Music to Your Ears
By Laura Marrich
It's been a tough scene for our blues guys and gals ever since Club Rhythm & Blues closed its doors for good, taking one of the best open mics in town right along with them. But if there's a silver lining to be found here, it's that artists like Michael Holt are strengthening their own scene from the roots up. Holt and his Hollywood Holt Band host a new weekly open mic just for blues and R&B performers at Ned's Downtown. The Wednesday night showcase is a step up from traditional blues jams, with a nice stage, a full sound setup and professional live mixing. Holt says his motivation springs from when he first cut his blues teeth at open mics under the tutelage of Darin Goldston, front man of the Memphis P. Tails. “They say you've got to give it away if you want to keep it, and this is my way of giving it back.”
By Michael Henningsen
By the time he'd reached the ripe old age of 23, Connecticut-bred pianist Kevin Hays had already toured for a year with the Harper Brothers, worked with Joshua Redman and Benny Golson to name but a few, and waxed his first record as a leader, El Matador (Evidence). Considering that most of us spend the period of our "professional" lives between college graduation and the age of 25 spinning in the wind, Hays' comparative beeline toward the pinnacle of post-bop piano craft stands as an even more miraculous feat. And just wait until you hear him play.
The Slow Signal Fade
By Stephanie Garcia
Wednesday, April 20; UNM Sub Mall (all ages, noon): The Slow Signal Fade's exotic and dark vocals are what make them stand out from the pack. The Los Angeles-based group formed in 2002 and in a short amount of time have managed to craft a polished sound and, from what I've heard, a stellar stage performance.
with Jennifer Gentle, The Outcrowd and Jealous Gods
By Brett Bakker
Wednesday, April 20; Launchpad, 21 and over, 10 p.m.)
Paisley's not dead, it's just discreetly tucked under jackets. This isn't your childhood paisley (Prince) or your dad's (Blues Magoos), but a night of four distinctly different takes on modern psychedelic music.
Dead Meadow is cold funk, a grim and smoky version of the psychedelic experience 20 minutes before it turned narcotic. The flowers aren't still in anyone's hair at this point, although they're just as colorful in the mind.
By Rachel Heisler
Brooke Valentine Chain Letter (Virgin)
She's only 19 and she's co-written her debut CD, Chain Letter. About half of the CD sounds like any number of female R&B/pop artists on the market, but Valentine takes a few risks and rises above the countless others with some mesmerizing and distinguishing hits. Songs like "I Want U Dead" and "Blah Blah Blah" have distinctive beats, while the music is hauntingly aggressive, not blatant slap-you-in-the-face hip hop. And Valentine seems even stronger when accompanied by rappers such as the late Dirt McGirt, Lil' Jon, Big Boi and others. Valentine threads her way from lust to love to hate, and leaves a trail of men battered and beaten behind.
Dada Life Press Photo
Dada Life • electronic, house
By Joshua Lee
This is not a DJ duo from Sweden. Wait. No. Actually, it is. Sorry, I got carried away. Dada Life is one of the biggest DJ acts in the world. I don't really know what that entails, though, to be honest. It involves dancing, I think. And auto-tune. But I don't really care, because these guys are hilarious. Their logo is a champagne bottle flanked by two peeled bananas. They have press photos involving pastel suits and Sears family photo-style ambiguous cloudy backgrounds, and one showing member Stefan Engblom shoving an oversized piece of meat into member Olle Cornéer's straining face while giving words of encouragement. That's funny. And anyone that funny deserves a show of your support, which you will have a chance to display when they come to The Stage this Friday, Sept. 2 at 9pm. If you're over 21, get your ass down there and let these boys know how appreciative you are of their comic genius. Oh. And let them know you like their music (even if you're old and don't get it, like me).
Kid Dinosaur • indie rock • St. Petersburg • Cry Steve Cry • psychedelic, surf Americana • Sweet Nothin' • punk rock
By Desiree Garcia
Is a Burqeño actually a Burqeño if they don't support their local artists? If you're unsure, indie rock band Kid Dinosaur will be headlining a show at the Launchpad this Friday Sept. 2. Doors open at 8PM. It's a 21+ show, because what's a show without a liquid courage (just for dancing, though)? Tickets are only $5 . Performances will also include St. Petersburg, Cry Steve Cry and Sweet Nothin'
Courtesy of Watsky Instagram
Watsky • Witt Lowry • hip-hop • Daye Jack • rap • Chukwudi Hodge
By Renée Chavez
In search of rap that's about more than hoes and getting turnt at the club? Cruise over to Sunshine Theater on Saturday, Sept. 3, to experience WATSKY, Witt Lowry, Daye Jack and Chuckwudi Hodge. George Watsky is a spoken word artist, rapper, poet and author who has just released his fourth studio album, X Infinity, and let me tell ya, he's rad. Don't believe me? Check out his performance as Shakespeare in “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the flaming-hot “Whoa Whoa Whoa” from All You Can Do, or the fact that he won the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006. He tackles complex issues like school shootings, politics, immigration, social media and the bizarreness of the modern human experience with wit and a badass beat. Tickets are $20 for general admission to this all-ages show and doors open at 7pm.
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