Go See Hear In L.A. Feb. 11-16 (The Benmont Tench/Engelbert Humperdinck Edition)

Valentine’s Day week holds a bouquet of shows to love (okay, I couldn’t resist that wordplay). The offerings include longtime stars (like Sting, Clint Black, Boz Scaggs and Paul Simon), disappointing cancellations (Jeremy Spencer, Dan Hicks), cult heroes (Bettye LaVette) young buzz acts (The Devil Makes Three, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Justin Townes Earle, to name a few), a Doc Pomus documentary, a James Brown ballet, and a band that breaking up (Vivian Girls) and members of a band that will be getting back together (Nickel Creek).

Tues. Feb. 11

Top Show: Okay, the top show isn’t a show but a screening. AKA Doc Pomus, the terrific bio-doc on the legendary (in so many ways) songwriter Doc Pomus will screen at the Grammy Museum. Producer/director Will Hechter and songwriter/composer Kenny Hirsch will be among those scheduled to take part in a panel discussion on Pomus. The top show then would be Band of Horses, who gallop into to town for a pair of concerts – at the Wilshire Ebell for a special acoustic performance tonight and The Cathedral at Immanuel Presbyterian tomorrow.

Augustines (formerly the more formal We Are The Augustines) will rock it at the Troubadour to celebrate their just released CD, while Meg Myers (formerly from the Smokey Mountains and now an L.A. resident) shares her intimate, raw songs at the Bootleg.

Wed. Feb. 12

Top Show: The Watkins Family Hour returns to Largo with Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, the acoustic outfit The Bee Eaters and John C. Reilly slated as their guests.

Singer/songwriter Greg Laswell has a show at the Troubadour timed with the release of his new CD I Was Going To Be An Astronaut, which finds him reworking some of his old songs. The experimental sounds of CHAPPO will fill the Bootleg, where Royal Teeth will also perform.

Thurs. Feb. 13

Top Show: The top show was going to be Jeremy Spencer’s show at Largo but unfortunately, Spencer (who was one of Fleetwood Mac’s original guitarists before dropping out of the music world in the early ‘70s after he joined the religious group Children of God) has had to cancel his tour (which had several other SoCal appearances) due to health reasons. The alternative Top Show would be the  appearance by longtime Tom Petty keyboard czar (and frequent sideman for so many others) Benmont Tench  at the Grammy Museum; however, that is already sold out).

Still there are many other options. Jess Williamson has an impressive debut Native State now out and she’ll play her spare, haunting music at the Silver Lake Lounge tonight and then plays Bardot on the 17th. Brooklyn rockers Hospitality has a new CD (Trouble) out on Merge and a show at the Echo. The Nashville husband/wife duo known as You Knew Me When has a set at Genghis Cohen with local songwriter Dani Poppitt. Incubus’ Brandon Boyd brings his more laidback side project Sons of the Sea to the Belasco and the Truth & Salvage Co’s Scott Kinnebrew has a solo set at the Hotel Cafe. Gangstagrass does its rap/grass thang at the Mint tonight and Fullerton’s Slidebar on Friday.

Fri. Feb. 14

Top Show: Justin Townes Earle has stepped in replace the Dan Hicks scheduled concert at McCabe’s. Earle always has a suitcase full of songs to play and hopefully he’ll be a little more focused than he was at the Way Over Yonder festival last year.

The great Boz Scaggs makes for a fine Valentine’s Day date night with his show at the Cerritos Center. Another possibly interesting V-Day option is Get On The Good Foot, a ballet based around James Brown’s music, which will be done at the Music Center tonight through Sunday.

A more bittersweet show takes place at the Church On York, where The Vivian Girls play one of their last gigs before disbanding. The Hotel Café welcomes local indie popster (and in-demand songwriter) Bleu, who will hopefully do his wicked awesome ode to his old home “B.O.S.T.O.N.,” as well as Heather Reid, who has gone solo following years in the Murmurs. One-time Angeleno (and now Nashville-based) singer/songwriter Peter Bradley Adams plays the Bootleg. His new CD The Mighty Storm is a mighty strong album filled his well-crafted tunes.

Sat. Feb. 15

Top Show(s): The Devil Makes Three, are a trio that make Americana music with a high-spirited, punk-infused energy – catch them at the House of Blues, while R&B icon Bettye LaVette shares songs and stories at the Broad Stage.

The El Rey hosts Thao & The Get Down Stay Down and Sonny & The Sunsets and the eclectic Boston band Quilt has a Satellite show. Several superstars have shows on Saturday night. Longtime Nashville headliner Clint Black plays the Cerritos Center, while the somewhat quizzical concert tour by Paul Simon and Sting are at the Fabulous Forum. McCabe’s offers an international bill featuring Brazilian-born Dom La Nena and the British musician Piers Faccini.

Sun. Feb. 16

Top Show(s): Instrumental wunderkind Chris Thile performs at the Broad (word came out last week that he’s reforming Nickel Creek with the Watkins). Back in the Sixties, Engelbert Humperdinck rivaled Tom Jones as a suave, sexy singer from the U.K. He seems to be reinventing himself, like Jones has, and has done a duets album that includes the likes of Shelby Lynne, Elton John, Willie Nelson and Gene Simmons. See what he’s up to when he plays the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.

McCabe’s wraps up a busy weekend with a show from the Americana duo Bettman & Halpin.

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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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