Seeing shows at the Crocodile is wicked better now that Via Tribunali is gone. You don't have to get gouged for mediocre, overpriced pizza, and you can walk freely between the two separate rooms as long as you have a stamp. Last Wednesday (Real Jesus, has it really been that long already?), Zola Jesus dazzled with a fine set of dark and operatic vocals. She entered the stage under a white blanket, specterlike, machinating to the spare chords and drumbeats. A strong light shone on her throughout the set, steeling the moody climate her music had already imposed on the room. Her voice was unsurprisingly enormous and imposing, and her backing band was competent. (Although the drummer seemed an odd choice. A most important quality in a drummer is knowing when to cancel the fills and just keep it simple.) Keep your eyes and ears on this woman.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST ALERT: The Living Room is the most aptly named bar in the city, and every other Thursday renders the name even more apt with colleague Dave Segal (DJ Veins) and Valerie Calano (DJ Explorateur)'s night of prog rock that's not dominated by Yes or Rush. Instead, the two (plus cohorts Andrew Reichel, Ian Scot Price, and Frank Jenkins) unearth relatively obscure nuggets that will continually have you asking what you're listening to. Last Thursday, for example, saw engaging numbers from Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Hydravion, Moody Blues, Caravan, Lard Free, High Wolf, Cluster, Gentle Giant, McDonald & Giles, Harvey Mandel, Saint-Preux, Jerry Goldsmith, and Julian Jay Savarin, among others. Prog! feels like hanging out with a bunch of friends in a living room and listening to great records. "I've sampled that noise before," the projectionist was heard to say at the advent of one selection, as strange footage involving Raquel Welch and some alien fellows flickered on the wall. Kinski's Chris Martin made an appearance before he was off to host his radio show for KBCS 91.3 FM (Thurs, 11 pm–1 am). I came really stoned and tired, but left with a few new friends.
People! Spring is upon us and the weather is still shit! If you need a charge, investigate brother-and-brother guitar-and-drums rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood on Monday, May 16, at the Crocodile. If the relentless riffing and crisp drumming on Heavy Days, their full-length debut, or We Are the Champions, due out June 21, don't get your blood moving, have someone check your pulse. (If you're dead, you won't be able to tell if it's already stopped.)