Rolling Stone in 2003 named Harlem-born guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave fame to its coveted list of “top 100 guitarists of all time.” Morello’s effects-heavy play is only outdone by his political activism, which propelled Rage’s work and props his solo sets as the Nightwatchman. He is out to tout his new Epic collection The Fabled City. Think Woody Guthrie for the punk set. The artist in a Pitchfork interview last week addressed the “eerie similarities” between himself and President-elect Obama: “[We both have] Kenyan fathers and white Midwestern mothers...attended Harvard and...are devastatingly handsome.” Handsome Nightwatchman Morello will do the late shift at Belly Up tonight with the Coup’s wily Boots Riley in support.... Around town: House of Blues bills L.A. barroom rockers the Blasters and Tex-Mex mainstays Los Lobos...local ambients Ilya and irreverents Irradio mix it up at Bar Pink...Ruby Room snags blues-based Fred Heath and his Slidewinders...pop rockin’ Paddle Boat pulls into Whistle Stop with the Quiet Punx DJs...Casbah couples Slow Drag with Run Run Run. Slow Drag is an Argentinean Americana band. Angelinos Run Run Run think Hannah Montana should listen to a little more Joy Division...and Radio 88.3 tunes in Illfonix underground jazz at, appropriately enough, the Radio Room.
“Making Underground Raw Shit.” L.A.-based skate-rapper MURS hits the beach at Canes Friday night. MURS has been lobbying for the nomination of president of hip-hop, releasing his first on major Warner Bros., Murs for President, and an accompanying DVD entitled Murs Administration. By his Billboard domination, dude’s got support, but he still can’t land a f-ing kick-flip.... 91X wreX 4th&B with a holiday show featuring party rockers Slightly Stoopid, Cake, and Alkaline Trio.... And for your consideration: Ruby Room fills a bill with punk-pop acts Wild Weekend, Meho Plaza (L.A.), and Braaiins!...SDMA notables Silent Comedy and Transfer roll into Casbah for a couple this weekend. Holy Rolling Empire and Old Palominos share the stage Friday night, while it’s BoomSnake and Music for Animals on Saturday...Ché Café stages loudness: El Ten Eleven, Beware of Safety, Signal Hill, and Japanese Sunday...while the Emperors of Japan join Starlite Desperation at Beauty Bar...and Deadites Revenge, G.F.I., and Blood Stained Reality punk Radio Room.
Waiting for “a space-age two-step revival”? The Shaddox boys’re back as psych-folkies Billy Midnight join country skrunks Bartenders Bible at the Ruby Room Saturday night. Billy Midnight’s got a new axe man in Ben Krueger, and the quartet’s wrapping up a record due in the spring. Catch 'em working out the new material Fridays at Ould Sod out in Abnormal Heights.... Whistle Stop hosts a video-release thing for SanDago’s “Flowfessional rapstronaut” MC Flow. The she-rapper will unveil the long-awaited vid to single “Incredible.” Check the Space take; it’s a’ight.... Our trib to the Man in Black, Cash’d Out, wrangle Hell on Heels Burlesque for a hoedown at Belly Up.... Indie kids Mod Amish will play a CD release for crunchy, catchy debut No Use for Sunshine at Radio Room. Burning of Rome and Drowning Men set the stage.... Heartaches and Widows commiserate at the Ken.
U.K. session man Dave Mason takes the stage at Belly Up. The 64-year-old singer-songer-guitarist has shared studio and stage with everyone from Hendrix and Clapton to the Stones and Fleetwood Mac. Mason’s put out a cool dozen records on his own, too. With Encinitas folk-pop songsmith Jack Tempchin (ever heard the Eagles’ “Peaceful, Easy Feelin’” or “Already Gone”? Sure you have!), this one’s a celebration of the other '70s.... Casbah stages an SDMA hip-hop showcase featuring local playas Deep Rooted, the Kneehighs, Young Mass, MC Flow, Miki Vale, Addiquit, and Kayo.... Radio 94.1’s Jingle Balls Acoustic events at Anthology have got Jon McLaughlin and Matt Nathanson Sunday night and Sara Bareilles and Plain White T’s on Monday.... And dark-pop act Tobyn Clark and the Tender Faeries conjure a record release at Whistle Stop. John Meeks opens.
The mighty Metallica meets Lamb of God and the Sword at Cox Arena Monday night. L.A. metal band Metallica are seven-time Grammy winners. They just released their ninth studio set, Death Magnetic, on Warner Bros. Records. They have sold out nearly every date on their yearlong world tour. Paraphrasing a local music writer of some import: “Everything I know about the band I learned from watching the film Some Kind of Monster . Now I really don’t get it.”... So, go see Franz Ferdinand. The Scot poppers are due to drop a new disc, Tonight, right after the 'ollydays. Catch the quartet at Canes with our own mod-poppy Muslims.... Casbah’s Anti-Monday league has Virgins. And Hockey!
Gonna be a Bloc Party at House of Blues Tuesday night. The Brit kids broke with 2005’s crit-hit Silent Alarm, which was named NME’s album of the year. The quartet’s sound has been compared to post-punkers Gang of Four, a common touchstone in current indie-pop circles. Their third, this year’s Intimacy, all but drops the nu-wave effects of earlier efforts for a rawer trad-pop sound. They are, at bottom, a hella guitar band with a raucous live set. Recommended.... Social D’s Mike Ness settles his blues-rock and country side into Belly Up for two nights. Ness and the Mother Truckers sold out the club Tuesday night, but you can catch him with Lonesome Spurs at the Solana Beach hot spot on Wednesday.... Else: Hometown alt-rockers Black Hondo, Gladstone Bags, and Nautical Disaster hit Casbah...while down the street, Anthology stages contempo-jazz Grammy nominees Spyro Gyra Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Seattle post-hardcore quartet These Arms Are Snakes signed to Suicide Squeeze for their third collection of dance punk, Tail Swallower and Dove. The Blood Brothers comparisons make sense, as some of the Bros. have toured and recorded with the Snakes. It’s an acquired taste, but the shit rocks socks. They play the Ché Wednesday night with the Narrows, Trap Them, and Lewd Acts.... My Bloody Valentinos Darker My Love leave their L.A. outpost to tour behind sophomore Dangerbird set 2. The psych-rock quintet’s shoegaze shimmers with the best. Check the Space takes — suggest a smarter, beefier Dandys? SanFran electro-beats band the Lumerians and local minimalists Christmas Island open these worthy Casbah sets.... Whistle Stop’ll screen Nate M. Davis’s live concert footage from in and around San Diego. Fifteen years over a few short hours, McFly!
— Barnaby Monk