Live Music Tonight: Liars, Steve Poltz, Tim Finn ...


Liars are at The Showbox at the Market

From this week's Short List:

Centaur Hearts, Oh Man!, Rad Touch

Chop Suey, $6, 8 p.m.

Centaur Hearts are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. They are either so new or so elusive that they seem to exist solely on MySpace. I haven’t found them in any other club listings, so I’m guessing this is one of their first shows, if not their first. Their lone photo is of a guy in an eagle mask. The band’s “general” section only lets you know that the band members are Nick, Barry, and Mike and that they “sound like awesome”; they also claim to be “unfuckwithable” and give you lots of info about centaurs (“These Man-Horse beasts lived in Thessaly, fed on meat and were given to riotous revelries.” Mmm, OK). But a sample of their single posted track, a raging instrumental called “Harpies and Mystics,” is pretty freakin’ sweet. If you are only going to let 59 seconds represent you to the world, you kids have chosen the correct 59 seconds. With Oh Man! and Rad Touch.


Liars, No Age, Past Lives

Showbox at the Market, $15, 8 p.m.

Consider them the antidote for your recent overdose of safe-as-milk indie rock. No Age, the punk duo from Los Angeles, have just enough hipster, Pitchfork, and art-scene cred to make them a success (well, that and they signed with Sub Pop), but they have more in common with the Xeroxed fanzines and SST compilations of yesteryear. At first blush, their style is spastic and charged. But they also possess an airiness suggesting shades of skate-punk and surf-pop. True, 2007 was the year of the indie, but it was obvious all along that everyone harbored secret urges to rock the fuck out. No Age will do just that in 2008. With Liars and Past Lives.


Steve Poltz, Truckee Brothers

Tractor Tavern, $14, 8:30pm

Prior to catching his solo acoustic set at the Triple Door last June, I pretty much thought of fortysomething San Diego singer-songwriter (and former Rugburns frontman) Steve Poltz as simply “that guy who wrote that song for Jewel” (“You Were Meant for Me”). And then I proceeded to be blown away by the depth and excellence of his tunes; his sharp, witty lyrics; his voice—which alternately reminded me of Jeff Tweedy and David Lowery; and his hysterical storytelling and rants (topics included The Office, gay uncles, getting kicked out of a church recital, and American Idol). Poltz is back in town behind two new full-length albums, Traveling and Unraveling, and he may even play “YWMFM,” w hich he introduced last year as “the song that sent my parents on an Alaskan cruise.” With Truckee Brothers.


Tim Finn, Miranda Lee Richards

Triple Door Mainstage, $23, 7:30 p.m.

How do Tim Finn’s songs compare to those of his brother Neil, his on-and-off colleague for 30 years through Split Enz, Crowded House, and duo projects? Tim’s music is, um . . . well, there are three modes Neil’s never worked in but Tim has, at least in his Enz days: vaudevillian camp (“My Mistake”), verge-of-tears theatrical emotionalism (“I Hope I Never”), and brittle Eurodisco (“I Don’t Wanna Dance”). See where I’m going with this? It’s hard to think of many other straight artists who’ve as unabashedly or comfortably borrowed (as I read it) a gay sensibility (filmmaker Guy Maddin is one, maybe). Tim’s most recent album, Imaginary Kingdom, though, mostly sets all that aside—except for the emotionalism, as in the nostalgic “Astounding Moon” or the piano-driven, string-cushioned “Winter Light,” because that’s one thing his voice does really well. He often writes songs for himself at the top of his range, and that trembling, vulnerable vocal strain is practically a Tim trademark. Like Neil’s recent Crowded House offering Time on Earth, Imaginary Kingdom’s tone is mostly elegiac, with only a couple of up-tempo numbers; the most fun is “Couldn’t Be Done,” with its loping, effortless, Calypso-style catchiness. With Miranda Lee Richards.


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