Some great bills highlight this week of Southern Californian concert news
The Troubadour hosts something of an East Coast-West Coast songwriter summit on Thursday when Dave Alvin and Marshall Crenshaw share a bill. The two troubadours have been plying their craft for years and this show will present a song treasury from these tunesmiths.
Similarly, McCabe’s Friday night show offers another visit to some great, albeit cult figures, from the ‘80s when Walter Salas-Humara, Victoria Williams and Tom Freund hold court. Salas-Humara also makes me think of the late, great KCRW D.J. Deirdre O’Donoghue. It was on her show SNAP that I first heard Salas-Humara’s awesome band, The Silos. Don’t know if he will play one of my old faves like “Tennessee Fire,” but I’m sure his songs will be just as engaging. Freund, who once was in The Silos, is a talented, bass-playing singer-songwriter, while the delightful Victoria Williams really no introduction, although it’ll be interesting to hear what she is up to. Lisa Loeb, who came on the scene in the ‘90s with her hit “Stay,” plays the Bootleg to celebrate her new “adult” album No Fairy Tale. I say “adult” because she also have been in the family music world too in the past few years and her Camp Lisa is a fine album for parents to enjoy with their young ones.
The ‘80s jams with a ‘90s at the House of Blues on the 21st when two eclectic band, Camper Van Beethoven and Leftover Salmon, perform. CvB has been getting together on-and-off over the years, while the Salmon returned last year after a long hiatus with the well-received jAmericana disc Aquatic Hitchhiker. The 21st is also the night Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have a CD release show for their new one Push The Sky Away, which veers more to the band’s quieter side, while another distinctive vocalist, Mark Kozelek from the Red House Painters, comes to the First Unitarian Church on Saturday night.
Genre-pushing music can be found at the El Rey on Friday night when Victor Wooten (the multi-talented bassist best known for his work with Bela Fleck) headlines his own show and then Saturday night at Royce Hall where Robert Randolph delivers an evening of sacred steel magic a new project, The Slide Brothers. Also performing is the innovative bluesman and banjo wizard Otis Taylor, whose new disc My World Is Gone is one to hear.
Saturday night also offers a blast from the past when it’s Fifties night at McCabe’s with a show featuring Dave Somerville from the Diamonds, Gretchen Christopher of the Fleetwoods and Lloyd Price. More forward a few years to the early 60’s, you can get educated on the Beatles at USC on the 20th. Filmmaker Tony Kaye leads a free discussion entitled Beatlesound that will use Beatles music to explore the importance to sound in movie story-telling. The legendary producer/engineer Geoff Emerick (who worked on Sgt. Pepper) will be among the participants.
And yes, there are some young acts coming through L.A.
Night Beds is a real band to watch. Their tune “Ramona” is one of my favorites of the new year. They make their L.A. debut on the 21st at the Echo with The Indians also playing. The following night, The White Buffalo returns to town with the show at the Troubadour. TWB (aka Jake Smith) creates distinctive, spare music delivered with his gravelly vocals. Also on the bill is Matt Ellis, an award-winning Australian transplant to SoCal who impressed listeners last summer when he opened for Kasey Chambers at the Santa Monica Pier.
Friday night also holds an intriguing bill at the Eagles Rock Center for the Arts when Drag City’s Blues Control (more Velvet-y than blues, fyi) and Rangda perform, while a quieter time can be found at the Velaslavasay Panorama (a unique space worth exploring in its own right) when Tompkin Square Park Records troubadour Daniel Bachman and Meg Baird (another Drag City-ite who has played with the Espers) play.
And my Monday special is a truly special one – Monday Feb. 25 is the night when the Residents (yes, those avant-rockers with the giant eye heads) salute their 40th anniversary with a rare concert appearance at the El Rey. Last year, they released their Ultimate Box Set (which contains 40 vinyl LPs, 50 CDs, and dozens of singles, EPs, DVDs, and CD-roms and other trinkets. If you have to ask the price, then you can’t afford it).