Live and Erect

Rock And Rap Shows Bed-Spring Into Action

March 2
Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Place, 777-6800

Back in '88, KRS-One proclaimed that "no one's from the old school, 'cause rap is still a brand new tool." Thirteen years later, he hosts this nostalgic megabill that spans the irreverent (Teddy Riley pal Kool Moe Dee, freak-obsessed 'hos Whodini, b-ball-lovin' Kurtis Blow), the street-rockin' (Dougie Fresh and Slick Rick, mystery-accented Dana Dane, trash-talkers U.T.F.O.), and the not-dead-yet (operatic Prince Paul's Stetsasonic, mad genius Kool Keith's Ultramagnetic MCs, power-brokering Poor Righteous Teachers), plus the man who brought it to your speakers every Saturday night, DJ Red Alert. (Spartos)

Chicks on Speed careen into the Knitting Factory.
photo: Tina Winkhaus-Kuhn
Chicks on Speed careen into the Knitting Factory.

March 7
Knitting Factory, Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006

Unknown to most, Ground Control Records has quietly been amassing a nationwide roster of fine underground hip-hop talent. Representing Los Angeles, there's Aceyalone. The former Freestyle Fellowship don has near cult status among polysyllabic MCs, and his work only gets more assured with time. From NoCal is Rasco, who's more concerned with battling than backpacks. From the East, there's Boston old-timer Ed O.G. and New York-via-CT duo Masterminds, both of whom should prostrate themselves before their left-coast peers. (Caramanica)

March 9
Theater at Madison Garden, Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street, 307-7171

The runaway winners of this year's Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll get props for creating their music live in the studio. Now we find out whether they're up to convincing a pop audience just now figuring out who they are—two dynamite televised "B.O.B."s have certainly primed the pump—that they're the best band in the land. Like the man said, all, who says a funk band can't play rock music? Opening: a dirty Midwesterner who will certainly be Southern enough to warm the Garden up. (Christgau)

March 10
Knitting Factory, Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006

While she's tried on a number of guises over the years—virgin, vixen, hipster Jennifer Lopez to Evan Dando's indie Puff Daddy—Juliana Hatfield never fully recaptured the momentous musical mélange she manufactured with the Blake Babies. After a decade apart—in which ex-Babies John Strohm and Freda Love carried the torch in distorto-pop combos like Antenna and the Mysteries of Life—the trio set off on the reunion trail last year with a wedding-band gig that grew into a full-scale reunion. Hatfield has, thankfully, moved on from her Portrait-of-the-Artist-as-a-Young-Coquette phase, and the trio's new album, God Bless the Blake Babies, tugs at both the heartstrings and the pogo-center often enough to recommend this gig as more than a mere nostalgia trip. (Sprague)

March 10-11
Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, 533-2111

A trio of noteworthy young hard rock bands with the kinda songs that supposedly haven't existed for decades: Local boys the Mooney Suzuki do OK by their nuggets nostalgia, but the stars here are ladies. Bratmobile have thankfully set aside riot tantrrrums for Cheap Trick and eating toothpaste; the Donnas just celebrated hitting legal age with yet another hilarious album, slightly wiser and more metal than the three before. Mooney Suzuki open March 11 only. (Eddy)

March 16
Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue and 32nd Street, 307-7171

Grunge goes AOR, and in two of three cases, it's a damn good idea. Last summer Everclear put out the best rock album so far this millennium, and the best divorced-dad album in the history of humankind, and nearly nobody noticed. Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 has, over the course of two CDs and one Santana single, proved himself the smoothest if not quite the best rock-dude voice of his era. And Lifehouse wanna be Creed when they grow up. (Eddy)

March 16
Fashion Institute of Technology, 227 West 27th Street, 545-7536

Forget all the horrible things you think you know about Gypsy music, and all the boring ones you think you know about Balkan music. The lautari in this transgenerational Romanian ensemble are rougher than the usual export versions of either. Highly professional, toasts of Europe in fact, they don't fetishize rehearsed tightness. And I want to hear the deep creak of their large cymbalum live. (Christgau)

March 17
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, 65th Street and Broadway, 545-7536

Weston has been focusing on the deceptively simple harmonic structures and trance-inducing rhythms of North Africa since the early '90s, and his most recent album documents a 1999 Brooklyn concert with his Gnawan colleagues. His elemental chops are expansive and self-effacing enough to both embrace and elevate the Gnawans' bluesy steamroller momentum. (Gehr)

March 17
Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th Street, 307-7171

Roni Size's Reprazent collective is one of the few outfits able to take electronic music from the studio to the stage. This is a feat not to be taken lightly when you consider that most live PAs consist of two dudes bobbing their heads behind a bunch of wires. Aided by a drummer, a bass player, and his three coproducers (Suv, Die, and Krust), plus Bristol-bred singer Onallee and the suave MC Dynamite, the Reprazent live experience is a rock-solid exploration of scattershot breaks and bumping sub-bass—the grooves locking as solid as James Brown's rhythm section. (Romano)

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