If recordings are any indicator, those who managed to buy tickets should get to Sunday's Pat Travers show early for the opening act, Rose Tattoo -- and then also call it an early night, judging from Travers' new album, "Black Pearl," a desultory performance by an experienced rock guitarist whose fluid melodies have been usurped by mundane spirits. Worse, the easy-metal songs are dull and derivative, awash in misguided synthesizer wrappings and dragged down by Travers' ungainly and uninteresting vocals. Pass.

Rose Tattoo, on the other hand, quickly establishes on almost every cut of "Scarred for Life" why it deserves to be the next big hard-rock band. A quick rundown of titles -- "Branded," "We Can't Be Beaten," "Juice on the Loose," "Who's Got the Cash" -- establish familiar gutter-rock terrain. But the Australian quintet invests this landscape with a likable macho touch in the rough-and-tumble spirit of the early Stones, the Faces and AC/DC. Charismatic lead singer Angry Anderson exudes terrific energy on blazing boogie'n'blues tunes that teeter on the same dangerous ledge as Z.Z.Top (listen to guitarist Peter Wells' anguished slide and muscular chords). The 61/2-minute "Branded," a vintage Stones- style blast with key permutations on just two chords, works beautifully, as does the anthemic energy of "It's Gonna Work Itself Out." Go -- if you got tickets before the show sold out. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUMS PAT TRAVERS -- Black Pearl (Polydor PD 1-6361). ROSE TATTOO -- Scarred for Life (Miracle/Atlantic 90022-1). THE SHOW PAT TRAVERS and ROSE TATTOO, Sunday at 9 at the Wax Museum.