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The Slow Poisoner 

When someone called 'The Slow Poisoner" sees his touring entourage slowly dwindle down to a single performer " himself " it's only natural to want to check under the musician's floorboards for dispatched bandmates. This impulse is confirmed by the, um, press materials that accompany his solo effort, Roadside Altar (Rocktopus!): a Burton-approved portrait of the expressionless Poisoner standing beside a hanging corpse-head; a yellowed page torn from the 1956 French edition of Jean Ray's freak-show novel, Malpertuis; and a macabre comic introducing two swamp-dwelling, murder-minded Siamese twins (' whatever blood flowed between them was bad"). Don't go alerting the San Francisco authorities just yet, however. Altar, whose original tracks were made entirely by Andrew Goldfarb, corroborates nothing more than a talent for spooky, Southern-Gothic songcraft " spiked with an unhealthy dose of deadpanned gallows humor, natch. Opener 'The Hex" reveals a thumping kick drum, tinny electric guitar and shivering tenor as the Poisoner's harmless weapons of choice. But steer clear of those unmarked vials on the merch table anyway. Free admission. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

8 p.m. Thu., July 3

Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, 5110 Danneel St., 891-3381; www.neutralground.org

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