This week's list of shows includes several stops in town from fan favorites including the Pixies, Neutral Milk Hotel and Bob Schneider. For more info on these shows, read on. For more picks for the weekend, stay tuned for a list of recommendations on Friday.
mewithoutYou Monday, February 3, 8 p.m. w/ Bald Eagle Mountain, Search Parties @ Off Broadway - $15 By Ryan Wasoba From this 2008 show review: I tucked away into the back of the crowd as mewithoutYou took the stage, opting to watch the show from afar as opposed to experiencing it from within. As the set began, fists were pumped and songs were sung along with, and I was certainly taken back with the fact that, although I had associated them with a scene of musicians that weren’t good enough to succeed on their own without milking the Christian rock market -- where standards are lower and kids are hungrier and richer -- the band actually rocked. mewithoutYou satisfied the anxious crowd with its driving, moody, hard-hitting indie rock, reminiscent of a faster version of Cursive’s Domestica, while its front man bounced around the stage while delivering half spoken/half sung vocals.
Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band Tuesday, February 4, 8 p.m. @ The Gramophone - free By Christian Schaeffer From this 2013 album review: Al Holliday is a 25-year-old, white, Collinsville, Illinois-bred pianist and singer who makes his debut with twelve original songs on Made It Through the Mill, Again. We might as well get the biographical information out of the way upfront, because very few of those details are readily apparent on the disc. He sings with a depth and grit and twang not usually found in the metro area, and his comfort with Chicago blues, big-band soul and barrelhouse piano shows scholarship beyond his years. His voice is just growl-y enough that listeners may write it off as a pastiche of Randy Newman, or Joe Cocker, or Fats Domino, or some amalgam of all three. It may be, but Holliday owns it and uses it to sell these familiar-sounding tunes.
Neutral Milk Hotel Wednesday, February 5, 8 p.m. w/ Elf Power @ The Pageant - $36-$40 By Mike Appelstein From this 2013 show review: Mangum took the stage and grabbed one of his four acoustic guitars. Other than his grey-flecked, almost rabbinical beard, he looked basically like the same guy from the late '90s, complete with his standard brown thrift-store sweater and green hat. Opening with "Two-Headed Boy," he spend the next hour performing a selection of NMH songs. He played all but three songs from Aeroplane, a few from On Avery Island, and the single "Engine." "Oh Sister," a live favorite that never made it to vinyl until the 2011 box set, was an unexpected surprise. For someone who saw Neutral Milk Hotel in the '90s, the acoustic format took some getting used to. Those shows were joyfully ramshackle affairs, with band members coming and going while Mangum flopped and jumped around the stage.
Pixies Thursday, February 6, 7 p.m. @ Peabody Opera House - $39.50-$59.50 By Gavin Cleaver From "The Pixies in 2013: What Exactly Did Kim Deal Even Quit?": I'm not sure what a Pixies line-up with no Kim Deal would even look like, as I don't think anyone's ever considered someone else wielding that bass guitar, but this is surely the acid test of how committed the remaining Pixies are to their reunion. Can they possibly recruit a new bassist to a band that last released new music in 1993 and has been inactive since 2011? Either this is the end for the reformed Pixies, in which case no one can possibly complain about a reunion run which, although it died a quiet and peaceful death, enabled a new generation to see a legendarily influential band whose influence grew and grew in the decade since they had disbanded at the top of their game (well, alright, Trompe Le Monde wasn't perfect), or this is a fresh beginning.