The ten best concerts this week: October 15-19
Smashing Pumpkins at 1STBANK Center is one of this week's ten best concerts.
Hope you got good and rested this past weekend, because you're going to need to tap into your energy reserves for the insane amount shows going down this week. We have all of them listed in our concert calendar, of course, if you'd like to get the full view. Otherwise, below, we've narrowed it down to your ten best bets for the week. Keep reading to see our picks for the week's ten best concerts.
As the latest solo project to come out of the Americana collective Paper Bird, Esme Patterson's All Princes, I is probably the most radical departure from her band's bluegrass/Dixieland sound. Pulling from influences as varied as Van Morrison, CBGB-era punk and Motown, the record is an authentic and infectious gift to the scene. Produced by Roger Green, Patterson's solo album also boasts an impressive roster of local talent, with Nathaniel Rateliff, Ben Desoto, Mike Fitzmaurice and Princess Music's Tyler Ludwick all lending a hand on different tracks. (Esme Patterson's CD release show is slated for this Saturday, October 20 at L2 Arts & Culture Center.)
Sic Alps is the long-running project of Mike Donovan and whatever group of people become part of the band at any given time. It would be a bit of a reduction to call his songwriting "garage rock." This is more than just people with a lot of energy playing stripped down rock and roll. There's an introspective element that haunts Donovan's melodies. Think Donovan in a dark mode or Mason Proffit with a decadent flavor with a touch of a broody John Lennon. Live, the group has a presentation like you're seeing the last of a line of cult bands from California in the 1970s. There is an ineffably compelling quality to the songs and the vibe of the group that sets it apart from many of its peers.
Way back in 2006, patchy duo Crystal Castles began a rise to high-art infamy based mostly on the negative hype of its supposed 8-bit plagiarism. Along with getting slammed for stealing artist Trevor Brown's "Bruised Madonna" imagery for unauthorized merchandise (not to mention unsanctioned use of the Chanel logo), the Toronto natives were easy to dismiss as Internet copies of copies. But vocalist Alice Glass's terrifying yelp processed through Ethan Kath's instrumentation and production sounded too delightful to ignore. On 2010's second self-titled release, the act's low beats are a continuing blend of Glass Candy arrogance and the cultish darkness of the Knife/Fever Ray. The 8-bit community may not want to have anything to do with Glass and Kath, but proper credit is due for making the electronic subgenre accessible to the Girl Talk-loving masses.
There's a reason that Madonna's been around as long as she has: She's among the last of the bigger-than-life performers. Although her outsized, oversexed persona has often preceded her -- from her highly publicized flings to her tawdry acts of salaciousness over the years, she was TMZ headline fodder before there was such a thing -- her showmanship trumps all of that. An ostentatious Vegas-worthy presentation, replete with arresting visuals and at least a half a dozen dexterous dancers, her shows are always heavy on spectacle. Madonna herself is surprisingly agile for her age and still has the rare type of magnetism that can render a crowd absolutely spellbound.
If you are attending a Smashing Pumpkins show at which Billy Corgan is the sole survivor, you have undoubtedly already formulated an answer to the question that divides the band's modern fans: How many members does it take to maintain relevance? Your answer is not just "one," but "Billy Corgan." What's more, if you are a Smashing Pumpkins fan in 2012, you either don't care or you have resigned yourself to this fact, and rather than dwelling, you've moved on to Oceania, which Corgan has called "an album within an album," and whose songs are made up of lovely, flexible melodies that are less derivative of the band's font of undiluted agony than previous tunes.
Dinosaur Jr was the product of three guys from Massachusetts who had played in the hardcore bands Deep Wound and All White Jury. But when J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph got together, the music they produced sounded like it had all but shed that background in favor of melody, and the outfit made the kind of noisy rock music that proved incredibly influential on what later became "alternative rock," including, of all bands, My Bloody Valentine. The group's first three albums have become essential touchstones for most of the more interesting, modern guitar rock bands whether they realize it or not.
When the Deftones came storming on the scene in the mid '90s, they were initially filed in with the much maligned, so-called nu-metal scene. A broad, all encompassing term applied any acts that blended disparate elements into their brand of metal, nu metal proved to be an albatross for the band, as it inevitably became a pejorative metonym for the sort contemptuous mook-rock being made by knuckle-dragging dipshits like Limp Bizkit. Although there certainly were other elements present in the band's fusion, they were organic and reflective of the band's collective sensibilities - Stephen Carpenter's unbridled love of metal, and Chino Moreno's pronounced proclivity for Brit rock, synth-pop and shoegaze -- rather than some contrived, calculating hybrid. Fact is, the Deftones were always a cut above their supposed contemporaries, which is precisely why they're still a going concern nearly two decades later.
Forming in Sydney, Australia in '77, Crime & the City Solution were one of the seminal post-punk bands of the era. Upon moving to Melbourne in 1978, the band and its then and current leader, Simon Bonney, befriended like-minded souls the Boys Next Door (later called the Birthday Party) and had an impact on the sonic trajectory of that band. After a breakup, Bonney ultimately moved to England, where he reformed the band with members of the Birthday Party and wrote lush, sweeping, dark, beautifully melodramatic songs that appeared on a series of classic releases, including Room of Lights, Shine and Paradise Discotheque. After a roughly twenty year hiatus, Bonney has assembled a new crew, including Denver's David Eugene Edwards, to haunt some stages with songs born from the darkest chambers of the human heart.
One of hip-hop's most distinctive (read: shrill) voices, Danny Brown ascended to the upper echelon of indie hip-hop following the success of his 2011 album, XXX. With a strong dose of humor and a stronger dose of psychedelics, the record got love from critics and fans alike for its absolute freshness. XXX might share unambiguous drug references with more mainstream hustler raps, but that's where the similarity ends. Far from being a new face in the game, the Detroit native had paid dues with mixtapes and albums, including collaborations with Black Milk and G-Unit's Tony Yayo, since 2008. For this tour, Brown shares a bill with a geographically diverse lineup of indie-rap royalty, including Harlem-born-but-Southern-sounding MC A$AP Rocky and West Coast Black Hippy affiliate Schoolboy Q for what should be an absolutely stony affair showcasing party raps and trunk-bangers in a variety of styles.
Although considered by many to be a hip-hop producer, Steven Ellison has displayed musical and artistic ambitions that are clearly not confined to a narrow range of classification. Drawing inspiration from the late hip-hop genius J Dilla, Ellison, under the moniker Flying Lotus, has likewise brought considerable imagination and a creatively ambitious spirit to his own compositions, collaborations and remixes. When you listen to a Flying Lotus album, it's like you're hearing music that isn't trying to fit into a genre -- but at the same time, you don't sense a conscious effort to be musically subversive. The character, the myths, the stories and the energy of Los Angeles are infused into Ellison's music, much like New York is a kind of indispensable character and presence in Woody Allen films. Flying Lotus's latest release, the affecting Until the Quiet Comes, is a brilliant abstraction of urban daydreams.