Alex Lowry, formerly of Dirty Steve, has cleaned up his act.

From Punk to Funk 

Alex Lowry, formerly of Dirty Steve, has cleaned up his act.

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At Lowry's CD release party for Paseo on Friday, May 3, at the Hurricane, the group will perform the album in its entirety as well as a good chunk of Spent Movement. A few covers will also be in the mix, including a funked-up version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five." But just as the Foo Fighters don't crank out Nirvana hits, even given the immeasurable crowd-pleasing appeal of such a stunt, Lowry won't be digging into Dirty Steve's back catalog. "We sounded like shit," Lowry says of his early project, "but everyone thought it was cool back then."

Even promoter Jim Kilroy's harshest critics must give him credit for this: his Club Wars is no Tournament of Rock. Club Wars has already completed eight of its scheduled rounds, with musicians getting paid all the way. On Saturday, May 3, at the Beaumont Club, top-seeded Barphyte stares down Audio Kombat Arsenal, Kingpin, Organic M and Scapegoat. Previous bouts were decided by distribution of preshow discount coupons, but the grand champion will be selected through audience ballots and a judging panel's input. The winner gets a $2,000 recording package with Woodland Music Recording Studio. Second place scores a $500 gift certificate to Guitar Source in Overland Park. The other finalists will each receive $200 -- or there will be hell to pay. In an odd innovation reminiscent of the game between the NFL's third- and fourth-place teams that briefly followed the Super Bowl, Club Wars' eighth- through twelfth-place finishers (Soulitify, Substance, Six Percent, Green Means Go and Stonewalk) perform at the Hurricane on Wednesday, May 8. But whereas pairing football teams with nothing to gain translated into games that made the Pro Bowl seem riveting, Club Wars' consolation round should feature energetic performances from hungry heavy-rocking outfits with nothing to lose.

Though nearly all the remaining Club Wars contenders fall under the metal umbrella, most are of the new, relatively nonthreatening variety -- nary a pentagram-emblazoned drum to be found. For those looking for a jarring dose of old-fashioned Satanic shock value, visit Davey's Uptown on Monday, May 6, where Electric Hellfire Club will be hosting its unholy séance. This industrial electro-evil quintet will be reading from its latest dastardly work, Electronomicon, featuring such cuddly concoctions as "Sons of the Serpent" and "I Dream of Demons." Seraphim Shock, fresh from an appearance on the vampire-influenced compilation Music From the Succubus Club, and the mysteriously mild female-fronted Goth outfit Tapping the Vein open the show.

On the other side of the spiritual spectrum, Starflyer 59, one of the premier acts on the cornerstone Christian label Tooth & Nail, plays Wednesday, May 8, at the Bottleneck. The band's latest album, 2001's intelligently melodic Leave Here a Stranger, steps out of the distorted haze of its early work, but a headlining set will leave Starflyer 59 plenty of time to gaze at its shoes for old-time's sake. It's worth catching opening act the Elevator Division, but don't arrive too early, or you'll be forced to watch major-label mistakes Lefty and Showoff shill pedestrian pop-punk to an all-ages audience that doesn't know any better.

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