Sound Checks

Eminem is an emcee's emcee, not just another Korn-ey white rapper, and he's on tour with New York legends Beatnuts and the relatively unknown Pace Won. Pace will undoubtedly open with "I Declare War," the track that has all the underground heads blazed with his nonchalant sarcasm and succinct rhymes. If Pace is as good live as he is on vinyl, he's a sure shot to get the crowd hyped.

Producers/rappers extraordinaire the Beatnuts have been in the business for more than a decade. The original 'Nuts consisted of Fashion, Psycho Les and JuJu; the trio's group name describes them as simply as possible: They create hard, funky, drunken beats, and their reputation as three of the craziest men in hip-hop precedes them. They've done beat work for MC Lyte, Chi Ali, Common (on his first LP) and Naughty by Nature, not to mention their own classic material. Big Punisher fans should note that he basically got his start on the Beatnuts' "Off the Books" 12-inch a couple of years ago. The group has just released a new single featuring Greg Nice of Nice & Smooth, of course minus Fashion, now known as Al Tariq, who went solo around '96 and will not be on the tour. The crowd will be a little medley of young MTV heads, underground hip-hop heads and rap fans of all ages, but the three acts complement each other nicely and will have all types of heads nodding and banging. (AP)

The Hellicopters with the Nomads and Quadrajet
Tuesday, May 18; Karma
"It's all circles, " Mike Watt once said, referring to the nature of rock. What comes around goes around, and so on. Coming around the mountain right now is a rediscovery of post-proto/pre-punk circa 1970-75: Stooges, MC5 and Dictators, and the accompanying raucous energy of discovering that speed, distortion and anger can be harnessed into a compact brick of metal. The Hellicopters are from Sweden, feature the ex-drummer of Entombed and lift the sound of the MC5 and the Dictators almost riff-for-riff. The problem? A fine line separates said bands from rock-ish REO and BTO, and the twain collide in the Hellicopters. Where they connect is in flashy penis-extender guitar solos, and these reared their ugly head in the dumb metal of the mid-'70s and again in the glam metal of the late '80s. Luckily, in both instances variations on punk shut them up for a little while. And if the Hellicopters signal a trend, bring it on, because it means that punk'll once again stuff a sock in its mouth.

Alas, you gotta go to this show, if only for the Nomads, a veteran Swede garage band who have been cranking out messed up psych-rock for close to 20 years now. These days they're on the fantastic Estrus label out of Washington state -- a stamp of approval in itself -- but they were doing this stuff when Estrus was just a twinkle. Their stunning mid-'80s 12-inch featuring "She Pays the Rent" and "Nitroglycerine Shriek" is a seminal dose of garage dirge, and their cover of Beefheart's "Frying Pan" captures all the energy of the original. (RR)

Contributors: Roy Kasten, April Park, Terry Perkins, Randall Roberts

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