Is it too soon to drop the “March Madness” cliché?
Okay, let’s get to the shows then.
The fabulous Carrie Rodriguez tops Tuesday’s show list. Rodriguez, who first came on the scene in a duo with the legendary Chip Taylor, is a genuine talent whose alluring sound draws from gritty country and melodic pop. Her newly released Give Me All You Got is another fine effort while worth listening to. She’ll be playing new tunes and old at Largo with one-time Norah Jones sideman (and singer-songwriter) Adam Levy opening. Nathan McEuen has a show at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. The son of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s John McEuen, Nathan has had a busy career on his own for the last decade. The Celtic/Canadian band Great Big Sea rolls up Anaheim’s City National Grove on the 5th while Robert Francis starts his Tuesday night Hotel Café residency that night (which continues through the 26th)
The dreamy rock Australian band Alpine arrives at the Bootleg on Tuesday too in advance of their debut A is for Alpine. Another Australian act, singer-songwriter Jack Carty, starts his pre-SxSW set of shows on Wednesday with a set at the Firefly Bistro. He’ll also be at Witz End on the 8th, the Talking Stick Lounge on the 9th and the Echo, as part of the Aussie BBQ, on the 10th. His witty, catchy tune, “She’s Got A Boyfriend” () is a current favorite of mine – a little Billy Bragg, a little John Wesley Harding. Since Carty has several local appearances, I would put Hey Marseilles at Wednesday’s top choice. This chamber folk-pop outfit comes down from the Northwest for a gig at the Satellite. Their latest, Lines We Draw, makes for a wonderful listen of gentle yet engaging music (“Looking Back” is a good tune to start with).
Thursday presents quite a dilemma for concert-goers. I have praised Ash Reiter before (check out their awesome track “I’ve Got Something I Can Laugh About” http://soundcloud.com/riot-act-annie/ash-reiter-ive-got-something-iAsh Reiter) and they have a show at Origami Vinyl. Buzz band Youngblood Hawke plays the Troubadour to gear up for their April 30th release of Wake Up. Becky Stark brings her Lavender Diamond to the Echoplex, while Bliss Bowen and Ted Russell Kamp share a bill at the Cinema Bar. I am curious to hear what UK folk/punk troubadour Frank Turner is up to at the Hotel Café; however, my top pick is The Relatives/James Hunter El Rey concert. Hunter is a suave soul crooner and the Relatives have just put out their debut The Electric Word, some 40 years after they first got together. It’s a powerhouse mix of gospel and rock, although I might be a little bias (my article on them is in the current issue of Relix).
Friday night’s highlight is the L.A. debut of Wall (aka Lyla Foy) at the Bootleg. This UK songstress, who will also play the Echo on the 11th, makes a strong impression on her EP, Shoestring. Joshua James will also be on the Bootleg bill. Another intriguing young musician Darwin Deez comes to the Echo.
Erin McKeown will present her Manifestra (her latest album) at McCabe’s on the 8th. Melody Walker comes down from the Bay Area with Jacob Groopman to share their “Americali” music at the Coffee Gallery Backstage. Those Celtic Speed of Darkness punk vets Flogging Molly headline Pomona’s Fox Theater on Friday night. Their 2011 disc was a memorable set of tunes inspired by life in Detroit. Aimee Mann and Ted Leo team up at the Largo on Friday and Saturday nights for what should one-of-a-kind experience.
I have to note too that the Euro pop band Boy is playing the Troubadour on the 8th while The Men play there on the 9th. Imagine the Marquee if they shared a bill?
The always-entertaining Peter Case holds court at McCabe’s on Saturday. Patrick Krief (the ex-Dears’ guitarist) plays his solo music at the Hotel Café on the 9th, while Radiation City heats up the Echo with its indie pop tunes. The weekend wraps up with Sunday appearances by Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet at McCabe’s and Swiss singer-songwriter Heidi Happy stopping by the Hotel Café.