In the world of ska, the quick drum beats and the happily blazing horns make life seem just peachy keen. Same thing with most '80s music -- fun, fun, dance, dance, don't worry, be happy. In the world of Fishbone, though, the merry-go-round '80s ska sound meets a legacy of social commentary, with off-the-chain performances that cross genres and generations. To see Fishbone live is an interactive experience, to say the least. "A lot of people claim bravery," Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid has said of the band, "but only Fishbone is completely fearless." Lead vocalist Angelo Moore's stage-diving antics have pushed the meter a few times, leaving many in amazement that he's still alive. But the band has survived more than mad mosh pits. Members have come and gone, record label disputes have left them sour, and the band's hybrid sound hasn't garnered much play on mainstream radio. Nonetheless, Fishbone has left an indelible imprint on rock music. Jane's Addiction, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and No Doubt would not exist without Fishbone.
As Moore once said, "We might not be the biggest band in the world, but I know we mean a great deal to a lot of people. Over the years, people have come up to me and told me that we changed their lives. Those kind of people help me keep going." 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13. The Engine Room, 1515 Pease. For information, call 713-654-7846 or visit www.engineroomhouston.net. $15. -- Felicia Johnson-LeBlanc
Zula's Zula Blue
It was early, and the staff at Zula (705 Main, 713-227-7052) appeared to be hopped up on too many cappuccinos. Waiters nervously prattled about the place, not missing a single skirt pass by the large windows. "You just missed her, Kenneth," said one. "And check out her girlfriend!" Three of them headed for the sidewalk, and I still didn't have a drink in front of me. When the bartender returned, I asked about the Zula Blue, a beverage I'd seen once in a book. "It's a chick drink," he said. "Try one and see for yourself." The chef joined us at the bar, flipping through a book of drinks. The Zula Blue was sweet but refreshing after a long, hot day of sidewalk stalking. "This drink showed up one time in print, and they completely screwed up the recipe," the chef said to no one in particular. He asked if I wanted another and called out to Kenneth to verify the ingredients. I was getting bored hanging out with the boys and thinking about leaving when a couple of Amazon-looking women in pinstriped business suits walked in. They were drop-dead gorgeous. I ordered one more drink, silently swearing to ditch the ripped jeans and baseball cap I was wearing. I didn't have a chance in hell dressed like this.
2 ounces Skyy Citrus vodka
1/2 ounce DeKuyper blue curaçao
1/2 ounce sweet-and-sour mix
Splash of Sprite
Measure out ingredients into cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass. Perfect for downtown people-watching. Deadly on an empty stomach. -- J.W. Crooker
Admit it: Now and then you jones for the days of disco. You're itchin' to bust out some platform shoes, give your do some wings and open those buttons to your navel, right? Well, just do it, jive turkey. Show 'em you can hustle for a good cause at Planned Parenthood Young Leaders' Disco Groove II. Then keep your boogie going for the after-party at M Bar (402 Main). Bump hips with the brothas and sistas on the dance floor and spread the love at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 15. The Majestic Metro, 911 Preston. For information, call 713-831-6574 or visit www.pphouston.org/disco. $35. -- Steven Devadanam
Okay, DJs and hip-hoppers, this whole trend of intentionally misspelling things is getting way out of hand. A perfect example is Tranceision, a local DJ crew that pronounces its name "transition." Odd spellings aside, we've got nothing but love for these guys. They're putting on an open-tables event every Tuesday night at Industry Cafe, where any wannabe spinster can man the decks. "Anybody can come," says Cesar Seymour, who spins under the name CZAR. "The only thing that we require is that you bring five people. We just want you to have a crowd looking at you." And whoever brings the most fans gets a Saturday-night slot at Industry during Tranceision's weekly "Pure Energy" happening. 6 p.m. Tuesdays. 2110 Rusk. For information, call 832-746-8346 or visit www.tranceision.com. Free. -- Keith Plocek