Our music columnist announces that Will's Pub will become a non-smoking venue 

This Little Underground

I am continually dumbfounded by the lack of basic urban intelligence out there over where not to park your car. But varying degrees of common sense aside, I don’t want anybody to get towed. So here’s a rule to park by: If it’s not designated by the establishment you’re visiting and not public property (curbside), assume it’s private and that you will be towed. Duh. Anyway, there’s been some aggressive towing activity lately in the Mills Avenue area. For more info, check out “Feedback.”

Speaking of Mills Avenue news, effective Jan. 1, Will’s Pub will be joining the critical mass of non-smoking establishments. Trust me, it’s going to be OK.

THE BEAT

Of the thousands of concerts I’ve seen, the Legendary Shack Shakers delivered some of the most electric. I’m talking hall-of-fame shit here. My first experience was over a decade ago in their early days (opening for Los Straitjackets at the Social). To a practically empty room, they tore it up like they were at a butts-to-nuts garage show. Frontman Colonel J.D. Wilkes completely stunned a big dude who dared venture to the foot of the stage by full-on mouth-kissing him in the middle of a song. That was the revelation of the Colonel onstage.

It’s unfair to compare that with his current, different-minded deal, J.D. Wilkes & the Dirt Daubers (Nov. 21, Will’s Pub), but that’s a difficult impression to shake. And I wasn’t going to be content seeing him pluck precious old-time tunes. Fortunately, they’re touring on their new turbo-charged, Cheetah Chrome-produced album (Wild Moon), as well as some Shack Shakers songs. The result is like Southern Culture on the Skids with way more edge and sickness. And, thankfully, Wilkes was still Wilkes. He didn’t reach down his pants mid-song and emerge with a shower of pubes like he did once at the Copper Rocket, but he’s still a human cartoon and a subversively hilarious frontman. I knew that Kentucky rooster couldn’t be contained.

Not to be confused with the dormant local indie-rock band of the same name, New England’s Rabbit Rabbit is the married duo of Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi. Besides heavy playing credits (Tom Waits, Mike Patton, Skeleton Key, John Vanderslice, St. Vincent, Carla Bozulich, Pretty Lights), the pair founded Sleepytime Gorilla Museum (Nov. 18, Timucua White House). Alongside the usual Civic Minded 5 and Timucua society, SGH fans packed the house, no doubt missing the old days when SGH came regularly to transform small clubs like the original Will’s Pub into a circus of the grotesque.

Although this project isn’t nearly as spectacularly weird (or at all informed by metal), it’s not exactly conventional either – something established immediately when Bossi began things by playing the grand piano from the inside like a mechanic under the hood. Whether they’re classical players with freaky appetites or freaks at heart with classical skills, categorizing them isn’t convenient. Despite some humor, the dark and serious preponderance of their set was the captivating stuff, stroking folk balladry with an avant-pop sensibility and a fine-arts pedigree. And their performance style was much more theater than rock club.

This amazingly free show was the concert season closer by vanguard music presenter group the Civic Minded 5, and it drew a large number of newcomers to the White House (timucua.com), a population of which I happily no longer belong as a repeat visitor. Hopefully, you too will soon become a patron of one of the city’s most purpose-built, culturally altruistic and artistically pure public venues for music.

Brazilian psych-rockers Os Mutantes (Nov. 19, the Social) rocked the house, unsurprising considering the depth of their legend. But opener Capsula built something – something big – out of nothing. The Spain-based Argentinean trio stoked ’70s and ’80s influences into a lusty, stylish racket like a more rock & roll Sonic Youth. And with frontman Martin Guevara frequently descending into the crowd, they did it with good old-fashioned rock spectacle. Making them even more likeable is that, instead of cheap snot and cynical cockiness, they radiate innocent enthusiasm and true belief. Nice to see the spirit’s still alive. And by set’s end, they had the crowd locked.

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