God’s Favorite Birthdays
Monday, January 27
Judging from his breathtakingly bitter lyrics to “Goodbye Honky Town,” Drew Keriakedes did not find Florida a particularly congenial environment to grow up in: “The South is a mouth which feeds on the bottom of a slough . . . Yer children will murder you when they git bigger . . . I’ll be the one with the hatchet grinning.” The Northwest was more to his taste; here, under the stage name Shmootzi the Clod, he explored roots music’s macabre, carny side—Greil Marcus’ “old, weird America” incarnate. He found an ideal home in Seattle alt-circus troupe Circus Contraption, which he joined as the band’s frontman; there he met Joe Albanese —”Dexter Mantooth” in the Circus and Meshuguna Joe in the side project they launched together, God’s Favorite Beefcake. An unflappable bassist who anchored the CC band for the decade the troupe was together, the quiet Albanese stayed largely out of the limelight, while Keriakedes developed an act—sword-swallowing, forks up his nose, and other geekery—for the Circus’ “Show to End All Shows,” which, sadly, did, in 2009. Shmootzi’s songs added something new and distinctive to the CC aesthetic: a nostalgic pathos that cut to the bone with the simplest musical means, often in waltz time, sometimes gospel-flavored; coupled with the off-kilter weirdness of his stage persona, they could be devastating. They’ll be even more so at tonight’s birthday celebration of the music he and Albanese—both killed in the May 31, 2012, Cafe Racer shootings—made together: an “informal sing-along of Joe and Drew’s music, and a chance to hang out and raise a glass.” Cafe Racer, 5828 Roosevelt Way N.E., 523-JAVA. 9 p.m.