;When it comes to household names, Rolling Stone magazine is the Coke of American rock journalism. Or, if you're a little more studious, Creem. However, the mother of 'em all is Crawdaddy!, which launched in 1966, predating all the others. Founded with a decidedly critical spirit, it was breeding ground and launch pad for a legion of notable writers. After being resurrected by founding editor Paul Williams in 1993, the party ran out of beer again in 2003. But like a friggin' cat, the seminal zine has found yet another life and will reappear this week in online form at With Williams as advisory editor, it promises in revolutionary tones on its website that it will maintain the publication's original ethos.


;The beat

;;Japanese instrumental band Mono anchored a mum-rock bill at the Social May 7. Apart from the way they reminded me how moving it is to hear rock played with the craftsmanship of classical music, what else is there to say about them that I haven't already, besides the fact that they completely rule my world? Aside from a few stirring moments that blurred the line between guitar and violin, fellow countryman and one-dude act World's End Girlfriend was largely pointless. Carrying their end, though, was Portland's Grails, with a bewitching set thick with atmosphere. Unlike the all-transcending, before-time sound of Mono, Grails' opium-rock was solidly anchored in culture, with a sound informed by exotic and ancient styles. Not only did they actually use a 12-string guitar to full effect, they also managed to get a guitar to generate taiko-drum sounds. Though exploratory, the music was played like it had a point. By hitting some pounding crescendos, they showed they weren't just content to waft around in a puff of dissonant noise or world music. Real contenders in the post-rock world, these guys.

;;All talk, however, was Jello Biafra, who came to the club two days later for a spoken-word performance. His Adenoidal Highness was scheduled for two sets equaling FOUR hours. Think I subjected myself to 240 minutes of spoken word? Fuck no, man. Don't get me wrong, I understand the value and power of the spoken-word format. But it's often, especially when undertaken by famous figures, the waiting room for aspiring intellectuals and the playground of semi-smart people, as evidenced by the fact that the bathroom hallway became a gathering spot and echo chamber for beer-heightened voices uttering unintelligent things as the night wore on. In the hour and a half that I did stick out, however, Jello's informed diss-ertation was filled with good history lessons and valuable commentary for those who don't absorb the news. He's a smart guy, but his subject matter largely attacked targets all too easy for any liberal with a brain. To his credit, though, he takes much longer to get annoying than Henry Rollins.

;;About the same age but still rocking, at least live, are the sisters Wilson of Heart, who played Hard Rock Live May 6. Most impressive about the show was Ann's voice, which didn't just hold up well but was an awesome gale force. Though it did pop's bidding in the '80s, this performance was a reminder of how stunning that voice can be when leading a charge. Female or otherwise, it's one of hard rock's greatest voices, period. Yep, even up there with Robert Plant and Axl Rose. And with a couple of Zeppelin covers ripped in stunning fashion, the encore was every ounce as balls-out rockin' as a Wolfmother show.

;;Over the Mother's Day weekend, Colombian-born pop singer Fonseca incited a hip-shaking parade of badonkadonk and cologne at House of Blues May 12. Now, Latin pop's about as much a part of my repertoire as French rap, but he and his band kept things direct and lively, favoring organic tropical sounds (and a very welcome accordion) over exaggerated sentimentality. It was relatively low on sensationalism and high on performance, resulting in a decent show. By comparison, his soulfully substantive take on pop made much of what was shoved up our asses during the Latin explosion at the turn of the millennium seem even more empty.


;The beatdown

;;This is America and we like to kick us some ass, goddammit. So naturally, fights at shows aren't uncommon. Brawls in Boston, even less so. But a punch-up at … the Boston Pops??? Inconceivable, right? Well, a video clip I caught on CNN shattered that notion. Seems someone took issue to being shushed and decked the shusher. The words rolling off the clucking tongues of the season-ticket stiffs are probably things like "barbaric" or "philistine," but I call it the fast lane back to relevance. Tell me you wouldn't drop coin to see a show like "Rock-maninoff Rumble" or "Beethoven Beatdown." Hell, yes.


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