Rock Picks: AC/DC, Dressy Bessy, Meshell Ndegeocello 

Also, the Submarines, Ruben Guevara, the Coup and more

Wednesday, Dec 3 2008



The Atomic Sherpas at Taix

click to flip through (6) TAMMY EALOM - Dressy Bessy raise the roof.
  • Tammy Ealom
  • Dressy Bessy raise the roof.

The Atomic Sherpas do some of the heaviest musical lifting in town, and yet you don’t have to pay half a month’s rent to see them at some impersonal enormodome or stand in line waiting in vain at a trendy, hipper-than-thou Hollywood hot spot. Most of the time, they’re laying it down for free — that’s right, free — at such low-key joints as Taix. It’s not like you’re getting them on the cheap because they’re still learning to play or figuring out their musical potential — these guys come fully assembled. The Sherpas are equally at ease rambling through the intricacies of James Brown’s “Ain’t It Funky Now” and jazzing it up on a supertight version of George Benson’s “Clockwise,” both from their live album Blowin’ It at Ya (YakTone). Bandleader/saxist/flautist Vince Meghrouni also composes his own dizzyingly dazzling, madcap instrumental opuses, such as “Sprechenzie Bebop,” giving guitarists Carey Fosse and Matt Lake a firm base to launch their spiraling solos, while drummer Matt Sessa attempts to nail down the ever-expanding edges of this full-force hurricane with scattershot agility. (Falling James)

Joshua Kerr benefit at House of Blues

Joshua Kerr is a hard-working local musician who had just landed a sweet gig playing bass for Andrew Stockdale’s revamped Wolfmother, but, on the way home from the studio, he was knocked off his bike by a hit-&-runner and left for dead in front of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The story doesn’t get any more macabre, but guess what? For the uninsured, a badly broken elbow can hurt like a bitch (aside from the painful complications, there’s that tune of $26,000, which keeps on chirping around his head). That’s where the Bangkok Five, a handful of other caring bands and, hopefully, you come in. Even though it’s for charity, this is one prix fixe that doesn’t skimp on quality. The Bangkok Five, for instance, are a premium-label (Sony/Red), alt-rock-meets-garage-rock band who have toured the world and whose charismatic front man, Frost (with his devout flock of “Kokettes”), has been known to upstage the likes of the Cult’s Ian Astbury. And offering more exotic fare is Kaura, whose guitarist Ben Rojas helped put the event together. (Daniel Siwek)

The Submarines at the Echoplex

If you missed the Submarines earlier this fall at the downtown Detour festival, here’s a chance to catch the husband-&-wife duo in a more intimate venue. The real-life story of the ups and downs of Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti’s romantic relationship reads almost like the lyrics to a love song: They used to go out with each other earlier in the decade, broke up, separately wrote some breakup tunes, and when they ran into each other in the recording studio in the process of tracking those songs realized that they were still in love. Everyone loves a good love story, and perhaps there’s a certain irony that their music became increasingly popular after they got back together as the Submarines. How could they ever break up again, with the world breathlessly awaiting their latest musical update? “Here am I with all of the pleasures of the first world laid out before me,” coos Hazard (the great-granddaughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald) on the jaunty pop march of “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie,” from their recent CD, Honeysuckle Weeks. None of this would matter, of course, if she and Dragonetti weren’t making such thoughtfully charming music, which ranges from the ethereal dreaminess of “1940” to “The Wake Up Song,” where Dragonetti evokes Chairman Mao in describing their relationship. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:

ROGER McGUINN at Smothers Theatre, Pepperdine University; MIKE NESS at El Rey Theatre; JONATHAN RICHMAN at Ventura Theatre; THE DONNAS at Brixton South Bay; BETH HART, GIRL IN A COMA, PRIMA DONNA at the Knitting Factory; RELENTLESS7 at the Mint; CORREATOWN, THAILAND at Mr. T’s Bowl; LADYFINGERS, BONEBRAKE SYNCOPATORS at Redwood Bar & Grill; DON CARLOS at Saint Rocke; JUDITH OWEN & HARRY SHEARER, JULIA FORDHAM, JULIANNA RAYE, STEVE POLTZ at Steve Allen Theater.



Dressy Bessy at Spaceland

A few years ago, the Denver band Dressy Bessy released an inescapably catchy gem of a song called “Electrified,” from the album of the same name. In the quick spaces between its fuzzy stop-&-start guitars, Tammy Ealom sang enigmatically abstract lyrics about evolution and relationships (or something), coming off a little bit like a caffeinated-bubblegum version of Kim Deal. Of course, the Breeders singer never wore mod ’60s miniskirts, Day-Glo tights and go-go boots, whereas Ealom’s playful sense of fashion and love of bold colors saturate Dressy Bessy’s groovy new CD, Holler and Stomp (Transdreamer). Ealom’s arty cut-&-paste lyrics are just as pleasingly disconnected on the quartet’s new poppy-punk anthems, such as the hot-pink valentine “Do You Whisper?,” where she cheerfully ignores some guy’s advice that she “stop acting pretty.” Guitarist John Hill, who also plays with the Apples in Stereo, adorns kicky tunes like “In Your Headphones” and “Sindy Says” with effectively loopy little licks. Dressy Bessy are silly but smart, as when Ealom chants, “You want a simple type of girl, a simply happy girl . . . It must be obvious I cannot be yours.” (Falling James)

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