Concrete Blonde

Sunday, May 4, at the Odeon.

Bright Eyes, with Arab Strap and Head of Femur Agora Theatre, 5000 Euclid Avenue 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, $14, 216-241-5555.
Concrete Blonde
Concrete Blonde
Live in Brazil is Concrete Blonde's response to the South American aggro-surf culture, which is usually defined by more metallic acts. "I hate to generalize Latino culture," says Johnette Napolitano, singer-bassist for the Los Angeles trio, "but I find it more relaxed -- and happier, in a way." Yet part of Concrete Blonde's recent world tour, which included Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Lima, was undertaken for more practical concerns: "We played to 7,000 or 8,000 people down there, and we don't draw like that here."

Maybe not, but the 21-year-old band still sells out small U.S. clubs on the strength of its late-'80s radio gems. "We have more fun now than we ever have," says Napolitano. "And we take pretty good care of ourselves. I could be doin' a little bit better, I suppose. I'm still me, know what I mean? I like my shot before I go out onstage. I've never been halfway, and I don't think I'll ever be able to be."

Napolitano's legendary ups and downs lend Concrete Blonde's hard-luck songs unmistakable credibility. And there's still an edginess about her. Very soon, she will board a plane to begin Concrete Blonde's latest tour. That makes her slightly nervous, as does the hate mail she's received lately -- patriotic jingoism from internet users who have checked out the band's web page (, which nowadays is graced with the phrase "War Is Not Our Destiny."

"I don't get involved in politics," says Napolitano, who includes on the site an essay called "Why not stand down?" and an e-mail link to the White House, so you can "tell the fucker what you think." "On my little corner of the universe," she continues, "I'm gonna say exactly what I want to say. And if you don't want to come, then don't fuckin' come."

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