by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & P & lt;/span & sych rock couldn't be hotter if it were simmering on a gas range in a port reduction, and VILLAGE GREEN sounds fit to pick up the mantle of posey decadence Black Rebel Motorcycle Club vacated when they forwent the rock to dive down the rabbit hole of ill-conceived folk douch-ery.

And while Village Green's most widely received track, "When the Creepers Creep In," could seriously pass for BRMC, other cuts, especially "Wrap Your Love Around Me" show a degree of playfulness and sonic variance that the Black Rebels never allow themselves for fear of being decried as not authentic or something. That's the point, folks, when revival aping becomes re-envisioned artistry. What was always so frustrating about BRMC finds its refreshing, expansive yin in the Village Green's avoidance of pandering to expectations of what psych rock should be. Which is perfect, since the whole point of psych rock is to get baked and have your mind blown. How can you blow minds if you're biting riffs and being careful to keep within boundaries? You can't, that's how.

Village Green with Gosling and Strata at the Big Easy on Friday, Dec. 8, at 8 pm. $10. Visit or call 325-SEAT.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; &

& lt;/span & The Guns in Guns n' Roses comes from this band, LA GUNS. Axl Rose played with the band when they formed in 1983, but he soon bounced to start a group called Hollywood Rose. Likewise, LA Guns founder Tracii Guns put in some time as lead guitarist for GnR when they began, but left to focus back on his original band, being replaced, famously, by Slash.

If you know where Guns n' Roses fits into the glam metal scene in the '80s -- that is, at the least glam end of it -- and you understand the scene in general -- drug abuse, alcoholism, stardom, women, teased and permed hair, makeup, wanton excess -- then you understand LA Guns. Axl started out with them because Tracii and crew weren't totally buying the hair metal scene, but in the end he wanted to distance himself further. LA Guns, then, are the living bridge between the grit and grime excess of Guns n' Roses and the glossy excess of hair metal. A historical touchstone, if nothing else.

LA Guns with Bullet Boys at the Blvd. on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 8 pm. Tickets TBA. Call 455-7826

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & L & lt;/span & ast week we talked about original artists who cover like-minded artists, cover bands who play a variety of other artists' work, and we profiled Hell's Belles, a tribute band that rocks nothing but AC/DC. Continuing the coverage, here's a similar happening we're totally sure you remember. In 2001 a heretofore LA-entrenched nu-metal crew called ALIEN ANT FARM covered Michael Jackson's noir-ish "Smooth Criminal," the song eventually peaking at No. 1 on the pop charts, six spots above where Jackson's version ultimately peaked.

It says something when you can unseat the King of Pop with one of his own songs. It says quite the opposite when that song is chosen above all your original material to be your major label debut single. But c'est la vie, right? The album, ANThology, went platinum on the strength of that one track. Subsequent singles charted because of it. More than likely, it's the reason the band still packs shows. Such is the power of a well-executed cover song. n

Alien Ant Farm with the Urgency, Silent Civilian and guests at the Blvd. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8 pm. $15. Call 455 7826

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through May 16
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