Go See Hear In L.A. Sept. 16-22 (The Kingbees & Littlest Birds edition)

So many shows, so little time – so let’s it to it…

Tues. Sept. 16

Top Show: I don’t know much about the New Zealand duo Tattletale Saints but they really impressed me with their album How Red Is The Blood, which stands up to any Americana that an American band can dish out. They’ll play the Coffee Gallery Backstage with 10 String Symphony.

Of Montreal lands at the Mayan with Springtime Carnivore (aka Greta Morgan) serving as the opener. Radkey, Rise Against and Touché Amoré have a two-night stand at the Wiltern.

Wed. Sept. 17

Top Show(s): Karen O celebrates her recently released, and critically acclaimed, solo debut Crush Songs with 3 nights at the Hollywood Forever’s Masonic Lodge. The Buzzcocks are this week’s entry in the reunited punk rock band front. They’ll be at the Fonda.

Dave Mason has had a long history in rock (most notably as a founding member of Traffic), which he will showcase at the Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine. The young rock outfit Empires plays the Troubadour in front of their major label debut Orphan that is due next week, while Pree plays the Silverlake Lounge.

Thurs. Sept. 18

Top Show(s): The cup runneth over today. The Old Crow Medicine Show continue to be on the top Americana act around, and their live shows are always a delight. You’ll find them at the Wiltern. Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds serve up their rock n’ soul music at the Hotel Café; Chuck Ragan (ex-Hot Water Music) also has a set at there. Blake Mills celebrates his mighty fine new album Heigh Ho at the El Rey. Neutral Milk Hotel and the Breeders offer a blast bacl to the ‘80s college rock era – except that they will be at the Hollywood Bowl, not some beer-sticky club.

The bluesy Davina and the Vagabond headline the Mint while the Littlest Birds bring their folksy tunes to the Mint’s backroom, the Mid-City Music Lounge. The Echo welcomes Meg Myers, Irontom and Bizzy Kiddo. Lovelife plays their smooth tunes at the Roxy. Lynda Kay will do her last gig at the Three Clubs for a while.

Fri. Sept. 19

Top Show: Alice Boman is another talented Swedish import. She’ll perform her spare, stirring music at the Bootleg.

The talented singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson has a show at McCabe’s and the Kennedys play the Coffee Gallery Backstage. The Young Dubliners and King Washington fill the bill at Anaheim’s House of Blues. Bell X1 lands at Largo and you can dig The Dig at the Satellite while The Cerny Brothers return to the Mint. Relive the British Invasion as Gerry and The Pacemakers, Chad & Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender’s Searchers and Denny Laine rock it old school at the Beverly Hills’ Saban Theater. Candye Kane will belt out her bluesy tunes at San Pedro’s Godmothers; she’ll also be part of the big Make The Music Go Bang festival Saturday at Santa Ana’s Observatory. Rock photographer Deborah Feingold will have a book talk and signing for her photo anthology Music at Book Soup.

Sat. Sept. 20

Top Show(s): Beck will spend the weekend at the Orpheum. Anais Mitchell brings her bracing acoustic music to McCabe’s. X, The Blasters, The Paladins, Lee Rocker, Los Straitjackets, The Avengers, Victoria Williams, The Farmers, James Intveld and Jamie James & The Kingbees are among the rootsy punk rockers on the awesome lineup for the Make The Music Go Bang Festival at Santa Ana’s Observatory.

Joan Jett, Bow Wow Wow, Violent Femmes and Naked Eyes are a few of the “oldies” playing Jack’s 9th Show at the Honda Center. Laidback soft rockers Stephen Bishop, Dan Hill and John Ford Coley are at the Saban Theater.

Sun. Sept. 21

Top Show(s): Andrew Bird, Devendra Banhart and Caetano Veloso form a really intriguing Hollywood Bowl bill. Marcia Ball and Terrance Simien will make the Saban Theatre rock, New Orleans-style.

Blues master Guitar Shorty plays Hermosa Beach’s Sainte Rocke. Meshell Ndegeocello headlines the El Rey.

Mon. Sept. 22

Stu Larsen, who recently was in town on a bill with Passenger and The Once, has a solo set at the Hotel Café. Steve Nieve, Elvis Costello’s long-time keyboardist, has a solo show at Largo. Promising UK singer Pete Molinari will be at School Night at Bardot.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. Sept. 10-15 (the Satellites/PassengerEdition)

I don’t have a clever intro this week. Just wanted to get the word out on some great shows. The ones prominent on my list would be Sturgill Simpson at the Troubadour and Charles Bradley at the Santa Monica Pier – I don’t know how to get to both on the same night. The Avett Brothers and Dawes are a terrific bill with Iron & Wine with Glen Hansard not far behind. Well, here is this week’s concert lineup.

Wed. Sept. 10

Top Show(s): The Hollywood Bowl presents two well-matched acts: Iron & Wine and Glen Hansard; they both create smartly-crafted, subtly grand music. The talented Tom Freund treks from Venice to the Mid-City Lounge (behind the Mint) play some of cool tunes. If you haven’t heard his fine new CD, Two Moons, then track it down. Satellites is a Brit-born, Copenhagen-based musician named Johnny Vic who sings in a rich baritone and creates lush rock music that gets compared to the National. He’ll check into the Hotel Café tonight and again on Sept. 17.

Thurs. Sept. 11

Top Show(s): I saw Sturgill Simpson as part of the KCRW/Annenberg Country Music summer series and he delivered a great, if short set. Tonight’s a chance to see him do a full show as he is the main event at the Troubadour. The Band of Heathens will turn the Hotel Café into a Texas roadhouse. I’m still waiting for this excellent group to gain more recognition. A true soul master Charles Bradley headlines at the Santa Monica Pier with King James and the Special Men opening up.

L.A.’s Lily Kershaw has been touring with French/Canadian singer/songwriter Bobby Bazini and they’ll be making a stop at the Mint tonight, while the droll humorist John Hodgman will be performing at Largo.

Fri. Sept 12

Top Show: Veteran roots music eccentric Dan Hicks brings his Hot Licks to McCabe’s.

I was looking for a good clip of “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away” but found this vintage Hot Licks clip from a 1972 Flip Wilson appearance that I couldn’t resist. Check out the dance moves.

Actor Katey Sagal showcases her singing talent when she performs with the Forest Rangers (who serve as the house band on the TV show Sons of Anarchy) Keaton Simons is the night’s opening act. Little Rock’s Knox Hamilton (a band, not a man) will be rocking the Satellite. Listening to their effervescent single “Work It Out” made me think of Freelance Whales – there’s a similar  hooky, shimmery quality to their sound (at least from this song)

NYC’s Slow Magic materializes at the Roxy as they tour behind their new CD How To Run Away. If you are in a driving mood, you can find bluesman Eric Bibb at Ojai’s Matilija Auditorium.

Sat. Sept. 13

Top Show(s): Mark Eitzel fronted the American Music Club during the ‘80s into the early ‘90s before going solo. He hasn’t seemed to be a prolific as he once was and his show at the Echo feels like a rare local gig for him. It’ll definitely be a rare concert at the Greek, where Charles Aznavour, the 90-year-old French music legend, will perform. Passenger, Stu Larsen and The Once team up for a night of melodic music at the sold-out Wiltern.

Lucy Wainwright-Roche has a new CD There’s A Last For Everything due next month so it’s a good guess that she’ll be playing some of those songs at McCabe’s. Dengue Fever has a new EP Girl From The North and a gig at Long Beach’s Federal Underground.

Sun. Sept. 14

Top Show: The Avett Brothers and Dawes offer a marvelous night of rootsy music with plenty of harmonies, hooks and fun at the Shrine Auditorium.

The Grand Ole Echo has a particularly strong bill, featuring David Serby, Amilia K Spicer, Tawny Ellis and Nocona. The Echoplex hosts a benefit for MUSACK (Music Underwriters Service and Concert Klub) with Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker collective. Esteemed folk singer John Gorka shares songs and stories at McCabe’s. He just recently released his 12th album, The Bright Side Of Down. Another top singer/songwriter Steve Poltz stops by the Hotel Café to do a set of his wry music.

Mon. Sept. 15

UK singer Nick Mulvey celebrates the US release of his debut First Mind with a set at School Night at the Bardot.

Posted in Best in L.A. Shows, Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quick Take: Prettiots

As a lover of puns and wordplay, I was partial to a band named Prettiots. However, after listening to their song, “Boys (I Dated In Highschool),” I have to say that they are pretty awesome. The song is like a female version of the old Nails’ gem “88 Lines About 44 Women” if done by the quirky comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates channeling the Runaways. That description will all make sense if you check out this video:

Posted in Music, | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Show of Love and Happiness for Al Green

for being named today as one of the recipients for this year’s Kennedy Center Honors. Tom Hanks, Sting, Lily Tomlin and ballerina Patricia McBride are the other honorees.
Here is a video of Green doing “Love and Happiness” on Soul Train

Posted in Music, | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. Sept. 3-7 (the Elvis Costello/Tim Presley edition)

Looking at this week, Friday is the day that really stands out. Those barnstorming alt-rock all-stars, the Baseball Project (Scott McCaughey. Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon and Peter Buck) start their 2-night stand in town. A Jail Guitar Doors benefits (with MC5’s Wayne Kramer, Jackson Browne and Tom Morello) rocks the Ford. Elvis Costello and Ben Folds begin their 3 nights at the Bowl, while the legendary Burt Bacharach also has a concert. It makes one wonder if one-time collaborators Bacharach and Costello will find the time to share a stage.

Wed. Sept. 3

Top Show(s): Christopher Denny has a unique voice that resembles a rural Roy Orbison yet also somewhat otherworldly. He’ll be at the Echo with Strand of Oak (aka Tim Showalter) whose album Heal holds some gripping rock ‘n’ roll. Stiff Little Fingers were one of the class of ’77 U.K. punk band. They never broke big but Still Little Fingers have continued to bash it out over the years. In August, they released their first studio album in 11 years, No Going Back.

David Gray warms up the Greek with his laidback music. His latest CD Mutineers gently pushes the Gray envelope some. Austin singer-songwriter Brian Pound showcases his new EP Strikes and Gutters with a set at the Hotel Café.


Christopher Denny

Christopher Denny

Thurs. Sept. 4

Top Show(s): Dwight Yoakam – can you call him a country superstar iconoclast? – has a concert at the City National Grove of Anaheim. A younger generation of country, Heaven’s Jail, plays the Silverlake Lounge. Their recently released Ace Called Zero, which was produced by Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck, marks them as a band to remember.

OK Go might be known for their clever videos but they also can craft very hooky tunes. They’ll be playing the Santa Monica’s Twilight Concert with the Allah-Las. City and Colour and Lucius share the Greek bill. Austin’s orchestral pop outfit Mother Falcon lands at the Echoplex.

Fri. Sept. 5

Top Show(s): It’s one of those over-scheduled music nights. The great songwriter Burt Bacharach performs at the Beverly Hills Saban Theatre. Bacharach’s one-time collaborator Elvis Costello starts his 3-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl with the talented Ben Folds as his opener. The Ford hosts Rock Out!, a Jail Guitar Doors benefit featuring Wayne Kramer, Jackson Browne, Tom Morello and White Fence (aka Tim Presley). The alt.rock supergroup The Baseball Project play their sporty songs at the Bootleg Hi Fi tonight and McCabe’s on the 6th.

McCabe’s tonight welcomes back the gritty NYC troubadour Willie Nile, while the Fonda features the return of the Rentals, with We Are Scientists serving as openers.


The Baseball Project  photo by Renata Steiner/KEXP

The Baseball Project
photo by Renata Steiner/KEXP

Sat. Sept. 6

Top Show: Americana troubadour Ray Bonneville writes insightful songs that reflect a worldly life; he’ll share his tunes and tales at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

Bruce McCulloch, of Kids in the Hall fame, performs his autobiographical one-man show Young Drunk Punk at the Roxy. L.A.’s Vaud & the Villains bring their eclectic, New Orleans-flavored music to the Ford. Down at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre you can see Mr. Dave Matthews and his band.

Sun. Sept. 7

The Grand Ole Echo’s bill includes Kathleen Grace, Cal King and the Skylarks. Buffy Ford Stewart salutes his late husband, the great songwriter John Stewart at McCabe’s with John Stewart’s band performing with her.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go See Hear In L.A. Aug. 26-31 (The BB King/ZZ Ward edition)

Two of my favorite bands are coming to Southern California this week- and on the same bill. The criminally overlooked “No Depression”-era country rock outfit The Bottle Rockets are touring with master pop tunesmith Marshall Crenshaw. I tracked down vintage video of Crenshaw singing “Someday, Someway” on the Merv Griffin show on YouTube

As well as the BotRox doing  “$1000 Car”

Tues. Aug. 26

Top Show(s): The Bottle Rockets/Marshall Crenshaw tour stops at the Bootleg Hi Fi tonight and Hermosa Beach’s Saint Rocke on the 27th. The Hotel Café, meanwhile, says “bonjour” to French Canadian-born chanteuse Geneviève Bellemare, whose new Live and Die EP (on Verve) showcases her lovely chill-out music.

There will be Panic At The Disco at the Greek with special guests Youngblood Hawke and Walk The Moon.

Wed. Aug. 27

Top Show(s): Musician/producer Joe Henry stops by the Grammy Museum to chat and play. He has a exquisite new album Invisible Hour to talk about but there will probably be conversation on the many other great projects he has been involved in. Say what you will about the mega-success of Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton knows how to play guitar. He brings his latest Guitar Circus to the Hollywood Bowl with Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, David Hildalgo and Randy Bachman (you know from BTO and Guess Who)

Jack Johnson will spend a couple nights at the Greek, with Matt Costa opening tonight and Bahamas tomorrow (my choice would be the Bahamas night). Flagship, whose sound reminds me of the National, continues its residency at the Satellite, while BRONCHO (yes, it’s all caps) ride in from Oklahoma to rock the Echo. Check out their catchy, Anglo-vibed tune “Class Historian”


Thurs. Aug. 28

Top Show(s): Ty Segall starts his sold-out run at the Echo (through the 31st). If you can’t get into to his show, you can catch American blue legend B.B. King at the Anaheim House of Blues. Mission of Burma might not have best known Boston New Wave/Punk band of the early ‘80s but they certainly created some terrific music ala Gang of Four. Here is the song that made me discover them (probably one summer day listening to WBCN).

They are back together and make a rare L.A. appearance at the Roxy.

Men At Work’s Colin Hay has a Largo show, while El Cid has a CD release show from Ana Maria Rosales with Sutter Zachman also on the bill.

Fri. Aug. 29

The N. Carolina indie rockers The Rosebuds will blood at the Satellite. ‘80s nostalgia returns to the Greek with a show featuring the Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure (Ultravox), China Crisis and Katrina (“The Waves” aren’t billed so that probably means no Kimberly Rew). I’m sure there will be hairstyle jokes amidst the synth pop tunes.

Sat. Aug. 30/Sun. Aug. 31

Not much to report yet about Labor Day Weekend, at least concert-wise. Although the Made in America festival includes Weezer, Dr. Dog, Kendrick Lamar, John Mayer and ZZ Ward among the Iggy Azalea, Kanye West, Cypress Hill and Capital Cities.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Notes: From Johnny Cash to Johnny Thunders

Did I predict this would happen or what? No sooner than I post Tuesday’s tribute roundup than I pick up the LA Times and see a big Randy Lewis article on a new Johnny Cash tribute. Look Again To The Wind is a remaking of Cash’s historical, and historic, album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. This record is historical as it examines the world of the Native Americans and historic as it was a controversial concept album for its time. Contributors to this new version include Bill Miller, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, the Milk Carton Kids and, not surprisingly, Cash’s old compadre Kris Kristofferson.

Roddy Frame, who made an immediate cool impression, when he fronted Aztec Camera in the early 80’s, has a new album out this week – it’s his first in 8 years. Seven Dials was put out on AED Records, which is Edwyn Collins‘ label (just to slip in a reference to the fine Scottish band, Orange Juice).

Also, have to say that I listened to the new album by the Ben Miller Band, Any Way, Shape or Form and I was totally blown away by it. High marks across the board for the album. I don’t know how they have not gotten on my radar before. Here is a live, acoustic version of their tune “Twinkle Toes” from their new CD.

Lastly, the late Johnny Thunders is the subject that documentary Looking For Johnny – The Legend of Johnny Thunders.  Slated for an October release, it covers the colorful life of the founding member of the New York Dolls. While “you can’t put your arms around a memory” (to quote one of his song titles), you can re-live your Thunders memories and more in this doc.

here is a version of that tune that I came across on YouTube




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment