Last weekend, local choreographer Diana Cardiff and her collaborators unveiled Buttrock Suites III... sweetest, the third installment of her modern-dance homage to all things fret burning and spandex clad, at Velocity MainStage Theater. While it was impossible to top last year's surreal and hilarious interpretation of AC/DC's "Big Balls" (complete with a terrifying, stilt-walking clown and dancers bouncing around on large silicone balls), Cardiff and company came close with a literal interpretation of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (yes, there was a large bag of sugar suspended from the ceiling, subsequently released) and a particularly inspired take on Aldo Nova's "Fantasy," an ambitious number that managed to include parasols, cans of Aqua Net, and countless pounds of dry ice. Although I always enjoy Buttrock Suites, it's worth pointing out that a greatest-hits edition would be very welcome—the initial productions contained so many highlights that it's a shame new audiences don't get to see them.
Later that same Saturday night, I hit the Mt. Fuji Records showcase at the Crocodile. While the emo-laced power pop of Wintergreen (the label's most recent signee) wasn't really my thing, Slender Means captivated their good-sized audience. Despite a moment of panic when frontman Josh Dawson realized he'd left his guitar at home, the band made it onstage in time to burn their way through songs from their Neon & Ruin debut. It's rare to witness a keyboard player that commands attention, but David E. Martin's playing was truly impressive—crisp, powerful, and confident. It's a safe bet that Slender Means' profile on the local scene will only continue to rise.
In other local news, KEXP's Sonic Reducer host and local booking agent Brian Foss has just released a fine compilation that reflects why the local punk community holds him in such high regard. Among the 32 bands featured on the $10 disc are veterans like Gas Huffer and Girl Trouble, along with contributions from newer troublemakers like the Unnatural Helpers, the Cripples, and Steaming Wolf Penis. Nearly all the tracks were captured live, either on the stage of the Funhouse, in bands' practice spaces, or during an in-studio performance on Sonic Reducer. You can purchase The Funhouse Comp Thing at local record stores or via CD Baby (http://cdbaby.com/cd/funhousecomp).
Fans of the now-defunct Catheters will be happy to hear that former members Davey Brozowski, Brian Standeford, and Leo Gebhardt have launched a new band called Tall Birds. The initial recordings I've heard are understandably rough, but show plenty of promise, showcasing a more melodic side without sacrificing the hard edges or the crushing force of Brozowski's drumming. Tall Birds head into the studio with Kurt Bloch this month and will also play the Comet on April 21 and the High Dive on May 27.
The High Dive is also hosting a couple more shows in April to benefit the families of victims of the March 25 Capitol Hill murders. The first, on Monday, April 17, includes melodic drum 'n' bass combo KJ Sawka and DJ Colin (turntablist for local electronica band Mercir); the following week's show, on Monday, April 24, has a lineup containing a slew of Capitol Hill favorites, including Comeback regulars DJ Colby B and DJ Fucking in the Streets, along with Le Freak host DJ Blu. Both shows request a $5 minimum donation and start at 9:00 p.m.
I'm an agnostic gal who doesn't spend a lot of time contemplating the resurrection—an event many will recognize (or mock via crucified bunnies) this Easter Sunday. However, I was raised by a very liberal, music-loving Presbyterian minister who introduced me to the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar when I was about 7 years old. I was also fond of the 1973 movie version (primarily because I developed an enormous crush on Ted Neeley, the scraggly-haired, doe-eyed actor that portrayed Christ), but it was the original Broadway production soundtrack that I continue to return to many years later. The reason for that is simple: The role of Jesus is played by Ian Gillan, the thundering vocalist for Deep Purple (and, briefly, Black Sabbath). Gillan's imposing persona and four-octave-plus range was perfect for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's dark melodrama—and it still sounds pretty fucking badass today. Sorry Dad, I won't be in church this Sunday, but I'll definitely be rocking out in spirit.