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As one of rock’s great bass players, Mike Watt has spent his post-Minutemen career trying to stay true to his role and resist evolving into a frontman. On Watt’s second solo recording, Contemplating the Engine Room, he has finally given in, handling all the singing duties and sculpting what amounts to a concept record about the life of a sloppy kid from San Pedro who has seen the world and devised his own irreverent ideas of how it sounds. The result is his best work since D. Boon’s death, a hack avant-gardist’s interpretation of what happens when punk, funk, riff bliss, and jazzy improv collide in a garage. To think that after all these years this self-described tugboat would discover he was born to stand out front all along. With Miltown at 8:30 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Brett Anderson)