Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Roots at Avalon, October 30, 31

Please, enough of this notion that the Roots are the best live band in hip-hop. Given the outrageous chops Philly’s finest have honed over 10-plus years running the road like rap’s Grateful Dead, they can take on pretty much any act out there, genre be damned. Black Thought, Questlove and the crew are deep in the zone right now, evidenced by recent red-hot performances and the sonically adventurous new album, Game Theory, their first on the Jay-Z–helmed Def Jam label. The defiantly paranoid “Livin’ in a New World” strolls campus with an indie-rock vibe like Pavement gone boom-bap, while “Long Time” touches upon TV on the Radio territory, for starters. The Roots are turning L.A. Halloween shows into something of a tradition, and one well worth celebrating.

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 10/06)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Secret Machines at Avalon, Monday, October 23

If pops won’t shut up about Roger Waters’ recent shows at the Bowl, you’d do well to introduce him to these new kids on the epic-rock block. This pulverizing power trio’s massive monuments of sound blend the druggy psychedelia of Pink Floyd with the stage-strutting bombast of Led Zeppelin (drummer Josh Garza assaults his kit like he’s possessed by the spirit of John Bonham). Layered with the hypnotic drone of Krautrock and touches of moody shoe-gazer blues, it’s an intoxicating mix that’s not just for stoners anymore. Expounding on their cinematic debut, Now Here Is Nowhere, with the wide-open spaces of the dreamier follow-up, Ten Silver Drops, the Secret Machines keep it classic by jamming in the round for an especially intense sonic experience. Prog on, people. And at Union Station, Tues. (Scott T. Sterling)

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 10/06)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Lily Allen, Mark Ronson & Aaron LaCrate @ The Troubadour, 10/14

How much super-fun can you pack into one night? Headliner Lily Allen is an effortlessly charming U.K. pop explosion who sounds as if she nicked all the right records (like the Specials and Saint Etienne) from her older sisters’ collection. Allen’s sunny but smart blend of estrogen-charged ska-hop will have Gwen Stefani green with envy, and don’t even get me started on Fergie. Li’l Lily is this year’s model for real, and if America doesn’t rightfully swoon, it’s our loss. To keep the party on jam, she’s got two banging DJs in tow, New York socialite/production powerhouse Mark Ronson (stop hating!) and Baltimore club evangelist Aaron LaCrate dropping his patented gutter tracks. This one’s so sold out, I’m shamelessly begging in print — can a brother get a ticket? Dang!

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 10/06)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Adult. at The Troubadour, Oct. 6

Detroit death-not-disco duo Adult. are all about extremes. They’ve embraced Heraclitus’ adage that change is the only constant, evolving from the sleek, post-electro pulse of their early work to the abrasive chainsaw massacres that mark their more recent releases, especially 2005’s Gimme Trouble (Thrill Jockey). Consisting of husband-wife team Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus, Adult. often alienate even their fans with their chronic evolution, which seems to suit the band just fine. Kuperus’ vocals are akin to Siouxsie Sioux strangling Lene Lovich into submission over Miller’s discordant noise bursts and beats. Their live show is an exercise in confrontation and possibly the best representation of what Detroit’s really like this side of getting jumped in the Cass Corridor. Motown freak-rock expats Hard Place and L.A. synth experimentalists the Bubonic Plague set it off.

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 10/06)