By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Also playing Sunday:
CULTURE CLASH, TIERRA, OLLIN, UPGROUND, XELA, EL VUH, JOHN DENSMORE at John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 6 p.m.; GURU’S JAZZMATAZZ at El Rey Theatre; BLUE HAWAIIANS at the Bordello; JACKSON BROWNE, BEN HARPER at the Canyon, 7 p.m.; CHIP KINMAN & PCH at the Echo, 5 p.m.; DEAD MEADOW, DARKER MY LOVE, ENTRANCE at the Echoplex; LETTER OPENERS at the Joint; FINLAND STATION, HORRORS OF TOLEDO at Mr. T’s Bowl; ANAVAN at the Smell; ALICE SMITH at the Troubadour.
MONDAY, JULY 30Playing Monday:
TUESDAY, JULY 31Playing Tuesday:
PETER BJORN & JOHN at Henry Fonda Theater; GODSMACK at the Wiltern; LAST TOWN CHORUS at Amoeba Music, 6 p.m., and the Hotel CafĂ©; BISHOP ALLEN, PAGE FRANCE, CASTLEDOOR at the Echo; MORMONS, THINGZ at Mr. T’s Bowl; CASXIO, LE REV at Silverlake Lounge; OLIVER FUTURE, GRAY KID at the Troubadour.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars at Malibu Inn
The Refugee All Stars’ story is so fantastic that it sometimes threatens to take attention away from the African band’s equally magical music. The musicians started playing together in a refugee camp in Guinea after escaping the civil war in their Sierra Leone homeland. Somehow, without fancy musical equipment or access to standard recording-studio technology, the inventive band drew the attention of American filmmakers Banker White and Zach Niles, who filmed a fascinating documentary that charted the musicians’ relocations from various refugee camps before finally returning triumphantly to Freetown. None of this would matter if the music on their new CD, Living Like a Refugee (Anti-), wasn’t such a mesmerizing combination of Afrobeat, uplifting Bob Marley–style reggae and MacGyver-style ingenuity. The acoustic-guitar-based title track, in fact, was recorded “by the light of an oil lamp in Sembakounya Refugee Camp in Guinea.” Sunny pop tunes like “Smile” and “Soda Soap” are highlighted by intricate trills of guitar, while festive harmonies belie the anti-politician anthem “Bull to the Weak.” The All Stars’ long, strange trip has even led them to work with unlikely new collaborators like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. (Falling James)
Marnie Stern at the Echo
New York guitar hero Marnie Stern wastes little time showing off her dazzling fretboard trickery on her new CD, In Advance of the Broken Arm (Kill Rock Stars). The opening song, “Vibrational Match,” fairly bursts with intricately knotted lead-guitar flurries, a virtual sound storm of looping, flickering, flashing guitar patterns. “Precious Metal” swarms with thousands of glistening notes that flop around like grunion on a crowded night beach. Stern’s arty lyrics are just as dense on brain-bulging workouts like “Letters From Rimbaud” and “Every Single Line Means Something,” where her insistent finger-tapping style raises beautiful halo noises from her ax. She combines prog-rock dexterity and ambition with a post-riot-grrl aggression that draws on such disparate inspirations as Yoko Ono and Hella (whose drummer, Zach Hill, produced and played on Broken Arm). At times, the nonstop note hammering can get pretty dizzying and even exhausting, and it’s possible that the album title predicts the guitarist’s arm falling off eventually from so much frantic activity. (Falling James)
Also playing Thursday:
SECTION QUARTET at Pershing Square, 8 p.m.; REEL BIG FISH, LESS THAN JAKE at the Wiltern; POP LEVI, THE SHYS at the Roxy; THEE L.A. GENTLEMEN CALLERS, THE FRESAS at the Scene.