We love the Budget Rock Showcase ... plus Two Gallants, UNKLE, and more
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SONIC REDUCER Hey, dude, while you were busy abiding, you totally snoozed on last year's Budget Rock Showcase. We came, we were conquered, we rocked, we rolled, we had joy, we had fun, we had seasons at the Stork. Oh yeah, and we wet our lips, shook our hips, and swore we'd never dip back into that pretty, pretty poison of a garage rock fest, yet said soiree kept dragging us back the weekend of Nov. 10, 2006, for more wonderfully ear-piercing, guitar-centered punishment from the Guilty Hearts, the Shrugs, SLA, the Omens, and the Original Sins, spotlighting a barefoot and blissfully uncontrite Brother JT singing an awesomely odd cover of "I Want Candy." All crack for the rawboned rock 'n' roll crank.
This year's Budget Rock busts the bank with two reunions to squander your spare change on and write home to your pasty-faced, pageboyed collector headfanbo about. Primo: Boston's real punk lost treasures the Real Kids, now pushing fiftysomething and still playing the gloriously hook-laden songs off their 1977 self-titled debut (Norton). Yeah, they looked like the Ramones, but the Real Kids eschewed comic book music stylings for heartfelt, rockin' teen angst more in line with early wavers like Eddie and the Hot Rods or Rockpile. They looked forward by stripping down and glancing back to teen dreams and prepube debauchery.
And yeah, most of their songs are about girls, but that doesn't mean the tunes haven't stood time's tests, which is why pockets of fanatics can be found from France ("They like us and Jerry Lewis," vocalist-guitarist John Felice says) to Japan, especially since the Real Kids regrouped in 1999 to play the Purple Onion. The group is only now rebounding after a year and half of casts and three surgeries on Felice's left hand, injured by years of playing and arthritis, but the Realest Kid is looking forward to meeting old fans like Rancid's Lars Frederickson, who came out for their Onion show. "He turns out to be a big Real Kids fan. The first records he ever got, from his older brother, were a Ramones album, a Voidoids album, the Sex Pistols album, and the Real Kids album," Felice recalls. "We had an influence on him!"
Influence can go all sorts of ways. Secundo on the Budget Rock reunion tip are the Bay's all-female garage punksurf combo the Trashwomen, who haven't played since '95. Trashwomen drummer Tina Lucchesi late of the Bobbyteens and co-owner of Oakland salon Down at Lulu's remembers the band as the brainchild of Phantom Surfer Mike Lucas back in 1991. Guitarist Elka Zolot was already in the punk band Eight Ball Scratch, but Lucchesi and bassist Danielle Pimm had never played before. So, Lucchesi confesses, her boyfriend Russell Quan, once of the Mummies and now of the Flakes, taught her to bash three weeks before their first show. "We were shitty, so shitty," Lucchesi remembers, though the band managed to generate a fun Estrus album. In the interim, she says, "I've learned a lot. I'm a better drummer now. We're older now. We're not little girls. We're not young and out of tune." *
BUDGET ROCK SHOWCASE
With the Trashwomen (Fri/26) and the Real Kids (Sat/27Sun/28)
Call for times and prices
2330 Telegraph, Oakl.
ARE THE GOOD TIMES KILLING TWO GALLANTS?
There can be such a thing as too much of a good time, attests Adam Stephens, 26, of Two Gallants, who call San Francisco home when they aren't gallanting around the globe. The duo's new self-titled Saddle Creek LP has got to be their best yet and it's their first working with a producer, Alex Newport, an experience that came with some tough love. "If he thought there was something inappropriate or inconsistent, he would point it out to us, which is really hard for us because Tyson [Vogel, the Gallants drummer] and I use our first takes as much as possible."
After their forthcoming shows at the Independent and a six-week European sortie, Stephens is finally hoping to chill out in the Bay. "When you're touring as much as we are your sanity comes into question," the SF native admits. "I have a very deep love affair with the city, and after being gone so much I like to reexplore it. To me that's a really peaceful, rejuvenating thing to do, just bike around the city all day and try to reclaim it." *
Fri/26Sat/27, 9 p.m., $16
628 Divisadero, SF
GET DOWN, BOY
Carve out a niche for There the Open Space (Misra). With Man Man. Thurs/25, 8 p.m., $13$15. Slim's, 333 11th St., SF. www.slims-sf.com 
Electro über Alles. Fri/26, 10 p.m., $15. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com 
After delivering one of the best shows of 2005 at Bottom of the Hill, electronic-rock maestro Don Snaith, a.k.a. Manitoba, comes back with Andorra. Sat/27, 9 p.m., $13$15. Slim's, 333 11th St., SF. www.slims-sf.com 
Tunes about pizza and the movie Twins. Sat/27, 2 p.m., call for price. Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph, Oakl. (510) 444-6174, www.storkcluboakland.com . Sun/28, 9:30 p.m., $7. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com 
Boasting a dynamic War Stories (Surrender All), the UK production collective makes its maiden live outing. Sat/27, 9 p.m., $20. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie, SF. www.mezzaninesf.com