Remember when punk rock was about being a punk and bands like the Ramones were not just a T-shirt -- they were a cult? Prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. A four-headed Hessian, rolling naked through broken glass whilst spewing left-wing rhetoric, is coming to town. Fleshies have come to drink your beer, crash your party, and wax intelligent about politics. Their latest Alternative Tentacles release, The Sicilian, injects acerbic wit into the ass of AC/DC, Turbonegro, and early Butthole Surfers. Needless to say, the Oakland, California, misfits, composed of Nusrat Fatass Chaka Khan on vocals, bassist Mr. Kavetski, guitarist Mattowar, and drummer Hamiltron, have earned quite a reputation for being an unpredictable live act.
Nusrat Fatass Chaka Khan, the quartet's lead screamer, has this to say when asked to describe the often incendiary and bloody performances: "Do you know the scene in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein where he has the monster do a public performance in tux, complete with tap dancing and a painfully howled version of 'Puttin' on the Ritz'? Then a stage light blows up, causing the monster to freak out and jump into the audience to throttle some random audience members, followed by him being crowd-surfed out of the venue on top of a battalion of cops? In other words, no, I never know what the hell is going to happen at our shows. But I do know that scene would be the best damn show ever."
While bands making loud music and instigating perilous performances is nothing new, Fleshies are somewhat of an anomaly. "We are alpha personalities with huge egos and absolutely no sense of perspective whatsoever," Nusrat explains. "But we deal with subjects such as sex-based double standards, the profound lameness of fundamentalism, and reactionary theory." Wow, kids, look! A band that is musically accomplished, fun to watch, and has something clever to say. What a concept! Come see Fleshies, AC Cobra, and Middle Finger Mob and hope for some blown stage lights at Churchill's (5501 NE Second Ave., Miami). Show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-757-1807. -- Tim Moffatt
German Hearts Dance!
Whether it induces a chuckle or raises questions about whether Sprockets had any validity, European electronic music brings some intriguing nuances to the sonic fold, especially with industrial dance. Since the early '90s, Germans have virtually cornered the market, collecting the tattered foundations of bands like Skinny Puppy and injecting propulsive kick beats and synth lines, birthing the EBM genre. Raoul Rotation, or Noisex to his fans, has veered from this generic archetype since his first works in 1990. Opting instead to take cues from avant-noise artists like Esplendor Geometrico and Nurse with Wound, Noisex creates material both rhythmic and gritty, with all the leather-clad swagger you'd expect. With four full-lengths, a plethora of remixes for artists like Frontline Assembly, and a handful of side projects under its belt, Noisex is ready to call it a day, despite the fact that it has maintained plenty of credibility while keeping a low, brooding profile over the past decade. Selling its latest full length, Magnetom Vision, exclusively on this farewell tour, catch the last U.S. Noisex gig ever at Respectable Street Café (518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach). Call 561-832-9999. -- Kiran Aditham
Praise for Ray's
Currently, there are two reasons to go to Clematis Street -- Respectable Street and Ray's Downtown (519 Clematis St., West Palm Beach). That's it. Sure, Spanky's may occasionally have a decent show, but it's not as dependable as the other two. And once you get out of the 500 block, Clematis Street is a vast wasteland of theme bars and posh, exclusive clubs. We rue the day exclusive came to have a positive connotation -- turning away anyone who doesn't meet your standards of cool should be seen as anything but positive. But in the fight to keep downtown alive, Ray's is losing the battle. The club is barely hanging on, as demonstrated by this Friday's Benefit to Save Ray's Downtown. The Heatseekers, Billy Boloby, Stud Dogs, Middle Class Chaos, Alter Boys, and the Fiasco come together at 6:30 p.m. in an effort to keep Ray's doors open. With admission just $6 for concertgoers younger than age 21 and free for those of drinking age, it's a great way to see a few bands and try to keep the scene alive. Call 561-835-1577. -- Dan Sweeney