Friday, November 9
Ute Lemper is already a masterful interpreter of sad/romantic/tragic balladry, whether she's bringing to life “Mack the Knife” and other cabaret chansons by Kurt Weill or transmuting the surly poetry of Charles Bukowski into song form. But tonight her wonderfully expressive pipes are supported by the full force of the Pacific Symphony and conductor Carl St. Clair. The German diva is often backed by smaller jazz-cabaret ensembles, so it should be some kind of an enchanted evening when she wends her way through a grand, string-laden orchestration of Weill's “The Seven Deadly Sins” along with a trio of classic tunes by George Gershwin (“An American in Paris,” “I Got Rhythm” and “Naughty Baby”). For all of her brassy declamations, Lemper will likely be at her most captivating when she brings it down and closes with a brace of intimate love songs by Edith Piaf. Also Saturday. –Falling James
Saturday, November 10
Sera Cahoone's background as a drummer with Band of Horses, Patrick Park and Carissa's Wierd did little to prepare the world for what her music would sound like once she struck out on her own as a solo singer-guitarist. The Seattle resident returns to the fundamentals with little more than her own acoustic guitar and perhaps a starkly clucking banjo and weepy lap-steel guitar or an austere piano accompanying her on such folk-country laments as “Only As the Day Is Long,” “Evita” and “Happy When I'm Gone.” What sets Cahoone's music apart is the languidly rueful tone of her vocals, which imbues her ballads with a confessional warmth that helps to stave off those cold Pacific Northwest winters. –Falling James
Didn't they kinda used to be a country band? But Those Darlins aren't so darlin' no more. Instead, they're making born-to-be-on-Burger Records garage pop that plops the Leave Home-era Ramones down in Nashville with directions to the liquor store and Lover's Lane. Recent album Screws Loose is a second take on the punk greats of '78: crass like the Dictators, creepy like the Cramps and hilarious like the Dickies. The Southern drawl adds plenty of character, as on the let-'em-down-easy song “Be Your Bro”: “I just wanna beat each other up on the playground/stay up till stupid late o' clock to see who can drink the most/… put a bunch of eggs in the microwave … ” Swap out “Hey! Ho!” for “Yee haw!,” and you'll be ready to go. –Chris Ziegler
Mumford and Sons
Mumford and Sons formed about six years ago, but it wasn't until 2010 that they took off. Now they're selling out multiple nights at the Hollywood Bowl. The new album, Babel, is a strong follow-up to Sigh No More and suggests that there's a long and robust career ahead of them. The band's four multi-instrumentalists craft exceptionally rich and varying songs that combine rock structure with folk techniques, using instruments common to both folk and pop. Sincere vocals blend seamlessly with powerful, rolling banjos, then layer delicately during sudden decrescendos and finger-style guitar parts. The lyrics often reference classic literature while beautifully telling a story. And if you think the albums kick ass, you're in for a treat with their live show. –Diamond Bodine-Fischer
Sunday, November 11
The Sea and Cake, Matthew Friedberger
Chicago veterans The Sea and Cake are the Steely Dan of indie rock, crafting a breezy, clean-lined pop that follows its catchy muse onto edgier, jazzier turf. The Chicago crew's eighth album, Car Alarm, is another sweetly modernist set of deliciously dreamy auras interlaced with gently experimental electronics, Brazilian-tinged harmonies and muscular-but-unobtrusive playing chops, courtesy of Sam Prekop (guitar and vocals), Archer Prewitt (guitar), Tortoise's John McEntire (drums) and Eric Claridge (bass). Matthew Friedberger, the brother half of Fiery Furnaces, is a popcraft pointyhead with an unmatched gift for turning music inside out and tickling it on its chin. His just-out Matricidal Sons of Bitches — the nonexistent soundtrack for an unfilmed film — samples curious sounds from exotic locales for your head-skewing, toe-tapping pleasure. –John Payne
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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