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Music Picks: Bob Dylan, Azalia Snail, Makabert Fynd, Seun Kuti 

Also, No Age, Crystal Antlers, Imelda May and others

Thursday, Jul 14 2011
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fri 7/15

Bob Dylan

 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY TODD COLE - No Age: - See Thursday.
  • PHOTO BY TODD COLE
  • No Age: See Thursday.

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@PACIFIC AMPHITHEATER

His Bobness is back, kicking off his usual U.S. summer tour with a pair of shows in Santa Barbara and Costa Mesa. He may have just turned 70, but the bard is set on keeping things fresh — as only he can —on the coast-to-coast run, breaking from the tradition of his 2009 and 2010 ballpark tours in favor of bringing it all back home to classic venues. Rumors of his terminally ailing voice have abounded since his garbled Grammys telecast earlier this year, but the consistently effusive reviews of last month's European tour have proved otherwise: Dylan purists can expect a return to a classic hit-driven set, while hard-core devotees can look forward to just enough arrangement-tinkering to keep them on their toes. This may be dubbed the "Never Ending Tour," but Friday's show promises to be the one you don't want to miss. Just don't forget your leopardskin pillbox hat. —Andrea Domanick

John Maus

 

@ECHOPLEX

Described by sometime collaborator Ariel Pink as a "tortured evangelist on a mercenary quest to rid our world of the villainous defilers of the Gospel of True Love," John Maus is a synth-pop deconstructionist who recently released his third full-length album, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves, via Upset the Rhythm/Ribbon Music, a followup to understated gem Love Is Real. With We Must Become..., Maus sings about truth, love and eternity in a sea of reverb with baroque spirituality and the pulse of Italian producer-songwriter Giorgio Moroder. L.A.'s dreamy pop outfit Puro Instinct open, along with artist-singer Geneva Jacuzzi of Bubonic Plague fame. —Lainna Fader

Boyz II Men

 

@CLUB NOKIA

All the hipsters are going crazy these days for Bon Iver's indie-soul take on Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." But fans of that deathless slow jam should check out how much self-pitying pathos Boyz II Men wring from it on 2009's Love, a curious all-covers disc that also finds the veteran Philadelphia R&B group tackling the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" and "Back for Good" by the great English boy band Take That. Steered in part by American Idol's Randy Jackson, the Boyz have built much of their business of late on other folks' songs, which might come as a disappointment to fans waiting for another "End of the Road." Given the still-creamy quality of their harmonies, though, we'll endure yet another "Tracks of My Tears." —Mikael Wood

The Blow

 

@TROUBADOUR

Break out your Casio keyboards — the Blow is back! It's been nearly five years since the Portland duo of Khaela Maricich and Jona Bechtolt tugged at our heartstrings with 2006's Paper Television, and the intervening years have seen only sporadic touring and empty promises of new material, as Bechtolt eventually left to captain side project YACHT full-time. But this time around, Maricich has enlisted the collaborative help of artist Melissa Dyne to showcase The Blow's swoon-inducing blip-pop on a substantial cross-country tour. While no formal announcements have been made about new material or recordings, Maricich has referred to new tunes on her blog, including an especially promising, earnest-sounding number called "YOU'RE MY LIGHT." Her delicate songbird voice and love-hurts-so-good lyrics are the perfect soundtrack to the sleepy potential of midsummer adventures. —Andrea Domanick

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

 

@CALIFORNIA PLAZA

Many kids rebel against their fathers as part of growing up, but Seun Kuti rebelled with his father, fighting against oppression and government corruption in Nigeria. When the Afrobeat icon Fela Kuti died from AIDS in 1997, Seun stepped in at the tender age of 14 to lead his dad's old band Egypt 80. Like his father, Seun is a dazzling saxophonist and a charismatic singer, whipping his body sinuously around the stage like a restless panther. In addition to crafting his own infectiously percussive protest songs, Seun carries on the family tradition with performances of Fela's classic anthems. His new album, From Africa With Fury: Rise, is another inspired collection of fiery dance workouts, with Egypt 80's tight rhythms moving from James Brown–style funk to looser, jazzier and more free-flowing passages. —Falling James

Also playing:

AMERICAN IDOLS at Club Nokia; SARAH MCLACHLAN at Hollywood Bowl; KING KHAN, GRIS GRIS at the Echo; NEW WEST GUITAR TRIO at Blue Whale; WHITE FENCE, COLD SHOWERS at Blue Star; ABE VIGODA, KITTEN, POLLYN, ALLAH LAS, BIG SEARCH at the L.A. Zoo; N O W, KEVIN GREENSPON, ANCIENT CRUX, TES ELATIONS at the Smell.

 

sat 7/16

 

Greeley Estates

 

@COBALT CAFÉ

As metalcore has exploded over the past decade, it seems that only luck has left the likes of Greeley Estates playing at (with all due respect) Cobalt Café, while genre peers such as As I Lay Dying and the Devil Wears Prada are on magazine covers. Having more exes than Casey Anthony hasn't helped, but despite being in an apparently constant state of lineup flux, these Arizonans consistently spew convincing, adventurous anthems defined by furiously militaristic kick drums, turbulent tangent guitars and the inner-demon singing/gurgling of Ryan Zimmermann (who actually sounds like two men). Greeley Estates' tireless conviction and trademark little surprises — samples, piano, psychedelic flirtations — mean these lads really deserve better. ­—Paul Rogers

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