The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Balkan Beat Box / Wednesday, March 17

Balkan Beat Box often sounds like a cross between Matisyahu and a whacked-out DJ vibing in a black site somewhere in the Middle East. This is a good thing, by the way. The two New York-by-way-of-Israel musicians, Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat, live on the border between a hectic array of Mediterranean-influenced arrangements and a spiritualized mélange of more-or-less-standard electronic-music formulations. Their third album, last year's Nu Made—a retread of songs from their first two proper discs, which a Pop Matters critic memorably labeled a "salmagundi of different cultures being tossed from one upbeat remixer to another"—felt a little slapdash. Here's hoping their new album, Blue Eyed Black Boy, slated for release this spring, shows them putting in a little more effort. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $17.50 adv./$20 DOS. KEVIN CAPP

Devendra Banhart and the Grogs / Thursday, March 18 See preview.

The Davanos / Thursday, March 18

The Davanos are local legends—if you live in Lake City, that is. Every Wednesday, the three-piece cover band—Dusty 45 Jerry Battista on guitar, Fred "Right On" Holzman on drums, and a rotating cast of bassists—plays to packed crowds in the Rimrock Steakhouse's tiny, raucous bar. Their renditions of Zeppelin and Rolling Stone covers are peerless, and the charismatic Holzman's mind, despite an appearance that might make you think he forgets everything except what to do at 4:20 each day, is like a steel trap when it comes to popular-music lyrics. They play the city's lone honky-tonk, the Little Red Hen, with some regularity too. And the Hen being a honky-tonk, their set list tends to be a cross between what the Davanos play and the twangier vibe they achieve as an acoustic alter ego called the Lazyboys (every first and third Monday at Mr. Villa in Maple Leaf). But, as Battista says, even the most ten-galloned Hen regular "still loves Pink Floyd." These guys played my fuckin' wedding, man. Can there be a more genuine endorsement than that? Little Red Hen, 7115 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., 522-1168. 9 p.m. $3. MIKE SEELY

The Femurs / Thursday, March 18

Imagine the Ramones unplugged, or the Violent Femmes without quite so much angst, all played by one guy with a semi-acoustic guitar perched atop one leg and kick drums at his feet. Now you've got at least some idea of the good time you're in for when you catch the Femurs live. That one guy is Seattle-via-New York singer and multi-instrumentalist Rob Femur, who's led the Femurs through four albums (including the recent Ride Together) and has also been spotted playing drums for local pop-punks the Cute Lepers. Occasionally Femur is joined by other players onstage, but no matter the configuration, you can expect smart, spiky pop tunes with a fun-snotty punk edge that don't overstay their welcome. With the Love Tycoons, Sickeversince. Blue Moon. 712 N.E. 45th St., 675-9116. 9 p.m. $5. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Wild Orchid Children / Thursday, March 18

There's good reason why Wild Orchid Children's sound is so hard to define—the number of conflicting elements in the band can be overwhelming. Kirk Huffman's voice is eerily reminiscent of Zack de la Rocha's, near-shouting and impossible to ignore. Thomas Hunter and Ryan Van Wieringen's guitars are pure psychedelic rock, prone to solos and drawn-out jams. Members of the band also moonlight with the experimental music amalgamation Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground and once played in Gatsbys American Dream, a pop-hardcore-synth fusion band. Perhaps the only way to actually define Wild Orchid Children is by the drums—they're the most consistent and persistent instrument in their songs, always echoing, always driving the beat, no matter how many tempo changes a single song has. It's like listening to improvisational jazz, if it were performed by a drum circle—on acid. With Strong Killings. Can Can, 94 Pike St., 652-0832. 8 p.m. PAIGE RICHMOND

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists / Friday, March 19 See CD Reviews.

BOAT / Friday, March 19

Headlining BirthDIYfest (billed as Vera Project's one-night-only do-it-yourself music festival), BOAT rides high on bright, guitar-driven melodies and quirky lyrical inspirations. Known to shower audiences with confetti and jump off equipment, frontman and multi-instrumentalist D. Crane seems just as content shouting his sing-along rock choruses from the edge of the stage as he is serenading with them. Chaotic and bouncy, the local outfit charms with a unique sense of humor and an appeal to pop sensibilities that make chatting with Mom over a plate of nachos seem like perfect lyrical fodder. Sometimes the live show chases entertainment value at the expense of the actual music, but sometimes that's what happens when you throw a party. With Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground and Feral Children. Vera Project, 305 Harrison St., 956-8372. 7:30 p.m. $9. All ages. NICK FELDMAN

Fair / Friday, March 19

Local guitar-pop quartet Fair is one of those bands you know the kids are going to love. With sing-along, Top 40–worthy choruses, frontman Aaron Sprinkle's boyish tenor, and musing, yearning lyrics like "I wish I felt something more concrete/Something where I could plant my feet," Fair's music is disarmed and completely in earnest. I can't remember the last time I heard music so inoffensive. Their debut album, 2006's The Best Worst-Case Scenario, was a popular success for Tooth and Nail, and the follow-up, Disappearing World, was released last month. Sprinkle is also a veteran producer and sound engineer who has worked with MxPx, Eisley, Beth Orton, and Rocky Votolato, which explains why the songs on both Fair records are so neat and clean, almost spotless. With The Pale Pacific, Monarch. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 5 p.m. $10. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

DJ Suketu / Saturday, March 20

For those naive hippies who arrive in Mumbai expecting a world of gurus, cows, and a quaintly impoverished populace that seeks refuge in the Technicolor glamour of Bollywood, the reality on the ground is always somewhat shocking. From the southern tip of Colaba to the northern suburbs of Bandra, the city pulses with a vibrant club culture that's hedonistic and trend-driven. The scene is only one aspect of Mumbai's pop culture, but it's a defining one. Most DJs in the scene make their names by remixing Bollywood hits, usually with a tough-guy, street-hop approach or, more likely, a trance-pop vibe that's upbeat and club-pleasing. DJ Suketu falls firmly in the latter camp, with a remix style that tends to strip everything but the giddy choruses out of movies' item numbers, transforming them into propulsive, four-on-the-floor bangers. His style's not subtle, but it's definitely appealing. With DJ Aanshul. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 9 p.m. $15–$25. JASON FERGUSON

L.A. Guns / Saturday, March 20

While phrases like "Mothers, lock up your daughters" might not have been coined with L.A. Guns in mind, they certainly capture the band's spirit and music. L.A. Guns has staked its reputation and career on power chords and dick-as-instrument imagery, perfecting the kind of sleaze-rock sound that stops just short of actually giving you a venereal disease through your aural cavities. Sure, the content panders a bit to the lowest common denominator, and yes, the songs themselves are arguably reductive. Bur fortunately for L.A. Guns, they're also undeniably addictive—it's drunk-as-hell, sing-along-chorus, lighter-waving-encore, panties-on-the-stage kind of music. With Blue Helix, Bloodshot Barrels, Side Effect. Studio Seven, 110 S. Horton St., 286-1312. 8 p.m. $15 adv./$17 DOS. All ages. NICHOLAS HALL

Super Diamond / Saturday, March 20

Neil Diamond should have his own late-night show. He could wear his sequined blouses and talk about the '60s and how he's an expert fencer and have guests like Barbra Streisand and Brian Wilson, and San Francisco's Super Diamond could be the house band. Super Diamond—singer Surreal Neil, bassist Matt Diamond, keyboardists Rama Diamond and James Diamond, and drummer Vince Diamond—has already been guests David Letterman and featured in Spin and The New York Times. The band's live shows revive the classics—"Cherry, Cherry," "Sweet Caroline," and "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"—occasionally livening them up with riffs from "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and "Sweet Child O'Mine." And while Surreal Neil's raspy vocals fall a bit short of the original's warm and iconic croon, the band's obviously enthusiastic covers pay a worthy tribute to the Jewish Elvis. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$23 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Throne of Bone / Saturday, March 20 See Rocket Queen.

Rachel Harrington / Sunday, March 21

For some odd reason, Seattle's own Rachel Harrington has found greater success in the UK and Europe than in her homeland. The singer is by no means unknown here in the States; it's just that people across the sea seem to understand how much of a treasure Harrington really is. With two albums under her belt—The Bootlegger's Daughter and City of Refuge—she's established herself as one of country-folk's most promising singer/songwriters. Unlike so many modern female artists in the Americana tradition, Harrington doesn't follow Alison Krauss' lead and filter her acoustic-based balladry through pop-music production. Rather, she keeps things rustic and sparse, a la Iris Dement. Be sure to pick up tickets sooner rather than later; Empty Sea Studios is one of those intimate folk venues with limited seating. With Rita Hosking. Empty Sea Studios, 6300 Phinney Ave. N., 228-2483. 7:30 p.m. $20. JUSTIN F. FARRAR

Metric / Sunday, March 21

Carving their niche out of alt-rock and disco, the Canadian electro-pop quartet Metric has found a way to maintain a staunch independence while achieving a deserved level of mainstream success—two accomplishments often seen as mutually exclusive. Armed with material from the hit-laden 2009 chart-topper Fantasies, frontwoman Emily Haines rocks hard, and lead guitarist James Shaw pulls out all the stops for a riff-filled live performance. And while the band has no issue conjuring (and inspiring) enormous energy, the emotion of its shadowy songs is striking. If you want to question Metric's ability to draw a crowd, don't; this show has been sold out for weeks. But where there's a will, there's usually a way. With Codeine Velvet Club. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444. 8 p.m. $23. NICK FELDMAN

Copeland / Monday, March 22

It's too bad that Copeland is choosing now to break up, because their last album, You Are My Sunshine, is easily the best of their 10-year career. On tracks like "Morning Fire Eater," Aaron Marsh's voice is melodic and pitch-perfect; gone is the emo-tinged whine that characterized 2005's In Motion. Copeland has been regularly lumped with emo and hardcore bands like Anberlin and Underoath, but even at Marsh's melodramatic worst, those associations never seemed a logical fit. Piano-driven and lo-fi, Copeland is more orchestral pop than anything else, sharing characteristics with Saddle Creek bands like Azure Ray. You Are My Sunshine is a lovely but intense record, showcasing the band's gift for layered composition. If every Copeland record had sounded this way, maybe the band's end would be less bittersweet. With I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business, Person L, Deas Vail. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $15 adv./$17 DOS. All ages. PAIGE RICHMOND

Mac Lethal / Tuesday, March 23

Hip-hop artists trip all over themselves to prove how real they are, but Kansas City's Mac Lethal is walking, warts-and-all reality. Making a name for himself years ago as a freestyle battle rapper in multiple Scribble Jam contests, Mac Lethal is as quick-witted as they come. He's slept on floors on the road, played every hole-in-the-wall rock club imaginable, gotten nods from hip-hop's underground royalty (even putting out a record on Rhymesayers), and now is doing his own thing on his own label (Black Clover). Equally comfortable spitting scalding venom toward other MCs and hip-hop culture in general or somberly, self-analytically admitting his various flaws, Mac teeters between overblown, pompous posturing and giddily taking the piss out of himself—with results that are sometimes hilarious, sometimes staggeringly raw and reflective, and always entertaining. With Soulcrate Music, Prof, and Akream. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $7. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Red Jacket Mine / Tuesday, March 23

Red Jacket Mine's first Tuesday-night set as the Hard Rock's monthly local musicians in residence incorporated several elements that I don't see enough of around town: 1) non-country pedal steel; 2) guitar solos played with proficiency, not irony; 3) tasteful, familiar, crowd-pleasing covers (Neil Young's "Cinammon Girl" and The Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat"). Their set—which they'll recreate tonight and on the 30th (in April, Tuesdays belong to Slender Means)—is as unselfconscious as the room they're playing in. Hard Rock Cafe, 116 Pike St., 204-2233. 9 p.m. $5. CHRIS KORNELIS

 
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