Thursday, May 2, 2013

Best shows to see: James Blake, Colleen Green, Shoes

Posted By on 05.02.13 at 11:30 AM

Colleen Green
  • Eric Penna
  • Colleen Green
If you're like me you've spent so much of the past couple days listening to Chance the Rapper's excellent new Acid Rap mixtape that you need to take a break from it and cleanse your palate with some other music—any other music. Fortunately, there's such a bounty of great shows coming through town that you don't have to settle for just any band.

Tonight there's Michel Doneda & Tatsuya Nakatani at Elastic, Qwel & Maker at Reggie's Rock Club, Goat at Empty Bottle, and Daniel Knox & John Atwood's 14 15 111 at Intuit. On Friday there's Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers at Old Town School of Folk Music, Jon Mueller at the Burlington, Too Short at Double Door, and Purity Ring at Metro. On Saturday there's John Bischoff at the Graham Foundation, Devin the Dude at Abbey Pub, Titus Andronicus at Metro, Pure X at Beat Kitchen, and Generationals at Lincoln Hall. On Sunday there's Kelly Hogan at Hideout, Har Mar Superstar at Empty Bottle, and Doug Perkins at Constellation as part of Frequency, a new-music series curated by the Reader's Peter Margasak. Be sure to check out Soundboard for even more concert listings, and read about a few more Reader-recommended shows happening this weekend after the jump.

Thu 5/2: James Blake at Metro

Miles Raymer points out that James Blake was a dubstep dude right up until the point where the genre began changing into the massively popular (and reviled) pop style it is today. "For his self-titled 2011 debut album he shifted to an R&B-inspired singer-songwriter approach, but though the record was popular with a subset of the indie crowd, it was also a bore—Blake had replaced R&B's sensuality with a particularly British wet-blanket vibe," writes Raymer. "His new Overgrown (Polydor) has considerably more spark: the production is less droopy, there are more shiny pop hooks, and the RZA makes an out-of-left-field cameo that it's hard to imagine the dour Blake of two years ago releasing." Blake will also DJ at Smart Bar after the show.

Fri 5/3: Colleen Green at Empty Bottle

Kevin Warwick isn't a fan of rock bands that use drum machines, with some exceptions—like lo-fi garage rocker Colleen Green. "On the new Sock It to Me (Hardly Art), Green relies on a gentle kind of cool, carried by her stark but light vocal melodies and matter-of-fact lyrics," writes Warwick. "The best tracks are driving and simple in concept ("When He Tells Me," "Heavy Shit"), but when Green tries to add some darkness (on the brooding title track, for instance) the canned beats sound gothy instead of quirky." Green will also play a free in-store at Permanent Records earlier in the evening.

Sat 5/4: Shoes at FitzGerald's

Zion, Illinois, power-pop group Shoes got a big push last year as Numero Group reissued their first two albums and a couple LPs of unreleased material and Real Gone Music dropped a packed anthology chronicling the band's recording history from 1997 onward. As Peter Margasak points out, Shoes added to the spate of releases with their first new full-length in nearly two decades, Ignition (Black Vinyl). "Their usual tales about romantic disappointments and emotional roller-coaster rides are lyrically darker and less spirited now, but the change suits the jangling guitars and pitch-perfect Beatlesque vocal harmonies—they sound like balms for loneliness," writes Margasak. "There are a couple of surprises—including the beefy post-Stones riffing on "Hot Mess" and the minor-key introspection on "Out of Round," a song inspired by the sudden death of a friend of Jeff Murphy—but for the most part the band's refined sound is closer to vintage Nick Lowe than to Cheap Trick."

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