- Friday, February 15, 2019, 7 p.m.
3090 Polk Avenue,
Listening to bilingual dream pop band the Marias is like being presented with a soundtrack to the weirdest second hand store you ever went home and told your friends about. Everything is vintage and stacked next to, under, on top of, and all around more dusty treasures — just an overflowing jumble of the old but not forgotten. The L.A. group, which only includes one Maria (their Puerto Rican-born, Atlanta-raised, one-named frontwoman) has only been around a couple of years, but both of their EPs, Superclean volumes one and two, sound like a seasoned band of middle aged fogeys with at least a half dozen other releases already turning up in thrift store crates. Their recent single for “Clueless” unfolds a retro groove like something you’d find on a moldy old K-Tel funk compilation. Any ten second passage would be perfect for sampling in a campy late night TV ad aimed at stoners in between rolling joints and raiding the fridge. For an idea of what to expect when they take the Irenic stage on February 15, there’s not a lot of live footage online, although I did spot a few clips from concerts in Chicago and L.A. that indicate Maria is as hypnotic onstage as she sounds on tape. An hour-long Indonesia concert on YouTube showcases her languid, liquid stage presence, akin to likeminded cinematic pop purveyors such as Lana Del Rey. The band, however, looks as if they all bought their anachronistic stage outfits at one of those aforementioned thrift stores.
Seattle rockers Band of Horses are still trying to recapture the brass merry-go-round ring they managed to grab in 2010 with Infinite Arms, which remains their most BFD release as far as sales and popularity. Fifteen years into their career, however, an argument could be made that many of their best tracks both preceded and followed that Grammy-nominated benchmark. Founding singer-guitarist Ben Bridwell has long been backed by, and still tours with, that album’s keyboardist-guitarist Ryan Monroe and drummer Creighton Barrett. It’s been over two years since their last full-length, and just as long since they’ve played San Diego, but they’re reportedly working on new tracks that may well debut on the short spring tour that includes a March 6 date at Observatory North Park. Online videos from the last tour indicate you may also be treated to one or more of the offbeat covers heard on Bridwell’s collaborative covers album with Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam, Sing Into My Mouth, such as Ronnie Lane’s “Done This One Before” and John Cale’s “You Know More Than I Know.”
- Thursday, March 28, 2019, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
Rarely does a year go by without one or two releases from prolific Detroit hard rockers Electric Six, who arrived on the scene running in 2003 with comedic hit singles for “Gay Bar” (whose video was a softcore Abraham Lincoln fantasy) and “Danger! High Voltage.” The video for the latter includes singer Dick Valentine wearing electric underwear during a three-way sexual encounter with a stuffed moose…I did say comedic, right? If you take a lot of stock in who a band cites as influences, then be advised (or warned, as the case may be) that Valentine lists his favored forbearers as “Rock Me Amadeus” star Falco, Devo mastermind Mark Mothersbaugh, and occasional Frank Zappa co-conspirator Captain Beefheart. The fourteenth Electric Six studio album dropped in October, Bride of the Devil, which they’ll be featuring heavily when they play the Casbah on March 28. They’re also said to be doing unplugged versions of several tracks, previewing an upcoming Kickstarter-funded acoustic release called Chill Out, as well as performing a selection of covers heard on their Kickstarter-funded double album You’re Welcome!, which came out last year.
Before I tell you about Ian Anderson celebrating Jethro Tull’s 50th Anniversary at the Civic Theatre on July 9, let me just say that I spent over 20 years as a dedicated, full-fledged, Tull-o-holic. I saw the giant Tull-o-Vision screen of Too Old To Rock and Roll, the pirate ship of Broadsword and the Beast, the electronic A tour with Eddie Jobson’s see-thru electric violin, the wheelchair opening of SDSU’s Twenty Years of Jethro Tull show. Hell, I saw them do Songs From the Wood twice, in two cities, on two consecutive nights, and I still love and play the latterday stuff too, including Crest of a Knave (1987), Catfish Rising (1991), and Roots to Branches (1995). I kept attending every single tour, even after Anderson’s singing voice became, at best, unpredictable, and at worst, husky enough to pull a dogsled. I’ll still buy virtually any recording that Tull’s lead Pharisee puts his name to, including his symphonic dalliances and the recent Jethro Tull rock opera, telling the story of the band’s historical namesake via a series of reworked tracks from the vintage Tull catalog. That said, I stopped going to see Anderson in concert after he split from longtime guitarist Martin Barre, essentially ending Jethro Tull as a band entity. The more Anderson’s failing vocal abilities plagued his performances, the more vital players like Barre became in keeping audiences from being notably distracted by Anderson’s almost complete inability to hold a note, any note, let alone the notes he once had such mastery over. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve seen Anderson in concert – and the last time was so disappointing that I knew it was indeed my last – so including the 50th Anniversary concert in this column probably reads more warning than recommendation. I guess that makes me a recovering a Tull-o-holic.