Rock Picks: Broken Nobles, Anny Celsi, Seu Jorge, the Killers
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto at the Hollywood Bowl
Bebel Gilberto has a lot to live up to. If you believe what they say about her dad, legendary singer and guitarist João Gilberto, then bossa nova itself would have to be her older sister (he fathered the genre in 1958). Her mother is Brazilian music royalty, too, but so far the towering height of that family tree has done nothing to stunt Bebel’s growth. She held her own at Carnegie Hall at age 9 alongside Stan Getz and Miúcha (mom), and ever since that first gig, the younger Gilberto has carved out a corner for herself wrapping that lithe, honeyed voice around a breezy mix of classic bossa, light jazz and classy acoustics. Seu Jorge has no doubt found his biggest fame playing Knockout Ned in City of God and covering David Bowie for The Life Aquatic, but the favela-raised samba prince has a handful of solidly inventive albums under his belt, including last year’s America Brasil O Disco, which blends the traditional strains of his country with blues and funk. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra backs, while fireworks light up the sky. (Chris Martins)
Sunset Strip Music Festival at Sunset Blvd. & Doheny Dr.
Last month’s Sunset Junction Street Fair offered people who wear headbands for ironic reasons a perfect opportunity to meet and mingle. This weekend, the Sunset Strip Music Festival will offer the same to people who wear them sincerely. Saturday’s big outdoor show — for which Sunset between Doheny and San Vicente will be closed, say festival organizers, for the first time ever — is scheduled to feature a motley crew of rockers old and young, including Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Pepper, the Donnas, the Ringers and Fishbone. You’ll also get stupid-funny party rap from Shwayze and LMFAO. That night you can also catch B-Real of Cypress Hill at the Whisky or ex–Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley at the Viper Room, where he’s likely to play stuff from his new solo disc, Anomaly. If none of that appeals, try Augustana at the Roxy or Talib Kweli at the Key Club, both on Friday. Festival is Thurs.-Sat., September 10-12. (Mikael Wood)
Vivian Girls, The Beets at the Echo
Okay, it’s been exactly one year since Vivian Girls released their debut album, and one year of comparisons to the Pandoras, the Ramones, the Shangri-Las and Shonen Knife. The overexposure has fortunately not gone to their cute, bang-covered heads, even though your mom probably knows who they are and thinks they’re cool. Maybe that’s why Vivian Girls sound a tad more surly, angry and down on the new one (out just three weeks now), Everything Goes Wrong, which turns out to be a not-to-be-fucked-with steamroller as opposed to a sophomore stumble. Last November’s show at the Smell had the girls playing on borrowed gear to a steamy, sold-out room of ecstatic kids. Expect the same this time. Vivian Girls come throttling out to L.A. armed with their sophomore LP on the last night of their quick, cross-country Nightmare of Sound tour with the Beets, who are also (of course) from Brooklyn and chug along to a fashionably grungy, underwater stumble recalling Olympia, Washington, indie-rock glory days. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Friday:
DEAD MAN’S BONES at Bob Baker Marionette Theater; PETER FRAMPTON, KANSAS at the L.A. County Fair; PAOLO NUTINI, ANYA MARINA at the Wiltern; EXENE CERVENKA & JOHN DOE at Alex’s Bar; POLLYN, THE CONGRESS OF AMERICAN MUSICOLOGISTS at the Bootleg Theater; TALIB KWELI at the Key Club; CHERYL WHEELER, KENNY WHITE at McCabe’s; AUGUSTANA, HONEYHONEY, HUNTINGFIELD at the Roxy.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
Destroy L.A. feat. Flying Lotus, Daedelus, Gaslamp Killer at the Henry Fonda Theater
Not quite a festival, but more than a show, Destroy L.A. promises to gather a boatload of local “beat music” talent under one roof (one roof that isn’t the Airliner, that is), and considering the heavy-hitters crowning the bill, the event may make good on its titular threat. Since releasing the thump-happy and texturally dense Los Angeles last June, headliner Flying Lotus has continued to be this city’s most buzzed-about electronicist, and a figurehead for the Low End Theory crew. Daedelus is an elder statesman of sorts, having released his melodic beat-oriented LPs through mainstays like Plug Research, Mush and, most recently, Ninjatune. Mount Washington’s Gaslamp Killer carves aggressively banging soundscapes from old psych, funk and soul, while Jogger (whose members moonlight in Daedelus’ The Long Lost band) specializes in glitch-and-guitar compositions that evolve over time. Spoken-word weirdo Post-Foetus opens, and we hear incredibly talented up-and-comer TOKiMONSTA, the South Bay’s Jennifer Lee, is scheduled to appear as well. Plus DJs, of course. Whew. (Chris Martins)
SASSAS Anniversary feat. Carl Stone, Frosty, Jimmy Tamborello, Vinny Golia, LAFMS, others at various venues
This is a whole bunch of different events at eight different venues, in fact, within a daylong celebration of the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS) ongoing Sound concert series, stalwartly thrusting the L.A. experimental-music banner ever higher. Starting in Eagle Rock and ending in Venice, the day features a cornucopia of the best in the new sound-art, electronic and extreme-music spheres. These include: Carl Stone’s performance at Eight Veil (7174 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd.; 323-960-5723) as part of Into Infinity, an audio-loop collaboration between Dublab and Creative Commons; memorial tributes to composer James Tenney and microtonal guitarist Rod Poole (the latter with Nels Cline, Joseph Hammer, Tom Recchion, Devin Sarno and others); a reunion of sorts by several of the LAFMS bands of legend, including members of Airway, Doo-Dooettes and Le Forte Four; and performances at Amoeba Records by artists from the crucial Cold Blue label, including Rick Cox, Michael Jon Fink and Chas Smith. These events are stone FREE, and that includes an after-party at Beyond Baroque in Venice. Complete schedule and map of the day’s events at soundnet.org/sound/2009. (John Payne)
Glay at House of Blues
Glay who? You mean you don’t know J-pop rockers Glay? They’re like the Rolling Stones of Japan! Or maybe more like the U2 of Japan. Okay, how about the Bon Jovi of Japan? Regardless, it’s a big deal they’re here. Glay — an arguably intentional misspelling of “gray,” as in the gray area between pop and rock — is a band that back (Far) East sells out arenas. They first hit it big on the Japanese pop charts in the 1990s, and they’ve been cranking out the pretty-boy pop-rock ever since. As it’s their 15th-anniversary tour, the boys are sure to spike their set with more than a few greatest hits, so look out for the likes of “Yuuwaku,” “However,” “Be With You,” “Soul Love” and “Kuchibiru,” and their latest single, “I Am XXX.” Fanboy fact of the day: Lead singer Teru’s better half is none other than Ami of power-pop duo Puffy AmiYumi. (Derek Thomas)
Kingsizemaybe, the Dime Box Band at Farmers Market
Led by former Continental Drifter Gary Eaton, Kingsizemaybe are one of this city’s best-kept secrets, and they usually play free shows, such as tonight’s gig, as well as their monthly appearances at Taix. Legendary music impresario Lou Adler used to champion Eaton’s talents, as long ago as the late 1980s, when the singer-guitarist was in the obscure X-style band the Devil Squares and, later, a background figure in the Ringling Sisters. When the Continental Drifters drifted east to New Orleans in the ’90s, Eaton stayed behind, seemingly content to play out-of-the -spotlight shows around Los Angeles with his own band, Kingsizemaybe. They’ve been relatively prolific after a decade of false starts, releasing two excellent country-rock CDs in the past two years. “Look at All the Things That I’ve Got,” from 2009’s Second Album, doesn’t just sound like Neil Young; its artfully snarled guitars evoke Crazy Horse’s peak with Danny Whitten. “Dallas,” from their self-titled 2008 debut, is a grand, celestial ballad whose imagery draws upon the palpable earthiness of east Texas and a child’s surreal memories of the first Kennedy assassination. Former Wednesday Week power-pop thrush Kristi Callan kicks up her heels with Dime Box Band, where her honeyed vocals are adorned with folksy, rootsy instrumentation. (Falling James)
Also playing Saturday:
KOMMUNITY FK at Boardner’s; FLOGGING MOLLY, HEPCAT, FITZ & THE TANTRUMS at the Greek Theatre; WILLIE NILE at McCabe’s; THE DAN BAND at Club Nokia; ESPERANZA SPALDING, JOHN WEST at El Rey Theatre; BRENDAN BENSON at the Troubadour; GOOD CHARLOTTE at the L.A. County Fair; SUPER MASH BROS., THE KNUX, IGLU & HARTLY, IRATION at the Roxy; TRIBUTE TO GEORGE HARRISON, FEAT. DIOS, RYAN ROSS, MATT POPIELUCH at Spaceland; ACE FREHLEY at the Viper Room; B-REAL at the Whisky a Go-Go.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Anny Celsi at Spaceland
To celebrate the release of her idealistically titled new CD, Tangle-Free World, the Highland Park singer Anny Celsi is putting on a series of what she describes as Rolling Thunder Revue–style shows. She just got back from a European tour where she interacted with various British luminaries, and tonight she’s on a bill with simpatico pop auteurs Jeff Merchant and Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band. One of Marsland’s collaborators, the sublime singer-guitarist and soul-pop legend Evie Sands, adds smoldering vocals and guitar to Celsi’s remake of “Sally Go ’Round the Roses,” which is given a curiously sunny and pleasant arrangement compared to the Jaynetts’ eerie original. Celsi is backed by drummer-producer Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson, the Negro Problem), guitarist Jonny DuFresne and bassist Jeff Legore, and she’s joined on the CD by such guests from the local pop underground as fiddler Amy Farris, former child actor/power-pop whiz Robbie Rist and members of the Wondermints. The title track lightly evokes Revolver-era Beatles psychedelia. Sugary pop idylls like “Own Sweet Time” are contrasted by the bittersweet ballads “Thanksgiving in Hollywood” and the neo-soul slice “Now You Can Hurt Me.” With laid-back folk-country tunes like “The Night She Learned to Drive,” and another free set coming up at the country-music event Grande Ole Echo (at the Echo, September 20), Celsi jokingly calls herself “the one-woman suspension bridge between pop geek and Americana purist.” (Falling James)
Also playing Sunday:
LISA LISA, READY FOR THE WORLD, KLYMAXX, SOULSONIC FORCE, PEANUT BUTTER WOLF, EGYPTIAN LOVER at the Greek Theatre; BLUE JUNGLE, THE WIDOW BABIES at the Echo; LYNYRD SKYNYRD at the L.A. County Fair; THE KILLERS at the Santa Barbara Bowl; DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, SWITCHFOOT at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
THE ICARUS LINE, OGOD, RADIO FREQ at the Silverlake Lounge; ACE FREHLEY at the Grammy Museum; THE BLIND BOY PAXTON & FRANK FAIRFIELD SHOW at the Redwood Bar; SAINT MOTEL, THE BLACK & WHITE YEARS, ASTRA HEIGHTS, DIVISIBLE at Spaceland.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
The Brunettes at the Echo
In the wake of the recent cancellation of what would have been a rare local show by the seminal New Zealand post-punk/lo-fi trio the Clean at this same club, we get quite a nice Kiwi consolation prize, a visit from the charming Auckland indie-pop duo the Brunettes. Of course, there are a million indie-pop acts with a surfeit of cutesiness, but guitarist Jonathan and keyboardist Heather’s songs are creatively tuneful and just weird enough to avoid being too cloying. Their music ranges from Jonathan Richman playfulness (“Loopy Loopy Love”) to more recent forays into trippy electronica (“Red Rollerskates”). On the Brunettes’ 2007 Sub Pop full-length, Structure & Cosmetics, Heather sings ethereal melodies over boxy keyboards on “Obligatory Road Song,” while the swelling horns of “Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth” push the ominous vocal chanting over the baroque-pop cliff into arty psychedelia. (Falling James)
Broken Nobles, Man’s Assassination Man at the Smell
Holy Ghost Revival’s frontman Conor Kiley and band mate Shaky Jakes Bayley have magically incarnated from HGR’s pissed-off, drinks-spilled, disco–garage rock mess to a much different, reined-in incarnation with the slightly more dignified Broken Nobles. The songs are longer than one minute now, and even emit a glow of warm tenderness. Dudes from Seattle’s hairy stoner-rock outfit Wildildlife (which used to be called Wildlife, but had to add an extra “ild” when another band threatened to sue) help with backup and — at least for this show at the Smell — take it down a notch. Maybe it was all the back-and-forth trips between Seattle and London that wore down Kiley and Bayley’s spiny antics, but the essence of the Bro Nobs’ badass kicking and thrashing show remains the same. Man’s Assassination Man is a mix of the Mae Shi’s recently reshuffled members and other mutually related players. Brothers Jon and Bill Gray, Justin Hunter, Residual Echo’s Adam Payne and Of Aire’s Greg Arnold are on hand to mix up the heavy punk-dance flow in a very Smell-like way. (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Tuesday:
VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ, WEAVE at the Echoplex; ARCTIC MONKEYS at the Palladium; YEAH YEAH YEAHS at the Fox Theater (Pomona); SONOS, NINA STOREY, ROBIN SMITH at the Hotel Cafe; KELLIE PICKLER, BOB DIPIERO, CHRIS LINDSEY, AIMEE MAYO at House of Blues; SAVE DARFUR BENEFIT FEAT. KEATON SIMONS, ERNIE HALTER, MANDI PERKINS, OTHERS at the Knitting Factory; THE 88, HANNE HUKKELBERG, JEREMIAH STREETER, SIMON LYNGE at Spaceland.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
The Killers at the Hollywood Bowl
It took the Killers the better part of a decade to travel from their native Las Vegas to the Hollywood Bowl, but they weren’t born for anything else. These guys started out thinking big and have only thought bigger since, from the Asian-nightclub synth-rock of 2004’s Hot Fuss to the Meat Loaf–style heartland operatics of 2006’s Sam’s Town to the space-station disco-soul of last year’s Day & Age. Fortunately, the Killers’ songwriting gets better (and funnier) as their ideas on sound get more grandiose; nothing inspires frontman Brandon Flowers so much, it seems, as the thought of bellowing his lyrics atop arrangements that require the skills of a conductor. Flowers and his band mates have caught loads of flak lately from the big-city hipsters who “discovered” them, but you can’t really blame them for selling out. How else are you supposed to afford a marching band? (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Wednesday:
MONOTONIX, ANAVAN, TWEAK BIRD, SIGNALS at the Smell; PHOENIX, METRIC at the Greek Theatre; DILATED PEOPLES at the Key Club; CHAIRLIFT, GLASSER, JOHN MAUS at the Troubadour; RICHARD CHEESE & LOUNGE AGAINST THE MACHINE at the Henry Fonda Theater; BIG GIGANTIC, TELEPATHE at the Mint; DOWNTOWN/UNION, FRENCH SEMESTER, RADEMACHER, TEAM ABRAHAM at the Silverlake Lounge; TONY GILKYSON, DOGWEED at Taix.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
The Drones at the Echo
Something weird and probably wicked this way comes, by way of Melbourne, Australia. Drones singer-guitarist Gareth Liddiard howls torturously soulful rambles like “Cold and Sober,” whose chords rise and fall in volume like a strong sea swell or a sudden mood change. On “Sharkfin Blues,” Liddiard alternately moans and rants like a tearfully angry drunk singing along to a scratchy radio on a cross-country drive through the desert, while “The Locust” limps down an even darker and more desolate highway. Both tracks are from the band’s 2005 album, Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, whose title more or less summarizes the Drones’ cheerful worldview. There are times, however, when the stern Nick Cave–inspired brooding and foreboding dirges become a bit stodgy and oppressive. The Drones are much more exciting on faster, rocking songs like “I Don’t Ever Want to Change,” where Liddiard seems energized and liberated by bassist Fiona Kitchin and drummer Michael Noga’s unrestrained, galloping punk rock tempo. (Falling James)
Also playing Thursday:
THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT, THE HENRY CLAY PEOPLE, RED CORTEZ at the Fox Theater (Pomona); THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, MURDER BY DEATH, FRANK TURNER at the Henry Fonda Theater; THE SWAY MACHINERY at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple; GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS, CHRISTINA COURTIN at Largo at the Coronet.
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