By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photos by Ryan Schierling
and Bradley HansonKOOL KEITH
Ask 50 hip-hop fans to describe Kool Keith and you'll get 50 different answers. Ask Keith himself to do it and, well, you'll get another 50 answers. But the facts at least stay the same: Keith came up in the mid '80s with the Ultramagnetic MCs; they had a few hits, but this was when hip-hop meant videos and lucrative record deals—only if you were working with Rick Rubin, which the Ultramagnetic MCs were not. But since going solo in the early '90s with the underground hit Sex Style, Keith has developed a funny farm's worth of absurd, acerbic, lewd, outlandish and always-entertaining personas. The man has the verbal dexterity to keep you listening, even if it's to a half-shark/half-alligator/half-man coming after you with a space doo-doo pistol or only if he's pointedly mocking the demise of the true baller in the NBA. (Says Keith, the league is full of "skinny jump shooters who can't even read to their kids and need a tutor!") What he's best at, however (and what he does even more than his raunchy sex raps) is attack rappers who rip off his style. In Keith's mind, that's just about everyone: "I'm always futuristic," he maintains. In his latest record, another collaboration with longtime producer Kutmaster Kurt called Diesel Truckers, Keith is hauling loads cross-country in a Peterbilt, something seemingly more suited for a country album until you hear him explain his inspiration: "Those trucks, they're plush. They make a Rolls Royce look like shit. I'm thinking of rolling up to clubs in one of those. They got a bed right there." Plus, he says, he always liked the smell of diesel fuel. (Michael Coyle)
KOOL KEITH WITH BUSTA RHYMES AT THE VAULT 350, 350 PINE AVE., LONG BEACH, (888) 80-VAULT. THURS., JAN. 27, 8 P.M. $20-$25. ALL AGES.
ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS
STILL NOT OUT OF THIS PLACE
"My mother was a tailor/she sewed my new blue jeans." If you've ever worked a shoddy retail job, you know this song verbatim, and the standard for this standard was set by Eric Burdon and the Animals. The early British Invasion didn't value songwriting as much as style, showmanship and a singer with a soulful Memphis voice, and the Animals excelled at all three, especially the last: Burdon sang with the same blue-eyed intensity as Roger Daltrey, and his band shared the same gritty intensity as the early Who. Unfortunately, there was no secret Pete Townshend in the Animals' ranks. When mod died so that psychedelia could live, bands either submitted, soldiered on or imploded. The Animals went with No. 3. But during their brief run, they did release a thorough collection of top-notch soul: "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" is a sincere cry against the futureless reality waiting for the working class, "Baby Let Me Take You Home" had every right to dominate the dance halls of 1964, and the "Story of Bo Diddley" is a warm and fitting tribute to a guy who had absolutely no chance of commercial success—for all the wrong reasons. With the exception of Mitch Ryder or Roger Daltrey, there was no one who could do it like Eric Burdon. Well, except Van Morrison. (Ryan Leach)
ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS WITH MOUNTAIN AND MAMA HAGGLIN AT THE GALAXY CONCERT THEATRE, 3503 S. HARBOR BLVD., SANTA ANA, (714) 957-0600. SUN., 7 P.M. $29.50. ALL AGES.
SMILING BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON
Okay, so if Kim Warnick is Obi-Wan to Rachel Flotard's wide-eyed Luke, this is the part where Flotard howls a slow-motion, "Nooooooo!" and then, with steely determination, sets off alongside Ben Hooker (umm, Han Solo with a lame haircut, I guess) to restore goodness to the universe. Oh, right, you came in late: Flotard's the coppery coiffed, Gibson-wielding, sweet-but-foul-mouthed front woman of Seattle's power-poppy Visqueen; drummer Hooker's her longtime compatriot. And Warnick? She's the bassist, having walked away from 26 years as singer of the Emerald City's ragged malt-punk heroes Fastbacks to round out the outfit. Or, rather, she was the bassist. Last month, Warnick decided to walk away from Visqueen—and the world of music making—for good. "If I was doing this for 26 big ones, I would probably get a little tired, too. She just needs to rest," says Flotard. "And she wants to be a human being—y'know, actually go do stuff without having to load gear." But that whole business of Warnick as Visqueen's guiding sage, and any of that ". . . b-b-but how will they go on without her" stuff? "It could not be any more romanticized," Flotard says and laughs. "I love Kim, but she left the Fastbacks because she really dug what we were doing. I mean, I write the shit. And I think that when people see us live, they realize that it's never been just 'Fastbacks-lite.'" So carry on they shall, touring behind the recently released gem Sunset on Dateland, with Ronnie Barnett of the Muffs manning the low end. Flotard will keep gritting up the gas tank with her sugar-and-gravel voice; Hooker will wear his favorite turquoise thrift-store sweat shirt that reads, "I'm Smiling Because I Don't Know What's Going On;" And everyone who likes Cheap Trick, Redd Kross, the Bangles and the Who will now have a new crush on Visqueen. (Michael Alan Goldberg)
VISQUEEN WITH THE BOLIDES, THE IRISH BROTHERS AND THE LOUD PIPES AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292; WWW.ALEXSBAR.COM. THURS., JAN. 27. CALL FOR TIME. $3. 21+.