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This Little Underground 

Our music columnist checks out Die Antwoord and Alejandro Escovedo, then stumbles into a Kitty Pryde slumber party

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"Whooo are you? Who, who... who, who?" Go Magic! And go prove you love America – get out there and vote.

The Beat

You know how it sucks when you hear about those totally amazing shows that you didn't attend? Well, sorry, but Tulsa's Broncho (Oct. 21, Will's Pub) was definitely one of them. Something like Wreckless Eric burning out in a muscle car, they mainline their raw late '70s pulse with garage-punk fire. This is nervy, full-throttle, blue-collar rock & roll with outstanding melodies. And they completely tear it up live.

Also decent was Tampa area opener Florida Kilos. Like a beachy take on young oldies, this stylish trio pumps warm nostalgia (classic pop, rock & roll, surf) with new blood and lots of nice reverb along the lines of Hanni El Khatib or Guards. Frontman Shawn Kyle's impassioned singing is much better calibrated here than in his previous band, the overwrought and now-shelved Beauvilles. It's simple, sweet stuff. But it's done pretty well and, unlike the Beauvilles, doesn't try too hard. They're still developing and are best when upbeat, but they're onto something good. Be on the lookout for them.

Making the biggest crater last week was South African sensation Die Antwoord (Oct. 24, The Beacham). This hood-savvy art project is a deliberate shock to the system, one that packs maximum impact. First, they're masters of imagery. Freakish, ghetto-gaudy and loving it, they're zef bombast in all its glory. But making it all fly is some good-ass music. Like Africa's version of Dirty South, their sound is greasy, claustrophobic and confrontational in its celebration. It's a compelling, spicy hash of rap, dubstep (yes, it can be done well) and classic rave techno (yes, it's sort of cycling back around), all in a fresh Afrikaans accent. When they drop hard, funky gangsta-bangers like "Hey Sexy" and "Fatty Boom Boom," that shit will make you lose your mind. Perhaps not since M.I.A. first arrived or funk carioca blasted from the favelas has dance music this thrilling emerged. And, though not equal to their explosive recordings or dope videos, they delivered live with titanic swagger.

As many of you are painfully, butt-hurtingly aware, jam bands aren't my thing. At all. But having played with respectables like Clutch and Monstro (ex-Torche guitarist Juan Montoya's current band) – on tour and not some one-time billing anomaly – Maryland's Lionize (Oct. 26, Plaza Live) is an impressive exception. Although not quite as burly as Clutch, they have a very similar big-boned blues-rock core, only edged with dub. With some pretty serious hard-soul vocals and a nice whump and wallop to their sound, their music bucks the jam trend by being relatively lean on the wankery and fat on the thick kick.

Being in the same room as a roots underground icon like Alejandro Escovedo (Oct. 27, BackBooth) is already honor enough. But this time, the intimate setting allowed him to do a Storytellers-style performance where he and his band did it all – from plaintive heartbreakers and open-hearted twangers, all the way up to barn-torching rockers like "Chelsea Hotel '78" that made it feel like timber might start falling from the ceiling. It was an up-close and in-the-moment show to an extraordinarily appreciative crowd. These people knew how lucky they were.

Afterward, I waded through the gathering downtown Halloween insanity to see inventive genre-smashers Why? play (The Social). I walk into what I believe to be the usual premier rock club that I've been in literally a thousand times. But from the sounds issuing from the speakers and the sight onstage, I've clearly walked into a slumber party in some high school chick's bedroom. Turns out, it was Daytona's Kitty Pryde - yes, one of those Internet "stars," which nutshells everything. I don't know her real age – she thinks it's cool to keep it a mystery, apparently – but, judging from my at-least-intermediate understanding of the arc of human social development, this is teen-girl shit. All fine for your postered up bedroom and all, but the only ones who want to see a performance defined by giggly fuck-ups and nerve-shaving teenage blather are either aesthetically stunted or have a mean sense of humor. And did I see promising local beatmaker Grant up there with her? Damn, dude, what are you doing?


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