;Ugh, there's MORE fallout from the Don Imus scandal in the form of reactionary social posturing, this time from Russell Simmons. Getting swept up in the maelstrom of "growing public outrage" over the use of certain words, the venerated hip-hop dignitary has now forfeited both his foresight and his credibility in the grasp for a stance. To wit, he calls for the profane trinity of "bitch," "nigger" and, yes, "ho" to be banned from the "clean" versions of songs. How fortunate that all the misogyny and sexism in rap rests tidily in those three magical words.
;;No doubt, the sentiment behind the rhetoric is well-meaning but the sweeping proposal he's waving like a flag is clumsy, knee-jerk and just flat-out myopic. It's a course of action that carries disconcerting baggage which threatens artistic expression. Though I'm a staunch defender of the total protection of that expression, I acknowledge the problem of children (and stupid people) being exposed to certain things. But this misguided measure does jack shit to educate or equip listeners to make thoughtful decisions about their artistic consumption. So welcome to the system, Mr. Simmons, glad to have you aboard.;;
; Music? martial arts.;
;Because this job is just so monumentally taxing (just ask Jim Abbott over at the Sentinel), I stayed in on Monday of last week. OK, not really. It was actually a slow night in the city so I thought I'd just kick it at the Rock & Roll Mansion and watch some of my beloved Ultimate Fighting Championship. Luckily, this was the international-by-design edition (No. 70) showcasing some illustrious mixed martial artists from all over the world. The guy I'd been looking particularly forward to seeing was Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. He was a Croatian anti-terrorist cop who's now a feared heavyweight with nasty kicks that have put many a man to sleep. In other words, a bona fide badass.
;;However, here's proof that the wrong music can have serious consequences. Mixed martial arts fighters may be ass-kickers, but music connoisseurs they're not. Though their entrance songs tend toward cartoonishly masculine stereotypes like nü-metal or rap, at least these brawlers typically choose music that's some sort of tough. But what did Cro Cop choose for his entrance? "Wild Boys" by Duran Duran. Now, to be clear, there's nothing particularly criminal about liking them; fellow man-about-town Billy Manes does and he turned out fine. Thing is, he's not a pit fighter. Anyway, the testosterone-meter in the arena plummeted. But worse, despite being heavily favored, dude gets a dose of his own and is clocked cold by a gnarly roundhouse kick. There's a lesson here, kids.;;
; Taste test;
;The run of College Park restaurant Taste as a regular live venue under the auspices of Will's Pub owner Will Walker is about to officially begin this weekend, but I attended a couple of warm-up events last week just to suss things out. Wednesday saw a soft opening with hard music from some characters in Floridas Dying's junior varsity, mostly ramshackle but entertaining punk rock performances. Saturday was a well-attended birthday show for Taste owner Tracy Reinstein, where I caught local act S.O.U.P. (Souls of the Universal Party) play. Wearing an outfit that was all kinds of see-through was singer Tina Daniel, who was clearly possessed of considerable charisma. But her support cast pumped out synthy dance music that was often comical in a Laughing Kookaburra house band sort of way, though probably not intentionally so.
;;Merit of the performances notwithstanding, the most important part is the experience of the space. On that count, I'm happy – and more than a bit relieved – to report success. After a well-executed transformation, the cavernous yet intimate room proves to be an effective performance space. Moreover, it functions remarkably well with the main bar/dining room and the sidewalk seating area – even better than I expected. The separation of spaces allows show-watching and socializing to coexist better than in most of the venues in town, allowing the mood-rich setting to be enjoyed in a different light.;;
; The Beat;
;I understand why some have written off San Diego's the Locust. Besides being cryptic, sometimes in a seemingly retarded way, they're one of those acts who are quite possibly more famous for their costumes than they are for their music. But in short blasts at the Social, their manic, on-a-dime onslaught of electronically enhanced noise-rock, experimental hardcore and metal proved that they're more than just an art gimmick.
;;Before them, Daughters singer Alexis Marshall tinkered with his saliva while the rest of the band cranked out noisy, technical grindcore with conviction. He's one of those performers who dig on berating the crowd even though he's the least talented of the lot, relying more on an assholish schtick and spit-play than any appreciable vocal feat beyond atonal wailing. Eh, at least the band was firstname.lastname@example.org