“FREE BIRD!” Say it like you mean it, San Diego, when Lynyrd Skynyrd takes the stage at Humphreys by the Bay Thursday night. Even if you’re not there, yell it out. It never gets old. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are touring in support of last summer’s Last of a Dyin’ Breed, a reflection of their Southern-rock roots and reconstituted Confederate flag. They had put it away in the politically correct oughts, but Johnny “Reb” Van Zant is back, brocephus.... Moving right along, Soda Bar sets up another sort of hootenanny, as Dustbowl Revival, “a Venice, CA–based roots collective playing a raucous brand of mountain bluegrass, ethnic swing, and swamp-blues,” joins our own horny octet, the Euphoria Brass Band, and local folkies the Mayfield Affair.... Else: U.K. electronic artist Gold Panda waddles into Casbah behind this year’s crit hit Half of Where You Live...Soul Fires scorch Bar Pink with their free-form jazz jams...and Chicago-based hardcore quartet Harms Way hits the Ché Café behind this year’s sonic Napalm, Blinded.
91X’s “X-Fest 2013” takes over the Sleep Train in Chula Veesta, with Wavves, blink, and Offspring, some groups I never heard of, and some, frankly, better served by club stages (Silversun, Fitz, looking at you). [I’m over it. Insert your own anti-radio rant here]...and then join me at the So So Glos, who will light up Soda Bar Friday night with their always-fun garage-rawk shout-alongs. The Brooklyn band is touring in support of this year’s addictive Blowout, which Consequence of Sound sums up nicely thusly: “Has a much deeper resonance than its beery sheen suggests — meaning, movement, and melody seep through this release.” Yuh-huh. “Shreddin’ till your dead,” Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet oozes in first. Sorry.... Best of the rest: Roots Factory and Til-Two host Barrio Film Fest sets by borderland bands Arise Roots, Escera, Mala Salud, and Scatterbrained...soul-jazz singer Tori Roze and her Hot Mess spill it at Tin Can Ale House after sepia-toned singer-songer Tolan Shaw (New Archaic)...country punks the Pheasants land at Shakedown with Focke Wolves and Chica Diabla...while old-school acid-house artists the Orb plug in at Porter’s Pub. The 25-year-strong English duo’s touring in support of this year’s More Tales from the Orbservatory, their 12th studio set, which features reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry on vocals. I don’t think Mr. Scratch rolls with them, but what the hell do I know?
English indie kids the Vaccines will cure what ails you with their infectious Brit pop. The quartet’s apparently survived the hype machine, entering as four clean-cut preppy lads and spit out in nu-hippie rags with a Bob Dylan bent. Let the successive records show — from the bouncy, just-happy-to-be-here What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? to last year’s Come of Age — that the group has no interest in rock stardom. But, seeing as they’re the only English alt-rock group selling overseas, it seems rock stardom has all kinds of interest in them. Touch them whilst you can at Casbah after Chain Gang of 1974 and Bad Suns.... Fans of the Suicide brand will dig Alex Zhang Hungtai’s Dirty Beaches and his new double-record set Drifters/Love Is the Devil. The Taiwanese-born, Montreal-based artist is prone to drone around Suicide’s synthpunk style. His retrotronica is buoyed in synth wash and animated by odd piano runs that cross classical with digital tinkermanship. Dirty Beaches wash up at the Void after SISU and Chasms.... Honorable mentionables: Widows, Marsupials, and Ramp Locals fill a fun punk bill at Til-Two...while Cholopunk four-piece Shiva Trash blows into Tower Bar after Love Letters...94/9’s “Independence Jam” at the Oceanside Pier has Cage the Elephant and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr....and if those band names aren’t stupid enough for you, chica, check out the bill at Soda Bar: Deap Vally and JJUUJJUU. Fire away.
English new-wave staples Depeche Mode, touring in support of this year’s lukewarmly received Delta Machine, pull into Sleep Train Amphitheatre after Toronto electro-rockers Crystal Castles. Never been a big DM fan, though I think principal songsmiths Vince Clarke and Martin Gore are about the best electronic-pop composers ev-er. I think it’s front guy Dave Gahan who creeps me out. Brit glossy NME doesn’t seem to like him either: “Where this album tries for a harder, more adventurous sound (Clarke, Gore), they’re still stuck with one leg in leather trousers (Gahan)”.... Not like three-pack-a-day dandy Richard Butler, whose Psychedelic Furs will dress up Belly Up. The Butler brothers haven’t released a record since 1991 and still can pack a house and bring it down with hook-heavy hits like “Love My Way,” “Ghost in You,” “Heartbreak Beat,” etcet. etcet. Good times. Our own Burning of Rome opens the show.... Otherwise: that eight-legged, eight-armed psych-pop act from Austin, the Octopus Project, will swim into Soda Bar with this year’s weirdness, Fever Forms...and Lee Fields & the Expressions, a soul-music revue with roots in the ’60s, graces the Casbah stage after our own Afro-funk big band, In Motion Collective.
Tim Kinsella’s ever-changing post-rock project Joan of Arc follows Swift Intruders into Soda Bar. Joan of Arc has been a Chicago staple since 1995, with ties to Second City acts such as Califone, Owls, and Cap’n Jazz. For this year’s Testimonium Songs, the experimental Kinsella and crew explored the musical side of poets such as William Carlos Williams and Charles Reznikoff. Big Bad Buffalo roams in first.... From Austin, TX, indie folkies Lonesome Heroes (“An extended camping trip that blossomed into a band”) plays Casbah’s Anti-Monday night with Easy Leaves and John Meeks.
Arrre you ready to rumbuuulll!? All-ages Epicentre in Mira Mesa hosts Title Fight. The emo-core quartet is touring in support of its latest, Floral Green. Balance & Composure up first.... The Hanson boys (“Mmmbop”) will be at House of Blues on Tues. They got a new batch of songs called Anthem, to go along with their new batch of beer called, you got it, Mmmhops. Anthem passes the class for pledging allegiance to classic rock, jury’s still out on Mmmhops.
Humpnight hits like this: Portland synth-pop trio Blouse fills the Void with the gauzy noize off of their brand-spanking new Captured Tracks record Imperium. Aussie garage-pop quartet Feathers drift in first...just up the street at Soda Bar, Commune Wednesday serves up psych-rock Tropical Popsicle. Andrew Caddick’s “pop melancholy for ghost flirts,” Jeans Wilder, opens the show...and O.B.-based swamp-rockers Blackout Party’s at the Griffin with Tim Lowman’s one-man blues band Low Volts. See you around.
— Barnaby Monk