Go See Hear In L.A. Aug. 15-25 (the Booker T. & B.B. King edition)

With the summer speeding headlong towards September, I will try to keep pace with a special 10 day roundup.

The Echo enlivens the midweek blahs with a pairing of the Kopecky Family Band and the Melodic on Wednesday the 14th and the always-fun Southern Culture on the Skids on Thursday. The 15th also finds the English Beat serving up their trademark ska sounds at the Santa Monica Pier.

Two folk-rock veterans Barry McGuire and ex-Byrd John York share McCabe’s stage on the 16th. You can also get a taste of Creole Soul on Friday when Etienne Charles comes to the Blue Whale. His new album is an exotic blend of American roots music with Caribbean and European influences. The sounds of Brazil will fill California Plaza on Saturday night with a carnival-like tribute to the Brazilian Hour radio show, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. The show’s headliners are the lauded Brazilian band Nação Estrela Brilhante and the NYC-based group Nation Beat.

There will be an Echo Park Rising over the weekend with sets by such acts as Charlie Clark, The Melodic, The Icarus Line, The Lonely Wild , El Sportivo & The Blooz and the final show from the longtime local band Henry Clay People.

Reckless Kelly rolls into SoCal with a show at the Troubadour on the 17th and the Belly Up Tavern in advance of their upcoming Long Night Moon, a work filled with gritty Texas-rooted country rock. Also on the bill will be Wade Bowen and Mickey and the Motorcars. Country rock with a more California vibe comes to McCabe’s on Sunday night with a double-bill of I See Hawks In L.A. and the Dave Gleason Trio.

Hey, ho, let’s go to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Sunday to honor the late, great Johnny Ramone. John Waters, Traci Lords and Steve Jones are scheduled participants at this event that includes Ramones concert clips and music videos and a Ramones look-alike contest – all to benefit the Johnny Ramone Research fund at USC Westside Prostate Cancer Center.

The Bluegrass Situation hosts Frank Soliver and Dirty Kitchen at the Mint on Monday the 19th. Two talented singer/songwriters Kris Orlowski and Gregory Alan Isakov perform at the Troubadour on the 20tth. Isakov’s latest The Weatherman came out last month. Up and coming New Orleans outfit Jon Batiste and Stay Human preview music from their forthcoming CD at the Hotel Café on Tuesday the 20th. Also that night, Santa Ana’s Observatory will have the Polyphonic Spree. The Spree, which released Yes, It’s True earlier this month, also comes to the El Rey on the 22nd.

One of the week’s coolest shows is Lucy Schwartz’s record release/masquerade ball Wednesday night at Hollywood’s No Vacancy. The L.A.-based Schwartz will be celebrating her new CD, Timekeeper, which features the marvelous track “My Friend” – its witty wordplay and hopscotch rhythms made it one of my favorite songs of the summer. Singer-songwriter Gayle Skidmore comes up from San Diego to showcase tunes from her September release Sleeping Bear at Molly Malone’s on the 21st, while that night you can also experience The Spark & The Fire (that’s the name of the just-released album) of the Leftover Cuties at the Bootleg.

Thursday the 22nd offers a wealth of concert options – maybe too many. There’s not one but two concerts by important American blues women. Bonnie Raitt performs at the Pacific Amphitheatre while Maria Muldaur has a free show at the Skirball with the Campbell Brothers. Another female blues-rocker Beth Hart plugs in Thursday night at the Mint, whose bill also includes two more strong acts (the Wheeler Brothers and The Dirty River Boys). Things will be rocking at the Eagle Rock’s Center for the Arts where Ty Segall will be playing, while the Chicago-based Andrew Belle will be at the Bootleg on Thursday night. Nick Waterhouse headlines the free show at the Santa Monica Pier (I’ll resist any Waterhouse/Pier puns) with the Boogaloo Assassins opening.

The 23rd is something of a “welcome back” night with the Breeders playing “The Last Splash” at the El Rey and Mike Stinson, who was such a fixture in the L.A. Americana scene, returns to town with a terrific new CD (the R.S. Field-produced Hell & Hell Of Georgia) and a show at the Echo (he’ll also be at the Viper Room on the 26th). Twang fans should also note that Ernest Troost and Ray Bonneville – two country performers will combine the past and the present – share the McCabe’s Saturday night bill with Bonneville also part of Sunday’s Grande Ole Echo.

The weekend is marked by some big concert events. Mr. Walter Becker and Mr. Donald Fagen will be “reeling in the years” one more time as they bring their latest Steely Dan tour (“Mood Swings: 8 Miles To Pancake Day”) to the Nokia Theatre on the 24th & 25th. Memphis comes to Cerritos with a Hall of Fame quality lineup of soul masters: Booker T. Jones, The Bar-Keys, William Bell, Eddie Floyd and Jean Knight. Guitar mavens will be gravitating to the Greek as Frampton’s Guitar Circus makes its L.A. appearance. Peter Frampton’s Comes Alive fame tends to overshadow his guitar prowess. He also has music legend B.B. King and slide guitar master Sonny Landreth on his bill. Also this weekend, the FYF festival with appearances slated by My Bloody Valentine, Roky Erickson, Foxygen, Delorean, Eleanor Friedberger, Devendra Banhart and many, many more.

Stop by the Mint on Sunday to catch Charlie Greene’s set. His most recent album, the Ed Cherney-produced Wildfire Music, is a tasty slice of rootsy music. Another notable Sunday show is the Goat Rodeo/Aoife O’Donovan concert at a little venue called the Hollywood Bowl.

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About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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