FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
Pink, the Ting Tings at Staples Center
No one who heard Pink’s debut single, 2000’s “There You Go,” could have guessed that the woman born Alecia Moore 30 years ago would go on to spend the next decade as one of America’s most compelling, least predictable pop stars. Yet that’s exactly what she’s done, and reports from Australia — where Pink recently wrapped a sold-out 58-date tour in support of last year’s Funhouse — suggest that her latest jaunt is her boldest so far. Expect a circus-themed spectacle with no shortage of costumes, choreography or high-flying aerial work, and don’t be surprised when she steps to covering the virtually uncoverable “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Not unlike Pink, the Ting Tings, from England, seemed like they should have disappeared without a trace following “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” their perky iPod-spot hit. Instead, they’ve stuck around and made an unexpected incursion into middle America. (Mikael Wood)
The Humpers at Alex’s Bar
You don’t see rock & roll bills like this one very often anymore. Sure, there’s a veritable horde of nouveau corporate emo-punk bands out there these days, but none of them combines the slam-tastic fury of elemental, O.G-style punk chords with unexpectedly witty lyrical inversions in quite the same daft, booze-soaked manner as the Humpers. With lead singer Scott “Deluxe” Drake visiting from his current home in Oregon, these “Soul Surgeons” reunite tonight for an all-inclusive “Loser’s Club” in their old L.B.C. stomping grounds. And “stomping” is probably the correct word to describe the Humpers’ hard-driving attack, which eschews the militant fussiness of hardcore-punk ritualism in favor of a more recklessly hedonistic drive that draws equally from Iggy Pop, the MC5, Johnny Thunders and the Rolling Stones, with a smidgeon of ’50s R&B sassiness. Also at the Redwood Bar & Grill, Sat. (Falling James)
Also playing Friday:
DEAD MAN’S BONES, THE SILVERLAKE CONSERVATORY CHOIR at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater; LITTLE BOOTS, MUSIC GO MUSIC, YES GIANTES at the Roxy; HAPPY MONDAYS, PSYCHEDELIC FURS, AMUSEMENT PARKS ON FIRE at Club Nokia; PILAR DIAZ, VERY BE CAREFUL at the Mint; MEAT PUPPETS, DEAD CONFEDERATE, UME at El Rey Theatre; BLINK-182, FALL OUT BOY, THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater; NIGHT HORSE, SEA OF AIR, EMERALDS at the Bootleg Theater; JON BRION at Largo at the Coronet; ROBBIE FULKS at McCabe’s; STAN RIDGWAY at the Folk Music Center (Claremont); SACCHARINE TRUST, THE URINALS, THE CHUCK DUKOWSKI SEXTET at the Smell; GIPSY KINGS at the Greek Theatre.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
Big Whup Records Release Party feat. So Many Wizards, Voice on Tape, Big Whup at the Smell
Not really a label per se, Big Whup Industries is more of a party machine collective, promoting partnerships with fun, lo-fi bands from the O.C., Inland Empire and Los Angeles–areas in a loose-knit group that’s just begun to promote itself on college radio airwaves (particularly on KUCI, out of Irvine, and KSPC, broadcasting from the Claremont Colleges). Big Whup — the actual band and masterminds behind B.W.I. — are hosting tonight’s release party for What Is Happening ... , Big Whup Industries’ first CD launch ever and a compilation of favorites from many of the affiliated bands highlighting the variety of their local scenes, including the frisky “Bummer Summer” by San Francisco duo Jonesin’, and “Harmoniums” by L.A.’s go-go shouters Puppy Dog. Free copies of the compilation are here tonight — but only while supplies last. Be sure to check out sets by the sweet and sleepy one-man band So Many Wizards, Nicole Kidman (a.k.a. Jon Barba), with his Daniel Johnston–esque tremble, and Ontario’s Voice on Tape, who generate silky soundscapes. (Wendy Gilmartin)
The Grates at Spaceland
Brisbane, Australia, trio the Grates come from a land Down Under, but they might as well come from another planet because their chirpy, punky art-pop tunes are not only insanely catchy, they really don’t sound like anyone else. There are scraps and traces and occasional similarities to groups like the Breeders and Dressy Bessy, but those are probably accidental intersections, as the Grates seem determined to carve out their own weirdly meandering musical path. On their latest CD, Teeth Lost, Hearts Won, singer Patience Hodgson tries on a variety of colorful pop disguises, from churning and jangling (“When You’re Scared of Dogs”) and orchestral (“The Fun in Every Start”) to power-punk (“Burn Bridges”) and new wave (“Milk Eyes”). It’s another fine collection, although the production sometimes tones down the more eccentrically endearing twists found on their previous album, 2006’s Gravity Won’t Get You High. Onstage, the Grates are even more captivating, as the charismatic Hodgson prances about the stage and wanders across the dance floor, urging her fans on like an addled fairy princess/kooky camp counselor/cracked tent-show preacher. (Falling James)
Also playing Saturday:
PORCUPINE TREE at Club Nokia; GIPSY KINGS at the Greek Theatre; PINK MARTINI at the Hollywood Bowl; MASON JENNINGS, CRASH KINGS at El Rey Theatre; BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS, THE VAQUETONES at Alex’s Bar; SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS at the Echoplex; I SEE HAWKS IN L.A., GINA VILLALOBOS, ELLIOT RANDALL at the Bootleg Theater; POWDER at the Key Club; AVERAGE WHITE BAND, ALTO REED & HIS BLUES ENTOURAGE at the Canyon; THE HUMPERS, THE HANGMEN, STAB CITY, BARRIO TIGER at the Redwood Bar.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
Mount Eerie, No Kids, Karl Blau, Tara Jane O’Neil at Center For The Arts, Eagle Rock
The last time Mount Eerie, a.k.a. Phil Elverum, came to town, he filled the Smell with fog and played seated from the floor, virtually invisible within the cross-legged crowd. The Anacortes, Washington, shut-in is known for dwelling in the ethereal, but the scenery will be a bit different when he returns to L.A. this week. Elverum has a truly awesome new death metal–inspired album under his belt, Wind’s Poem, and his Web site advertises this as a “full band tour.” Just who will round out the live, hopefully shredding, lineup remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance it will include members of Toronto’s R&B-bending No Kids and frequent Elverum collaborator/K Records star Karl Blau — both of whom are performing. In fact, No Kids’ MySpace page places Elverum in its current lineup, so there may be more crossing over than expected. Opener Tara Jane O’Neil is another highly talented Northwesterner with a DIY approach and an impressively large back-catalog. (Chris Martins)
The Avengers at the Echo
The rise of riot-grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, who combined the rage and intensity of punk rock with leftist and feminist ideals, must have seemed like a bracing shock in an early-’90s music scene that was dominated by overtly sexist hair-metal bands and lugubrious grunge groaners, but Penelope Houston and her San Francisco band the Avengers actually invented that style of music a full decade earlier. While other late-’70s American-punk divas were giving in to the luridly romantic allure of bohemian self-destruction (Exene Cervenka, Patti Smith) or engaging in party-time escapism (Belinda Carlisle, Deborah Harry), Houston was looking outward with a critical social perspective that encompassed everything from identity politics (“I Believe in Me”) and conformity (“Thin White Line”) to the assassination of JFK (“The American in Me”). While Houston’s mix of hippie idealism and post-Watergate cynicism occasionally came off as awkward and naïve (“We will build a better tomorrow/The youth of today will be the tool,” as she once proclaimed in the otherwise exhilarating “We Are the One”), there was something undeniably inspirational in the way she railed against the FBI and decried consumerism. At a time when punk leaders like Darby Crash and Sid Vicious were abdicating their thrones and falling on their own swords, Houston was brave enough to offer hope: “I am the one who shows you the future/I am the one who buries the past/A new species rises up from the ruins.” (Falling James)
Friends of Richie III: A Bloody Good Time at the Knitting Factory
The late vibraphonist Richie Hass was a major part of several local art-rock and jazz-punk outfits, including Saccharine Trust, Freehead, Zoogz Rift and his own combo Richie Hass & the Beatniks, and he was also the playfully subversive composer of such satirical anthems as “Battle Hymn of the Repugnant.” Although he passed away from myeloma last year, his friends continue to commemorate his life and raise funds for the International Myeloma Foundation. These ongoing benefits (which started in 2007, after the vibist was diagnosed with the disease) emphasize the diversity of Hass’ various collaborations and feature many of the leading lights in Los Angeles’ underground-music scene, including jazz-punk poets Saccharine Trust, former Minuteman Mike Watt, Wilco ax-bender Nels Cline, noisemakers Carnage Asada, cult guitarist/surfer Sylvia Juncosa, Clawhammer kingpin Jon Wahl, improvisational weirdoes Bag: Theory and a relatively rare performance by soulful diva Kat Arthur’s seminal punk band Legal Weapon. While the occasion is sad, the idea is to celebrate Hass’ contrarian spirit and have “a bloody good time” listening to music that’s more likely to be weird and adventurous than mawkish and sentimental. (Falling James)
Also playing Sunday:
FRIGHTENED RABBIT, THE TWILIGHT SAD, WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS at the Knitting Factory; BY SUNLIGHT, SHIRLEY ROLLS, LAST AMERICAN BUFFALO, CHRIS GARNEAU at Spaceland; ALLA LEVONYAN, SEYRAN TIGRANYAN, POGHOSYAN NAREK at the Greek Theatre; PIETA BROWN, DEAD ROCK WEST at McCabe’s; THE SWELL SEASON at Hollywood Forever Cemetery; THE CHEATIN’ KIND, THE GROOVY REDNECKS, THE BLOODY BRAINS at the Bigfoot Lodge; PETER FRAMPTON at the Canyon; KAILASH KHER, MALKIT SINGH, RHYTHMS OF RAJASHAN at the Hollywood Bowl.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Doug Paisley, Leslie & the Badgers at the Echo
From Toronto comes a good friend to the country-folk-trad world by name of Doug Paisley. His eponymous album was a little gem released on No Quarter late last year to little acclaim, mainly because not enough people knew it existed. On it, Paisley dug out and washed off the roots of Americana in surprising ways, kinda like the Band used to do, by throwing in burnished-gold piano ballads alongside slightly steamier, Hammond-hued Southern soul, then zipping through none-of-the-above. Solo onstage, his is a very understated style of gentle plucking and plain but highly expressive vocalizing, almost scandalous in its lack of pretension (dude doesn’t even have a beard). This’ll be Paisley’s first trip to California to perform as a solo artist. As well, this show, which includes a set by Leslie and the Badgers and a few others, heralds the return to action of Arthur magazine, which stamps its approval on tonight’s entire lineup. (John Payne)
Also playing Monday:
COCOROSIE, KATIE STELMANIS at the Henry Fonda Theater; THE ICARUS LINE, GOLDEN YEARS, MOONRATS, OMODAKA at the Silverlake Lounge; SAINT MOTEL, LEMON SUN, ARMY NAVY, RED WIRE BLACK WIRE at Spaceland.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Pink Mountaintops, the Pack A.D., Xu Xu Fang at the Echo
Evidently it’s not enough for Vancouver’s Black Mountain to get together every couple of years and bang out an album’s worth of exceptional psych steeped in both the slow burn of Southern rock and the expansiveness of Pink Floyd’s best work. Nay, the Secretly Canadian–signed collective has even more outlying aural lands to till, evidenced by a bevy of side projects that include the slightly more pop-influenced Pink Mountaintops. Songwriter and singer Stephen McBean is still at the center, but the group’s lyrical focus has long been love, and not the universal, unerring sort. Pink Mountaintops’ 2004 self-titled debut featured a song called “Sweet ’69,” and the band’s recently released third album Outside Love was described in its own press release as reading “like a Danielle Steele romance novel.” Though PM’s membership has been known to swell to unwieldy proportions, this lineup, which includes Black Mountain’s Matt Camirand, will weigh in at a spare six. Vancouver blooze-hounds the Pack A.D. — Beck Black and Maya Miller — should rightly pave the way. (Chris Martins)
Also playing Tuesday:
EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROS at El Rey Theatre; IN FLAMES, BETWEEN THE BURIED & ME, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, THE FACELESS at the Fox Theater (Pomona); THE ROPES, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SECRET WEAPON, YOUNG HUNTING at the Echo Curio; THE 88, AM, EXTRA, ADELINE & THE PHILISTINES at Spaceland; MILEY CYRUS, METRO STATION at the Staples Center;
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Ooh La L.A. Festival, feat. Sebastien Tellier, Gonzales, Cocoon, Hollywood, Mon Amour at the Henry Fonda Theater
The French want us Angelenos to pay attention to what they’re doing over there, apparently. It’s not enough that Parisian dirty electro and house found its American footing in Los Angeles, and that Justice, Busy P and the entire Ed Banger posse practically lived here last year (to say nothing of Kitsune). No, there’s more to 21st-century French music than Daft Punk and its imitators, and the first annual Ooh La L.A. Festival, which takes place over three days, seeks to stamp that declaration on our foreheads. Wednesday’s opening night features Sebastien Tellier, the song stylist who moves from soft piano ballads to funky electro tracks with grace and ease; doing a similar tightrope walk is Gonzales, whose work first as a dance producer (Peaches, Feist, Jamie Lidell) has given way to more formal, structured songs; and Cocoon, a two-piece that makes gorgeous, tense, ambient tracks with minimalist beats and a shocking sense of the mysterious. Thursday’s installment features Hollywood, Mon Amour, a side project of Nouvelle Vague that trades in updated versions of soft rock and disco cheese; electronic pop chanteuse Emilie Simon; and French rockers the Do. Friday, the French showcase what they’ve been doing best for the past decade: making awestruck Angelenos wish they were in a Paris dance club. Brodinski, the Shoes (no, not the power-pop band) and Jamaica (a.k.a. Poney Poney) do it to it. Will L.A. transplant Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk be there checking out his countrymen? You’ll never know. (Randall Roberts)
Slavic Soul Party at the Echo
Wuddup, why now, what’s with all the Balkan brass bands, and how can they possibly rock so incredibly hard? Not the least of this newish wave of honking polka punks are the mighty Slavic Soul Party from NYC. This sometimes really big band (the lineup fluctuates) mixes all your fave Romanian, Moldovan, Bulgarian and Romany sounds along with some tasty American roots stuff like second-line, gospel and jazz. All this makes them sound fun — but check out the band’s fifth album, Taketron (Barbes), which dusts off the Old World with a peculiar yet logical and very cool connection to ska and flamenco, and especially with dance-club music, courtesy Japanese drummer Take Toriyama’s electronic-inspired polyrhythms. There’s an intelligent, modern-jazzy vibe honking out from the group’s ultratight brass section too, a fiery crew, that. Oh, hey, you just wanted to dance your socks off? Go, go. (John Payne)
Amazing Baby, the Entrance Band at the Troubadour
Part of the so-called Wesleyan Mafia (along with MGMT and Das Racist), Brooklyn’s breathlessly hyped Amazing Baby kick out loopy, goofy psych-rock jams that sound like what would happen if Beck turned the attentions of his new Record Club to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Unlike those early Pink Floyd tunes, the songs on Rewild, Amazing Baby’s recently released debut album, aren’t always as catchy as you want them to be, especially considering the fact that founding members Will Roan and Simon O’Connor both used to work as ring-tone designers. But appealingly spacy textures — and a song about the narwhal — they’ve most definitely got. L.A.’s Entrance Band used to be Baltimore-based Guy Blakeslee’s solo freak-folk thing; now they’re a band that includes Paz Lenchantin of Zwan on bass. Remember Zwan? (Mikael Wood)
Also playing Wednesday:
JILL SOBULE, SARA WATKINS, PERLA BATALLA, JULIANNA RAYE at the Grammy Museum; CROSBY, STILLS & NASH at the Greek Theatre; BRITNEY SPEARS, JORDIN SPARKS, KRISTINIA DEBARGE at the Staples Center; GOV’T MULE, CARNEY at Club Nokia;
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Pet Shop Boys at the Greek Theatre
Gifted with Neil Tennant’s subtle, soft delivery and Chris Lowe’s consistently keen ear for seamlessly slick pop configurations, Pet Shop Boys have remained musical stalwarts since 1985 — which is the dog-years equivalent of 107 in the world of commercial dance-pop. In addition to their own fashion-forward contributions to club music’s legacy, they’ve covered artists as strangely disparate as U2, Frankie Valli (respectively, in the same cover of “Where the Streets Have No Name/I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”) and the Village People (pray they do their cover of “Go West”), yet they’ve always cloaked it within their own rainy-gray London style. This year’s album Yes proves they remain capable transmitters of this reputation, with shimmering numbers like “Love, Etc.” (which was heavily played on KCRW over the spring and summer), and “Beautiful People,” featuring Johnny Marr’s shimmering strums. Those unfamiliar with the newer material need not worry: Shows on this, the Pandemonium Tour, include loads of old favorites like “Suburbia,” “Love Comes Quickly” and “Being Boring.” (Wendy Gilmartin)
Also playing Thursday:
OOH LA L.A. FESTIVAL FEAT. HOLLYWOOD MON AMOUR, EMILIE SIMON, THE DO at the Henry Fonda Theater; THE GET UP KIDS, PRETTY & NICE, YOUTH GROUP at Avalon Hollywood; DAN HICKS & HIS HOT LICKS at the Canyon; TITUS ANDRONICUS, THE SO SO GLOWS, RADARS TO THE SKY at the Echo; LIVING COLOUR at the Key Club; BANYAN, ANDY CLOCKWISE, JOSH NORTON at the Mint; VANAPRASTA, ACTRESS, HOTT MESS, KINGSIZE, LONDON TO TOKYO at the Silverlake Lounge; RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS, DILLENGER FOUR at the Knitting Factory.
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