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Music Picks: She Wants Revenge, Nilbog, Lady Gaga 

Also, Men, Ice Cube, OMD, the Aussie BBQ and others

Thursday, Mar 24 2011
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fri 3/25

OMD

@ THE MUSIC BOX

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CHANTAL ANDERSON - Sharon Von Etten: See Friday.
  • PHOTO BY CHANTAL ANDERSON
  • Sharon Von Etten: See Friday.

Location Info

With Depeche Mode on hiatus following 2009's Tour of the Universe and Pet Shop Boys concentrating on their new ballet, the synth-pop survivors in England's Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark must have figured the current moment was a good one to launch their first original-lineup tour of North America since 1988. They were right: This show has been sold out for weeks, while tickets for Tuesday's encore performance seem unlikely to stick around till then. OMD arrive on these shores in support of last year's History of Modern, which demonstrated how firm the band's grasp on their vintage sound remains. And if you think none of the new tunes stack up to "If You Leave" or Architecture & Morality — well, you can bet they'll play the oldies tonight. Also Tues. —Mikael Wood

The Tord Gustavsen Ensemble

@ SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER

Norwegian pianist-composer Tord Gustavsen represents the quintessence of his ECM label's sound and spirit, a jazz-inflected music that veers toward a kind of European contemporary chamber-group vibe. Gustavsen's own many-layered stance comes in richly textured blends of far-reaching melodies and darkly hued harmonic twists, dappled with shadows of Scandinavian folk, gospel, flamenco and "world" polyrhythms — and some very, very cool jazz. Gustavsen's highly refined compositional sense gives artful form to his partially improvised translucent ballads, ethereal tangos, occasional flickers into a sparkly kind of funk and, most interestingly, the sentimental tones of a lounge-pop standard turned inside out and head-over-foot. Gustavsen's bandmates for this outing are Mats Eilertsen (bass) and Jarle Vespestad (drums), big stars on the Euro circuit in their own right. —John Payne

Sharon Van Etten

@ THE SATELLITE

There's something so distinctly eerie about Sharon Van Etten's voice that she's attracted the attention of such recent collaborators as the Antlers and Anna Ternheim, and her songs have been covered by the National and Bon Iver. She lives in Brooklyn and was raised in New Jersey but didn't discover her true voice until after she attended college in Tennessee. An undercurrent of countrified melancholy adds soulful depth to the mellow folk-pop originals "Save Yourself" and "One Day," from her second album, Epic. Love and especially heartache are the singer-songwriter's major themes, with stark, rueful lyrics intoned solemnly and slowly over a restrained backing. "Love More" is considerably moving, a funereal hymn that quietly builds momentum via bell-like guitar tones and Van Etten's mournful entreaties. —Falling James

Adolescents, The Dickies

@ ALEX'S BAR

A lot of punk bands try to be funny, but few come off as simultaneously dangerous and even a little bit scary. At first glance, the Orange County wrecking crew Adolescents would seem to be ridiculously inane, with Tony Cadena ranting about the incomprehensible mating rituals of punk girls from L.A. and enthusiastically identifying with the deep feelings of amoebas. But bassist Steve Soto and guitarist Frank Agnew have always balanced Cadena's daft existentialism with supremely savage riffs and brutally efficient hooks. San Fernando Valley legends the Dickies are just as heavy and even more absurd, with deadpan frontman Leonard Graves Phillips paying relentlessly sarcastic homage to such precious cultural icons as Marlon Brando, Barney Rubble, Caligula, Courtney Love and Manny, Moe & Jack. —Falling James

 

Rainbow Arabia, Spoek Mathambo, Matthewdavid

@ THE ECHOPLEX

[See Page Two.]

 

Also playing Friday:

BLAIR, SAY HI, YELLOW OSTRICH at the Echo; ABIGAIL WASHBURN at McCabe's; THEE OH SEES at Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock; AZALIA SNAIL at Taix; KURT MASUR, SARAH CHANG at Walt Disney Concert Hall; TOKYO POLICE CLUB at El Rey Theatre.

 

sat 3/26

Girl Talk

@ HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM

Girl Talk, aka Pittsburgh's Gregg Michael Gillis, may have racked up most of his accolades and controversy for his rather liberal on-record interpretation of copyright law, but he deserves more attention for his live show. It invariably becomes a full-blown rave, thanks not only to his mix mastery (the man never skips a beat) but also to the very fabric of his songs. Gillis is, by trade, a mash-up artist who mines the entire modern pop spectrum for familiar musical moments that go well together. —Chris Martins

Slick Rick

@ KEY CLUB

Since the early '80s, Slick Rick has influenced countless rappers, even with just one song — "La Di Da Di" alone was the source of one of Snoop's biggest hits and the chorus of one of Biggie's. With his pride-of-the-English precise enunciation and penchant for weaving storytelling rhymes, he not only makes rap lyrics decipherable, he also makes them sound child-friendly — and they are, if you're not a believer in sugarcoating reality. He's performing his debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Saturday — "Children's Story" is a fairy tale–free warning, and "Hey Young World" admonishes kids to do their chores right after issuing the very practical advice, "If you smoke crack, your kids'll smoke crack tomorrow." Hey, we'll take Slick Rick the Ruler over Dr. Drew any day. [Ed.'s note: Don't get us started on Dr. Drew ...] —Rebecca Haithcoat

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