Upcoming shows you should check out
THE KING OF DIRTY RAP TURNS 75
It’s entirely possible to know the music of earnest southern soul crooner Clarence Reid while at the same time be completely unaware of the porn-rap originator Blowfly, but like Spike Lee to Mars Blackmon, they are one in the same. Aside from his own limited discography built sporadically throughout the late ‘60s and ‘70s, he had a hand in some rather big hits, most notably was Betty Davis’s million selling single “Clean Up Woman.”
Not to mention that his shimmering soul ballad “Winter Man” showed up on Andy Cirzan’s beloved annual compilation of ultradeep Christmas cuts a couple of years ago.
Blowfly, on the other hand, started something — namely, putting out songs with titles a little too blue for print. While most equate Miami as the birthplace of the truly tawdry kind of rap sprung 2 Live Crew and freaked out Tipper Gore, it was Blowfly who really kicked it off down there more than a decade before Uncle Luke was spitting dirty nursery rhymes. 1971’s The Weird World of Blowfly was preceded only by a couple of years by Shuggie Otis’s novelty Snatch & the Poontangs and reggae singer Lloyd Charmer’s own x-rated jams, but Blowfly’s commitment and longevity took his craft to another level. These aren’t just your run-of-the-mill obscenities; they are truly and utterly songs from a less polite era, but all in good fun. He turned 75, ironically, back on February 14, and like any birthday worth observing, the celebration continues all throughout North Carolina this week. He’s at the Mothlight in Asheville on Friday, Snug Harbor in Charlotte on Saturday, and the Maywood in Raleigh on Tuesday. Help him celebrate, but just be careful if he asks for help blowing out the candles.
CASH BASH 12
Johnny Cash would’ve been 82 years old this Wednesday and there is no shortage of tributes to be found around this time of year. This weekend, for the 12th year, the Garage will be hosting one of those with Cash Bash, a two-day shindig showcasing not only Cash’s meteoric impact on country music, but his profound impact on punk as well. It starts on Friday with some country-noir by the weekend’s hosts the Bo-Stevens and continues later with throttling cowpunk by the Straight 8s, who you might have seen on Cinemax if you’re into that kind of thing, and closes with Heavy Rebel favorite, Baltimore rockabilly machine Danny Kay & the Nightlifers. Saturday’s theme shift’s more toward the dark, agro side of Cash with Heavy Rebel mainstays Gojia-X and Rev. D-Ray & the Shockers, but Crisp Bess of Southern Culture on the Skids playing old-school rock with Phatlynx cuts the tension with a little bit of levity. Cash Bash happens Friday and Saturday at the Garage, with music starting at 7 p.m. and a $10 ticket price for either night.
IMPERFECT SOUND FOR NOW
Anyone who came into rock music in the early ‘90s knew the voice of Stephen Malkmus like they knew how many videos MTV could squeeze into an episode of “120 Minutes.” Pavement was in constant rotation of those seeking refuge from the sounds of Seattle and the walking Dead, and 20 years later, hearing “Rattled By the Rush” could probably juice a reformed slacker with enough dopey angst to kick the nearest hippie in the shins. But for all the nostalgia Pavement fans have accrued over the last 15 years, Malkmus has been the leader of the Jicks for far longer than he was for Pavement. The band’s newly released sixth album, Wig Out at Jagbags, officially surpasses the Pavement output. And you know what? Malkmus uses it to pay homage to his Grateful Dead fandom, not only in brazen (but playfully so) rip off of “St. Stephen” that transpires on “Cinnamon and Lesbians,” but in the ridiculously jammed up shows he’s playing in support of it. One will come this Monday night at the Cat’s Cradle. Tickets are $19 in advance and $22 at the door, and though it is a Monday night, Malkmus fans don’t have anywhere to be the nextmorning, right?
THE ANTHEMS OF OUR YOUTH, MUSIC THAT MEANT SOMETHING
There was a time around 2003 when you could see the band that would become Future Islands co-headlining a show at a burrito joint that also featured ex-outsider Dan Deacon crawling around on the floor and compelling others to do the same. Art Lord & the Self Portraits grew out of a weird scene in Greenville, N.C. that was a product of the housing limitations along the Tar River created by Hurricane Floyd and a musical vacuum just waiting to be filled by any creative persona with the gravitas to fill it. That band was loved and loved deeply by those fortunate enough to have spent their college years near them. Singer Sam Herring was a front man with no equal, part Teddy Boy charmer and part Cohen-esque romantic; like Morrissey with an affected German accent, but also an unfinished art school product. When the band evolved into Future Islands a few years later, it was as if they were acknowledging a memorable line from Cameron Crowe’s 1992 film “Singles”:
“Somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature.” Herring dropped the affectation and kept the core elements of his performance persona. Future Island’s performances were the same exceptionally intimate affairs born out of that mildew shack on Library St., but with their tour that hits the Haw River Ballroom next Wednesday, March 5, they’ve grown up. They’ve signed with powerhouse indie label 4AD and their first album with them (fourth overall), Singles, is a reflection of it. It will be the first time they haven’t had college friend Chester Gwazda producing, as Chris Coady of TV On the Radio and Grizzly Bear fame was behind the board, and lovers of On the Water should expect the finished product to sound remarkably different. The warmth is still there, even if the bass isn’t. Live, nothing will have changed, except for the larger stage. Tickets are $18 and the show starts at 8 p.m. !