"Neil Something was a stratospherically gifted drummer," she continues, "who, if memory isn't supplying ghoulishness to a situation that otherwise failed to interest me at all, had lost an arm. Or maybe he was blind."
Likewise Jerry Stahl's once, twice, three times a David Bowie glance-back sails by on bad TV and reminiscences of rehab before "Rehab" was cool. After first glimpsing Bowie, departing fabulously from a Sunset Strip book shop, the "boundary-challenged" Stahl breaks down into the man who fell to earth's arms midinterview with "I haven't shot dope in a month." Lastly, the writer drags his teen daughter to a 2004 Los Angeles show: after embarrassing her by "waving twenties around like Spiro Agnew a reference no one reading should rightfully comprehend," the two head in, but once Bowie appears onstage, Stahl demurs, "Hey I'm old enough to get junk mail from AARP. I can't remember everything." He does remember, amid "Rebel Rebel," that he is alive: "My own good luck scares me. David Bowie saved my life, inspired me to scrape enough psychic ganglia off the sidewalk to still be here." Makes you want to get the old diary out and start reassembling the old memory banks or making new memories.
WRITING WRONGS Electrelane guitarist Mia Clarke has done her share of scribbling about music for the Wire, among other pubs, but that ability to step back and assess, analyze, and appreciate didn't help when the Brighton-born members of the all-femme band seemed to be on the verge of breaking. After the group made its excellent 2005 Axes (Too Pure) and embarked on a year of touring, Clarke said from her current home in Chicago, where Electrelane are launching their current series of US shows, "we were really sick of each other. When you spend that much time with each other, it gets a bit much, and we all have other things going on in our lives" (bassist Ros Murray, for example, is working on a graduate degree from King's College while on the bus). Fortunately, Electrelane reconvened in vocalist-keyboardist Verity Susman's then-home in Berlin during the World Cup and, buoyed by the welcoming vibe in the town, found it in themselves to write and record the nautically themed No Shouts, No Calls (Too Pure), a lighter take on their kraut rock of yore, embellished with ukulele, and Chamberlin keyboards, and sailors' knots in the CD art. Some ties somehow always bind. *
With the Arcade Fire
June 12, 8 p.m., $31.50
Gayley Road, Berk.
HEAR 'EM OUT
PRIESTBIRD AND PIT ER PAT
Once a Tarantula AD, now a Priestbird make up your mind, NYC drama trio. Chicago's Pit er Pat keep working that exploratory vein. Wed/23, 9:30 p.m., $10. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com
VATICANS, BUG NASTIES,
AND COCONUT COOLOUTS
An arse-wigglin' time emerges from the garage when the SF headliners get with the Seattle sickos. Fri/25, 9:30 p.m., $7. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com
ELECTRIC LOVE PARADE
Tender, bare tunes and rockin' piano electrify the Brighton band's No Need to Be Downhearted (Better Looking). Sun/27, 9 p.m., $8. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. (415) 621-4455
SAN SIERN HOLYOAKE
AND WOOD FESTIVAL
New folk forms taking shape as Almaden, Barn Owl, Adam Snider, Misty Mountain, Mass at Dawn, and Messes scurry from the woods. Sun/27, 9 p.m., $6. Hotel Utah, 500 Fourth St., SF. (415) 546-6300