Jul 282010

NoC’s music staff breaks down the next two weeks

Wednesday, July 28

Home Blitz, Jovontaes, and Dead Rabbits

Green Lantern. 9 P.M. $5.

Jersey-spawned Home Blitz plays the sort of uptempo punk-pop made popular by Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls, refracted through the jaundiced lenses of the Dead Kennedys and the Damned, put away for a couple of decades, and brought back during the previous presidential administration by a number of since-vanished bands whose names I never bothered to learn.

It’s authentic stuff; the guitars and vocals are frenetic and forever teetering on the brink of being off-key or out-of-tune, while the drums pound in that way that fairly demands the spastic/vibratory style of punk dance (except for that one really far-out guy who always shows up at gigs such as this and opts for something like interpretive space exploration and ends up flailing into your beer). Yet what’s yet missing from Home Blitz is the cult-of-personality frontman: the Iggy, the Johansen, the Biafra, the Vanian. Is it better to be more loved than feared or more feared than loved? Here, probably a bit of both.  –-Keith Halladay

Thursday, July 29

The Swells

Thursday Night Live, downtown. Free.

The city’s only acoustic Dixieland/rockabilly/folk-jazz combo listing Brazilian Batucada drumming as an influence on their Myspace profile swings for you—yes you—when you wander downtown Thursday night.
Buck Edwards

Friday, July 30

Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, Arnett Hollow, and Bryan Himes

Buster’s. 9 P.M. $7. 18+.

On the master list of human achievement, right after quantum entanglement, the greatest discovery of the last century was the realization by bluegrass musicians that there are other chord progressions besides I-IV-V and other rhythms besides the two-step and the waltz. New Grass Revival and David Grisman, among others, merged traditional instrumentation with progressive harmonies and rhythms in the 1970s, and the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers tread the path they blazed.

While none of the individual members of the Liquor Pickers possess quite the instrumental virtuosity of Bush, Fleck, or Dawg (and then again, how many do?), collectively they play as well as anyone around these parts. Louisville’s Arnett Hollow round out the bill with pop-inflected Americana. —Keith Halladay

Saturday, July 31

Aram Shelton Quartet

Gumbo Ya Ya. 7 P.M. $5 ($5 additional for buffet)

The quartet features Shelton and Chicago-based company, Keefe Jackson (saxophone), Anton Hatwich (bass) and Marc Riordan (drums).  Their music falls within the category of free jazz, and the emphasis on improvisation lends itself to an energetic blurring of aesthetic lines.

The performance is part of the Outside the Spotlight series, which focuses on exposing legendary but obscure artists in the modern jazz vein.  The series has brought acts from around the world to Lexington, most recently Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann. —Megan Neff

The Have Nots w/ The Yellow Belts & The Rough Customers

Buster’s. 10 P.M. $5. 18+.

The opening acts for the Dropkick Murphys’ June show in Lexington return to Buster’s for a substantially cheaper price of admission than the last time around. So if you like them the first time, now’s your chance to see Boston’s The Have Nots for less money than you spent on your air-conditioning bill while reading this paragraph (I swear the air around here the last few weeks has become so super-saturated that it’s turned into some sort of non-Newtonian fluid. I mean, where do we live? Calcutta?)

And while you’re staking out a good spot under the Big Ass fan, waiting for the Have Nots, and smug about all the money you’re saving, dig Lexington’s own Yellow Belts, who are ferocious enough in their approach to rock music that the headliners run some risk of being blown off the stage. Bring plugs; this one may get loud. Lexington’s own ska act Rough Customers commence the destruction. —Keith Halladay

The Open Letters and Englishman

Al’s Bar. 9 P.M. $3.

Boasting a guitar tone to make John Squire proud and vocal melodies plucked from the great tree of sensitive Brit-pop singers (a bit of Chris Martin here, some Thom Yorke there, and a sprinkling of various Invasion-era crooners), Lexington’s Open Letters are one of the more interesting groups in town right now. They’re the sort of band whose attention to melody and songcraft make you think, “you know, with the right producer and a swell video, these guys could hit the big time.” Despite it’s charms, Al’s isn’t quite the big time, but that’s your gain. See them now for three smackers and laugh at the suckers who pay $50 to hear them support Blur a few years from now. Trance-folk trio Englishman open. —Keith Halladay

Sunday, August 1

Chuck Prophet

Natasha’s Bistro. 8 P.M. $12 advance/$14 at door.

It occurs to me that in the years since Jeff Lynne destroyed Tom Petty’s music, Bruce Springsteen married Patti Scialfa and more or less began to suck, and John Mellencamp started shilling for Chevy, only one red-blooded, Telecaster-wielding, government-skeptic American rocker has kept the faith, and that man is Chuck Prophet. So go, Lexingtonian, go to Natasha’s and see what thinking-man’s guitar rock once was and can still be. —Keith Halladay

Saturday, August 7

Big Maracas

Al’s Bar. 9 P.M. $8.

One of the few combos in the city that might actually incorporate Brazilian Batucada drumming into their music burns Al’s down on a hot August night. —BE

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