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 Friday:
PUBLIC ENEMY, GHOST FACE KILLAH at Crash Mansion; Z-TRIP, TROUBLEMAKERS at the Echo; JON BRION, GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS at Largo; RAY WYLIE HUBBARD, I SEE HAWKS IN L.A. at McCabe’s; CHERRY BLUESTORMS at Molly Malone’s; PEACHFUZZ at Redwood Bar & Grill; SI*SE at Temple Bar; THE SUBWAYS at the Troubadour.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 2
Carrie Rodriguez at McCabe’s
Austin-bred, Brooklyn-based singer-violinist Carrie Rodriguez became known in Americana circles for her three-CD partnership with Chip Taylor, although she often played second fiddle to the legendary singer-songwriter. Even after the duo dissolved, Taylor produced and wrote much of her well-received solo debut, Seven Angels on a Bicycle. Rodriguez fully sheds Taylor on her upcoming disc, She Ain’t Me (due September 5), collaborating instead with acclaimed songwriters like Gary Louris and Mary Gauthier, and, most significantly, teaming up with producer Malcolm Burn. While the new album isn’t a total cowboy-boots-to-high-heels makeover, Rodriguez impressively dresses up her musical style. The hooky title track winningly blurs the lines of rock, pop and country, while the gauzy atmosphere of “Ragdoll” feels drawn from Burn’s past with Daniel Lanois. Jaunty rhythms enliven the long-distance love ode “El Salvador,” and she more than holds her own singing with Lucinda Williams on the soulful “Mask of Moses.” With She Ain’t Me, Rodriguez further develops her own musical identity as a skilled purveyor of sophisticated twang. Also at the Hotel Café, Mon. (Michael Berick)
Serj Tankian at the Wiltern
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Fully armed, Amanda Palmer prepares to do battle.
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Puppy love: Conor Oberst
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Ax reflections: Oliver Mtukudzi.
With his debut solo album, last year’s Elect the Dead, Serj Tankian further nurtured the strengths of his on-hiatus outfit System of a Down (evocative Old World harmonies, stylistic and lyrical irreverence, attention-deficit dynamics) while knowingly neglecting that band’s sonic shackles (pit-pleasing hesher riffing, self-conscious wackiness). Elect the Dead’s frame of unremarkable rock guitars, keys, strings and drums is lent flesh by Tankian’s supple, succulent voice: an exotic and hypnotic instrument that veers into slap-around-the-face boot-camp rants and passages of Wicked Witch wrinkles. At the flick of some throat-controlled switch, Tankian can trigger flower-child grinning and Neanderthal moshing, his educated and injustice-bruised words completing a coiled, clever boa of massaged message. Choruses heavy with harmonic intervals odd and intriguing to Western ears simultaneously transmit tidal, first-love bliss and fathomless, fetal-position grief. Onstage the spritely Tankian’s disarmingly genial ringmaster demeanor adds echoes of vaudeville and a zest of Zappa to an already complex, fascinating anomaly. (Paul Rogers)
Also playing Saturday:
DENGUE FEVER at El Rey Theatre; RINGO STARR, EDGAR WINTER at the Greek Theatre; MOTLEY CRUE at Glen Helen Pavilion; PHANTOM SURFERS at the Bordello; JOHNNY RAMONE TRIBUTE at the Cat Club; PEACHFUZZ at Fais Do-Do; HONEYHONEY at the Hotel Café; JOHN WICKS & THE RECORDS at Molly Malone’s; JOE BAIZA at Mr. T’s Bowl; DEADLY 7, BUFFALO KILLERS at Safari Sam’s; SIMON STOKES at Taix; THAO NGUYEN, HORSE FEATHERS at the Troubadour; CHIP KINMAN & PCH at La Luz de Jesus, 6 p.m.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 3
Dolly Parton at the Greek Theatre
Dolly Parton’s combination of illimitable talent, otherworldly beauty and lightning-quick wit have earned her a status that few other major country-music stars have gracefully managed — the fine art of crossover. The singer-songwriter became a household word without sacrificing a shred of her self-propelled, high-gloss integrity, and that quality is all the more remarkable when considering her dirt-poor mountain background (a punishing childhood so remarkably documented in songs like “Coat of Many Colors” and “Tennessee Mountain Home”). But when it comes to Dolly Parton, what’s most striking is the sheer quality and consistency of her music, and from mid-’60s hits like “Dumb Blonde” to her current, ravingly well-received Backwoods Barbie album, Parton’s individualistic approach and instantly recognizable style stand as one of country music’s most downright unbeatable and appealing confections. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Sunday:
THE SCORPIONS at Pacific Amphitheatre; EDDIE & THE HOT RODS, THE JONESES at Alex’s Bar; PEANUT BUTTER WOLF at Crane’s; MIKE STINSON, DAVE GLEASON at the Echo, 5 p.m.; THE HEALTH CLUB at Mr. T’s Bowl; THE TENNESSEE THREE at Safari Sam’s.
MONDAY, AUGUST 4
Amanda Palmer at the Troubadour
Considering that she’s already the lead singer and main songwriter of a vastly popular band — the Dresden Dolls, an outfit that has only one other member, drummer Brian Viglione — it might seem strange that Boston singer-pianist Amanda Palmer also needs a solo career to express herself. But it makes more sense when you consider the mad variety of past projects she’s plunged herself into, including collaborating with the American Repertory Theatre and the Boston Pops, leading the Shadowbox Collective and busking as a living statue, among other performance-art high jinks. On her upcoming Ben Folds–produced solo CD, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, her brainy piano-based confessions aren’t that far removed from the Dresden Dolls’ trademark sound, but they’re pumped up with full-band arrangements and a grand billowing of strings. Palmer pounds her long-suffering piano on “Runs in the Family,” where she pairs the neurotic, high-speed lyrical delivery of early tracks like “Girl Anachronism” with frantic violins that slip in and out of the song’s cracks. “Ampersand,” a stately romantic ballad, is sliced with momentous strokes of violins and cello, while “Leeds United” has a swanky horn section and sounds like Siouxsie Sioux caught up in a second line in New Orleans. Terminally enchanting. (Falling James)