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Music Picks: Jail Weddings, Summer Darling, Roky Erickson, Jonathan Richman 

Also, Bajofondo, Massive Attack, Minus the Bear and others

Thursday, May 13 2010
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FRIDAY/MAY/14

BAJOFONDO & GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA AT DISNEY HALL
Gustavo Santaolalla is an inventive musician and producer who has received a lot of attention in the past decade for his work with the South American electrotango collective Bajofondo and for his evocative, Oscar-winning contributions to the sound tracks of Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Babel (2006), but his career actually extends all the way back to the late 1960s, when he was a member of the cultlike band Arco Iris. The Argentine native would later garner international acclaim in the late '80s and '90s as one of the leading producers of rock en español, recording such musicians as Café Tacuba, Los Prisioneros, Juanes, Maldita Vecindad, Julieta Venegas and Molotov, but he also had an earlier, less-recognized role in the local punk scene after moving to Los Angeles in 1978. Santaolalla fronted the quirky new-wave group Wet Picnic (alongside former Crucis keyboardist Aníbal Kerpel), but, perhaps more crucially, he produced the Plugz's second album, Better Luck, as the L.A. trio was starting to move away from the zippy, minimalist satire of its early punk era into a more melodically and musically adventurous style that presaged the entire rock en español movement. He's a major reason why Bajofondo are far from a traditional tango band, mixing in electronica, classical, rap, dance music and atmospheric folk-pop influences for a bewitching brew. Tonight they'll follow an opening set by conductor Alondra de la Parra and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, who'll return at the end for "a collaborative grand finale." (Falling James)

SUMMER DARLING AT PEHRSPACE
Summer Darling's songs often start out as simple, jangling folk pop, but by the end they're usually transformed into powerful, heavy-dreamin' rock opuses. The new track "This Would Be the Time" (from the local quartet's upcoming self-titled album on Origami Music) opens with Ben Heywood's and Dan Rossiter's majestic interlocking guitars, as the former intones in a hazy, haunted voice. Even as the guitars ratchet up the chaos, Heywood remains coolly somber underneath it all. Like his bassist-wife Heather Bray Heywood, the singer-guitarist is the child of ministers, and many of his lyrics reflect the contradictions of "his dissolving faith and darkening worldview." Nonetheless, that worldview is often illuminated with witty insights and intriguing lines like "We eat our young to keep you guessing" (from the euphoric early tune "Ride This Wave of Good Feelings") and "I've got cancers to reward for sticking with me" (from "The Zealot"). At their best, Summer Darling evoke the emotional storminess of Neil Young's old work with Crazy Horse. (Falling James)

click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN EVERETT - Burnt rubber soul: Jail Weddings
  • PHOTO BY LAUREN EVERETT
  • Burnt rubber soul: Jail Weddings

Location Info

Also playing Friday: ANDREW BIRD at Largo at the Coronet; OLIVER FUTURE at Bootleg Theater; THE ULTIMATE DOO-WOP SHOW at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts; LAURIE LEWIS & THE RIGHT HANDS at McCabe's; MIDNITE at Key Club; FLYING LOTUS at The Echoplex; YUNG BERG at Whisky a Go-Go; MURDERLAND at Redwood Bar & Grill; KLYMAXX, LISA LISA, JJ FAD at The House of Blues; TURIN BRAKES, HARD DRUGS, LUCY SCHWARTZ at The Echo; CAROLE KING & JAMES TAYLOR at The Hollywood Bowl; THE RUSE at The Roxy; DELTA MIRROR at Spaceland; NATIVE VIBE at The Baked Potato; BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, CHIODOS, AIRBOURNE, ARCANIUM at the Grove of Anaheim; ANDREW ABARIA, AMY LOFTUS & JASON LAND, SKYLAR THOMSON at Genghis Cohen; JERRY JOSEPH, WALLY INGRAM at The Mint; AIDEN MOORE at Molly Malone's; IRATION, PACIFIC DUB at Saint Rocke; KINGSIZE, UTLRAVIOLET SOUND at The Viper Room; ANNA OXYGEN, THE FINCHES, KEY LOSERS, PONCE DE LEON at The Smell; O.A.R. at The Wiltern; THE ALAN BROADBENT TRIO at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; DREDG, FACING NEW YORK at The Troubadour; JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL at The Joshua Tree Lake Campground.

 

SATURDAY/MAY/15

A-HA AT CLUB NOKIA
This Norwegian pop combo is best known to Americans (if it's known at all) for the groundbreaking video for its lovely 1985 single "Take on Me." (Actually, they might also be known for the title track from the so-so James Bond film The Living Daylights — though I'd forgotten all about that until the Internet just reminded me.) In any event, given the band's relatively low profile and the fact that they live in Norway, it's not exactly shocking to find that a-ha haven't toured the United States in over two decades. (We've got Owl City, after all.) What is kind of surprising is that they've waited until their final tour ever to make their way over here again. Nice timing, dudes! Last year a-ha released a new studio disc called Foot of the Mountain, and though it doesn't contain anything more memorable than "Take on Me," its twinkly synth textures are awfully pretty. Also Sun. (Mikael Wood)

PATTI LUPONE AT WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
"Matters of the Heart" is the name of Patti Lupone's Saturday-night Disney Hall concert, which closes out the L.A. Phil's 2009-10 Songbook Series. But is a performance by this Tony-winning actor-singer really ever about anything else? Here she'll do show tunes by Stephen Sondheim and Rodgers & Hammerstein, pop songs by Brian Wilson and Cyndi Lauper, folk numbers by Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell and whatever you wanna call the wonderful work of Randy Newman. Accompaniment will come from a pianist and a string quartet. Word to attendees: As YouTube has shown, Lupone has been known to go ballistic on audience members who dare to interrupt her gigs by taking pictures or using their cell phones. Keep that shit on silent! (Mikael Wood)

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