Matt Nathanson at Music Box on March 24
  • Matt Nathanson at Music Box on March 24
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Wheeler Walker Jr.

Wheeler Walker Jr.

Kentucky smartass Wheeler Walker Jr. returns to the North Park Observatory, where his appearance late last year sold out, for a November 30 set that happens to coincide with the release date of his third full-length, WWIII. Previously and occasionally still known as comedian Ben Hoffman, Walker’s persona is basically Garth Brooks pretending to be Chris Gaines, as played by Triumph the Insult Dog. He launched the persona in 2016 with his X-rated album Redneck Shit, which debuted on the PornHub site, and followed up last year with Ol’ Wheeler, which confounded country purists by debuting at number ten on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. WWIII apparently continues to fart in Johnny Cash’s face, though with only one preview track available at this writing, it’s hard to say whether it’ll contain any more get-em-on-their-feet sing-a-long anthems like “Fuck You Bitch,” “Sit On My Face,” or his timeless ode to “Beer, Weed, Cooches.” The debut single, “Save Some Titty Milk For Me,” is said to celebrate his recent marriage and newborn son, but of course it’s presented in a nipple-honking context that even Frank Zappa, if not GG Allin, might have considered too filthy for phonics.

Brockhampton

Brockhampton

It’s almost hard to remember, but there used to be a time when Kanye West was less a laughingstock and more of an actual hip-hop hero. The internet forum KanyeToThe was a hub of creativity where many were inspired by Kanye to speak for themselves in the same bold and poetic strokes that West was once known for, back before he moved too close to a nuclear power plant or whatever the hell happened that turned him into hip-hop’s embarrassing neighbor cat lady. One of those devotees, Kevin Abstract, was inspired to found a boy band of sorts, Brockhampton, a musical collective of rappers, filmmakers, graphic artists, and DJs. Their three part album series Saturation was popular enough to land them a deal with RCA Records, which just released their fourth full-length, their slickest sounding to date, Iridescence. The fact that it just debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, their first chart topper, may be partly due to all the recent press over founding member Ameer Vann leaving the group amidst allegations of sexual misconduct. Whatever the reason for their current ascension, you may want to scarf up tickets right away for their December 1 concert at the former Sports Arena, now known as Valley View Casino Center, which is sure to sell a lot more seats than the only other time they’ve played San Diego, last year at the Observatory.

Thou and MJ Guider

  • Thursday, December 13, 2018, 7 p.m.
  • Ché Café, 1000 Scholars Drive, San Diego
  • $15

Thou

I have to admit I’ve had trouble keeping track of Baton Rouge band Thou since their 2007 debut Tyrant, which featured the powerful Halford-esque vocals of hardcore vet Bryan Funck. However, every time I’ve come across Thou songs on various online playlists since then, I keep having to check if it’s not another completely different band sharing the same name. I just skipped through a few dozen tracks, including several EPs and albums Summit (2010), Heathen (2014), and their just-released fifth full-length Magus, and I still feel like I’ve been pranked with a house moniker being hung on several utterly unrelated groups. They seem most at home with what people call doom or sludge metal, but they also do acoustic (and I mean Byrdsy acoustic, not Black Sabbath unplugged, sometimes with female guest vocals), ambient (at one point, I’d swear I was listening to vintage Hawkwind), and the vocals can encompass anything from angry Cookie Monster to King Diamond on Xanax. As such, it’s hard to know what to expect when they play the Che Café on December 13, where the bill includes New Orleans ambient pop project MJ Guider (aka Melissa Guion, who’ll be backed by a touring band) and Miserable (aka Kristina Esfandiari of King Woman).

Matt Nathanson

  • Sunday, March 24, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
  • Music Box, 1337 India Street, San Diego

Matt Nathanson

It’s only taken around a quarter century for folk rocker Matt Nathanson to become an overnight sensation, but it looks like his just released tenth album, Sings His Sad Heart, might become his most definitive release. It’s full of potential concert perennials like “Used To Be” and “Mine,” and it comes on the heels of his well-received covers album from earlier this year, Pyromattia, which is also jam packed with bankable retrofits. Let’s hope he does his Def Leppard cover from that latter release, “Stage Fright,” when he arrives March 24 to play the Music Box. It’ll be his first time at the Little Italy venue after having graced around a dozen local stages over the past decade, from Birch Aquarium to HOB, Humphreys, the Belly Up, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Harrah’s, and a 2015 tour-ending set at the Casbah.

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