Robyn Hitchcock at Largo at the Coronet
One of the big trends in the rock-concert world nowadays is the “perform the classic album” show. Legends (Van Morrison and Brian Wilson) and cultists (Mission of Burma and Slint) alike have all taken a ride on this artistic wayback machine. And now the psychedelic-dipped folk-rocker Robyn Hitchcock is jumping aboard the nostalgia bandwagon too. He’ll perform his “director’s cut” of his memorable 1983 record, I Often Dream of Trains, which gleefully runs the gamut from the weird (“Sometimes I Wish I Was a Pretty Girl”) and wacky (“Uncorrected Personality Traits”) to the downright wistful (“Trams of Old London”). So why join Hitchcock on this back-catalog flashback? Because, besides being a talented albeit eccentric singer-songwriter, the loquacious Englishman indulges in trippy, often-hilarious stage banter that makes each show a sublimely unique experience. His last time through L.A., while touring with Nick Lowe, the 50-something Hitchcock proved he was still an irrepressible showman, so expect that he’ll keep playing long after his Train has reached its final track. (Michael Berick)
Also playing Thursday:
KATHLEEN EDWARDS & JOHN DOE at El Rey Theatre; ALANIS MORISSETTE at Orpheum Theatre; JOE SATRIANI, MOUNTAIN at the Wiltern; AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD at the Echo; JESCA HOOP at the Hotel Café; GYM CLASS HEROES at Key Club; LEGENDARY PINK DOTS, NORA KEYES at Knitting Factory.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Uh Huh Her at Avalon
Named after a song by PJ Harvey, Uh Huh Her is fronted by Camila Grey, the talented former Mellowdrone bassist who’s worked with Busta Rhymes and Dr. Dre, and Leisha Hailey, who used to play in the Murmurs but is perhaps better known for her role as Alice Pieszecki on The L Word. The L.A. duo’s new CD, Common Reaction (Nettwerk), doesn’t really sound much like PJ Harvey or evoke the British singer’s artful edginess and ambitious musical range, but their ethereal dance-pop is still entrancing. Grey and Hailey coo airy harmonies that sail prettily over an electropop backing on soft and sugary confections like “Wait Another Day” and “Covered.” They’re positively dreamy on “Not a Love Song,” where these diehard romantics claim that they’re through with love. “Hollow is the way you like it,” they accuse a heartbreaker, even as they spin a gauzy web of fuzzy guitars and spacy synthesizers. “I’d love to hurt you, honey,” Grey confides sensually amid icy keyboard strokes on the engrossingly ambivalent attraction/repulsion of “Explode,” then adds enigmatically, “You should pay if you wanna go.” Breaking up/staying together has never sounded so dramatically bewitching. (Falling James)
Also playing Friday:
BEN FOLDS, MISSY HIGGINS at the Wiltern; ALANIS MORISSETTE at Orpheum Theatre; MASON JENNINGS at Henry Fonda Theater; MUDHONEY, MODEL/ACTRESS, JAPANESE MOTORS at El Rey Theatre; MOTLEY CRUE at Hollywood Palladium; PARSON RED HEADS, CASTLEDOOR at Alex’s Bar; ASIA at the Canyon; LITTLE ONES, WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS at the Echo; DEERHOOF at the Echoplex; SKELETONS at the Smell.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Adult at the Echoplex
If there’s any group capable of providing the soundtrack to the dystopic apocalypse that has become Detroit, it must be Adult. Juan Atkins’ Motown may have been suffering from white flight, but at least his techno gave the promise of assembly-line funk. While the Big Three decompose, married couple Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller produce short widgets of fear via the electro-punk of the Normal’s “Warm Leatherette” and that other J.G. Ballard fetishist, John Foxx. Speaking of soundtracks, Adult will provide the live soundtrack to their own silent film on Wednesday at the Silent Movie Theatre. The 40-minute Decampment will make you wonder if a bear shits bricks in the woods. Their 2007 album, Why Bother? (Thrill Jockey), has titles like “I Feel Worse When I’m With You,” and their new E.P. is called Let’s Feel Bad Together, but, even though Kuperus plays it straight, there’s humor, evil kitsch and even the thrill of Dionysian pessimism in their destructive despair. Just don’t ask them to play “Nite Life”; that could get ugly. (Daniel Siwek)
Gang Gang Dance, Marnie Stern at El Rey Theatre
Not unlike their close demographic peers Animal Collective, New York’s Gang Gang Dance have always spiked their tribal-drum psych-noise freak-outs with liberal dollops of pop. Yet with its propulsive dance-club beats and supercatchy vocal melodies, the band’s new Saint Dymphna represents a major step forward for these art-scene big shots; in tracks like “Holy Communion,” a funky mashup of African-pop guitars and hard-edged crunk synths, and “Princes,” which features an unexpected cameo from the English MC Tinchy Stryder, it’s not impossible to envision GGD someday striking left-field “Paper Planes”–style gold. Tonight, expect to hear the new stuff, but expect it to take new shape. Opener Marnie Stern, also from New York, just released a solid new disc as well; it sports an exceptionally long title we’ll shorten here to This Is It and I Am It and features a fresh batch of Stern’s trademark electric-guitar shred. Request her triumphant cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and her furious remix of Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss.” (Mikael Wood)