All the techno- and rave-heads in Houston who've been bitching about the paucity of good shows here, and all the kids who've been steaming up the all-ages dance clubs with their teenage frottage during "Closer," will want to queue up for the Lords of Acid. Granted, it won't be a real techno, and it won't be a real rave, but this ain't Manchester, either, so shut up, ingest your stimulant of choice (I'm referring, or course, to coffee, tea or Jolt) and trance away your heartaches.
The Lords of Acid hail from what we Yanks call "Europe" and what the Brits call "England and Europe." A relatively fine distinction, to be sure, but one worth making. Continental Europe's contribution to pop-music-as-we-know-it consists of ABBA (including Ace of Base), Falco, the Scorpions, Kraftwerk (probably the only band on this list to have any cultural impact in the U.S.), Plastique Bertrand, Urban Dance Squad, Yngwie Malmsteen and, if you're feeling generous, Gino Vanelli. There's a boxed set in there somewhere, but my God, why?
A deadly earnest, chilly formalism (they'd love it if we called it Brechtian alienation) pervades Continental pop and rock; this tendency also manifests itself in their beyond-all-reason adulation of Roxy Music and all things Bowie (perhaps it's just Eno-mania). The Brits have loosed some pretty distanced bands on the American public, but they tend to have a frisky, puppy-like eagerness to please, a desire to be the first with their haircuts to be seen on "Top of the Pops," and they tend to lack the imitative, formal self-consciousness that dooms the Euros.
So I don't know exactly where the Lords of Acid fit into all this, and that's the point. They sound like a half-Brit, half-Belgian band, which they are. The grooves get trancey, techno and European, but with a (for me) requisite veneer of pop -- also known as a sense of fun. Actual song structure, lyrics that progress (sometimes) and sporadic sexiness might disappoint the purists, but it works on the CD and it should work live. If not, blame it on the Belgians.
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Lords of Acid plays Saturday, February 18 at Numbers. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Call 629-3700 for info.
* Cranes at Urban Art Bar, Thursday, February 16.
* Jayhawks at Rockefeller's, Friday, February 17.
* Magnapop at Urban Art Bar, Saturday, February 18.
* Samples at Rockefeller's, Sunday, February 19.
* Bad Religion at Numbers, Sunday, Feb-ruary 19.
* Fishbone at Numbers, Tuesday, Feb-ruary 21.
* Lyle Lovett at Jones Hall, Tuesday, February 21.
* Everclear at Urban Art Bar, Wednesday, February 22.