Music to Your Ears
While the name “Friday Night Debut” is something of a mystery, the special show scheduled Friday night, Feb. 20, at Puccini's Golden West Saloon should be one hell of a local rock event. The bill features Once Misguided, an acoustic set by Mosquito to Moscow, Soular and Breaker 19. ... Speaking of Breaker 19, someone please inform guitarist and radio blowhole Michael Moxey that his band will also be performing on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Atomic Cantina with simple. and a hack bluegrass band consisting of several members of the Alibi staff. Bring veggies to throw. ... There's still time to break your bank account and attend the 16th Annual International Folk Alliance Conference in San Diego, Calif., Feb. 26-29. It'll cost you roughly $500, but if folk music is your thing, this is certainly the event for you. Visit www.folk.org for more information. ... Or, for an additional $50 and a rock fetish, you can check out South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 bands from all over the world will perform during the five-day event, including our very own 12 Step Rebels and Fivehundred (a.k.a. Mr. Spectacular). Try www.sxsw.com for information. ... Weekly Alibi is proud to sponsor phenomenal French guitar master Pierre Bensusan on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Outpost Performance Space. A full preview of the concert will appear in next week's issue, but there's a good chance it'll be sold out by then, so get your tickets now at the Book Stop in Nob Hill (268-8898) or at the Outpost (268-0044).
For the past decade or so, vocalist extraordinary Cassandra Wilson has become most widely known for her "popification" of jazz—gently blurring the chalky line that separates pop from jazz until it blends with the colors on both sides, creating countless ghostly hues with a peerless contra-alto voice and supreme melodic sensibilities. And it's inside that no-man's land that Wilson seems most comfortable, flirting with funk, soul, jazz, pop and blues until she finds just the right combination for each song.
On Glamoured, her new Blue Note release, Wilson strips away the horns, pianos and orchestrations that marked some of her previous releases in favor of groove-oriented instrumentation, and the organic combo of guitars, upright bass and percussion—and the occasional harmonica and banjo—serves both her original material and eclectic selection of covers extraordinarily well. In Wilson's hands, Willie Nelson's "Crazy," Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" and Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away" emerge from the trappings of timelessness as rekindled souls. But it's Wilson's original compositions that transcend, from the Latin essence of "Heaven Knows" to the blues-inflected "On This Train."
The Red Thread Tension Pins (Badman)
Jason Lakis' (a.k.a. The Red Thread) debut was built on understated alt.country pop numbers that flirted with the broad, windswept soundscape tendencies of bands like Lanterna and the folk-heartedness of the Idahos and Haydens of the music world. Tension Pins doesn't stray far from that elegant formula, but Lakis nonetheless sounds more confident, more in-the-moment and startlingly more relevant with regard to both lyrical content and compositional skill. These 11 songs harbor a dreamlike quality that enables the vilified notions of soft rock to coalesce with indie aesthetics and inklings of countrified pop. Incredible songwriting and unpretentious instrumental prowess. Killer.
Stop Making Sense • Tony O and the Greatest Band Ever • rock
Multiple Best of Burque Music award-winner Tony Orant—one of the giant disembodied brains in impenetrable perspex that is responsible for projects like Pink Freud—is driving his mad musical time machine to the '80s to grok a phenomenon called Talking Heads. The skulls of those four East Coast art school rockers had much influence on music and culture that followed numbly in their wake; just ask Thom Yorke. Anyway, Tony O and the Greatest Band Ever wants to tell you all about that at 7pm on Saturday, May 25 at Inside Out. Orant's assembled band includes members of the aforementioned Freud plus other fantastic players (Chuck Hawley, James Haynes, Lonn Calanca, Mike Jaramillo, Brad Yablonsky, Kelly Wilson, Rachel Ross, Sarah Rebello Amaral) to prove the point I just made. Plus the film, by then-wunderkind Jonathan Demme, is a must-see. For only $10 advance or $15 at the door and a 21-plus ID, you're practically guaranteed to leave the place twitching pleasantly and telling friends that, with a little practice, they can walk and talk just like you.
Heiroglyphics • hip-hop
Hieroglyphics is on tour this summer because 20 years ago, 3rd Eye Vision was released. As you may recall, this album was one of the most important hip-hop recordings to appear near the end of the 20th century. It had folks like Del the Funky Homosapien wrangling a crew that boasted A-Plus, Opio and Domino. In response to the stone cold East Coast cliquishness of Wu-Tang, Heiroglyphics demonstrated that, in many ways, the West remained the best, matching what was going down in Nueva York with palpable power. Anyway this crew is going gigging at Sister on Wednesday, May 29. They will begin jamming for the 21-plus set at about 7pm and your presence is requested—not so much for the implied historical significance, but because it would be dang pure to see you all dig “Dune Methane” on the dance floor. Tickets go for $38.55, yo.