Go See Hear In L.A. Sept. 9-15 (The Los Straitjackets/Zombies edition)

This week is dominated by Zombies. Not the Walking Dead or Night of the Living Dead variety but the legendary British band of “She’s Not There” fame. The group, featuring both key founding members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone, will play the Troubadour on Monday, Santa Ana’s Observatory on Tuesday, McCabe’s on Thursday and the Satellite on Friday. Opening for them is the cool, up ‘n’ coming UK outfit, Et Tu Brucé.

Also, “back from the dead” is the band The Pixies who will rule at the El Rey for 3 nights before doing a show downtown at the Mayan. And in case you haven’t heard, the Muffs’ Kim Shattuck on bass has replaced Kim Deal on bass.

Denison Witmer

Denison Witmer

Tuesday the 10th features a pair of superb singer-songwriters. Denison Witmer, out in support of his fine self-titled disc, will be headlining at the Bootleg. Rayland Baxter, whose debut feathers & fishHooks grabbed my attention last year, has a Hotel Café gig as well as opening for Mr. Boz Scaggs at UCLA Wednesday night. Also on Tuesday, Sean Watkins & Jon Foreman’s Fiction Family will be playing at Largo.

The fun just multiplies on Wednesday. Besides the Scaggs show, you can catch Dustbowl Revival at the Mint residency with this week’s guest Janet Klein. More retro wonderfulness (with a more rock edge) can be heard at the Redwood Bar where Victory performs. Julia Holter fills the First Unitarian Church with her ethereal music and the Echo offers the terrific bill of the Moondoggies and the Maldives.

A couple of free shows dot the middle of the week. On the 11th, The White Buffalo (aka Jake Smith) will be at Amoeba to share some of the powerful music of his impressive new album Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways, a stirring concept album that isn’t restrained by being a concept album. The following day, you can go for the arty dance pop of yOya at Origami Vinyl or catch reggae icon, Jimmy Cliff, who will headline the finale of the Santa Monica Pier concert series.

Rick Shea, best known for his sideman role (memorably with Dave Alvin) has a new CD Sweet Berardine that ranks right up there with Alvin’s albums. Shea will be at the Coffee Gallery Backstage on the 12th along with New Zealand’s Donna Dean. Zoe Keating, who is a virtual one-woman orchestra, performs at Largo while the Echo welcomes Matt Wertz and Elenowen; however, topping Thursday’s offering is the Philly band Bleeding Rainbow. While their name suggests a deafening dose of heavy metal, the group delivers their noise pop with a tasty combo of sweetness and crunch.

If you to see some nifty guitar playing with the accent on twang then be at Joe’s American Bar on Friday night. Deke Dickerson has put together a night featuring Los Straitjackets, the Bellfuries and Deke and the Ecco-Fonics. NYC troubadour Adam Levy will be at the Mint with drummer Matt Chamberlain and keyboardist Larry Goldings.

Sheryl Crow, who does a country turn on her latest Feels Like Home, teams up with Gary Allan for a night at the Greek on the 14th. Hem performs its beautiful bucolic music at the Troubadour on Saturday night. Frank Fairfield brings his ageless folk music to Claremont’s Folk Music Center. Times will be lively at the Mint when British-born, New Orleans-based piano maven Jon Cleary brings his band to town for a show. Ra Ra Riot, whose latest Beta Love placed more emphasis on dance rhythms, will be at the Fonda with Cayucas. More beats will be heard at the Echoplex where Kate Boy will be performing.

Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires (courtesy of nodepression.com)

Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires (courtesy of nodepression.com)

Sunday winds up the week on an eclectic note. The Mimosa Concert Series at the Federal Bar offers the one-two punch of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven for its afternoon rock repose. The evening goes from classic rockers (Denny Laine at McCabe’s) to classic country (Clint Black at the Thousand Oaks Civic Center). To celebrate the return of the Sons of Anarchy, Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers will have a raucous time of it at the El Rey. However, the show I most recommend – for Sunday and probably the week – is the Jason Isbell/Amanda Shires show at the Troubadour. The pair (and they are a married couple now) both have excellent albums out – Shires’ Down Fell The Doves simply soars while Isbell’s Southeastern ranks as among my top CDs of the year.

This week also holds several rock-related events happening at local bookstore.  On the 10th, Dick Wagner will be at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove, sharing his stories as guitarist for such stars as Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and Peter Gabriel. His name is a familiar one if you have rock albums from the ‘70s and ‘80s. One of the bands he worked with was KISS and the two KISS kingpins, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, will be at B&N at Thursday night to talk about their new book, Nothin’ To Lose, which deals with the band’s rise to stardom. On the 14th, Book Soup hosts veteran Seattle rocker Danny Bland has written a novel, In Case We Die, that includes sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The audiobook version features appearances by Mark Lanegan, Aimee Mann, Steve Earle and who know who’ll show up for this reading.

And what does Monday the 16th hold? Free Energy! The energizing rock ‘n’ roller have a 3 week Monday night residency at the Echo.

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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