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 Tuesday: SMOG SESSIONS at The Echo; CCR HEADCLEANER, BACK TOTHE FUTURE THE RIDE at Echo Curio; SIMONE at Catalina Bar & Grill; SLACKJAW at Dakota Music Lounge; ROGER CLYNE at The Mint; SHADES OF DAY at Molly Malone's.
WEDNESDAY /MAY /12
2301 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Category: Music Venues
Region: Out of Town
THE MELODIANS, JOHNNY OSBOURNE AT THE ECHOPLEX
Those cats down at the Dub Club have got some powerful mojo working, and with any luck at all it's going to be a long, hot, reggae-centric summer. This latest coup, a tag team between veteran Jamaican vocal heroes the Melodians and reggae star Johnny Osbourne, is another magnificent jewel in Dub Club's crown. The Melodians have been bewitching listeners since Coxsone Dodd produced their harmonious 1966 debut, "Lay It On," and achieved Rastafarian immortality several years later thanks to the smasheroo "Rivers of Babylon" (as heard on The Harder They Come's sound track, and also the inspiration for that god-awful Boney M cover version). Osbourne, who first came to notice as lead singer of the Wildcats with 1969's "All I Have Is Love" before striking out solo with the impassioned "Jealousy, Heartache and Pain," is one of reggae's most versatile and long-running attractions. His compelling pipes ably carried him through the roots-reggae 1970s but it was as a dance-hall chanter that he enjoyed his greatest successes; with late-'80s thrillers "Good Time Rock" and "Rude Boy Skank," Osbourne demonstrated an unwavering grace and skill, and when these two acts hit the bandstand tonight, expect some ganja-fueled fireworks second to none. (Jonny Whiteside)
SIERRA LEONE'S REFUGEE ALL STARS AT THE ROXY
When you consider all of the things they've lived through, it's amazing that Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars make such ebullient music. Two of the singers, Mohammed Bangura and Abdul Rahim Kamara, are amputees, victims of the West African nation's civil war in the '90s. Led by Reuben M. Koroma, Efuah Grace Ampomah and Francis John Lamgba, the band was formed in refugee camps in neighboring Guinea, expanding to a larger lineup when they eventually returned to Freetown after the end of the war in 2002. While they were still in a series of camps, the struggling musicians — who showed great ingenuity in cobbling instruments together under extreme circumstances — encountered American filmmakers Banker White and Zach Niles. Their 2005 documentary about the band, surprisingly, got a lot of attention, but the All Stars' music is ultimately just as uplifting as their story. Recorded in Freetown and New Orleans, their new CD, Rise & Shine (Cumbancha), blends intricate Afro-pop guitars with reggae, rap and Crescent City rhythms in mesmerizing ways. Koroma occasionally gets foreboding on heavier songs like "Global Threat" and "Jah Mercy," but he's never preachy or strident, and the soulfully lilting harmonies are usually festive and upbeat, and even a little trippy. (Falling James)
KATE MILLER-HEIDKE AT THE HENRY FONDA
It's time for America to get curious about Kate Miller-Heidke. The Australian songstress' stateside debut, Curiouser,was released in March after topping the charts and nearly reaching double-platinum Down Under. Listening to the disc, it is easy to fall for Miller-Heidke's quirky charms. Her lively dance-pop music comes colored with a theatrical streak and is then twisted up in '70s new-wave disco. A classically trained vocalist who has performed in opera and musical theater, Miller-Heidke sings with a Lene Lovich–like hiccup-y soprano on tunes like "Motorscooter" and the hard-to-resist "I Like You Better When You're Not Around," while evoking Cyndi Lauper on "The Last Day on Earth." Although projecting a "girls just want to have fun" vibe, Miller-Heidke also reveals some lyrical depth on "Caught in the Crowd" (a poppy yet poignant school-yard apology) and "The End of School (another nicely detailed look at growing up). She probably is best known now for the Web favorite "Are You F*cking Kidding Me (Facebook Song)," a deliciously barbed slice of zeitgeist satire. Miller-Heidke, who opened up Coachella a few weekends ago, returns to town opening for witty popster Ben Folds. Don't be surprised, however, if she's headlining her next time through L.A. Also Thurs. (Michael Berick)
Also playing Wednesday: V. V. BROWN at The Troubadour; GRANTE-LEE PHILLIPS at Largo; EVAN VOYTAS at The Echo; WOOLEN at Echo Curio; BEN FOLDS at the Henry Fonda; WHITE SHIT at The Smell; GET BUSY COMMITTEE at Viper Room; DIANE BIRCH at El Rey; MATT ALBER at Molly Malone's.
JAKOB DYLAN & THREE LEGS AT THE WILTERN
If you're one of those people who think that Jakob Dylan's old band the Wallflowers sounded more like wallpaper music, you might be surprised by his latest solo album, Women and Country, produced by T-Bone Burnett. Gone are the treacly, middle-of-the-road rock arrangements and vapid lyrics that typified the Wallflowers, jettisoned in favor of a more stripped-down and soulful folk-country sound. It doesn't hurt that Dylan's laid-back, Everyman vocals are spiced with aching harmonies by Neko Case and Kelly Hogan — both captivating lead singers in their own right — and that he's backed by Case's excellent band (renamed Three Legs for this project), which includes the subtly dazzling steel guitarist Jon Rauhouse. While Dylan's new lyrics aren't as surreally fantastic as his famous dad's (or Case's, for that matter), he breaks things down with simple, palpable imagery that is far more moving than his work in the '90s. Of course, Jakob Dylan's metamorphosis (or is it just maturity?) didn't occur overnight. He paved the way for Women and Country with his first solo album, 2008's Seeing Things, where he was accompanied by little more than acoustic guitar. (Falling James)