The Unplugged Menace

WED 11/19
Taking its name from the Cromwell-era fighting force known for its religious radicalism, New Model Army took up the fight long, hard and often during its heyday in the late '80s. The punk-influenced British trio wore its post-Buzzcocks leanings on its sleeve. They presented themselves as anti-new wavers, despite their similarity in overall sound to, say, the Cure.Besides eschewing any notion of rock fashion, what really set the band apart was vocalist-guitarist Justin Sullivan's use of introspective yet confrontational acoustic songs in which the melody and lyrics, rather than punk's feedback and spittle, carried the message of political change and self-actualization. So don't head to the Axiom expecting an old amps-to-11 aural assault. Sullivan, out on tour with mid-'90s NMA recruit Dean White, is using only acoustic armaments on this tour.

Even in this unplugged setting, it's nice to think that Sullivan's invective might register with young people who show up to check out a dude who got tattoos long before they were merely a ho-hum fashion accessory. Better yet, in the aftermath of the city elections, in which voter apathy has been a major concern, maybe Sullivan can deliver a lasting Billy Bragg-style wake-up call to the dispossessed. 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 19. 2524 McKinney. For information, call 713-522-8443 or visit $10. -- Greg Barr

Per Suede

For a moment, the average guy feels like he's in the middle of an '80s party movie. He walks into a college bar, plops down on a lonely bar stool and orders a pint. Suddenly a gaggle of hotties surrounds him, all very affectionate and interested in what little he's got to say. Has he finally tapped into his inner mack daddy? No, he's just been duped by the Suede Brigade, a crew of hot bartenders from Suede Lounge who try to poach customers from other bars. Our hard-up protagonist will probably end up at Suede, but we doubt his new friends will remember who he is. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Suede Lounge, 1000 Prairie. For information, call 713-227-5500. Free. -- Keith Plocek

Reunited and It Feels So Good
SAT 11/15

Houston's Third Ward was once home to a thriving mass of blues clubs, variety theaters and dance halls, and the El Dorado Ballroom was its crown jewel. Recently restored by Project Row Houses, the swinging-again El Dorado hosts a reunion of Duke-Peacock Records alumni this weekend. More than just another music factory, Duke-Peacock was an important African-American-owned and -operated record company during the '50s and early '60s. Performers include Calvin Owens and His 18-Piece Orchestra, Jewel Brown and Mickey Moseley. But don't think of this as some sort of blues history exhibit. This is the blues, alive 'n' kickin'. 8 p.m. Saturday, November 15. 2310 Dowling, 713-526-7662. $15. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman

How Do I Look?
SAT 11/15

In the mind of Cheryl Beckett, singer Norah Jones doesn't look like a soft-skinned brunette with mythically portentous eyes. Beckett sees Jones in a much simpler light: She's a solitary silk stocking draped delicately over a wire hanger. No, Beckett isn't crazy; she's a graphic designer and, apparently, quite a visual poet. Her work is part of the "Loud and Clear -- Texas Music Looks Like This" exhibition, a display of original artwork interpreting the work of Texas musicians. 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 15. Vine Street Studios, 1113 Vine Street. For information, call 713-227-7775 or visit $20 to $30. -- Keith Plocek

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