BRITISH SEA POWER
Crocodile Cafe at 9 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 24. $10 adv.
Shiver me timbers! Batten down the hatches! Then call home and tell the folks to leave a candle in the window—with a backup on the sill. On The Decline of British Sea Power (Rough Trade), the Reading-based quartet display plenty of momentum on most of their maiden expedition. The full-speed-ahead "Remember Me" hints at what Crocodile-era Echo & the Bunnymen might have become in the short run had their stylist run a meth lab on the side, largely thanks to first mate Noble, who slathers the tune with the special pungent froth English guitarists exude when they're being particularly territorial. Not since Luther Grosvenor pranced and pouted with Mott the Hoople has a Limey- generated solo proclaimed "this song is mine" with so much joy and unalloyed abandon. (Plus Noble sounds drunker than Grosvenor ever did, meaning someone'll have to cough up for a new plaque.) But it's skipper and vocalist Yan who takes the cup, croon/croaking "I remember me/I remember me/Will you remember me?" glitteringly enough to convince even the foggiest lubber that he'd deliver a grand "John, I'm Only Rowing," even if you stuffed the rest of the band into a capsized bathtub with him. Granted, doing just that seems pretty alluring by the time minute 13 of "Lately"—a turgid, multimovement meditation on time that mimics eternity a bit too well—arrives. The song's sonic Sargasso doesn't strain the album's bilge pumps to anywhere near their their limits, but it's too like snorkling through soggy fruitcake to bring much comfort to the wise. Poseidon willing, ship's chaplain'll banish Mike Scott's shade from the vessel before the crew's next studio-side excursion and that'll be that. These dogs are far too salty to let a few conceptual barnacles foul their splendid trajectory. ROD SMITH
Graceland at 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 20. $16 adv.
Are Cannibal Corpse issuing a cry for help with the song "Nothing Left to Mutilate"? After 16 years and nine studio albums of decapitating, disemboweling, and general defilement, it seems there actually is, well, nothing left to mutilate. The track from the death-metal stalwarts' soon-to-be-released album The Wretched Spawn (Metal Blade) unwittingly addresses perhaps the thorniest question facing the current death-metal scene: to progress or not progress? Like their bloodthirsty peers in Deicide, Immolation, and Incantation, Cannibal Corpse have elected to remain true to their old-school roots, annually churning out new material as predictable as horror movie sequels—and satisfying practically the same fan base. To their credit, Cannibal do their best to evolve on The Wretched Spawn—not via any musical development, of course, but by exploring compelling new means of fatality. Rather than strike with a trusty pickax, they stone their prey with severed heads and flatten victims with a landslide of decaying bodies. Ah, the sweet sounds of progress. Still, Cannibal Corpse aren't exactly dispatching their interminable psychos into Manhattan or rocketing them into outer space (they leave such genre evolution to death-metal developers Nile, Opeth, and Akercocke, who all actually concentrate on advancing the music). Instead, when Cannibal and fellow extreme metal merchants Exhumed, Hypocrisy, and Vile invade Graceland this Saturday, they will administer the familiar musical beating most of their devotees have practically grown up with. Just think of it as a guilty pleasure no more harmful than a night spent watching Freddy vs. Jason. ALBERT MUDRIAN
EXPERIENCE HENDRIX TOUR
Featuring Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Living Colour, Jerry Cantrell, and others. Paramount Theater at 7 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 22. $38.50-$44.50
The Experience Hendrix Tour seems to have all its bases covered with a cross-influencing web of artists who have both worshipped in the Church of Jimi and gained a few disciples of their own. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Living Colour, Jerry Cantrell, and Indigenous slept, breathed, and ate the ethos of Electric Ladyland for breakfast as kids, then imaginatively spit it back out as post-grunge, alterna-pop-rock, electric blues-rock, you name it. The headliner, Hendrix-guru-slash-number-one-fan Buddy Guy paved the Chicago blues yellow brick road down which Hendrix skipped early on as a session guitarist for Chess Records; now Guy is a solo artist who does plenty of Hendrix material. But there's one glaring oversight of this tour: Guy might be its rightful headliner, but it's all guys. Sure, the Church of Jimi (not to mention the lead guitarist world) is an infamous boys club, so the tour isn't doing anything that out of the ordinary. But with all the show's cross-cross-cross-influencing and diversity going on, couldn't they get one woman on the bill—Bonnie Raitt, say, or Nancy Wilson, or even Meshell Ndegeocello (a bassist not guitarist, sure, but one who covers and/or channels Jimi at least once per album)? If it makes sense to include the dude from Kid Rock's band (Kenny Olson), it certainly makes sense to include Joan Jett. RACHEL DEVITT