Downtown Music

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April 11, 2005 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Blister rust

The first time I tried to see Shellac play live, my boyfriend (now husband) and I were having a fight - or at least he was angry with me for staying out all night with friends the night before, and I was trying to find some way to get him to not be angry with me. After much coaxing, I got Sherm to come over and get me before heading down to the 7th Street Entry for the Shellac show. "We're not going to be able to get in," he muttered angrily as I got in the car. "It's got to be sold out by now."

"Oh, come on," I scoffed. "I'm sure we'll be able to get in."

Like I said, this was my first Shellac show, and I just didn't know any better. Sure enough, as we drove slowly by the Entry, we could see the big, handwritten "Sold Out" sign that someone had hastily scribbled on notebook paper and taped to the door. I remember this vividly, looking down in the dark at my shoes and thinking, "This really sucks."

In the years since this incident, I've learned the proper format for actually getting in the door to see the amazing trio of Bob Weston, Todd Trainer and Steve Albini perform as Shellac.

First of all, you can't buy tickets ahead of time for most of their shows, as they're sold on a first-come, first-sold basis - so you get to the door early and prepare to wait. Bring a couple of candy bars if you think you might get hungry. It's definitely worth the wait to see these guys beat, spindle and mutilate their instruments to an agonizingly beautiful death.

Secondly, there is no secondly, unless you're a press person and you think you can weasel your way onto the guest list for the show. There is no guest list for Shellac, which is actually pretty nice because then you don't have to stand in line behind any heavily made-up girls from the suburbs talking loudly about how they're on the guest list for the show and how nice it'll be to hang out with the band after the show and what Todd Trainer likes to eat on his cheeseburger.

It also means you don't have to stand behind any minor rock critics (like myself) having basically the same conversation, although rock critics are miles more annoying than any girl from the suburbs could ever hope to be.

- W, April 13, 6 p.m.
First Avenue, 701 1st Ave.
$10. 338-8388, www.first-avenue.com.

Mesozoic rock

Just in case you didn't get enough of axe-master Neal Schon in his stints as Journey's guitarist, here's one more way to enjoy Schon and his trademark hyperactive guitar noodling. Along with the additional talents of Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent) on bass, Deen Castronovo (Journey) on drums and Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Talisman) on vocals, the brand new supergroup of Soul SirkUS sounds pretty much exactly like what you'd expect from the combined pedigrees of the individual players. On their Web site, Schon describes the band as "one of the coolest bands anyone's heard of in a long time." Take that any way you want.

- Th, April 14, 6 p.m.
First Avenue, 701 1st Ave.
$15 in advance $18 at the door.
338-8388, www.first-avenue.com.

Ascent of man

Early Man may seem like a misnomer for a band that uses so much electricity, but really, when you take into consideration that it really is just two guys who beat loudly on things while hooting and hollering, the name actually fits pretty well. Formerly from Columbus, Ohio, Mike Conte and Adam Bennati mix heavy metal riffs with total madness - not surprisingly, during at least one of their shows, the bar ran completely out of beer during the band's performance.

- F, April 15, 9 p.m.
7th Street Entry, 701 1st Ave.
$8 in advance, $10 at the door.
338-8388, www.first-avenue.com.

Holly Day can be reached at lalena@bitstream.net.