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 Monday:
IAMX, MISS DERRINGER at El Rey Theatre; DEATH TO ANDERS, RADARS TO THE SKY, THE MONOLATORS at the Echo; WAYNE BRADY, NELLY at House of Blues; MIKE STINSON at Redwood Bar & Grill; AESOP ROCK, MIGHTY UNDERDOGS, BUSDRIVER at the Troubadour.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
Baby Lemonade at Temple Bar
As the noted philosopher Cher once wondered, “Do you believe in life after Love?” The members of Baby Lemonade certainly do. The longtime West L.A. band first emerged in the early ’90s with tuneful original songs that blended ’60s melodicism with a ’70s power-pop drive on such smartly crafted albums as 68% Pure Imagination and High Life Suite. The fannishly passionate musicians were also so deft at covering classics by everybody from Mott the Hoople to the Beach Boys that they were enlisted as Arthur Lee’s backup band Love in the mid-’90s and again in 2001, following his release from prison. Baby Lemonade reinvigorated the latter-day career of the mercurial singer, tackling the complicated arrangements of his 1967 masterpiece, Forever Changes, and collaborating with him on the “Girl on Fire” single and his final studio recording, the wonderful obscurity On Earth Must Be. In the wake of Mr. Lee’s death in 2006, Baby Lemonade are finally working on their own music again (a long-overdue best-of set is on the way), but tonight’s show (which promises a mix of Love favorites and Lemonade originals) might be their final local performance: Guitarist Rusty Squeezebox is relocating to England after this gig. Live and let Love. (Falling James)
Also playing Tuesday:
THE FRATELLIS, AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT at the Wiltern; STEREOPHONICS at Henry Fonda Theater; DEVOTCHKA at El Rey Theatre; BILLY IDOL at House of Blues; TONY GILKYSON at Redwood Bar & Grill; HARLOW at the Roxy; VALENTINE KILLERS, SUPERBEES, MOTORCYCLE BOY, LONESOME SPURS at Safari Sam’s; MIKE STINSON at Spaceland; ELECTROCUTE at Viper Room.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS, SPIRITUALIZED, CAT POWER at Hollywood Bowl (see Music feature); JANET JACKSON at Staples Center; BLACK CROWES, HOWLIN RAIN at Greek Theatre; MGMT at Henry Fonda Theater; VAMPIRE WEEKEND, ABE VIGODA at the Wiltern; JOEY ALTRUDA at the Echo; BILLY IDOL at House of Blues; DANNY B. HARVEY at Taix.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Prima Donna at the Knitting Factory
Prima Donna singer-guitarist Kevin Preston must have spent a lot of time playing with dolls when he was growing up. His band’s new self-titled debut on Acetate Records includes the songs “Doll Face Baby” and “Stray Doll,” and the word “doll” figures prominently in at least three other tracks on the CD. (Not to mention that Prima Donna borrows heavily from the style of the New York Dolls, although the young Hollywood quintet ultimately sounds more like Mott the Hoople, thanks to Aaron Minton’s “sexy sax” and “killer keys.”) Lyrics are obviously not Preston’s strong suit (when an amoral vixen attempts to seduce the surprisingly timid singer on the S&M romp “Crucify,” he can only protest, “The leather’s so tight/I can’t see clearly”). If anything, Prima Donna’s retro-glam songs would actually seem cleverer without the inclusion of the demystifying lyric sheet, which undercuts the power of the group’s energetic and genuinely anthemic choruses. For all of their clichés and borrowed imagery, “Everything’s Wrong” and “Double Crosser” have rousing hooks that evoke the Dragons and tonight’s headliners, the Joneses — bands who have managed to amplify their Johnny Thunders influences while adding their own sense of seedy majesty. (Falling James)
Athens-born singer Savina Yannatou is a virtuoso in the body of a chameleon. She has made her specialty an extensive range of vocal traditions and languages from the Mediterranean region — folk tunes that she uses as a springboard for daring, exploratory pieces bursting with staggering sheer technique and, more importantly, wild new tonalities. There’s a keen yet brash intelligence in her improvisation-enhanced performances, and never a dry academic feel, in glorious evidence on her latest release, Songs of an Other (ECM), recorded with the instrumental ensemble Primavera en Salonico, in which the old songs of Armenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Greece and southern Italy are given fresh and feverish new life via Yannatou and company’s spectacularly adventurous interpretations and transmogrifications. This is a strange kind of beauty that frees the mind as it inflames the soul. 6:30 p.m.; 369 E. First St., Little Tokyo. (213) 625-0414. (John Payne)
Foals, HEALTH at El Rey Theatre
Following the lead of all good things from Oxford — the Jazz Butcher, dictionaries, dress shoes and the shoegazing thereat — Foals present an alchemical admixture of rocks both art and math with their latest, the Dave Sitek–produced CD Antidotes. The scene: musicians with metabolisms of laser beams, limbs held jerkily and tightly to their sides even as they strain to break free of this notion or that. Lead singer Yannis Philippakis is possibly the most entertaining spastic nerfbag since the Wacky Wallwalker, and the Foals sound shoots out almost as angularly as said nerfbag’s hair, his voice riding a razor-thin line between startled yelps of sudden illumination and anguish. HEALTH, on the other knee, offer a slightly more shouty and gravid, tumescent bulge with their vision of pop sensationalism. Buffeted by the winds of their own creativity, their bottomless-pit vocals and deathly drums — coming down fast like the tolling of an incessant bell — ensure that the big gun-down preceding Foals becomes an eminently enlightening experience, like twilight dissolving night and smog. (David Cotner)