Prog rock, worship pop, porno punk

Funny how heavy rock albums from my childhood don’t sound heavy 20 years later. There was a time when the hair on my neck would stand up at the mere idea of placing a vinyl record of, say, Kilroy Was Here on my crappy Sears turntable. Indeed, the anticipation of blasting a fantastical song such as “Mr. Roboto”—with its eerie mechanical choral swells, dark synths and dystopian lyrics of a world controlled by robots—was massive.

My point: You can’t beat a legendary band. Parts of Kilroy sound dated (especially the chirping keyboards and artificial handclaps of “Cold War”), but there’s no expiration for the classic tunes of Styx, which brings its arena-suited prog-rock to The Joint at 8 p.m. Sept. 24, with REO Speedwagon. The Chicago-born band arrives before releasing next month’s (Oct. 4) career-encapsulating double disc, Regeneration, Volume I & II. In addition to including new song “Difference in the World,” the release also features interpretations of “High Enough” and “Coming of Age,” originally recorded by Damn Yankees. Damn Yankees is the old supergroup featuring current Styx frontman Tommy Shaw (along with Night Ranger’s Jack Blades and Ted Nugent). Original Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung, mastermind behind Kilroy, is no longer in the band. But Shaw and Co. perform all the hits, so I promise you’re going to hear “Come Sail Away” and, yes, “Mr. Roboto.”

Something I rarely mention in this column: Christian rock—an oxymoron on par with gay Republicans and friendly fire. I’m here to tell you some of it’s pretty damn—er, pretty good. Among my favorites: Toledo, Ohio, quintet Sanctus Real, slated to perform at the Henderson Pavilion, 7 p.m. Sept. 25, with Casting Crowns. Sanctus Real mines the same sonic terrain as indie-pop acts The Fray and Coldplay, so if you enjoy emotive midtempo rock with soaring vocal melodies you’re gonna love this band. My favorite song of theirs, “Lead Me,” is a heartfelt meditation on what it means to be a father and man in a culture where fatherhood and manhood are too often mocked, distorted. Check it out.

It’ll take a million years before I find the right transition, so fuck it: Bloodcocks UK frontman Bloody Bloodcock (everyone has the same last name like the Ramones) e-mailed to let me know his revolting XXX-sleaze-punk band (Gory Bloodcock looks like Rob Ruckus of the Vermin/Nines) is touring Japan as you read this, culminating in a Tokyo CD-release party Oct. 1. The U.S. release date for the Bloodcocks’ self-titled debut full-length is Oct. 25 via Wood Shampoo records, and a release party in the States takes place at 10 p.m. Nov. 5 at Double Down Saloon. Because (for no reason other than willfulness) Bloodcocks UK refuse to play their native country, other bands—the Heiz (from Japan) and Portland’s Bloodcocks R Us, a Bloodcocks tribute band—are. “We will be there but will not play,” writes Bloody. “This makes the event probably the only CD-release party ever where the featured band refuses to play.”

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