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Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkeybirds, Midnite Snaxxx

  • Ivy Room 860 San Pablo Albany CA 94706 (map)
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Thurs., 6/13. 8pm doors, 9pm show. $20. Advance tickets now on sale.

SLIM CESSNA’S AUTO CLUB

There comes a moment in every Slim Cessna’s Auto Club show when you realize you’re seeing something you’ll never see anywhere else. It’s Slim Cessna in a white cowboy hat and beard, the lights haloing his ungainly frame, horn-rimmed glasses flashing through the smoke. He’s trading lyrics and insults with Munly Munly, gaunt and strange, dressed in a shade of black particular to preachers and burnt down barns. Their voices rise and converge in the kind of exquisite harmony usually found in Sacred Harp congregations, and then the band cuts loose, the best live band in the world, and the two men are doing battle, playing out some cathartic war between good and evil on stage. Or trading dance steps. You can’t tell.

I said the best live band in the world, and I ain’t the only one. No Depression and Spin Magazine have said the same. This is a band that’s held its own onstage with everybody from Johnny Cash to the Dresden Dolls. But you listen to the recording of “That Fierce Cow is Common Sense in a Country Dress,” and it’ll take you just about four minutes before you realize you’re listening to the best band in the world, period. It’s Lord Dwight Pentacost leading the lunatic rapture on his Jesus and Mary double-necked guitar; Rebecca Vera playing pedal steel so sublimely that I swear to God you can see the ghost of Ralph Mooney circling the stage; and, holding down the rhythm section like they have with each other since seventh grade, The Peeler on drums and Danny Pants on the doghouse bass, driving the band, making you lose your damn mind.

They’ve been making music for over twenty years, and there is, quite simply, nothing else like it. It’s gospel music, is what I’ve decided. Gospel music for a blasted world. A world straining and bursting in constant pain, but one that can’t help but overspill with joy – even knowing better. And the songs, Jesus. Songs about Colorado Indian hater John Chivington, alien abductions, patricide, a man born without a spine. This is the wild, bloody and weird America of Harry Crews, the only America worth a damn. It’s what Flannery O’Connor was trying to say when she wrote of dark romances and the grotesque. If you’ve got a heart, these songs’ll break it, and if you’ve got any laughter left in you, they’ll beat it out of you until you cry.

I probably can’t improve on what Jello Biafra said about Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, that they’re “the country band that plays the bar at the end of the world.” But I like to think that as long as they’re around, they can still save us from that end. Or at least from what currently passes as country music.

– Benjamin Whitmer

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KID CONGO AND THE PINK MONKEYBIRDS’ fourth and strongest album yet for In The Red Records, “La Araña Es La Vida”, summons the Mexican muse of The Great Spider Goddess of Teoticuhan, who sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld, or in Kid’s eyes, the world of underground music. Recorded at The Harveyville High School gym in Kansas, Guitar slinger and singer, the legendary Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), bassist Kiki Solis (Baby Baby Dance With Me, Knife in The Water, Rhythm of Black Lines), drummer Ron Miller (Switch Hitter, Up The Academy) are joined by Chicano, Mosrite playing guitarist Mark Cisneros (Medications, Deathfix) on this self-produced ball of wax.

“La Araña Es La Vida” rocks n rolls it’s way thru a planet of Glamazons (Psychic Future), blisters with the tricks of a “Magic Machine” then gets to work out a low rider groove on “Chicano Studies”. Tales of gender bending, disembodied heads, gente from La Puente and even a TCB-era, Elvis-inspired rave up on “Karate Monkey” is merely a smatter of the magic on this platter.

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MIDNITE SNAXXX “Since their 2017 record, Chew On This, Oakland’s Midnite Snaxxx have been spitting singles in fits and starts, but the short forms remain their forte. No disrespect to the full length lovers, but the band’s whiplash spirt is best captured between two sides of short attention span snotty punk built for sunshine hijinx. The A-side, “Let Me Do What I Want,” is a denim-vested world beater that’s not content to take no for an answer and isn’t afraid to lob the first volley in food fight fisticuffs. The song might as well stand as a credo for the California combo – loud, fast and brash – it’s a femme punk fuck you to the ruling class, or at the very least, a middle finger to the store manager on the way out of the sliding doors.“ - Raven Sings the Blues