Hidden Agenda: Jettison Your Fondness For the Easy-to-Ignore (and Go See Some Shows)
[Professional publicists ceaselessly implore writers to preview shows, but often the most worthy events lack such luxuries. The Bay Area is both actively producing and attracting experimentalists, multimedia performance spectacles, cult punk rituals, and innovative anti-socials with no capacity for self-promotion. Hidden Agenda is a new column to let you know about their performances.]
Quaaludes perform at the Knockout on Sunday, Dec. 29.
Local quartet Wild Moth's music has pleasant qualities like melody, vocal interplay and atmospherics. Washingtonians Criminal Code wield deft musicianship with technical precision and intricate song structures. Yet, neither band lets such sonic pleasantries detract from enacting power, especially live. They're prime physical specimens, with chiseled chops toned by targeted exercises and well-rounded aural diets from both the lite and lean varieties of recorded sustenance. Jettison your fondness for the easy-to-ignore, denounce your conditioned need for relentless fury, and meet Wild Moth and Criminal Code in the middle for punk that balances its thrust with nuance at 924 Gilman St. on Saturday, Dec. 28. It's the venerable Berkeley venue's 27th anniversary weekend.
In a bit of punk irony, the deceivingly named local band Quaaludes are quite uppity, but the cheeky joke speaks to their live show: derisive and sarcastic shots of venom set to brisk back-beats for which checking your personal politics is the only antidote. If 'ludes are long-gone downers from San Francisco's heady past, Quaaludes are the potent dose of indignant hyperactivity we're in need of right now. Indulge at the Knockout on Sunday, Dec. 29, when Quaaludes open for Hidden Agenda regulars Violent Change and Terry Malts.
"I was born to be helpless / I was born to be cold / I was born to never do what I'm told," sang Divine in the infamous drag queen actress' debut single, "I Was Born to be Cheap," from 1981. Best known as the 300-pound star of John Waters' trash cinema classics like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and the surprise breakthrough Hairspray, Divine also released several records of bizarre new wave and lascivious disco before his death in 1988. He is the subject of a new documentary from director Jeffrey Schwarz called I Am Divine, which opens at the Roxie Theatre on Friday, Dec. 27.
For a current take on eccentric dance, there's Jessie Evans, an American expatriate in Berlin who makes stylish, impeccably produced tracks with a worldly palette of horns and percussion. Evans' dance music is for urban sophisticates, the brokers of cultural capital whose interest piques at the mention of Finnish saxophonists and performance art. So it's appropriate that Oakland post-punk obscurantists Moira Scar will open for her performance on Friday, Dec. 27 at the Hemlock.