Jucifer to ignite Gainesville

Published: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 31, 2003 at 12:50 a.m.

The Athens, Ga., music scene is, as any dime store music writer will tell you, legendary.

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As Jucifer, with Ed Livengood and Amber Valentine, have concocted a complex and intoxicating mixture of music.

MICHAEL STIPE/Special to the Sun

Ever since Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Ricky Wilson, Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson first plugged in and played a Valentine's Day party in 1977 as the B-52s, a whole slew of refreshingly original bands have followed suit, including The Tone Tones, Pylon, The Method Actors, The Side Effects, Guadalcanal Diary, Love Tractor and a little group you might have heard of called R.E.M.

But it didn't end there.

The second wave from the "Liverpool of the South" produced such acts as Dreams So Real and Widespread Panic in the 1990s, and there is still a boatload of solo artists and bands hoping to launch careers in this tiny yet progressive burg that is also home to the University of Georgia.

Jucifer, playing Thursday at Common Grounds, is one of those groups. I mean, I guess you could call Jucifer a group. It's two people, really - Ed Livengood and Amber Valentine. Together they send dreamy, melodic beauty into one ear while simultaneously causing permanent hearing loss in the other.

Their sound is a swirling mix of intense energy, behemothic guitar, elephantine drums and singing that is somewhere between heaven and hell. Livengood's heavy-handed drums and seemingly possessed delivery, combined with Valentine's sonic guitar, whispery vocals and modelesque sex appeal are Jucifer's trademarks.

The group's approach is eclectic, to say the least. Jucifer has been likened to such artists as Royal Trux, The Melvins (both of whom Jucifer has shared a bill with), Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Black Sabbath, Radiohead, Ministry, Portishead, Nirvana and the Breeders. In Details Magazine, R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe described Jucifer as "a very loud and aggressive southern Gothic version of P.J. Harvey."

Admission to Thursday's show is $5. Common Grounds is at 919 W. University Ave.

Tuesday, the flagship artist for the Def Jam-affiliated Murder Inc. label, Ja Rule, will appear at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center with opening acts Fat Joe and Charli Baltimore.

Rule, who has become the gangsta rap industry's most commercially successfully artist over the past few years, initially won a sizable following in 1999 with "Venni Vetti Vecci," his hardcore debut album fashioned largely after the style of rugged thug rap then popularized by DMX and the Ruff Ryder collective. "Holla Holla" was his breakout hit, but it was a minor success compared to what Rule accomplished a year later with his follow-up "Rule 3:36," the 2000 album that produced three enormous hit singles: "Between Me and You," "I Cry" and "Put It on Me."

His next album, "Pain Is Love," featured Jennifer Lopez as well as an adaptation of Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do." Rule brought the Murder Inc. label into the national spotlight and helped break successive artists from the label, most notably Ashanti, who collaborated with him on "Down 4 U," yet another chart-topping hit. Of course, Rule also used his fame to launch a minor acting career for himself, appearing in "The Fast and the Furious" and "Half Past Dead."

Tickets to Tuesday's show are $21 for UF students and $26 for the general public (plus service charge), available at the University Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Just in case you don't know, the O'Connell Center is that big white thing next to the football stadium on the UF campus. If you don't know where the football stadium is, I can't help you.

Not into gangsta rap? Then do yourself a favor Tuesday and head over to Common Grounds for a likely-to-sell-out show featuring The Bangs and Gainesville's own Sugardish. You won't be disappointed.

Tonight in High Springs, the immensely talented Boulware & Stewart Band will perform at the Theatre of Memory. The group features some of Gainesville's best musical veterans in Mike Boulware, Ned Stewart, Jon Alexander, Barbara Johnson and Alan Stowell.

A special treat: Boulware's 11-year-old daughter Carolina will make her public debut by singing a Dixie Chicks song. Carolina is also part of the All-State Elementary School Chorus.

The Theatre of Memory is above the Great Outdoors Trading Co. & Cafe, 65 N. Main St. in High Springs. Showtime is 8 p.m.

After a brief hiatus, dblWiDE returns Saturday for a whiskey-soaked performance at the Side Bar with Willie Heath Neal. Says dblWiDE's syrupy drawling drummer Earl: "This'll be the Gainesville stop on his Abject Poverty Tour, and if it's like the last time Willie and his boys rode into town, it'll be a rompin' stompin' barn dance and barbecue of a rockin' tonk time! Lord willin' and the van don't break."

Well, yee haw, Mr. Earl.

News of the weird? Gville's only full-time reggae act, Iration, will perform Saturday at the Fourth Annual Great Air Potato Roundup at Morningside Nature Center. Don't ask me what this is because I have no earthly idea.

"You know you hit the big time when you get asked to play the Air Potato Roundup," says Iration's Doctor Bob. "This one is for the nature lovers, environmentalists, community and kids."

OK, then. The show starts at 11 a.m. Morningside Nature Center is at 3450 E. University Ave.

Hey, I'm still not getting enough stuff from you bands and musicians out there. Send me your CDs, photos, bios and show info if you'd like to be featured in this column. Send it to Douglas Jordan, Scene Magazine, The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., 32608. Don't be a slacker.

TTFN, and rock on.

Contact Douglas Jordan at douwiljor@yahoo.com.

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