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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & A completely secular, booze-drenched (and thus utterly godless) hard-rock outfit from Canada has deigned to name themselves THREE DAYS GRACE. Ballsy. As consumers of music -- indeed as members of the human race -- we're used to the pendulum swing of taste. Movements beget anti-movements; love begets hate and so on. But this is the oddest turn we've seen.


Remember the time, not so long ago, when Christian bands were trying to disguise their Christianity in order to minister to pop kids through the back (emo-inflected) door? Three Days Grace is the antithesis of that. Could any other word grouping be more pregnant with Christian iconography? We think not, unless it was like Samson David's Horn of Jericho.


And these guys aren't some barroom brawling, Creed-type, hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner repentance-seekers either. They're assholes and they love that about themselves. Their two most popular songs, "Animal I Have Become" and "I Hate Everything About You" don't even require analysis to see the jerk factor. We guess that means the pendulum has swung.





Three Days Grace and Fine Print of a Truce at the Big Easy on Friday, Aug. 18, at 8 pm. Tickets: $17. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.





Even if the East Side Boyz never existed, the South'd still be dirty. There's too much dubious history, too much tawdry, whitewashed gentrification, too much general creepiness for the dark corners of the region ever to be wiped clean. South Carolina's DIRTY GUNS take that and run with it, wielding sex and 'shine and firearms like an ironic punk bludgeon against the region's more conservative tendencies.


That's more or less what THE FLAPPERS (aka Spina Bifida) do as well, but with a different region and cultural milieu. Spokane's first neo-grunge band, the group channels Cobain and Company pitch-perfectly to exorcise his (and the genre's) more self-absorbed, indulgent tendencies. That's a good thing. We've been held under the moany flannel umbrella for too long. Portland shrugged it off by never really charting any of its grunge acolytes, but Seattle -- and Washington as a whole -- has remained that sad, rainy place that spawned grunge. In that sense, the music played by bands like the Flappers (and west-side correlates the Weapons, Post Stardom Depression, et al.) feels like the reclamation of a stolen sound.





Dirty Guns with Lysdexic and Spina Bifida (aka the Flappers) at Mootsy's on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 10 pm. Tickets: $5. Sponsored by Rock Coffee. Call 838-1570.





Though it probably sounds like any other wankerish evolutionary metal sentiment -- Darwinism by way of Tool -- MANKIND IS OBSOLETE is, in many ways, the antithesis of that. For one, they're more industrial than anything, with a bit of thrashy, Rage Against the Machine thrown in for operatic resonance. (Anyone who can't see the similarities between Evil Empire and Die Fledermaus needs to come talk to me). The group reeks of the sexual consternation that came from growing up in an era (mid-'90s) so suffused with the paranoid and dystopic (that is: male, white, suburban) melding of man, machine and claymation that the mere sight of an MTV logo makes us shudder to this day.


The other little irony about the band name is that the lead singer's a girl and -- with apologies to my friend and NIN & uuml;ber fan Ben Kromer -- she's got more tonal depth than Trent Reznor, if not necessarily as much emotional chutzpah. This is the girl power that never happened in 1995. Whether that makes it retro or leading-edge is up for debate.





Mankind Is Obsolete with Dancing Cadavers and God Fearing Nation at Empyrean on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 456-3676.
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