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Rock Picks: Lucy Lawless, The Dagons, Big Daddy Kane and more 

For the week of Jan. 25-31

Wednesday, Jan 23 2008
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FRIDAY, JAN. 25

click to flip through (8) Lucy Lawless stoops to conquer.
  • Lucy Lawless stoops to conquer.
 

Lucy Lawless stoops to conquer. (Click to enlarge)

Danielle St. Laurent

Geek love: Mirah (Click to enlarge)

Up from the Delta: Honeyboy Edwards (Click to enlarge)

Lucy Lawless at the Roxy

What kind of music would Xena the Warrior Princess make? She would probably belt out something fierce and mighty along the lines of rabble-rousing punks like the Plasmatics, the Avengers and Vice Squad, or perhaps echo the spiritually feminine direction of the show's later episodes with rebelliously arty riot-grrl experiments similar to Rasputina, Le Tigre and Marnie Stern. Of course, it's not fair to expect actor Lucy Lawless to live up to her most famous role's persona, and the music on her 2007 live DVD, Gimme Some, Sugar, is more middle of the road than it is heroic or risk-taking. Lawless has a fine voice and plenty of charisma, but she's undermined by a light-hitting backup band, who, like so many of these thrown-together mercenary lineups, lack fire and genuine chemistry (due in no small part to American Idol arranger Michael Orland's treacly keyboards). Lawless mixes in a couple of decent blues-rock originals such as "Down on My Knees" with a karaoke-style selection of "lady love" anthems like "True Colors" and "Delta Dawn," as well as "What'd I Say," which is fairly tepid despite a frisky go-go-dancing guest appearance from Lawless' Xena co-star, Renee O'Connor. Also Sat. (Falling James)

Mirah, The Blow at the Henry Fonda Theater

Techno-laced electro-pop doesn't always have to come from German robots. Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn showed that geeky indie-rock girls can have fun on the dance floor with her 2006 double CD, Joyride: Remixes (K Records). Guest remixers such as Anna Oxygen, Ben Adorable and Krts pumped up the beats without distracting from Mirah's confessional, confidential love songs. Oxygen cut Mirah's breathy-cool vocals into little strips on "Monument" and pasted them onto a backing that's simultaneously austere and heavily grooving. Adorable wrapped mysterious shadows around Mirah as she cooed "You know all of my secret ideas ... everybody sees a funny look in our eyes 'cause they know that we already won the sweepstakes prize." She evoked the "Argentine sky" on the breakup travelogue "Dogs of Ba," framed by touching, melodic piano chords. Shok juiced up the eerie, hunting-themed "Advisory Committee" with a spacy soundscape, while a vaguely exotic, George Harrison-style melody sleeps beneath the Disney-electrical-parade sounds of "The Light." Tonight she'll likely perform selections from Share This Place: Stories and Observations, her 2007 collaboration with Spectratone International, following an opening set by the similarly breezy Oregon electro-pop singer Khaela Maricich, a.k.a. the Blow. (Falling James)

David "Honeyboy" Edwards at Cozy's Bar & Grill

The blues are always there, way down at the bottom, of just about every form of musical expression America has produced for the last 100 years, yet in the case of Mississippi-born singer-guitarist David "Honeyboy" Edwards, you get not affectionate homage but a direct, high-tension line to the very source. Edwards plied his trade at the side of the mythic Delta overlord Robert Johnson, may well have had a hand in the much-disputed composition of the crucial standard "Sweet Home Chicago," and remains both an undeniable force and the sole representative of the 1930s blues tradition. The legendary blues avatar may be turning 93 this year, but he has not exactly been sitting at home clipping coupons: Edwards' current album, Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live in Dallas, has been nominated for the Best Traditional Blues Grammy, he recently took the '07 W.C. Handy best acoustic blues artist award and maintains a schedule demanding enough to wear out the average retiree. Get it while you can, kiddies. Also Sat. (Jonny Whiteside)

The Dagons, The Slow Poisoner at the Scene

If you'd like to take a break from this mundane level of reality, tonight's bill offers a cheap flight into the fantastic and the surreal. It took Hurricane Katrina to return the shape-shifting folk-goth punks Dagons to Los Angeles; the duo evacuated from New Orleans just hours before the disaster struck (which inspired singer-guitarist Karie Jacobson to write an atypically political song about George Bush's conservatively compassionate rescue efforts: "Not Enough"). She and her drummer-partner, Drew Kowalski, prefer to trip out with hazy psychedelic odysseys like "In Gingham," which sizzles with baleful sitar drones, and "It Flies Out," where Jacobson's dreamy little-girl keening sails out of a fuzzy storm cloud of Stooges power chords. Like Number Six getting hemmed in and bounced back by Rover in every episode of The Prisoner, the Dagons have not been able to successfully escape this city despite several attempts; enjoy them while you can, as they've spent much of the past year touring in Quebec and Europe (it's rumored that they'll break out the sitar onstage tonight). They're preceded by the recently previewed, morbidly whimsical San Francisco one-man blues-roots band the Slow Poisoner, who's better known as Andrew Goldfarb, the creator of the loopy comic strip Ogner Stump's One Thousand Sorrows. (Falling James)

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