In the same spirit as many of the impossible-to-pigeonhole musical acts that have come out of Athens, Ga., (R.E.M. and the B-52s are two of the better-known groups from the college radio mecca), Jucifer puts its own spin on Southern rock.
Actually, the rock duo's only links to the Skynyrd sound are their geographic origins and their earsplitting sound. With Amber Valentine on guitar and Ed Livengood on drums, the pair creates music at a higher volume than do many rock bands with more members.
One guitar sounds like 20 due to Valentine's technical know-how. While the White Stripes (the boy-meets-girl-guitar-drums duo du jour), project their low-fi attitude with souped-up Zeppelin blues extortions, Jucifer projects a big, loud (emphasis on the loud) rock 'n' roll sound just slightly more produced than their nearest relatives in sound -- Royal Trux and Pussy Galore.
Their simple, riff-driven songs range from guttural metal powerhouses to melodic, haunting tapestries of sonic filigree. Valentine's simple vocal lines sometimes take the form of a kittenish whisper, while at other times, they sink to a gruff growl that would make Angus Young weak in the knees.
Jucifer's recordings feature a menagerie of samples including strings, organ, piano, record scratching (think Tricky or Morcheeba, not Limp Bizkit), and lots of layered guitars and vocal harmonies. But their live shows are notorious for the raucous interplay between Valentine and Livengood. Their spirited energy is in large part due to their stadium-style setup, a virtual anomaly for a duo.
Valentine relies on a complicated network of amplifiers; her setup includes a Crate bass head, a TMAX bass head and the ubiquitous Marshall JCM900 (a must-have for any rocker), all of which runs through a dazzling array of speakers. The result is impressive -- it makes an actual impression on your eardrums.
In an interview with Guitar Player magazine in May 2002, Valentine explained, "The initial reason for all the amps was to ensure the guitar blasted into the club, but then it became an addiction."
This setup, combined with Livengood's custom-made Zickos drum set, results in more noise than seems possible for two people to create. This is rock 'n' roll with all the trappings -- kind of like the wholesome fruity not-so-goodness of an Orange Julius mixed with a spoonful of Satan. Yeah, like that.
Local dream-rockers Eyes Caught Fire and Ramones-revivalists The Mansfields will share the bill.
-- Bettina Swigger
capsule Jucifer with Eyes Caught Fire and the Mansfields
32 Bleu , 32 S. Tejon St.
Thursday, Dec. 11 at 9 p.m.
$8; All ages