I called the Emerald City home in 1988.It was a swirling vortex in musical time soon to see a glut of superb rock bands swallowed whole by an unstoppable corporate-grunge epidemic. That year, both Mother Love Bone and Mudhoney began flexing serious muscle at local clubs and bars, hedging their bets on a psych-tinged blues-rock style that took stadium glam-metal to task for its cute-but-predictable vapidity.
I left Washington State in 1989, the year Nirvana’s Bleach saw its original release on the Sup Pop imprint. Cobain and company deserve props for launching a select portion of the contemporary Seattle music scene into the Billboard-chart stratosphere. But I never understood the appeal of a debut album that Cobain himself said was dumbed down to please the grunge- centric leadership at Sub Pop at that time.
No, my allegiance remained with the Mother Love Bones of the world — bands that, while they did play nice with Sub Pop, maintained garage-born rawness. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you see things, many of the Seattle psych-blues-rock bands of yesteryear remained in the shadows of superstardom but trudged onward, influencing a handful of worthy musicians in the process.
Take Antique Scream, a road-hardened band placed firmly in the now along the space-time-rock-n-roll continuum but based stylistically on the merits of Seattle’s less fame-fortunate bands of the ’70s and ’80s. Antique Scream inherited a great deal of that fleeting psych-rock mojo through osmosis, hard work, and a great deal of careful listening. Lead singer/guitarist Chris Rutledge oozes a sweaty countenance that’s one-third Motörhead/Lemmy Kilmister, one-third The Fugs, and 100 percent drunk Elvis, energizing every live performance to the near breaking point.
Rutledge’s fuzzed-out guitars and Bill Fees’ tight punk-jazz percussion à la Fear’s Spit Stix meld into a symphony of controlled chaos. And these guys have a good time with their songwriting and titling. “Hoosier Daddy,” “Fromage et Trois,” and the hallucinogenic “Road Map to Nipple Town” aren’t going to win any retroactive political-correctness awards from the defunct Parents Music Resource Center, but they sure do make for some fist-pumping, head-swimming, beer-swilling jams in the mind-atrophying age of Bieber Fever.
Catch Antique Scream with DJ Guttermouth at 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at The Underground at Evangelo’s (200 W. San Francisco St., 577-5893). Cover for the 21-and-older show is $5 at the door. Have an ear schmear over at www.antiquescream.bandcamp.com.
Rock of all ages
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Warehouse 21 (1614 Paseo de Peralta, www.warehouse21.org) hosts Surviving the Apocalypse — part concert, part dance party, part social experiment in subcultural tolerance. Local EDM mainstays Amy Basscakes and James NMTribe hook up with New Mexico metal bands From Sacrifice to Survival, Amongst the Chaos Is Clarity, and others in a spike- and glowstick-flinging cage fight to the death. OK, that last part’s not true. It’s just a friendly gathering to celebrate diversity within the local music community. And it costs five bucks at the door.
Twang thang against cancer
From 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Little Bird at Loretto, formerly Kiva Fine Art (211 Old Santa Fe Trail, 820-7413), hosts a folk-country fundraising concert for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. April Reese, Johny Broomdust, Jose Antonio Ponce, Howard Hall, Lisa Carman, Paula Rhae McDonald, and special guest Ollie O’Shea perform original songs. All you have to do is show up, enjoy the show, and make a donation. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society’s prevention, early-detection, and treatment-assistance programs. No donation is too small or too big.