Sonic slaughterers, real geniuses, chain gangs

This Romantic Tragedy is one of a handful of local metalcore acts that I seriously need to get around to interviewing. The band just packed itself into an amps-guitars-and-drums-cramped van to headline its Psychedelic Sex Metal tour, which is a joke, since they indulge neither in drugs nor cheesy guitar solos. The band’s route takes them from Seattle to Pensacola, Fla. That’s a lot of Taco Bell, guys.

Local shows: Prepare to offer your eardrums to the gods of pure California metal when Sacrificial Slaughter arrives at Cheyenne Saloon at 10 p.m. April 5. The band is basking in the praise heaped upon its split album (with Oklahoma’s Enfuneration) called American Death Thrash on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. Sacrificial Slaughter’s songs, such as the malevolence-edged “Reign of the Hammer,” are fun and ferocious. Imagine Slayer after pounding a case of Four Lokos and you get the idea. The cover of American Death Thrash sports an illustration of two eviscerated, brains-bashed zombies wielding whiskey bottles and going at each other with axes and barbed wire-wrapped baseball bats—the perfect visual encapsulation of what Sacrificial Slaughter sounds like. Blessed Curse (formerly Devastator) opens.

If you crave subtler pleasures, that same night Denver’s Chain Gang of 1974, despite a bell-bottoms-era name, will imprison your body and mind (in a good way) with ’80s-style synth-pop that recalls Tears for Fears, The Cure and Prince. The band’s most recent album, Wayward Fire, was my guilty pleasure of 2011. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager cites the final scene of the Val Kilmer movie Real Genius—remember the satellite-lasered popcorn avalanching the bad guy’s house as “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” blasts?—as a musical influence, which means he’s doing something cool. Chain Gang of 1974 plays Beauty Bar as part of a Modern Art tour featuring three other bands (Miniature Tigers, Geographer and Speak). But all I want is to hear Mohager dig into the dirty-ass, keyboard funk of “Devil Is a Lady.” Fans of M83 should enjoy this show immensely.

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Local musicians need to be part of The Smith Center’s jazz mission

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Local musicians need to be part of The Smith Center’s jazz mission

By Steve Bornfeld

Assessment: This joint should, can and hopefully will jump. Five chandeliers sparkling above declare it in style. Experiencing America’s native music in the Cabaret Jazz room at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts was encouraging when it opened March 17, even if the featured opener, the SFJAZZ Collective, was too cerebral to kick-start this cozy jewel with any verve.

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