Before I get to the recommended shows for this week, I want to reflect on a couple shows that I actually was able to attend this past week.
On Thursday, I have the pleasure of attending the Squeeze show at the Gibson Amphitheatre, and it definitely was a pleasure. I wrote a full review that I posted here earlier this week. However, I will reiterate that Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford were in magnificent form, playing their songs with vivacity and flair. It’s always a treat to hear the terrific tunes, particularly when they are played so well and so enthusiastically.
I also was able to check out a little of the big Roots Roadhouse on Saturday at the Echo and the Echoplex. Unfortunately, I only had the opportunity to stay for around an hour but it was a great hour. First off, I got to see a couple songs from Frontier Ruckus. This Michigan-based band crafted songs that are rather linear but also wonderfully literate. Frontman Matthew Milia has a real way with words (my current favorite couplet is “back when our tongue thrust/all of our young lust” but his lyrics, as found on FR’s new disc, Deadmalls & Nightfalls, is populated with a lot of great lines) and his bandmates include banjo player David Winston Jones and saw/trumpet player (yes, those are his instruments) Zachary Nichols.
After catching the end of Pete Anderson’s set of muscular blues tunes, I stayed to see Chatham County Line. These North Carolina boys look like trad. Bluegrass guys, dress in suits and ties and huddling around a single microphone. While they are talented bluegrass players, they have expanded their music into a broader acoustic-based sound that also gets displayed impressively on their new Yep Roc album. Wildwood.
And now onto this week’s shows.
The L.A.-based singer-songwriter Nicole Simone has a gig opening up for Ferraby Lionheart at the Bootleg Theatre on Aug. 2. I wasn’t familiar with her before hearing her debut EP but it was a real attention-grabber. Simone was a soft but alluring vocal sound that she pairs with a Tom Waits-like junkyard saloon arrangements. Reminiscent of Eleni Mandell’s early work, the EP marks an impressive introduction by Simone, and suggests that she is someone to keep an eye on.
This week’s Twilight Dance Concert at the Santa Monica Pier offers up the Southern California treasure Rickie Lee Jones. It should be interesting to see what she will be playing – her old crowd pleasers or her more recent, more adventurous fare.
Also on the 5th, the Redwood hosts the dynamic duo of Rosie Flores and Ruby James. Flores is the well-known rockabilly filly (who used to be a regular around these parts), while Ruby James is another L.A. native gone Austin with a mighty fine debut Happy Now that is well worth the listen.
The Henry Clay People have a big show at the Greek Theatre on Friday the 6th. Their vibrant new album, Somewhere On The Golden Coast, is something like Pavement with more of an easy-going yet still aggressive spirit. It’s something to be heard.
Lost In The Trees comes to L.A. for a series to shows to commemorate its Anti- album, All Alone In An Empty House. This N.C. band emphasizes the chamber in their chamber-folk-rock blend. LITT’s main man Ari Picker can create some intriguing dynamics in his songs – numbers like “Fireplace” and the title track caught my ear – and it’ll be interesting to see how this quiet, string-based music translates live. They have shows at McCabe’s on the 7th, Spaceland on the 9th, Amoeba on the 10th, and the Hotel Café on the 12th – if I got it all right.
Down at the Pacific Amphitheatre on the 8th is a show headlined by Blondie with an opening set by Gorevette, a garage rock outfit put together by Amy Gore and Nikki Corvette. While Blondie has been a longtime fave, seeing them now seems like an exercise in nostalgia; however, Gorevette’s music does some fun, greasy, Motor City rock ‘n’ roll.