Monday, June 18, 2007

A week of shows in Los Angeles, hey!


I've definitely got a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles, city of traffic, pollution and entertainment, but the one thing I can't deny is that there is an abundance of crap to do. And yes, I'm psyched that there's at least one good concert occurring nearly every night here. So, as a change of pace for the few who may actually reside here, some words on the upcoming week in live performances.

Thurs., June 21 – Tortoise/Georgia Anne Muldrow/Dudley Perkins @ El Rey

If you missed out on all seven of Peanut Butter Wolf's DJ spots last week, the next possible Stones Throw fix comes in the forms of Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow, the label's classy R&B/hip-hop fusers who had fantastic albums out last year and are now opening for Tortoise. Coincidentally, several members of Tortoise have just released an album on Stones Throw as percussion group Bumps, so this show will technically be an overwhelming Stones Throw bonanza! Worthwhile for all three acts, as well.
Edit: Dudley and Georgia have apparently canceled five dates. Phooey.

Fri., June 22 – Boyz II Men @ House of Blues Anaheim...or Sadist V (& more!) @ Mr. T's Bowl
Indeed, Boyz II Men had a new album this year, although now averaging an age of 34-35 years each, they've become a “man band” of sorts. Also, it appears bass singer Michael McCary left to tend to his scoliosis and become an actor, so although you'll be serenaded on the whole, you can't expect any of the remaining members to sit you down for a conversation and address you as “Baby...” If Boyz II Men in trio form is simply not good enough or authentically 1991, there's gonna be a fabulously sloppy $5 garage rock fest at Mr. T's Bowl on the same night.

Sat., June 23 – Kids in the Fuckin' Hall! @ Ralph Freud Playhouse (UCLA)
No, not a concert. Better than a concert! Once upon a time, Kids in the Hall was a sketch comedy show comprised of five ambiguously gay Canadians who far out-funnied the cast of Saturday Night Live. Prior to then, they were a live act. But this is the era of Generation Z (or Generation Terror, or whatever), and until this weekend, the brilliant comedians appeared doomed to live on only through DVD boxed sets or movies like Blast from the Past. If willing to spend $50 per ticket, you just might be able to witness a live version of the Chicken Lady, or (if luck is really on your side), sing along with Bruce McCullough to “These Are the Daves I Know.”

Sun. June 24 – Nomo @ Spaceland...or Black Milk @ Temple Bar
Nomo kicks a lot of ass as a funky/jazzy Afrobeat big band that's (interestingly enough) headed up by multi-instrumentalist and Saturday Looks Good to Me member Elliot Bergman. They're much like Antibalas, a group of Americans fascinated by West African percussion, funk and brass, and likewise pull it off quite well. Unlike Antibalas, though, Nomo can turn words like “la” and “hey” into an entire chorus. The Spaceland stage is rather tiny when you're a group of nearly ten musicians, so it'll be a ball to see how well they fill a room whilst literally filling the stage. As an alternate option, Black Milk's doing a $10 show at Santa Monica's Temple Bar – I don't know much about hip-hop these days but I hear the kids like 'im.

Mon., June 25 – The Dead Science/Implied Violence/Holy Curtain @ The Smell
The Dead Science is a talented, young and elegant band based in Seattle that thrives on not fitting into a proper category. Vocalist Sam Mickens is known for crooning in a falsetto highly influenced by Prince and Michael Jackson, he being a major fan of both; the trio, comprised of guitarist, drummer, and stand-up bassist, have backgrounds in jazz and avant-garde pop that really add a lot of excitement and class to their brand of rock, which is simultaneously gentle and violent, moody but soothing. Drummer Nick Tamburro – the newest member of the group, having only joined in the last two years or so – is a kick to watch on stage, as he appears to have much more of a solid rock background than the other two members and gives a sense of masculinity to the band, countering the dark sweetness that otherwise surrounds the band's music. I've seen them about six times and no two shows have been alike, but regardless of whether a set's filled with dreamy ballads or focused rock, they always sound spot on.

Tues., June 26 – Trainwreck Riders/Black Diamond Heavies @ Spaceland
I've really grown to love Trainwreck Riders; Americana's been a pretty big deal for a while now, but the great thing about this band is that while everyone else is trying to bare their old souls to the indie audience, Trainwreck Riders blend traditional country-folk with a no-bullshit punk vibe. They're from San Francisco – how convincingly old-timey can they possibly be? I find them to be quite similar to Roy or an American update on the Pogues, great, unpretentious country-rock and a blast of a live show with plenty of polka-style bass lines.
Edit: Trainwreck Riders have had to cancel their tour due to a recent car accident.

Wed., June 27 – Mandy Moore @ Roxy...or Evidence (Dilated Peoples)/Oh No with Roc-C @ Knitting Factory
Anyone hear Mandy Moore's covers album? If you went shopping at any high-end gadget stores sometime in the last few years, you might have heard her flashy covers of “Senses Working Overtime” or “One Way or Another” merrily bursting from the speakers of said store's ceiling. Anyway, she's had a busy life, being a Neutrogena spokeswoman, acting as terminally ill lover of Shane West, trading Wilmer Valderrama for Zach Braff, and verbally abusing Macaulay Culkin. But she's ultimately a musician, and after struggling to shed that blonde pop princess image, is now writing her own songs and being passed off as...a folkie? If you're as skeptical as I am, Oh No and Roc-C have an opening slot at the Knitting Factory on the same night.

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