Music Picks: Plaid, Cher, Metz | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Music Picks: Plaid, Cher, Metz 

Thursday, Jul 3 2014
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Jesika Von Rabbit: See Thursday.

PHOTO BY MARINA CHAVEZ

Jesika Von Rabbit: See Thursday.

fri 7/4

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Edie Brickell

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

Lest you think Steve Martin is a mere dilettante when it comes to bluegrass, the comedian has been plucking the banjo since he was 17, when he was taught how to play by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen. In his early stand-up days, Martin often broke out his banjo, although it was more of a prop for his comedy, until he began gigging and recording seriously with North Carolina's Steep Canyon Rangers in 2009. While Martin's snide lyrics sometimes distract in novelty tunes such as "Atheists Don't Have No Songs," he and the band stir up energetically authentic bluegrass runs, and their music has grown more heartfelt in recent collaborations with Edie Brickell. The onetime New Bohemians songstress used to be painfully inarticulate in her early work, but she has found a more persuasively convincing voice in this setting. Also Wednesday, July 2, and Thursday, July 3. —Falling James

The Baked Potato Allstars

THE BAKED POTATO

Guitarist Jeff Richman is a regular at L.A.'s oldest jazz club, the Baked Potato in Studio City. Once a month he can usually be found leading a group of the area's finest players through a range of well-crafted original songs as well as covers ranging from Wayne Shorter to Peter Gabriel to Jeff Beck. Richman plays two shows in three nights this weekend: Tonight's gig includes bassist Dan Lutz, drummer Mark Ferber and keyboardist/L.A. Weekly scribe Gary Fukushima. Sunday's group features longtime Frank Zappa drum king Chad Wackerman, bassist Jimmy Haslip and keyboardist Jeff Lorber. Both nights will provide plenty of holiday-weekend ear candy. Also Sunday, July 6. —Tom Meek

sat 7/5

Stones Throw Picnic

CALIFORNIA PLAZA

Los Angeles' Stones Throw Records hosts an elaborate event at Grand Performances for Fourth of July weekend. The independent label helmed by Peanut Butter Wolf, who will be showcasing his turntable skills, doesn't limit itself musically, talentwise or with the evening's activities. Appearances by stalwart Stones Throw artists such as the inexhaustible Madlib, funk ambassador Dam-Funk and dub reggae enthusiasts The Lions, among others, are just part of the fun. Arrive early to browse through the Beat Swap Meet, featuring vinyl record collectors and dealers; enter (or watch) a breakdancing contest; load up on Stones Throw merch, including the recently released Peanut Butter Wolf and Charizma box set; and register to vote. Then go home and (legally) download the insightful documentary Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records, and really appreciate what you just experienced. —Lily Moayeri

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

FORD AMPHITHEATRE

In 1961, Allan and Sandra Jaffe founded Preservation Hall in New Orleans, where they held nightly concerts of traditional jazz music played by those who had seen jazz being born. Defying decades of Jim Crow laws, they integrated blacks and whites in their audiences and even in their band. All the current players hail from New Orleans, with some the offspring of the original band members, including Allan's son, Ben, who like his father plays tuba and leads the group. The younger Jaffe has astutely infused healthy doses of hip into the band, booking appearances on the Grammy Awards, Austin City Limits, Kimmel and Fallon, and associating with the likes of Tom Waits, Andrew Bird and Foo Fighters. Yet for all the hype, they understand the music of New Orleans on a profound, familial level, making them the realest deal of all. Local group Dustbowl Revival opens. —Gary Fukushima

The Sheds

COBALT CAFÉ

Though punk's myriad subdivisions leave little room for fresh interpretation, local brothers The Sheds bring refreshing musicality and panache to the genre without compromising its signature pace and pummel. Morgan Miller's guitars and Evan Miller's super-literate bass intertwine in almost symphonic fashion, every bit as expressive as big bro Mac's tuneful vocals, which, while deeply indebted to '90s pop-punk, never stray into truly whiny, my-girlfriend-doesn't-get-me territory. Last year's I'll Be Fine full-length has scarcely a shadow of the band's ska-stained mid-aughts beginnings, instead juggling grooves around unashamedly anthemic hooks to create something like a less preachy, more introspective Rise Against. Thoughtful, restless and ludicrously tight, The Sheds sound deadly serious about having fun. —Paul Rogers

sun 7/6

Plaid

THE ROXY

English electronic duo Andy Turner and Ed Handley purvey beat-savvy post-techno whose hypnotic melodicism you want never to end. They've been doing Plaid for lo these 25 years now and are still finding new paths to pure sonic bliss, as heard in fine form on their new Reachy Prints (Warp), another finely crafted set of rolling rhythms and head-skewing electronic textures. This is gently experimental music that's good for the body and the brain, bubbling with emotion and not a little dry humor, whose shimmering aural colors and open-minded air provide the real sweet stuff for your daydreaming pleasure. We should point out that as a live unit, Plaid like to rock the dance floor very, very hard indeed. —John Payne

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