Go See Hear In L.A. May 4-11 (The Gold Star/Sonics Edition)

This week’s shows make me think, with varying degrees of nostalgia, of the Hayward-Lodge Band, Royal Trux and Lords of the New Church. And they also make me wonder how anyone could see half of this week’s top shows.

Tues. 5/5

Top Show(s): I am really impressed with Dark Days, the debut disc by Gold Star (aka Marion Rabenreither). Wonderfully timeless SoCal country rock, a little laidback, a little mournful, a little Gram and a lot of good listening. Harvard & Stone hosts a Tuesday night May residency for Gold Star. Los Lobos and Dave & Phil Alvin – a pantheon of roots music royalty. This Cinco de Mayo benefit takes place at the Regent.

The Moody Blues, featuring John Lodge, Justin Hayward and Graeme Edge, plays the Greek Theatre in support of their recently released 8-disc boxset: The Polydor Years 1986-92. Personally, I prefer the Deram//Theshold years 0f 1967-72. Days of Future Past indeed.

Wed. 5/6

Emily West is a little more musically adventurous than your typical America’s Got Talent finalist. You have four chances to check her out as she plays the Hotel Café every Wednesday this month in advance of her debut release, All For You.

Thurs. 5/7

Top Show(s): There’s a spare, haunting quality to Lady Lazarus’ music. So it’s appropriate that she’s doing an intimate show at the compact Mid-City Lounge to showcase her new CD Miracles. Greyhounds are a very cool soul/rock duo out of Austin. They’ll be groovin’ at the Mint tonight. A duo of the folk variety – the Littlest Birds land at the Coffee Gallery Backstage where they’ll play their delightful acoustic music. A mainstay of the L.A. country/roots music scene, Kip Broadman will have a CD release show at El Cid while the eclectic jazz bassist (and Grammy winner) Esperanza Spaulding headlines the El Rey. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion was a big indie thing in the early ‘90s with their lo-fi arty “blues-rock.” 2015 finds them with a new concept album, Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015, and an Echoplex show.

The Regent Theater hosts a screening of Heaven Adores You – A Documentary Film about the Life & Music of Elliott Smith.

Fri. 5/8

Top Show(s): Largo hosts a show tonight and tomorrow billed as The Last Piano/Vocal Performances by Van Dyke Parks. I don’t know what this means but a Van Dyke Parks show is an immediate must-see and these ones also features scheduled appearances by Kimbra, Maya Rudolph, Gaby Moreno and others. The band Dead Men Walking features the Alarm’s Mike Peters, The Damned Captain Sensible, the Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom and the Living End’s Chris Cheney. The sum certainly can’t live up to the parts but it should be a fun, memorable show. They play Santa Ana’s Constellation Room tonight and the Troubadour on Saturday night.

Jessie Baylin has a fine new CD Dark Place and a show at the Troubadour. The young New Orleans funk outfit Flow Tribe will be jammin’ at the Mint, while Louisiana legends Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet play McCabe’s. Revolt Revolt hits Pasadena’s Old Towne tonight and Santa Monica’s The Trip on 5/10. Last month The Mowgli released Kids In Love; tonight they play the Regent. The Egyptian Theatre screens the film The Ocean of Helena Lee, which is notably here because Maria McKee co-stars in it and she will perform after the screening and filmmakers Q&A.

Sat. 5/9

Top Show(s): The marvelous Rhiannon Giddens has a great debut disc, Tomorrow Is My Turn. Her concert at the El Rey stands as one of the season’s most anticipated shows. Bhi Bhiman will be opening. Joan Armatrading. In a solo show. Man, this takes me back to her albums like Walk Under Ladder and Me Myself I. Hopefully, she’ll live up to the memories. Stephin Merritt is on a solo-ish tour. He’ll be accompanied by long-time collaborator Sam Davol at the Masonic Lodge in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The legendary Sixties garage rockers, The Sonics have just released their first album in over 40 years. They are performing at the Regent Theater; the dynamic Barrence Whitfield is also on the bill.

The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars come to the Valley Performing Arts Center to play the global music. The stars of Nashville are on a real tour; their L.A. stop is at the Nokia Theater. Perla Batalla’s show at the Broad Stage is entitled “Sings For Everybody and their Mother,” just in time for Mother’s Day.

Sun. 5/10

Top Show: Grant Lee Phillips and Steve Poltz should add up to an especially entertaining night at McCabe’s.

Olin & The Moon’s Everyone You Know really grabbed my interest. The L.A.-based country rockers are on the Grand Ole Echo bill. Matt Lax will be performing with his brothers Anthony and Paul (of I See Hawks In LA) at the Coffee Gallery Backstage.

Mon. 5/11

The Grammy Museum not only will screen the blues documentary Born In Chicago but they’ll also host a performance featuring Sam Lay, Barry Goldberg, Corky Siegel, Jimmy Vivino and Marcy Levy.

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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