Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Go See Hear in L.A.: Aug. 9-15 - Two Whales, A Lone Wolf and A Band Of Heathens

I am running a bit late this week but wanted to get the word out on a couple shows before that they happened. See why it’s a “whale” of a week for local gigs.

Tuesday has a trio of interesting shows. There’s the B.B. King/Buddy Guy celebration of the blues at the Hollywood Bowl. Over at the El Rey, Alejandro Escovedo will unleash tune from his dynamic new disc, Street Songs of Love (this marvelous re-teaming with Real Animal’s producer Tony Visconti and co-writer Chuck Prophet has garnered Alejandro has much deserved accolades), with L.A.-gone-Texas singer-songwriter Amy Cook opening the show.

I wanted to add a few more words to the Frazey Ford show at the Hotel Café on the 11th. Ford, who is part of the Be Good Tanyas, recently put out an impressive solo outing that I reviewed for americansongwriter.com (www.americansongwriter.com/2010/07/frazey-ford-obadiah/). I really enjoyed that way blended acoustic Americana thread with more soulful ones. Also on the bill there that night is Snow & Voices, a So Cal ensemble that mines a warm yet chilled out folk-pop sound.

On Thursday evening, you can enjoy a free show from the Hot Club of Cowtown at the Culver City City Hall. The Hot Club has long crafted a wonderful blend of gypsy jazz and western swing. Elena James, who has played in Dylan’s band, is a particularly fiery fiddle player while Whit Smith is also nimble on guitar.
The Freelance Whales share a bill with the Tokyo Police Club at the El Rey on 12th too. Even though they hail from the trendy Brooklyn rock scene, I really like the Freelance Whales’ debut Weathervanes, with its quirky but well crafted indie rock.

Friday the 13th offers a wide range of shows. On the softer side, Natalie Merchant (hmm, an ex-10,000 Maniac performing on Friday the 13th…) has a show at the Orpheum Theatre. Meanwhile, down in Long Beach at Queen Mary Park, folk legend Joan Baez shares a bill with folk/rock legend Roger McGuinn (how many Dylan covers will done there?)
Speaking of legends, the one and only Dave Alvin will be performing with steel guitar whiz Cindy Cashdollar at McCabe’s, although I’ll be surprised if tickets are still available.
If you can’t get in there and have a hankering for Americana music, you can catch Or The Whale (yes, the second Whale band to surface in town this week) at Spaceland. This San Francisco outfit offers an appealing country-rock sound that’s mostly laidback and harmony-laden but they also play with enough zest to make for a lively time. They share the bill with Americana eccentrics These United States.
Or you can check out the quietly compelling orchestral bedroom pop sound of Lone Wolf, the brainchild of U.K. musician Paul Marshall. Lone Wolf will be at the El Rey where the bill is topped by its countrymates The Wild Beasts.
The wildest show, and probably the most fitting for Friday the 13th will take place at the House of Blues where the Reverend Horton Heat, Hillstomp and Split Lip Rayfield will join forces for a riotous night of revved up bluegrass, raucous rockabilly and other root rock shenanigans.
And if that isn’t enough, Cambodian-flavored psyche rockers Dengue Fever will have a free show at California Plaza as part of the Grand Performances Summer Series.

If you have something left for the weekend, Saturday brings Eleni Mandell and Ana Egge to the Center for Folk Music and the awesome Austin country rockers, The Band of Heathens will ripping things up at the Viper Room. No doubt they will play their terrific tune, “L.A. County Blues.”

The weekend wraps up with a wonderful show Suunday at the Greek Theater, where music icon Levon Helm will share the stage with Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis (who will presumably accent her twangier material) along with some special guests (like some up-and-coming singer-songwriter named Steve Earle).

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