Nightwatch/Club Watch
Mel Gibson is Nick Marshall in "What Women Want," new this week on video.
Photo by ANDREW COOPER/Paramount Pictures

Bands bunch up for three gigs

Pop music heaven: That's where Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire transported us to last weekend at the Blue Heron with their catchy, ebullient show laced with hints of Timbuk 3, touches of '60s psychedelia and a little bit of the blues. The concert eschewed the band's old-time radio sound of previous years and concentrated instead on tunes from their new album, a decision Ms. Jones might have rued had she not been too busy covering every available inch of dance floor with her happy feet. Disappointed? What for? The nostalgia is gone but the sophisticated lyrics, the harmonies and the sweet violin riffs remain. Whatever comes next matters not to Ms. Jones, who will follow Mr. Bird wherever he flies.

Friday, May 11

And they say 13 is an unlucky number. That's the tally of bands competing in the KBGA-FM "Battle of the Bands," a five-hour extravaganza (9 p.m. to 2 a.m. "or until the music stops") in the University Center Ballroom of the University of Montana. Duking it out in 20-minute sets will be (in order) Where's Jenn?, Port Ta Port Productions, Perennium, Neato Bandito Frito, The Disappointments, Don't Be Denied, Moxie, The Lost Cause, Die Sister Die, The Lazerwolfs, The Strychnine Three, Tower, Exit 0. Admission costs a measly $2.

What do you wear to a Punk Rock Prom? A tux with tails and a DIE YUPPIE SCUM T-shirt? A spotted knapweed corsage? Maybe you curl your mohawk for the occasion, or dab on a bit of that special black lipstick.

Attire is "formal," whatever that means in the rebellion-ruled realm of punk, at tonight's all-ages event in the Union Hall, upstairs at 208 E. Main St., above the Union Club. Tickets are $10, $7 students, to hear veteran Missoula favorites The Everyday Sinners, Volumen, Sasshole and Oblio Joes. Get yer tickets at Ear Candy Music, 624 S. Higgins Ave., 542-5029. Oh, and don't forget your diamond-studded dog collar AND those oh-so-fashionable earplugs.

It's Freedom Daze in Caras Park, where food, beer and music by Moksha, Amy Martin, The Disappointments, Tin Can Genie, Primies, Nate Schweber and Moxie, Pistol Creek and Switch bring the riverside to life from noon to 10:30 p.m. The event is billed as a "celebration of human rights, freedom and diversity," and admission appears to be, appropriately, free.

Saturday, May 12

A new Missoula band is always a good thing, so Ms. Jones will go out on a limb and herald Tin Can Genie even before she's heard them play. One thing she can say for certain: someone affiliated with the group writes a darned entertaining press release. To wit:

"It's not that the songs of Tin Can Genie are hard to describe. There's the tale of a hippie without a wallet and why his gal got pregnant. A song about Eureka, Kansas …. White-boy funk, sentimental glam-rock ballads, boogie-down jams, way-off-Broadway show tunes, and one lone punk anthem standing out like an untanned butt at a nude beach."

'Nuff said? Check out the sextet in Sean Kelly's Pub on Saturday (they also play at the aforementioned Freedom Daze in Caras Park on Friday), and look for Ms. Jones there, who'd rather not hear the punk anthem but will be willing to brave it for the visual effects.

Over at the Ritz it's Too Loose, a Hermosa Beach, Calif. rock quartet with a sound like an electric scream and a lead singer who performs backflips on stage. Reviewers say the band gives a high-energy, passionate show with a "little-boy-in-the-mud spirit."

The Blue Heron transforms itself into a comedy club when The Shoppe perform beginning at 10 p.m. The local improv troupe, regulars at Jay's Upstairs for the past year or so, specialize in creating a show on the spot based on audience members' suggestions (why do you think they call it "improv?"); the hijinks begin with superhero Captain Elastic protecting the world from flying elephants. Tickets cost $4.

Monday, May 14

Jay Vance is perhaps most famous as a founding member of the Blue Meanies, but apparently it's not a gig he looks back upon with relish.

"When you're working with humans, you never know what kind of mood they will be in each day," he told a reporter for the St. Coud, Minn. Times. "But with the 'bots, I know what to expect. They're always having a bad day because they hate me."

Vance, who goes by the moniker JBOT, is the leader of the one-man, three-droid rock band Captured! by Robots described by the San Francisco Guardian as "champions on the local freak-show front" who give an "ingeniously demented performance."

According to reports, JBOT appears to control the robots by remote control pedals and wires while playing a combination keyboard-guitar neck, but actually it's the robots who control him. He created GTRBOT666 and DRMBOT0110 as band mates, but they turned on him and implanted a "biocerebral chip" through which they torment him on stage, forcing him to sing such humiliating songs as "I Just Peed Your Waterbed" and "Herve," an ode to JBOT's herpes. Luckily JBOT's third creation, The Ape Which Hath No Name, provides rose-colored relief with his tambourine and endless professions of love for all things.

The weirdness abounds at - where else? - Jay's Upstairs; Volumen and Switch also perform.

Club Watch

Here's a look at entertainment in the area's bars and clubs for the week of May 11-17:

Blue Heron, 140 W. Pine St., 542-2525: Sweet Low Down and the Zoo City Players Friday, $3 cover; The Shoppe, comedy, Saturday, $4 cover; DJ XS Thursday, $1 cover.

Buck's Club, 1805 Regent St., 543-7436: Of Sound Mind, Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m., $1 cover on weekends.

Deano's Diamond Casino, North Reserve Street and I-90: Country with Julie Bug and Northern Exposure, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., no cover.

Eagles Lodge, 2420 South Ave., 728-9433: Crossfire, Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Elbow Room, 1025 Strand Ave., 728-2007: The Tomcats, Friday and Saturday; Solid Sound Karaoke, Tuesday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Evaro Bar, top of Evaro Hill, Highway 93 North: Remington Riders, Saturday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Harold's Club, Milltown: Solid Sound Karaoke, Friday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Harry David's Lounge, 2700 Paxson, Paxson Mall, 728-6722: The Affordables, Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m., $1 cover.

The Jack, 7000 Graves Creek Road, off Highway 12 west of Lolo: Cienbia Star Karaoke, Saturday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Jay's Downstairs, 119 W. Main St.: Good Foote, Saturday, 9 p.m.

Jay's Upstairs, 119 W. Main St.: Friday - Astroglide, Punch Trick, alternative rock; Saturday - The Buttered Toast Society; Pace Car, punk rock; The Disappointments, Lost Cause. Monday - Captured! By Robots, sci-fi rock; Volumen, Switch, all-girl rock band.

Limelight, 1609 W. Broadway: Solid Sound Karaoke, Wednesday, 9 p.m.; comedy night, Tuesday, 9 p.m.; country music, Thursday, 8 p.m.; top 40 dance music, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., no cover.

Mustang Sally's Bar & Grille, 2006 Ernest Ave.: DJ spins top 40, dance and hip-hop Tuesday through Saturday, 9 p.m., $2 cover on weekends.

The Raven, 130 E. Broadway: Robin, Friday, noon-1:30 p.m., contemporary, classical, Celtic, jazz, folk, native and blues.

The Ritz, 208 Ryman St., 721-6731: Saturday - Too Loose; Monday - open mic; Wednesday - Moxie.

Sean Kelly's Pub, 130 W. Pine St., 542-1471: Russ Nassett and the Revelators Friday, Tin Can Genie Saturday, Celtic music Sunday, 7-9 p.m.; Johnny Marshall Blues Band Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:30 p.m., $2 cover.

Shadows Keep, top of Whitaker Drive: Jody Mosher, guitar, Friday; Chuck Hurt and Raleigh McNeil, jazz guitars, Wednesday, 7-10 p.m., no cover.

Top Hat, 134 W. Front St., 728-9865: Punch Truck Friday, pre-band party 9 p.m.; Swizzle Grit Saturday; folk jam Monday; Pinegrass Tuesday; Babylon Rhythm Band Wednesday, $5 cover buys tap beer; Unprecedented Thursday. Music starts about 10 p.m.; no cover unless otherwise noted.

Turah Pines, Kootenai Karaoke Saturday, 7 p.m., no cover.

Union Club, 208 E. Main St.: Moonlighters, Friday; Cash for Junkers, Saturday, 9 p.m., no cover.

Union Hall, 208 E. Main St., upstairs: Punk Rock Prom with The Everyday Sinners, Volumen, Sasshole, Oblio Joes, $10 public, $7 students.

VFW Club Post 209, 245 W. Main St.: Roger Shack's one-man band playing smooth country, Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 p.m., no cover.

Westside Lanes, 1615 Wyoming St.: Solid Sound Karaoke, Thursday, 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover.

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