What’s the biggest big show of the week?
For some it will be the St. Vincent show at the Music Box on the 18th, as she rides the wave of her new album, Strange Mercy.
For others it’ll be Music Box show the following night, when ex-Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus brings his Jicks to play tunes from his Beck-produced album Mirror Traffic.
Others will vote for Social Distortion who have a hometown show on the 22nd at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre with the aweseome Avett Brothers and Suedehead also on the bill.
For me, it’s the venerable singer-songwriter Paul Simon, whose Gibson Amphitheatre show also is on the 19th. Simon has a fine new album So Beautiful or So What to share. Also, the terrific Secret Sisters will be opening the show.
Several other veteran acts will be performing this week. The Who’s Roger Daltrey will be doing his version of Tommy as the Nokia Theatre on the 19th. Leon Russell, who has been having a career revival of late (due to some help from his fan Sir Elton John), returns to one of his favorite haunts Canyon Club on the 20th.
Maybe the most veteran musician performing this week will be Don Maddox. If that name isn’t familiar, here’s a hint. He was part of the Maddox Brothers and Rose, the landmark California country outfit. Don is the last surviving member of the group. He’ll be making a special appearance (his first since 1957!) at Hillbilly Fest brought to us by Dave and Deke Combo at Joe’s Great American Bar in Burbank.
The Flamin’ Groovies flew into town under my radar for a show at Alex’s Bar on the 16th, but in case you missed it you can catch the Magic Christian fronted by ex-Groovie Cyril Jordan at the Echo on the 22nd.
The El Rey plays host to a special show on the 20th by the Big Head Blues Club, featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Cedric Burnside, Hubert Sumlin and more blues stars as they play tribute to 100 Years of Robert Johnson.
The 20th is also the night for a unique seasonal show at the Echoplex. With Halloween approaching, the LA Folk Festival is staging its 2nd annual “Evening of Murder Ballads,” with a bill that includes Leslie Stevens, Eastside Hayride, Papercranes, Garrett Pierce and others.
The UK promo team Communion (which Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett helped to create) brings Matthew and the Atlas, The David Mayfield Parade and Lauren Shera to the Hotel Café on Oct. 18.
John Doe’s new disc Keeper is definitely a “keeper” and he’ll be swinging through his old stomping grounds this week with a show at the Mint on the 18th and Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on the 19th.
Also worth noting is that Ben Lee has a Largo gig on the 18th. Melissa Ferrick will showcase tunes from her new one Still Right Here at the Hotel Café on the 19th (and then will be at McCabe’s with Catie Curtis on the 21st). McCabe’s also welcomes the wonderful storyteller Tom Russell on the 22nd and Patty Larkin on the 23rd.
Mason Jennings has a marvelous new album entitled Minnesota, which finds in him in a piano-playing mood. He’ll be at the El Rey on the 21st with another recommendable Americana band, the Pines. The next night, the Luckman brings songstress Emile Simon to its stage.
You can get to know the new country-style husband-wife duo known as Big Harp when they share the bill with Saddle Creek stablemate Maria Taylor at the Echo on the 20th.
In the side project and sequel category: Rooney guitarist Taylor Locke brings his own band, the Roughs, to the Bootleg with Sabrosa Purr and Miracle Parade on the 21st. while the Band of Horses’ guitarist Tyler Ramsey has his own solo act to the Bootleg the next night, sharing the bill with talented singer-songwriter Henry Wolfe. Also, on the 22nd, Carter Tanton, formerly of the band Tulsa, lands at the Satellite. His CD, Freeclouds, is an album well worth exploring.
The weekend concludes with a tribute to the jazz great Miles Davis at the Valley Performing Arts Center. The Miles Davis Experience, which covers his music between his classic 1949-59 time period, offers a Blue Note group lead by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.
So, what’s your vote?