This week check out Mirah at Off Broadway, Rebirth Brass Band at the Gramophone, the War on Drugs at the Ready Room, Jack Grelle's record release, the last show at Apop Records featuring a line-up of experimental sounds and much room. Read on for our critics' picks, and stay tuned for more recommendations for shows over the weekend.
Mirah Monday, October 6 w/ Death Vessel @ Off Broadway 8 p.m. | $15-$18 By Christian Schaeffer We must suffer for our art, we're told, and so Mirah takes a close look at the contours of a broken heart on this year's Changing Light. Its best moments are visceral, spare and ceaseless, as on the thrumming single "No Direction Home," but the singer-songwriter never devolves into self-pity. For an artist who sprung out of the Olympia, Washington, scene with a ukulele, some busted drum machines and a restless, honest pop sensibility, Mirah's evolution and fruitful collaborations make her a dependable artist amid (and because of) her shape-shifting. Death Vessel, the high-pitched folk-pop project helmed by Joel Thibodeau, opens the show.
Tune-Yards Tuesday, October 7 w/ James Tillman @ The Ready Room 9 p.m. | $18-$20 By Matthew Jackson From this archived show review: The opening act was Tune-Yards, the one-woman band of Merrill Garbus. With a bassist last night, Garbus looped her pliant voice, West African drum patterns, snippets of found sound and whatever else she needed to recreate the ukulele-centric songs of her debut, Bird-Brains (recently re-released by 4AD). That album was recorded DIY with only shareware mixing software and a digital voice recorder. Based on her enthusiasm for a clutch of newer songs, we might get something special when she books time in a real studio.
Authority Zero Wednesday, October 8 w/ Bobgoblin, Your New Favorite T-Shirt @ The Firebird 7:45 p.m. | $13-$15 By Bob McMahon From this 2012 show review: Authority Zero brought serious chops to the proceedings as drummer Chris Bartholomew and bassist Jeremy Wood shifted effortlessly between full-throttle, double bass-drum workout punk to up-tempo ska, sometimes mid-song. Brandon Landelius kept pace with solid guitar work and took advantage of two small opportunities to cut loose with skillful, head-banging solos. But singer Jason DeVore was the star of the night, running around stage spitting growly but tuneful lyrics at a superhuman rate (Twista would be impressed at how fast he sings). The band kept the tempo and energy kicking throughout the night, wowing a roaring pit with screaming renditions of such favorites as "A Passage In Time" and "Retreat," but the highlight of the set came in the slower desert skank of "One More Minute."
Rebirth Brass Band Thursday, October 9 w/ Big Chief, Abita @ The Gramophone 8:30 p.m. | $16/$20 By Roy Kasten If you're in New Orleans on a Tuesday night and you're not at the Maple Leaf Bar, you'd better have a good excuse. The long residency of the Rebirth Brass Band at the legendary honky-tonk has been a crucible for the preservation and the progression of New Orleans music. Funk, jazz, hip hop, rock & roll, rhythm 'n' blues: These are not genres for the Rebirth crew; they are raw material to be boiled and roiled and, true to its origin, marched through the streets -- whether it's Mardi Gras time or not. No band before or since has made the archetypal second-line sound so universal and so life-affirming. Now in its third decade, RBB is still led by the marching band-schooled brothers Phil and Keith Frazier on tuba and bass drum.