Three Dog Night: Just over a half century since their debut
Three Dog Night
- Thursday, November 8, 2018, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$65 - $114
Back when the world was still recovering from the Age of Aquarius and preparing for the Dawn of Disco, certain social activities called for specific, inescapable soundtracks. For keg parties, it was Black Sabbath and Bad Company. School dances required a solo-heavy round of “Aqualung” and, if it was a senior soiree, “Freebird.” The skating rink and bowling alley ran Dark Side of the Moon on autoplay, and pretty much every make-out party happened to the sounds of Three Dog Night. “Pieces of April,” “Old Fashioned Love Song,” “Shambala,” these were the “Boleros” of the polyester generation, and it’s impressive how well most of the band’s music still holds up, even without the bellbottoms and Farrah hair. Not that they could go too wrong, with songwriting contributors like Hoyt Axton and Paul Williams. Just over a half century since their debut, only Danny Hutton remains from the founding trio of Dogs, though longtime guitarist Michael Allsup has been in the pack off and on since 1968.
The touring ensemble hitting the Belly Up on November 8 is augmented by several classic rock notables, including Frankie Valli & the Four Season keyboardist Howard Laravea and singer David Morgan of the Association. In addition, Paul Kingery has covered multiple positions in the group at various times since 1985, including guitar, bass, and vocals. They’ve been known to go decades at a time without recording new music, though they occasionally do one-offs like orchestral albums, but it’s unlikely anybody is buying tickets to hear their contribution to a Robotech cartoon soundtrack or deep cuts from their ill-advised 1983 ska album It’s a Jungle. There’s not enough room here to list all the hit Three Dog Night songs you can probably sing along with, even without the bellbottoms and Farrah hair to prompt your fading, but oh-so-fond, make-out memories.
- Saturday, November 17, 2018, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
$16 - $18
Ten years ago, Oregon rock duo the Helio Sequence was basking in the glow of their most successful album to date, Keep Your Eyes Ahead. The tenth anniversary of that breakthrough LP brings them to the Casbah on November 17, to promote an expanded edition that drops next month via Sub Pop. The two former music store clerks have only released a couple of full-lengths and a split 7-inch since Keep Your Eyes Ahead, partly due to keyboardist-drummer Benjamin Weikel’s busy schedule, which includes recording on multiple releases by Modest Mouse, with whom the duo has also toured. Singer-guitarist Brandon Summers was sidelined for a time with vocal cord damage, but their self-titled 2015 album nearly qualifies as a comeback, perfectly distilling their minimalist brand of first-draft, wall-o-keyboards rock and roll. This tour, however, appears to be all about the re-release of Keep Your Eyes Ahead, which includes the original ten songs as well as a second disc of demos, outtakes, and alternate tracks. Preview tracks streaming online include an acoustic version of “No Regrets,” and the Casbah date will feature a performance of the entire album.
- Sunday, November 25, 2018, 7 p.m.
3090 Polk Avenue,
$20 - $100
27 year-old Eric Whitney, aka Ghostemane, was still in grade school when the Red Hot Chili Peppers made the fusion of rap and metal sound both innovative and commercial, but a lot of crappy bands have blown out their speakers since then trying to sound original and failing to sell records. It’s a mostly thankless task, given people’s preference for familiar retreats, but the occasional member of underground hip-hop troupe Schemaposse is bound and determined to bring some fresh riff-n-rap to the table.
Looking like he just stepped out of a Game of Thrones comic book, the Florida-bred, LA-based rapper-producer takes an epic approach to songwriting, using occultish and fantastical settings to craft sonic screeds of betrayal, madness, and – as often as not – death, such as “Venom,” “Kybalion,” and the crushingly nihilist “John Dee” (“Fuck everything I’m gone, leave it alone, every time I get so close, then it all gets blown”). The support tour for his newest full-length, N/O/I/S/E, arrives at the Irenic on November 25, where you can also expect to hear tracks from a recent collaborative EP, Dahlia 1, recorded with San Jose rapper Getter. The bill includes Philly vocalist Zubin, whose Misery album briefly made him one of most spun artists on SoundCloud.
- Sunday, December 9, 2018, 8 p.m.
3519 El Cajon Boulevard,
Oklahoma alt-rockers Skating Polly are known as much for their supporters-turned-collaborators as anything. They’ve worked with Exene Cervenka of X (who produced 2013’s Lost Wonderfuls), Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt (who appeared on last year’s New Trick EP), and now Smashing Pumpkins producer Brad Wood, who recorded their fifth and newest studio album, The Make It All Show. The group was founded in 2009 by Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo, after the pair found their parents dating and basically appropriated their folks’ old musical instruments to self-record their debut full-length in 2010, Taking Over the World. Recently joined by Kelli’s brother Kurtis, they’ll play Space on December 9, for a bill that includes female power trio Potty Mouth.