Music Picks: Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley, Tinariwen, Mastodon 

Also: Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers, Danzig and others

Thursday, Oct 27 2011

Fri 10/28

HARD Haunted Mansion


click to enlarge PHOTO BY SCOTT GROLLER - Wadada Leo Smith: See Friday.
  • Wadada Leo Smith: See Friday.

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Doing their part to ensure that 2011 is remembered as the year the dance-music megafest broke, Gary Richards and his homies at HARD bring yet another star-studded bill to this year's bash. As usual, the assembled talent crosses all kinds of genre lines: Friday's lineup pairs party-starting headliners Fatboy Slim and Rusko with Canadian electro-house vet Tiga and SBTRKT, the moody English enigma who's collaborated with Drake; on Saturday Soulwax and Skrillex rule the roost, with supporting appearances by dubstep dons Skream & Benga and Major Lazer, the digital dance-hall act pairing Diplo and Switch. That's hardly a complete list, but if you're headed downtown this weekend, you're doing it for more than musical reasons, right? Also Sat. —Mikael Wood



This New York band may combine traditional rock instruments with Nintendo gear that dates back to the 1980s, but they won't sound anything like your collection of old-school video games. Instead, listening is like traveling through a mythical land where unicorns play badass guitars covered in Lisa Frank stickers. Inspired largely by Japanese pop music and surreal comedies like Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, the four-piece crafts instrumental tracks where cheery, 8-bit electronic sounds collide with thunderous drums and a huge crunch of guitars. Their music is hyper, powerful and so much fun that you'll leave the show drenched in sweat. No wonder they provided the score for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. —Liz Ohanesian

Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers


Performed by the Golden Quartet and Southwest Chamber Music under conductor Jeff von der Schmidt, Ten Freedom Summers is the world premiere of a work by new-jazz/creative music icon Wadada Leo Smith. The epic piece is based on the history of the U.S. civil rights movement from 1954 through 1964; given Smith's past involvement in the most advanced American avant-ethnomusicology, this ambitious project will be a decidedly non-lightweight affair of deeply felt emotions, facts, revelations and illuminations. The Golden Quartet features trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist Smith, drummer Susie Ibarra, pianist Angelica Sanchez and bass man John Lindberg. The event is performed in three parts over three nights; also Sat.-Sun. —John Payne

Pierced Arrows


Rock & roll doesn't get much more authentic than with this Portland, Ore., trio. Singer-guitarist Fred "Deep Soul" Cole has been howling at the moon since the early '60s, when he was fronting Vegas and Sunset Strip garage bands like the Lollipop Shoppe (who released the oft-covered nugget "You Must Be a Witch"). His raw, scarifying vocals drew the praise of fellow scenester Janis Joplin, but when the '60s ended, Cole took his family and his music far off the grid, homesteading in the Yukon in a tent in winter and releasing the bluesy hard rock of his mid-'70s group, Zipper, on his own label — long before the DIY movement. With his bassist-wife, Toody Cole, he started proto-punk band the Rats and the long-running underground combo Dead Moon, which recently morphed into the similarly feral Pierced Arrows. It's a long way to the top — and these rock & rollers don't really care if they ever make it. —Falling James



French bassist Bunny Brunel counts a stint with Chick Corea among his many credits, which include jazz notables Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams. Brunel's band CAB received a Grammy nomination in 2002, showcasing some of the better composing in the jazz-fusion realm in the last decade. Australian Virgil Donati is widely seen as one of the world's most skilled drummers. Bakersfield's Dennis Hamm has quietly become one of the most capable young keyboardists anywhere. New to the band is Austrian guitarist Alex Machacek, whose dazzling technical ability should be well suited for Brunel's extended odysseys. —Tom Meek

Also playing:

IWRESTLEDABEARONCE at Glass House (Pomona); PABLO MILANES at the Wiltern; FELICE BROS. at the Satellite; KRS-ONE at Key Club; SIMPLE PLAN at Music Box; INGA SWEARINGEN at LACMA.


sat 10/29

Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley


Palmer and Webley have worked together as the duo Evelyn Evelyn, in which they play a pair of conjoined sisters singing droll art-folk songs about life on the circus-sideshow scene. Tonight, though, the two musicians — each of whom holds down a multifarious solo career — are promising a so-called "Halloween Spectacular," which basically means there's no telling what's in store. Perhaps Palmer will do some of her Radiohead covers on ukulele? ("Creep" seems appropriate.) Or maybe Webley will sing his song "The Graveyard" while dressed as the Grim Reaper? Palmer fans should know that Monday night she's scheduled to kick off a brief West Coast tour with her husband, Neil Gaiman, at the Wilshire Ebell. That one could get zany, too. —Mikael Wood



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