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Neutral Uke Hotel, with I Believe In Sunshine, Joseph Giant. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $7. You would think that one

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Tonight: Neutral Uke Hotel at the Sunset, Nekromantix at El Corazon

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Neutral Uke Hotel, with I Believe In Sunshine, Joseph Giant. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $7. You would think that one man strumming out every song from In the Aeroplane over the Sea on a ukulele would be a bad idea. For one, there's the trouble of stripping Neutral Milk Hotel bare. Even though Shawn Fogel, the man behind the cleverly-named Neutral Uke Hotel, has some back-up instrumentation while he sings and strums, the layers of Neutral Milk's 1998 masterpiece--organs and trumpets and accordions and elements of psych rock--just aren't there. And Fogel's voice is sweet and on-key, but it lacks the straining, emotive character of Jeff Mangum's. Yet despite these flaws, Neutral Uke Hotel does something wonderful: offer Neutral Milk Hotel fans the chance to hear the band's songs live again. YouTube videos of Fogel's performances depict free-for-all, enthusiastic sing-a-longs. Plus, there's something appropriately sad about that tiny ukulele: it struggles, admirably, the same way Mangum did. PAIGE RICHMOND

Nekromantix, with The Mutilators, The Howlers. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $14. All ages. In the Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft in Hólmavík, Iceland, sits a pair of "necropants." What are necropants, you ask? Well, it's the skin of the lower half of a male body dug up from a graveyard, removed intact, and worn over one's own lower half with a coin inserted into the scrotum (yes, the wearer is supposed to obtain the prior permission of the deceased to do this). And why the hell would someone don a pair of necropants? Supposedly the magical properties of these corpse-leggings will make the wearer rich beyond his wildest dreams. What does any of this have to do with the California trio Nekromantix? Nothing, really. But it's a tad more interesting than Nekromantix' competent yet run-of-the-mill, Misfits/Cramps-inspired horrorshow/punkabilly. Now if they hit the stage wearing some necropants, then that'd be something! MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG
 
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