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Music Picks 

For the week of June 22 - 29

Wednesday, Jun 21 2006
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BLAH, BLAH, BLAH

Gun Club, Redd Kross, Michael Des Barres. Yeah. Wow.


There are music geeks, and there are movie geeks — and then there are music-movie geeks. The latter group have a totally different approach to rock & roll flicks than your average cineaste. (For example, if they’re like me, they might find The Rutles a more authentic rock & roll document than Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. But that’s a whole ’nother article.) Perhaps the biggest music-movie fanatic of all time, L.A.’s own Allison Anders, presents her third installment of Don’t Knock the Rock, a strictly music-related film and concert festival, next weekend (June 29–July 3). The opening-night gala (Thurs., June 29, 8 p.m.) is tres L.A., featuring the world premiere of Ghost on the Highway: A Portrait of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Gun Club, followed by a reunion concert by surviving Gun Club members (including Terry Graham, Ward Dotson and Kid Congo Powers), with guest singers. (Reunion alert: Sat., July 1, the fest also presents Redd Kross live, for real, with most appropriate openers Be Your Own Pet.) We are also made to understand Michael Des Barres will emcee. All events at REDCAT, Second & Hope sts., dwntwn. dontknocktherock.com or myspace.com/dontknocktherock. (Kate Sullivan)



THURSDAY, JUNE 22


Vernon Reid & Masque at Catalina

No, your eyes are not deceiving you: Vernon Reid, master guitar shredder of Living Colour, is throwing down with his chops-a-plenty solo band, Masque, for a run at Ms. C’s lounge. His latest CD, Other True Self, finds the rawk-avatar ax-man in an instrumental mood, but it ain’t exactly jazz — even if he does cover Tony Williams’ “Wildlife” in funky-fine style. Ol’ Vern flies his own iconoclastic freak flag proudly, veering from the invocational dub of “Flatbush and Church Revisited” and Defcon Four dancehall of “Mind of My Mind” to the blip-hop mosaic of “Kizzy” and dark-alley metal-blues of “Game Is Rigged.” I can’t wait until Reid, his fretboard smoldering, toes one of his numerous effects pedals and the whole damn room starts shaking. Thru Sun., June 25. (Tom Cheyney)

 
FRIDAY, JUNE 23


The Plimsouls at El Rey Theater

Timing is everything, right? That’s what they say, and in the case of the Nerves — Peter Case’s now critically acclaimed late-’70s power-pop band — the saying holds true. Greeted with nothing but apathy in their lifetime, the band naturally imploded, prompting Case to form the better-received Plimsouls. Now, unless you’ve been living in a Montana shack for the past 25 years, you’ve heard the Plimsouls’ sole hit, “A Million Miles Away,” at least a dozen times in your life. Lyrically, the song’s as solid as Pittsburgh steel; unfortunately, it’s as far as many delved into the Plimsouls catalog, considering Case’s consistently strong output with the group. Notorious for their chaotic live shows (and early albums — check the Zero Hour EP), the Plimsouls at the El Rey are a guaranteed good time. (Ryan Leach)


SATURDAY, JUNE 24


{mosimage}Amadou & Mariam at El Rey Theater

After those funky-rock Malians, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, finished their rave-up at the Knitting Factory last September, engineers were summoned to check for structural damage. Okay, not really, but it might have been a wise move, especially with the requisite roof destruction during groove-burners like “Coulibaly.” Although a few grumps found their West African crossover dance party not authentic enough or too French, the other 98 percent of the beaming crowd flipped their collective lids, becoming (or remaining) true believers. The blind Malian couple’s enduring musical romance has become the stuff of globalista legend, their Dimanche à Bamako joint with Manu Chao a bona fide genre-dissolving phenom. The buzz around Amadou & Mariam feeds off their soulful authenticity and joyful performance energy, not short-horizon hyperbole. Feel the love. (Tom Cheyney)



Fiona Apple at the Greek Theater

Every few months, it seems, the press anoints some up-&-coming young woman singer-pianist as the next Fiona Apple. While a perfectly charming performer like Regina Spektor might loosely evoke Apple’s mournful-waif look, she doesn’t come close to approximating Apple’s lyrical intensity or musical oomph. Even talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel was moved to comment recently about how hard Apple hammers down her piano’s keys during what are ostensibly laid-back romantic ballads. She’s got soul and power. And, unlike most solipsistic, woe-is-me singers, Apple manages to turn her personal heartbreak into cathartically engrossing dramas such as “Get Him Back,” with its jazzy, jet-setting arrangement and febrile, rolling cloud banks of piano, and “Extraordinary Machine,” the curtseying, playfully jaunty title track of her most recent album. It’s hard to imagine how any of her presumed rivals could conjure anything as achingly pretty as Apple’s glittery unraveling of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe,” and the thought of hearing this melancholy baby’s voice tangle with low-flying stars tonight is positively intoxicating. (Falling James)


Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra at Spaceland

Miss Alex White comes from Chicago, land of cigars, hot dogs, beer and the blues. One day she said, “I want to rock,” and so she did, with just two slide guitars and a drummer and her voice and a whole lotta love for the old classic-rock stuff like, say, The Who and all manner of the grittiest, greasiest punk rock & roll & Motortown soul & down-there blues-roots mumbo jumbo. It’s all kinda sweet, in a way, ’cause she herself digs it so much, but she’s got the tuff, troubled grit and sexy threat hinting all at the same time. You need to check out this new kinda raunch on her ferociously rocking album on In the Red, Miss Alex White & the Red Orchestra, where she gets backed up by Wes and Fast Eddie of the Clone Defects. You need to be reborn. (John Payne)


{mosimage}Powerhouse 2006 at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim

The power in this Powerhouse goes by the name of testosterone; prepare yourself for a heaping helping of radio-sponsored manhood in all its delightful varieties. Ice Cube, either the cuddliest gangsta in rap or the most menacing teddy bear in Hollywood, headlines in support of his aptly titled new comeback LP, Laugh Now, Cry Later. Kanye West, representing the growing emo-bling contingent, co-headlines ’cause Kanye doesn’t warm up for anybody. LL Cool J’s riding relatively high thanks to his club-hit collabo with Jennifer Lopez, so expect him to satisfy the ladies. Miami-based Pitbull will do the same, provided the ladies enjoy being barked at. With jewel-toothed Houston MC Paul Wall, Wall’s former duet partner Chamillionaire, Bay Area hyphy pioneer E-40 and San Diego’s Lil Rob. (Mikael Wood)


SUNDAY, JUNE 25


Sergio Mendes at the Hollywood Bowl

If the artistic heart of the mid-’60s Brazilian musical breakout lay within samba originator Antonio Carlos Jobim, the commercial big bang belonged strictly to Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. Mendes’ shiny, soaring hits were always a certifiably irresistible collision of high-pop confection and deep Rio de Janeiro soul, and they were almost inescapable; “Mais Que Nada,” the record that started it all, remains perhaps one of the most ideally realized slabs of international bubblegum ever made (though it could be persuasively argued that Mendes’ version of “The Look of Love” is equally immortal). For Mendes, who appears here with a host of stellar guests, including trumpet titan (and former leading competitor) Herb Alpert and Brasil 66’s vocalist, Lani Hall, this could be the party of a lifetime. (Jonny Whiteside)


MONDAY, JUNE 26


{mosimage}Corinne Bailey Rae at the Troubadour

Notwithstanding the American Idol–sponsored success of KT Tunstall, England’s next Norah Joneses haven’t fared terrifically well here in the States. (Dug the sounds of Katie Melua or Amy Winehouse anytime recently?) This pure-voiced Leeds lady hopes to change that pattern with her self-titled debut, a bona fide hit in the U.K. since its release there earlier this year. Bailey Rae actually stands a good chance of attracting American ears: There’s a cool neo-soul tint to her stuff that could woo Erykah Badu fans impatient for Badu to get around to releasing a new record. Bailey Rae’s bath-water beats won’t threaten anyone with the reality of the street, but it’s nice to hear a whisper of funk in music this polite and manicured. With local alt-pop guys Marjorie Fair. (Mikael Wood)



Julian Velard at the Hotel Café

Somebody played me a Julian Velard song at a party a few years back, and I could not believe three things. One: that I was riveted by a straightforward R&B/pop songwriter. Two: that this megatalent was an unknown kid. Three: that he’d studied with Yusef Lateef, a connection only the soulfulness could suggest. Since then, Velard has dirtied his face playing shady corners of his native New York and Eastern environs; this is his first L.A. excursion. The voice alone would get him over — a casually confident baritone halfway between Lou Rawls and Bob Seger, guaranteed to generate feminine moisture. His songcraft is equally strong, though, as he shuffles his piano from tune to tune, not so much concocting life dramas as revealing them. Undislikable. (Greg Burk)


TUESDAY, JUNE 27


{mosimage}The Coup, Les Claypool at Avalon

There are only a few people in the rap game today who are really pushing politics: Kam, Paris, Immortal Technique, Dead Prez and Oakland’s The Coup. Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress have been hitting fools over the head with The Coup’s overtly political lyrics (“Death to the pigs is my basic statement/I spit street stories till I taste the pavement”) and hard-hitting fusion funk. Their arsenal includes titles like “Kill My Landlord,” “Genocide and Juice,” Steal This Album, Party Music (whose original album cover caused controversy after 9/11), and their new Pick a Bigger Weapon, which features Talib Kweli and Audioslave’s Tom Morello. They’re billed with Primus’ finger-tapping, strumming and slapping six-string-fretless-bass-heavy Les Claypool. You will get funked up! (Ben Quiñones)


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28


A Labor of Love: Johnny Echols, Michael Stuart, Vince Flaherty at the Whisky

Arthur Lee, the incalculably influential singer-songwriter-guitarist who revolutionized rock & roll with Los Angeles psych militants Love, has never gotten his rightful due, and now we’re perilously close to losing him. To raise funds for the leukemia-stricken rocker, Love’s original guitarist and drummer — Johnny Echols and Michael Stuart — along with assorted former band members, affiliates, and Vince Flaherty, the actor-musician who knocked around with them before Love even formed, have assembled what looks to be a prodigiously appealing event. While it may not boast the star power of Robert Plant’s NYC Arthur Lee benefit, it actually offers much more: These hardy confederates, all inextricably bound to the remarkable legacy they helped create, are sure to reignite the musical passion and involvement that first sparked Love — a power that must not be ignored. (Jonny Whiteside)


THURSDAY, JUNE 29


Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes at Safari Sam’s

We’re leaving a risky season, according to the title of Jolie Holland’s latest album, Springtime Can Kill You. So as the summer solstice approaches and the evenings turn long and gold, there’s no better way to usher in the dusty summer than with the parched, crinkly tunes of this redheaded folkie balladeer. Backed by a modest band and hopping between her battered acoustic guitar and a keyboard, this native Southerner emits ethereal, bittersweet crooning, and some of the best melodic whistling the world has ever heard. With the gorgeously warble-voiced Sean Hayes opening, the San Franciscan pair offer a double bill that will make you ache with anticipation for lazy days well spent on the porch and long dusks soaked in a tall drink. (Alie Ward)


Radiohead at the Greek Theater

Trying to push a Radiohead concert is a lame time-waster, but for the “I might scalp” sort: Let your wallet be raped repeatedly in the parking lot. See this concert. ’Tis rare today when commercial hugeness and unpolluted creativity meet. Maybe it’s the irrefutable reality of the lazy eye, but Thom Yorke’s tortured worldview sells without compromising anything (in an age when everything’s compromised). And the robust computer-jangling of the rest of the band just deserves throngs of sweaty youths (those random guitar eruptions are so angst-empowering!). BTW, this tour’s a bit of a rare road test: There’s the well-kept secret of Yorke’s impending “solo” debut (expect clever puns like “Eraserhead” come July), and the band itself isn’t promoting anything. Extra freedom means extra fun. Be their guinea pig. We hear crazy, liberal stuff like beatboxing could even go down. (Courtney Fitzgerald)



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