With SxSW happening in Austin this week, the concert scene looks a little skinnier but there are still plenty of music to be had in L.A. – and maybe an easier time finding a parking space too.
Wednesday night, the Mint will be a fine place to call home. Michael Ubaldini, Mark Lennon, the Far West, and one of my personal favorite local musicians David Serby will all be performing. Another deep lineup – this time emphasizing the blues over twang – can be found at a larger stage – Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Hall. This Blues at the Crossroads 2 concert features the Fabulous Thunderbird, James Cotton, Tinsley Ellis, Jody Williams and Bob Margolin are among the talented bluesmen paying tribute to the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. They will also be at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica on Saturday night. The Fonda will be all hopped up on the 13th with the appearance by the highly regarded young Scottish band Frightened Rabbit.
The power-poppy Cotillon hosts a record release show Thursday night at the Echo with Free Moral Agents, Raw Geronomo and Brown and Blue also on the bill. The great Merle Haggard stops in at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on the 14th too.
If you are looking for some bluegrass music in Ventura on Friday night, you’ll find some at the Agricultural Museum as the Restless Hilfillies will be performing there. Rolling Stones fans are well familiar with the name Andrew Loog Oldham. The eccentric producer/manager will talk about his memoirs Stone Free at Book Soup on the 15th. Friday’s top choice, however, is at McCabe’s where Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer share songs from their terrific new EP of old songs, Child Ballads. Frank Fairfield, who also knows his way around a vintage song, will open the show.
McCabe’s also has a standout show on Saturday night where Black Prairie migrates down from Portland to play their richly textured acoustic music (if you can’t make it to one of their shows – the early one is already sold out – they will be on the Tonight Show March 19. Along the similar eclectic bluegrass spectrum is Greensky Bluegrass, who take the Troubadour stage Saturday night with the soulful singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau serving as their opening.
Saturday night is particularly packed with shows from some great tunesmiths. Richard Buckner brings his brooding ballads to the Satellite on the 16th with Saddle Creek’s duo Big Harp opening (I haven’t heard their latest Chain Letters yet but I liked their debut). You can find Martha Wainwright and her special guests at Largo on Saturday night. A pair of Joes – Joe Ely and Joe Pug – share the bill at the Mint. Ely needs no introduction as he has long been one of Texas’ top songwriters and performers, while Pug, who seems to be always on tour, has been building a strong following. Matt Costa has a show at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on Saturday night and then comes up to the Troubadour on March 21 to showcase his new self-titled CD.
Since Sunday looks like a rather silent night, I will mention that Monday finds Harper Simon continuing his March residency at the Satellite, with Henry Wolfe among his guests. These two are both are young guys who know how to craft a song. . School Night at the Bardot welcomes NYC/UK synthpop/R&B duo Lovelife. Ska pioneers The Specials (this edition featuring founding vocalist Terry Hall) should get folks dancing at Club Nokia as they make a rare local appearance. Folks out in the IE can catch the band at the Fox Theater on Wednesday the 2oth. Things will be a little more exotic at the Fonda on Monday where the award-winning Latin band Bajofondo showcase their new Sony Masterworks release, Presente, while the Annenberg Beach House warms up with a night of French-flavored jazz and folk music from Jessica Fichot and Friends.