Southern California’s She Wants Revenge is like a super-powered mix of your favorite gloomy British bands from the 1980s and 1990s modernized but with their essence intact. The band will play the 1933 Event Center on May 14.
Musically, She Wants Revenge isn’t some sort of calculated retro revival trying to repackage the past as some facsimile appropriation of something groundbreaking. The sound is effortlessly real and very much of both times. I get the sense that these musicians didn’t just study their favorite music they grew up with, they’re compelled by it. Singer Justin Warfield even sings with a slight British accent, even though he and the group hail from the San Fernando Valley.
Their last release, the 2018 single “Big Love,” is a dark, lively shuffle with its roots firmly entrenched in synth-pop. Imagine Marc Almond singing with Alan Wilder-era Depeche Mode. Best appreciated with repeat listens.
She Wants Revenge has been flirting with breakthrough success ever since the release of its 2006 self-titled release and the single “Tear You Apart.” The band is in a rare class with a prodigious fan base to match. If you’ve ever danced in your room by yourself to The Cure, dreaming of leaving town on your skateboard, buy tickets to this all-ages show. Now. This is going to be a good one.
She Wants Revenge with Kanga, 8 p.m. May 14, 1933 Event Center, 7900 Downing Ave. $22. ticketweb.com.
Punk, country or reggae — we've got it
Head to Sandrini’s Public House this Friday for Oakland-based punk rock duo Cut-Rate Druggist, a side project for singer/guitarist Squeaky and drummer/singer hal9000 Beers, who both play in the fantastic fellow Bay Area punk band Year of the Fist.
The pair's music is driving, energetic and streamlined, sounding thicker than just a two-piece with Squeaky switching off from guitar to bass on certain songs. They have magnetic stage presence — especially Squeaky — and are a blast to watch and listen to. The duo's debut EP will be released this summer. Their single “Par Cans” is available on Soundcloud.
Commitment is evident down to Hal9000 Beers' drums, which have a bottle opener affixed to the side of his floor tom. Not the kind with a handle, but the kind featured on soda machines where you stick the bottle in and pop the cap off.
Also on the bill is another entry in the “rad band name" club, Beast Teacher, which is another side project, this time for Dylan Geurtsen, guitarist and frontman for local self-proclaimed “blue collar rock 'n' roll” mainstays Niner Niner. Get there early to catch Tall Dark (formerly Tall Dark & 90), who is sonically adventurous and quite good.
Over at Temblor Brewing Co. on Saturday, singer Ray McDonald will perform, accompanied by guitarist Chuck Seaton.
McDonald’s set of classic country music is guaranteed to satisfy just about any country music purist. The duo also plays some songs with a twist that only highlight their strengths. Now that “Folsom Prison Blues” is to country cover bands what “Mustang Sally” is to rock cover bands — the prerequisite song that has been performed to death but will never die — it’s nice to hear it played in a way that doesn't feel gimmicked out or phoned in.
But it’s really McDonald himself who’s the most entertaining aspect of the show. He was Merle Haggard’s personal driver and close friend for years and the stories he tells of their time together, as well as tales from the road, are fantastic. McDonald literally was in the front seat for some of the most telling, moving, entertaining, funniest and incredible moments in country music history. To him and Haggard? Just another day on the job.
McDonald gets what the storytelling soul of country music is and he uses that knowledge to tell a great story. His performances are a testament to that.
The show is also all ages, so if you have a budding country music historian in your midst, it might be a good idea to bring them along. A word of caution, though: McDonald isn’t one to be purposefully coarse or profane, but when recounting tales from the road, let’s just say that it can get unpredictable.
And later that Saturday night, Dub Seeds, our T-1000-level, nonstop local reggae stalwart, will perform at Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill. This show will also see the quartet finally selling physical copies of its 2018 three-song EP, “Gaining Ground,” which, until now, was only available online. The art design, by frontman Chris Taylor, is bold, colorful and provocative.
“It’s a good representation of the three centered sounds we do," said bass player Gary Rink.
The group’s hit a nice stride of maintaining a full schedule and releasing new material at its own pace with a uncluttered, calm ambition. The Wiki’s show will be the same: steady, positive and fun.
Beast Teacher, Cut-Rate Druggist (Bay Area), and Tall Dark, 9 p.m. Friday, Sandrini’s Public House, 1918 Eye St. $5.
Ray McDonald & Chuck Seaton, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, Temblor Brewing Co., 3200 Buck Owens Blvd., Suite 200. Free.
Dub Seeds, 9 p.m. Saturday, Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill, 11350 Ming Ave. Free. dubseeds.com.