Atomic Housewives, .38 special and more

Volcano music scribes tell you where to go

By Volcano Staff on December 27, 2007

Saturday, Dec. 29

BLUES john nemeth, junior watson

Two headliners are sliding into Jazzbones to quench your post-Christmas blues thirst.

John Nemeth, white, sounds black, and I don’t believe he’s trying. Entrenched in tradition, the Boise native plays in the fashion of old-school blues, R&B and soul singers of the ’50s and ’60s. He blows a mean harp too. Nemeth released two independent discs, 2002’s Jack of Harps and 2004’s Come and Get It, before signing to the Blind Pig label is 2006. His Pig debut, Magic Touch, resonates with the authenticity of an early Ray Charles or Bobby Blue Bland and features guitarist Junior Watson.

A long-time member of Canned Heat, guitar virtuoso Junior Watson has built quite the resume as a session player, as he has recorded with everyone from Charlie Musslewhite and Jimmy Rogers to Rod Piazza and Kim Wilson. His mastery of the fret board gives him a smooth tone akin to T-Bone Walker, but he’s careful not to mimic anyone. His solo debut, 1994’s Long Overdue, was described as authentically spontaneous. Watson’s second and last outing, 2002’s Had a Genie, was chock-full of high-energy jump blues. — Tony Engelhart

[Jazzbones, 8 p.m., $13-$16, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.0600]

Saturday, Dec. 29

ROCK atomic housewives

Saturday, Dec. 29, a wild band of pirates will commandeer Le Voyeur in Olympia for a night of sloppy red-blooded rock and all around fun.

Think I’m joking?

I’m not.

The Atomic Housewives, made up of guitarist and singer Bertha Lou Housewife, bassist Cletus Housewife, and drummer Billy (Lee) Ray Housewife, have quite a story —at least according to MySpace. Since everything on the Internet is true (or it wouldn’t be allowed on the Internet), the Weekly Volcano is inclined to believe the amazing tale of the Atomic Housewives, who site Mudhoney and David Bowie as inspirations. Apparently, singer Bertha Lou had worked for 12 years in a sweat shop producing blowup dolls for American consumption, when one day a group of pirates attacked in search of buried treasure. Bertha took the opportunity to escape. Later, Bertha was down and out when the very same pirates who attacked her former place of work enslaved her, demanding she front their rock and roll band — the Atomic Housewives. She has done so ever since.

The other two members of the Atomic Housewives have equally alarming pasts. According to MySpace:

“Billy (Lee) Ray Housewife was born in a shantytown boarding house to a lively pair of bearded-women. His mothers smothered him in bearded-love, and in return, he too grew a beard of enormous proportions. Billy Ray was the poster child for the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, until the mid-’80s, when he — against his mothers’ wishes — took a job as a trapeze choreographer with the Circque du Soleil. His bearded-mothers’ deep-rooted hatred of the French led to pipe-bombings, which were well-publicized on the circus circuit. Now in the black books of the circus industry, Lee Ray was forced to abandon his well-established career in the circus, and seek out a new lifestyle. With his circus training, the only feasible course was pirating.

“Cletus Housewife is the inbred, white trash husband and brother of Bertha Lou Housewife, and bassist for Atomic Housewives. He was forced to wed Bertha Lou at gunpoint by their father/uncle.”

Got all that? The Atomic Housewives are pirates, rockers, trapeze stars, and (at least partially) inbred. What more could you ask for? Their show at Le Voyeur on Saturday, if nothing else, should be a sight worth seeing. — Matt Driscoll

[Le Voyeur, with Serpentone, Saturday, Dec. 29, 10 p.m., no cover, 404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, 360.943.5710]

Monday, Dec. 31

ROCK british racing green

I’m a Beatles fan and my guess — so is Steve Pearson, as his band British Racing Green blatantly pays homage to the Fab Four. In fact, on their MySpace page under influences, they list John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Performing in a 1960s power-pop style, the Cashmere-based band employs rich harmonies and jangley rhythms. Pearson was a founding member of the legendary Seattle group the Heaters who possessed a Merseybeat sound. Later, he formed the Rangehoods where he tried to shake his Beatles-ish roots, adopting a harder rock sound with screaming vocals and heavy guitar. But after the band broke up, Pearson would pick up where the Heaters left off to form British Racing Green. The quartet of Steve (guitar and vocals), Lucette Pearson (guitar and vocals), Tim Moore (bass) and Tony Contratto (drums) recently released its debut, Impatient. The portrait of a Rickenbacker guitar that adorns the cover sets the stage for what’s inside. — TE

[The Spar, 8 p.m., 2121 North 30th Street, Tacoma, 253.672.8215]

Monday, Dec. 31

SOUTHERN ROCK .38 special

This Southern rock band elicits a few memories of when I was a little s*** terrorizing my teachers in junior high. My rebellion was fueled as much by the music I was into as the herbs I was growing in my closet. Already a huge fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, I instantly fell in love with .38 Specials’ straight-ahead Southern boogie style.

Fronted by Donnie Van Zant, brother of Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant, .38 Special was one of a handful of groups mixing blues and rock with country twang. Not immediately embraced by mainstream rockers, the Jacksonville quintet would have to wait until the release of its fifth album, 1981’s Wild Eyed Southern Boys, to crack the Top 40 album charts. After that, it was smooth sailing for a couple of years as their follow-ups would outdo each other. But with the MTV age coming, the band saw a dip in popularity despite strong albums.

Now in their 30th year, .38 Special is still one hell of a live act. And with two key original members — Donnie and guitarist Don Barnes — the band still sounds authentic.

No price listed? Yup. It’s free! — TE

[Emerald Queen Casino, 9 p.m., no cover, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 253.594.7777]