Music Sound and the Fury

A week on the scene

American mavericks

Gainesville, Florida punk band Against Me! doesn't shy away from topical concerns. Its latest album, Searching For a Former Clarity (on Fat Wreck Chords), finds frontman Tom Gabel blatantly bashing the current administration's foreign policy and gamely attempting to rhyme "Condoleezza" with "North Korea." As a result of its propensity for setting newspaper headlines to song, the group has drawn comparisons to the Clash, but it also shows a fondness for country and blues that occasionally recalls Social Distortion. Against Me! comes to the Sanctuary, 1818 N. Main on Monday, November 7, as part of the Fat Tour, along with Epoxies, Smoke Or Fire, and the Soviett.

Another maverick underground band with bedrock Americana roots, Lucero is a Memphis contingent best viewed as modern-day Replacements with Southern accents. To push the connection further, the quartet enlisted Jim Dickinson, the semi-legendary producer of Pleased to Meet Me. Lucero will be making its second visit to the Sanctuary this year on Friday, November 4.

Willie Nelson's Thursday, November 3, gig at Floore's Country Store in Helotes coincides with the 10th anniversary reissue of the final Highwaymen disc, The Road Goes On Forever (available in deluxe CD/DVD package on October 25).

The Highwaymen - featuring Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson - were the ultimate country supergroup, but they were also a good excuse for four old pals to hang out together and get paid for it. The group emerged at a time when all of its members were being pushed out the door of country music by slick, historically ignorant radio programming, and for Cash in particular it offered the only hint of commercial viability in the lean years between the beginning of the '80s and the Man in Black's mid-'90s renaissance with his American Recordings series. With both Cash and Jennings passing on in recent years, the expanded edition of The Road Goes On Forever (with six previously unavailable cuts) takes on added relevance.

Showtime for Nelson's appearance at Floore's is 8 p.m., and tickets are $35. Two nights later, acclaimed bluegrass group Nickel Creek also appears at Floore's for a can't-miss show. Call 695-8827 for more info.

Compiled by: Gilbert Garcia