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I generally keep my distance from “living legends,” especially of the punk variety; all too often, what saunters feebly onto the stage is some skag-addled CB’s casualty looking to cash in on past notoriety. An exception should be made, though, for Sonny Vincent. He’s a true original: a Johnny Thunders kind of guy complete with jet-black hair, anvil burns, and a black leather jacket. During his long and tempestuous career, Vincentleader of the late-’70s New York punk band the Testorshas played with such punk luminaries as the Stooges’ Scott “Rock Action” Asheton, the Damned’s Captain Sensible, Hüsker Dü’s Greg Norton, and late Replacement Bob Stinson, among others. Currently, Vincent’s touring band includes Rocket From the Crypters John “Speedo” Reis, the Notorious N.D., and Mario Rubalcaba. Vincent’s forthcoming album, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, is something of a marvel: After assembling a core group (Asheton on drums and Sensible on bass), Vincent enlisted a veritable Who’s Who of guitar-slingers to take star turns, including Richard Lloyd (Television), Wayne Kramer (MC5), Robert Quine and Ivan Julian (Richard Hell and the Voidoids), Walter Lure (The Heartbreakers), Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke (Sonic Youth), Greg Ginn (Black Flag), and sundry others. All this, of course, wouldn’t mean shit if the songs sucked. But the tunes are great, Vincent sings as if his (and your) life depended on it, and each and every damn guitar solo reminds you why you loved rock ‘n’ roll in the first place. See Sonny play with Rocket From the Crypt and the Splits at 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $13. (202) 667-7960. (Michael Little)