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Rock Picks 

For the week of May 24-31

Wednesday, May 23 2007

Page 2 of 3

Also playing Saturday:


SUNDAY, MAY 27Jill Scott, Lupe Fiasco, Les Nubians, J*Davey at UCLA’s Intramural Field

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    @ Cafe Nela

Now that you’ve finally recovered from your bacchanalian Coachella weekend, here’s a far less strenuous day of good music under the sun surrounded by happily buzzed college students. “Jam Day” of the 21st annual Jazz Reggae Festival is headlined by socially conscious soul queen Jill Scott, still fresh from her recently released album, Collaborations, which finds her crooning alongside the likes of Mos Def, Common, and Chicago indie-rap prodigy Lupe Fiasco, who’ll open for Scott here with his signature geek-chic skate-hop. Tunes like “Cold Blooded” from Fiasco’s upcoming album The Cool were leaked recently, revealing a newfound Funkadelic influence and denser rhyme metaphors. New York trio Soulive bring their jam-band take on funky jazz, while French diva duo Les Nubians smooth it out with a quietly stormy flow. Definitely arrive early enough to catch L.A.’s “black Eurythmics,” the outstanding J*Davey, whose quirked-out punk-funk finds common ground between Grace Jones during her Sly & Robbie period, Missing Persons and early-’80s Prince. Starts at noon. Also Mon. (Scott T. Sterling)

Also playing Sunday:

JOHN DOE, MIKE STINSON, PAMELA DES BARRES at Topanga Community House, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; TIERRA, MALO, THEE MIDNITERS at Greek Theatre; TUSSLE at the Echo; GO BETTY GO, STOIC FRAME at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE THINGZ, THE SHARDS at the Scene.


Sofa-sticates GlissGliss at Spaceland

A Monday Spaceland residency is de rigueur for acts whose star is rising, and Gliss are doing the lineage proud. Martin Klingman, David Reiss and Victoria Cecilia bring a raw, fuzzy power-trio blast, along with a vocal style popular with a lot of groups these days (see the Strokes, etc.). Gliss would have fit in just as easily in the ’80s Madchester scene as New York’s indie-rock cabal of a couple years ago. They’re even skinny and pasty enough to pass for Swedes (multi-instrumentalist Cecilia is from Denmark). Fact is, Gliss are an L.A. band who made medium waves in Europe opening for Billy Corgan, Secret Machines and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, among others. “Blue Sky” is the band at their creepy, sweaty best. With a snaky guitar line, it’s the perfect soundtrack for looking over your shoulder while running down Vermont at 4 in the morning. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Monday:

LUCIANO, CHAM, TURBULENCE, GENERAL DEGREE at UCLA’s Intramural Field, noon-7 p.m.; BODIES OF WATER at the Echo; WADDY WACHTEL at the Joint; EDWARD “TEX” MILLER, MELO-M at the Mint; LOS DESNUDOS, SEMI PRECIOUS, NORA KEYES at Mr. T’s Bowl; PHANTOM PLANET at the Roxy; SQUIDDO at the Scene; HIGH SOCIETY at Silverlake Lounge.


The Hold Steady, Illinois at El Rey Theatre

With their rousing, ragged anthems about sex, drugs and 20-something confusion, the Hold Steady suggest a Let It Be–era Paul Westerberg fronting the E-Street Band. The Westerberg/E-Street analogy also makes sense since front man Craig Finn hails from Minneapolis but is now Brooklyn based. However, neither Springsteen nor Westerberg ever sang about an elite East Coast college coed having a rock-fest fling with a guy who’s “been to jail but never prison” like Finn does in “Chillout Tent” from last year’s highly praised Boys and Girls in America. Finn is part bar-stool poet and part English MFA — effortlessly name-dropping Izzy Stradlin and Alfred Lord Tennyson within a single couplet. But his beer-soaked tales never sound like New Yorker short-story submissions, and the band, led by guitarist Tad Kubler, bash out wonderfully raucous, Bic-flicking rock & roll that has gotten them tagged “America’s best bar band.” (Michael Berick)

H.R. at the Viper Room

In the new Bad Brains DVD, Live at CBGB 1982 — a fascinating document of the Washington, D.C., band in their hardcore-punk phase, when they were one of this planet’s fiercest and fastest live combos — singer H.R. is shown onstage surrounded by a whirlwind of thrashing limbs belonging to assorted beefy stage-divers. Even though he’s dancing just as frantically to the Brains’ intense fusillade of muscular punk rock and lilting reggae, H.R. somehow seems calm at the center of the storm. Unlike many hardcore punks, the Bad Brains were superior musicians, expanding into heavy metal on 1986’s classic I Against I, which featured melodically yearning tunes like “Sacred Love” (whose vocals were recorded over the phone while H.R. was in jail). The original lineup has only performed sporadically in the past decade, but they’re about to release a comeback CD, Build a Nation, produced by the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch. Tonight, a solo H.R. (which stands for “Human Rights”) will dig deeply into his spiritually heartfelt reggae roots for some transcendent magic. (Falling James)

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