When I’m not at concerts, you’ll find me on the couch watching Netflix and studying up on my history. If you’re a rock-geek like me, here are some cool rockumentaries you should check out: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, about the ’70s-era Memphis power-pop underdogs who went on to influence everyone from R.E.M. to Teenage Fanclub; A Band Called Death, about the obscure early-’70s proto-punk group Death, formed by three African-American brothers in Detroit after they caught a set by Iggy and the Stooges; and finally, Punk in Africa, about the explosion of alternative music post-apartheid. Can’t recommend these enough.
Enough streaming scholarship. Here are my picks for this week’s top underground shows. There’s only one touring band on God’s broken earth that fills my heart with fear, revulsion and anticipation—Cattle Decapitation. The San Diego-based vegan-deathgrind band is an entity of horror and highly technical musical chops, especially on 2012’s Monolith of Inhumanity. This is grotesque and blistering punk-metal, from the guitar-riffing fusillade of “Projectile Ovulation” to the acid-bathing drum-kit assault of “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat.” Put aside, for the moment, the fact that Cattle Decap is responsible for the most revolting music video ever released by any band—ever. (Please don’t type the song title “Forced Gender Reassignment” into your YouTube search bar.) Standing at the front of the stage when this band is performing is akin to staring into the propeller of a WWI-era Fokker Eindecker—with its synchronized machine gun blasting at you through whirring blades. Cattle Decap will prod you into the killing chute at 10 p.m. January 10 at Cheyenne Saloon.
I mentioned Netflix-streaming music docs earlier. Have you seen Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl’s directorial debut? It’s called Sound City, about the history of the recording studio in Van Nuys, California, where Nirvana’s Nevermind was made—along with landmark records by Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Tom Petty and Ratt’s stone-cold classic Out of the Cellar. I’m watching the film and spinning Cellar on vinyl as I write this in expectation of a show by Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy at Count’s Vamp’d at 10 p.m. January 11. Pearcy’s pumped to play hits (“Round and Round,” “Way Cool Jr.”) by his vintage ’80s glam band, as well as songs from his most recent solo album, 2011’s Suckerpunch, featuring hard-rock tunes such as “Don’t Wanna Talk About.” But if he doesn’t deliver Ratt rocker “Lack of Communication,” I’ll be sad.
Here’s a show for all of you underground hip-hop enthusiasts. Nerdcore artists Adam WarRock (pop-culture rapper), Schaffer the Darklord (comedic horrorcore rap-metalhead) and Tribe One (comics rapper)—all of whom comprise the current Group Therapy tour—will ignite the stage inside Bar 702 at 8 p.m. January 16. If you’re a Xena-gazing geek who loves rhyme-spittin’, you won’t want to miss this way-off-the-radar show. Local dork-punk trio 3D6 opens, specializing in “songs about Dungeons & Dragons, video games, comics, sci-fi and all things nerdy.”