Comin' at yo face like a Springsteen Super Bowl crotch on greased knees!

The beat

While we're all riding the glory of purging our reality of its cancers, I should go ahead and mention the farewell performance of Cori Yarckin, on whose wee head I've dropped plenty of invective over the years (Jan. 31, Back Booth). I still stand by every grenade I've tossed, but let's not unduly amplify her impact.

Yarckin's not thee root evil here. She's just a particularly visible symptom of a culture that bestows fame for the wrong reasons. The girl's simply pandering to an existing system to feed a desperate drive for stardom. Music is her vehicle, but it's just a means to an end in her self-commodifying aspirations. The only people who buy into her empty commercial pop-rock are driven by mindlessness, lechery or greed. Bad news any way you cut it.

But I swear I didn't attend the bye-bye show to throw batteries or anything. No, I came to wave a hanky and blow good-luck kisses as the little dinghy shipped out. At least that's the intention I walked in with. After seeing the slick soullessness of her performance all over again, however, that all changed.

Rather than detail the rapid-shuffle montage of guns, mushroom clouds, genocide and baby-punching that cycled through my mind in involuntary response to the spectacle, I'll just say "aaahhh." 'Cos now I finally understand the sensation of liberation and cleanliness that those Summer's Eve commercials of my youth were talking about. Cori Yarckin is now officially L.A.'s liability.

I'm glad you realized that Orlando is just too small for your seismic talent, Cori. Go forth and do, um, that thing you do. Fly, little bird, fly like the motherfucking wind to your shining destiny! And say hi to Donovan!

God, finally. Let's get back to the real stuff now.

Before disbanding more than two years ago, Franchise was one of the most adventurous and conceptual bands the city's ever produced. Well, the phoenix has risen again, this time with a new album, 3, and a fourth member (Jan. 31, Peacock Room). Still armed with the most intimidating pedal boards around, they reawakened their wildly synthetic psychedelia, an experimental but unleashed atomic reaction of noise, space and rock. Both the album and the performance show this iteration to have more structure and bravado. Instead of good bands dying off, it's nice to see some actually come back to life.

Since I'm not from Jamaica or any of the hotbeds of true reggae, the genre has always been kind of a tough sell. It's mainly evoked brain-rotted surfers, college kids going through a phase and dudes just looking for a toking soundtrack. It's a disservice to the music, but it's a reality. And it doesn't help that the echoes of reggae in this town are wielded by bands that actually glorify their own shallowness.

Mercifully, the DubConscious show ushered in some depth and authenticity in this department (Jan. 28, the Social). I still had to endure more tie-dyes, white-guy arm-clucking and utterances of "brah" than I ever want to again, but substance drove the affair. The business of this Athens collective is dub and reggae, their flair in the production-heavy former being that which elevates them above the hack pack. Live onstage they were a full-sounding, seven-man band, but it was the eighth member working the elaborate effects boards by the sound booth who made them truly robust. And when I say they were good live, I mean studio-good, thanks to this guy.

Things were jamming but it took a local to knock it out of the park. Joining the band onstage during a cover of the Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There," Eugene Snowden uncorked the soul beast living deep down in his guts and peeled the lid off the house. Even the rest of the band had to yield to his force. There's a reason why there's no debate over who is the area's best soul singer.

Opening was local act the Savi Fernandez Band. Though performed with evident competence, their fusion of reggae, jam and funk is unoriginal. They're a clear cut above their peers, but unfortunately they're hanging on the same creative rung as the riffraff.

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