THURSDAY, November 16
Sierra Leones Refugee All-Stars at the Malibu Performing Arts Center
Thrown together by Sierra Leones apocalyptic decade-plus civil war, the Refugee All-Stars have one of a hell a story to tell, and while the group has been heralded here with a load of effusive bullshit (coming as it does from a horde of overpaid rock-crit blowhards) that invariably speaks of redemptive power and healing, its always best to let the music do the talking, and, believe it, these cats wont let your attention stray. Their high-stepping Afro-reggae grooves are put over with a natural-fact expertise, and the bare-bones lyrics are framed as a series of marvelously simple, effective metaphors that combine for an emphatically arresting earful, one providing the ideal way to convey these bruised, defiant messages. (Jonny Whiteside)
Also playing Thursday:
ROONEY, BEN LEE at Avalon; JOLIE HOLLAND, VETIVER at the Jensen Rec Center; JOHN LEGEND at the Wiltern; HOWARD TATE at Amoeba Music; ARIEL PINK, BEACH HOUSE at the Echo; RACHAEL YAMAGATA at the Hotel Café; JAMES BLUNT, STARSAILOR at House of Blues; LAS 15 LETRAS, CHENCHA BERRINCHES, KEVIN K at the Knitting Factory; DOLLYROTS, RANDIES at the Scene; HELLO STRANGER, SOMETHING FOR ROCKETS, EMILIE SIMON at the Troubadour; CUT CHEMIST at the Viper Room.
WEDNESDAY, November 22
Kevin Federline at House of Blues
I imagine Britney buzzed on Red Bull and licking Cheetos dust off her fingers, furiously flipping through an Us Weekly story about Whitney leaving Bobby. Suddenly, she has a moment of clarity. Hey! Britney exclaims to her ever-expanding brood and the days random manny. Replace the crack with Starbucks, and thats me and Kevin in 15 years. Thats not cool, yall! Its hard not to appreciate Kevin Federlines relentless opportunism just a little. From Britney to CSI to sucker-punching wrestler John Cena on WWE Raw, Homes is repping Fresno pretty hard. Then theres the music. From the faux Brazilian favela funk of Popozao to the equally facetious gangster rap of the wryly titled Americas Most Hated, this is about as ridiculous as it gets. Which, of course, is the point. (Scott T. Sterling)
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The Rolling Stones at Dodger Stadium
Tonight, the Rolling Stones probably wont perform a tribute to the late Love singer Arthur Lee, whose shimmering She Comes in Colors lyrically inspired the Stones equally lovely Shes a Rainbow. Nor are they likely to whip out a performance of the complete Their Satanic Majesties Request album à la Brian Wilsons recent run through Pet Sounds. Its doubtful that the great lead-guitar stylist Mick Taylor will ever uncoil those wickedly liquid solos onstage with the Stones on Love in Vain ever again and you can probably forget about Brian Jones jumping out of a cake as a surprise special guest on Sympathy for the Devil. And yet, on the bands third swing through town on their apparently never-ending Bigger Bang Tour, Mick and Keith still have some tricks up their sleeves. Our spies tell us that Sir Mick was in excellent voice at last weeks gig in Las Vegas despite the death of his father, Joe Jagger, and the throat problems that led to the rescheduling of this Dodger Stadium show. That tree-climbing daredevil Keef Riffhard has been mixing it up with oldies like Connection and the rarely performed You Got the Silver, and most encouragingly the Stones have been spotlighting in concert the better tunes (Rain Fall Down, Rough Justice) from their latest CD, the generally strong A Bigger Bang. (Falling James)
Also playing Wednesday:
BEN VAUGHN at Cinema Bar; PERNICE BROTHERS at Spaceland; LEMONHEADS, VIETNAM at the Troubadour.