This week is a rather crazy quilt one. Maybe that’s why it is already Wednesday before I have started this or vice versa.
I wasn’t able to get the word out in time for Angus Stone’s show at the Troubadour on Tuesday. Angus was part of a fine brother-sister act with his sister Julia and now each has turned out terrific solo albums. Angus’ effort, Broken Brights, is a truly wonderful work. He’s something like Paul Kelly (like Angus an Australian singer-songwriter) with a few more soft edges.
The other appearance I want to spotlight is the Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds’ free show Saturday afternoon downtown at the L.A. State Historic Park. It’s part of the New Belgium Brewing’s cycling circus, Tour de Fat. Los Amigos Invisibles also are performing but I have to give some shout out to the Sister Sparrow’s soulful sound.
On Wednesday night, you can enjoy a trip back to the awesome ‘80s as Blondie and Devo bring their well-punned “Whip It To Shreds” tour to the Greek. My Morning Jacket continues its free-wheeling residency at the Wiltern with Iron & Wine opening. Their closing night features Shabazz Palaces as openers. A different charity benefits from a portion of the ticket price each night. Speaking of wheels, the Wheeler Brothers roll into the Hotel Café to share their energetic, twang-flecked rock tunes from their debut Portraits.
Thursday offers a diverse selection of strong shows. Like singer-songwriters? Ben Taylor comes to Largo with his first album in several years (Listening). Local tunesmith Robert Francis will be sharing songs from his current Vanguard release at the Bootleg. Like old school roots music? Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three play music like it’s still 1955. They were last in town opening for some guy named Jack White. They return with a show at the Echo. Like instrumental rock ‘n’ roll played by men in Mexican wrestling masks? That could only mean Los Straitjackets, who welcome back guitarist Daddy-O Grande (Danny Amis) who beat down a bout of Multiple Myeloma. The band will celebrate Daddy-O return at the Echoplex.
Rock ‘n’ rollers may also want to check out the Nashville band The Kicks, who will kickin’ things up at the Viper Room, while the Silversun Pickups plug in at the Santa Monica Civic Aud., with Aussie band Atlas Genius opening.
Fiona Apple is the big name on Friday’s concert schedule. She will perform her emotionally intimate songs at the Greek. Get to your seats early to hear the talented Blake Mills, who opens. In fact, on your way, see if you can stop by Amoeba for a 6 p.m. free show from Lianne La Havas, the latest in the seemingly endless line of enchanting English soul singers. Chelsea Wolfe brings her intriguing sound to the Hotel Café that night too (you can also hear it on her upcoming debut Unknown Rooms.
If you are looking for something a little harder. The Hives will be rocking the Wiltern on Friday. The Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival kicks off on Friday. Among the bands playing there are Saint Motel on Friday, while Sunday holds the Blasters and Battleme (who also has shows at the Satellite on Monday the 17th and On The Rox on Wednesday the 19th). In-demand drummer Brian Blade will perform his song cycle, Mama Rose, at Largo on Friday too.
The Hotel Café welcomes a trio of recommendable acts on Saturday: Sonos, Harper Blynn and Emily Green. The Watkins Family Hour should make for an interesting at Largo with Dan Wilson and Nikka Costa among the guests. Blues scion John Lee Hooker Jr. hits the Harvelle stage on the 15th, while McCabe’s hosts a trio of ace song-craftsmen over the weekend: Dirk Hamilton on Friday, Dan Navarro and Saturday and Freedy Johnston on Sunday. Local songstress Dominique Pruitt will have a set at the Hotel Cafe on Sunday the 16th. She has this really cool sound that draws upon late ’50s/early ’60s rock ‘n’ twang. Also on Sunday, Al Scorch will be heating up the Redwood Bar & Grill with his potent brew of banjo-fueled country-soul punkgrass .