Sound Menu April 23 2008

CL's picks for the week's best shows


ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter, who made an impressive Atlanta Symphony debut in January 2006 just days after winning the prestigious Gilmore Award, returns as guest soloist to perform Beethoven's playful "Piano Concerto No. 2" with the ASO. The program, led by guest conductor Hans Graf, also includes Pyotr Tchaikovsky's final tone poem, "The Voyevode," and the "Symphony No. 2" of Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of his most beloved orchestral works. Program repeats Sat., April 26, at 8 p.m. and Sun., April 27, at 3 p.m. $18-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall. 404-733-5000. www.atlantasymphony.org. — Mark Gresham

TIFT MERRITT After a stunning alt-country debut, Bramble Rose, and an even better follow-up on 2004's Memphis-soul/Dusty Springfield-biting Tambourine, Merritt falters with her third release, Another Country. Written in France after much soul-searching by Merritt, it makes a stab at pop while retaining its rootsy air. But while solid, it lacks the spark of her prior albums aside from the überinfectious "Broken." Merritt's expressive voice and obvious talent suggests this is just a hiccup of veering too closely to the overpopulated singer/songwriter pop genre she's heretofore wisely avoided. $15-$17. 8:30 p.m. Five Spot. 404-223-1100. www.fivespot-atl.com. — Chris Parker


MINISTRY, MESHUGGAH Ministry's grim churn and dark, dyspeptic vision ("So What?") paved the way for Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, though general indolence and leader Al Jorgensen's battles with heroin eventually sapped their creativity. But their final original album, The Last Sucker, returns them to their old glory, and was joined weeks ago by Cover Up, a fine covers album including "Mississippi Queen" and "Radar Love." Swedish metal mavens Meshuggah's extreme thrash mixes brutal bottom-end throb with a free-jazz complexity rife with odd time signatures, influencing acts such as Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon. $35. 8 p.m. Masquerade. 404-577-8178. masq.com. — CP

SANTANA, DEREK TRUCKS Grouse all you like about his commercial sellout tendencies (how about that shoe line at Macy's?), Carlos is an incredibly gifted and immediately recognizable guitarist who never seems to be phoning it in, even when he slings out the hoary "Black Magic Woman"-era hits for the umpteenth time. Trucks' soulful world beat and jazz makes a perfect opener and the prospect of the two guitarists sharing the stage is worth dealing with the chatty Chastain regulars. Repeat performance Sat., April 25. $34-$89. 7 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-233-2227. www.ticketmaster.com. — Hal Horowitz


FRENCH KICKS; TODAY THE MOON, TOMORROW THE SUN; THE PREAKNESS Brooklyn foursome French Kicks seamlessly blends a subtly experimental approach to pop songwriting and mod rock strut. The songs on the group's latest record, Swimming (Vagrant), are brash to be sure, but never primitive in their allegiances to rock 'n' roll energy and irreverence. Indie rock locals Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun and the Preakness also perform. $10-$12. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — Chad Radford

KEN WILL MORTON, JENNIFER DANIELS He's a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, a fact reflected on last year's pair of releases, Kickin' Out the Rungs and Devil In Me. The former works an acoustic vibe that runs from folksy Dylanesque ballads to ambling backwoods roots rock, and the latter mines Morton's hell-bound predilections with barroom stomps and garagabilly grime and rumble. He's joined by Jennifer Daniels, whose warm, resonant vocals soar above gauzy, atmospheric folk and pop-inflected arrangements somewhere between Sarah McLachlan and Aimee Mann. $10-$13. 9:30 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — CP

LID EMBA, TREE CREATURE, KILLICK Atlanta purveyor of squishy and vaguely industrial electronic ambiance Lid Emba celebrates the release of We Substitute Radiance (Stickfigure/InamRecords). Fellow Atlanta prog/electronic duo Tree Creature crafts long and undulating bubbles of rhythm, glitch and noisy sonic pleasantries. Athens solo artist Killick (formerly known as Erik Hinds) plays a gurgling and staccato set of improvised "Appalachian trance metal" on his one-of-a-kind, 16-string guitarlike instrument, called the H'arpeggione. $5. 9 p.m. 11:11 Teahouse. 404-521-1911. — CR

NEW TRINITY BAROQUE Dutch blokfluit ("recorder") virtuoso Marion Verbruggen is NTB's special guest for a fascinating fascis of concertos, suites and sonatas for the instrument by Baroque composers Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Christoph Schultze, plus solo recorder music by 17th-century Dutch virtuoso and composer Jacob van Eyck. Student tix $9 with valid student ID. $29-$39. 8 p.m. St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. 770-638-7574. www.newtrinitybaroque.org. — MG


CHORAL GUILD OF ATLANTA Bryan Priddy leads the CGA in an exploration of choral Americana, featuring "The Treatment of Freedom" by Randall Thompson with words from the writings of Thomas Jefferson, other serious choral fare by Thompson, Howard Hanson and Aaron Copland, plus a clutch of folk and patriotic songs to wrap it. Pianist Woo-Young Choi offers midconcert respite from words with the solo "Ballad, Op. 6" by Amy Beach. Discounts for senior citizens and students. $15. 4 p.m. Northside Baptist Church. 404-223-6362. www.cgatl.org. — MG

U-MELT At first blush, NYC's U-Melt typifies the jam band mentality: faceless vocals, characteristically funky jazz grooves and endless crunchy granola improvisation that extends way past the songs' breaking point. But while the quartet isn't breaking far from the mold, sporadic explorations into prog rock and the occasional Zappa-styled arrangement pumps some life into a genre that too often equates extended song length with quality. The band usually does the festival circuit but this intimate show encourages interaction between the twirl-dancing fans and the musicians' energy. Ep3 also appears. $8. 8 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. — HH


CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE Now in his mid-60s, the droopy-eyed Chicago harp veteran is experiencing a creative rebirth resulting in some of the finest blues and roots performances of his extensive career. He's also expanding his boundaries with forays into country, swamp rock, Tex-Mex and gospel that both enhance and broaden his palette. His band is always top shelf — guitarist Kid Andersen is alone worth the price of admission — and pushes Musselwhite to deepen his already incisive attack that shows why he's persevered for more than four decades in the hardscrabble blues world. $20. 6 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. — HH

DAMIEN DEMPSEY, JESS KLEIN From Van Morrison to Bono, Sinead O'Connor and Shane McGowan, Irish singers have a history of intensity and Dempsey is no exception. A star in his native Dublin, he's won numerous homegrown Best Male Vocalist nods with his heavily Irish-accented vocals that perfectly frame his politically charged songs. NYC-based tour mate Klein fans the flames of her intimate, reflective material with a similarly emotionally incisive approach. $12-$15. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — HH

DOLLY PARTON There are two sides to Parton — the incredibly talented singer/songwriter who can deliver a rootsy hillbilly tune or an uptempo pop number with ease, and the overblown, campy diva with too much hair and bosom. Her shows suffer the same dichotomy — great music (for the most part), but utterly over-the-top, cheesy production that makes for too many "oh wow, did she really do that ..." moments. I wish she would just stand and sing. $55-$100. 8 p.m. Fox Theatre. 404-249-4600. www.foxtheatre.org. — James Kelly


EARTH, MADELINE, FUR ELISE Summoning slow metal, drone and dirge from the Pacific Northwest, Seattle post-grunge survivor Earth returns in support of its latest full-length, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull (Southern Lord). With this go-round the group, under the direction of founding member Dylan Carlson, moves deeper into the realms of gospel and Americana influences while adopting impov, psychedelic rock and jazz leanings. Madeline and Fur Elise open. $10. 9 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CR

LEON RUSSELL, GEOFF ATCHISON My first "real" concert was a Russell show in the early 1970s, and I'll never forget the grandiosity and fervor of the performance. The Master of Space and Time is now in his late 60s, and hard living and health issues have slowed him down. A little. The piano-pounding Russell has a sideman résumé without parallel, and his solo work remains fresh today. Local blues-rock artist Atchison opens. $2. 7 p.m. Smith's Olde Bar. 404-875-1522. www.smithsoldebar.com. — JK

Bands/performers/venues wishing to be included in Sound Menu's noted-acts boxes may send recordings, press material and schedules two weeks in advance to Creative Loafing c/o Rodney Carmichael, 384 Northyards Blvd., Suite 600, Atlanta, GA 30313, or e-mail information to: rodney.carmichael@creativeloafing.com. To be included in the listings only, e-mail venue and band schedules by Thursday at noon (for the issue that comes out the following Wednesday) to soundboard@creativeloafing.com.