them again. While Brodsky''s storytelling lyrics were impressive, there was something just a little too smooth, too predictable about the music. Although some acoustic music critics compared him to Bob Dylan, it seemed the similarities were more superficial; there''s always been something dangerous about Dylan''s music, just about the time you have him pegged, he chases off in a different direction-whether it''s in his lyrics, his music, his phrasing or his persona. Maybe that''s what keeps him exciting.
But at Strawberry I got a different view. My girlfriend and I were camped right across from the workshop stage where we could listen to (if not quite see) everything that happened on the stage. One day, as I was fixing breakfast (or maybe it was dinner) Brodsky led a workshop on songwriting. And it provided a whole new glimpse into the humanity in Brodsky''s songwriting. So I went back and listened to letters in the dirt.
Yeah, there''s little flash in Brodsky''s style, but maybe that''s because there''s no need for it. There''s a sort of organic connection between the music and the message; it''s the type of music that you''d want someone to play if you had people over to the house for a Sunday chicken dinner. At times it''s politically pointed, other times it''s personally poignant; it always goes down smooth and it''s stuff that people can discuss later on.
So I was eager to insert Brodsky''s 1998 CD, Radio, between my ears. And I''ll tell you what, if I liked Brodsky before, I like him even better now.
There''s something darker, richer, more varied about Radio than letters. From the opening cut, "La Migre Viene," the tone is set as Brodsky tells the story of a migrant fruit pickers running from the INS. Eerily reminiscent of Dylan''s "With God on Our Side," Brodsky''s "Our Gods" mixes anthemic sarcasm with his own brand of humanity: "We kill for our gods-we wage holy wars/Assassinate presidents-burn down bookstores/Massacre children to settle old scores/Yell, ''Our Gods are great!''/Our gods must be proud of the blood on our hands...We serve our gods-in such humorless ways/Rituals we do-laws we obey/Sometimes in between we pray/But how often do we say, ''I love you?''"
The tone lightens a little with "On Christmas I Got Nothing," in which Brodsky laments that because his family was Jewish they got nothing for Christmas. The upside is instead of drinking eggnog "or those wine and cider brews/We drank Mogen David-''cause we were Jews." And "Blow ''em Away" is a viciously dark bit of humor about a frustrated city dweller who decides to pull out his pistol and use it to blow away the problems in his life.
Radio is an album well worth adding to your collection. And Brodsky''s appearance at Morgan''s on Saturday well worth checking out. Singer/songwriter Jim Page opens the show.
Chuck Brodsky, Saturday, 8pm. Morgan''s Coffee and Tea, $10. 655-6868.
While we''re talking about Morgan-related stuff, don''t forget that the Monterey Bay Traditional Music Society is presenting Laura Love next Thursday (11/19) at Doc''s Nightclub. Should be a real cool place to catch Love up-close and personal.
And if you got a yen for some authentic cowboy music, saddle up your buckskin and trot down to see Mike Beck, who''s playing The Media Room.
Beck, who calls Monterey home, has a great reputation as the real deal due to his years working as a bona fide cowboy.
Mike Beck, Friday, 8pm. The Media Room, 373-7379.