Sound Menu May 21 2008

CL's picks for the week's best shows


ELANA JAMES & THE HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN, PLANET RIDERS DUO The Hot Club of Cowtown was one of the (cough) hottest of the late great Hightone label's roster. They parted ways for a while and fiddler James made a great solo record. Now they're working together again, and all is right in the world. Gypsy jazz and Western swing never sounded so good. The pop-rocking Planet Riders (duet) opens. $10-$50. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — James Kelly

MAMMALS, BOBBY & THE SOFT SPOTS, MACK MESSIAH, VIETKANGOL Austell's Mammals are a ramshackle three-piece that plays bare-knuckle garage rock. The group approaches the music with a pure and primitive drive that's concerned with nothing more than churning out gruff and good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll songs. Kenny Crucial's group Mack Messiah, Atlanta garage-rock degenerates Bobby & the Soft Spots and local newcomers Vietkangol also perform. $5. 9 p.m. The Drunken Unicorn. www.thedrunkenunicorn.net. — Chad Radford


ABIGAIL WASHBURN & THE SPARROW QUARTET FEATURING BELA FLECK Frontwoman and banjoist Washburn has been doing a cultural exchange program with China for a few years, and the Sparrows are an outgrowth of that work. Featuring Ben Sollee on cello and Casey Driessen on fiddle, their repertoire leans a tad more toward classical than bluegrass. It's a unique combination to say the least. $20-$22.50. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. — JK

ATLANTA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA List, list, O, list! Nicholas McGegan guest conducts the ASO in music inspired by Shakespeare's plays: Diverse overtures from "Beatrice and Benedict" by Hector Berlioz, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Felix Mendelssohn, and "Kiss Me, Kate" by Cole Porter are among the various offerings reflecting the Bard's nearly universal appeal. Guest performers are soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird and troupe members of Georgia Shakespeare Theatre. Program repeats Fri., May 23, and Sat., May 24. $18-$70. 8 p.m. Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center. 404-733-5000. www.stlantasymphony.org. — Mark Gresham

BELL X1 Damien Rice's old band Juniper changed its name when he left for solo fame, promoting drummer Paul Noonan to lead vocalist and taking its new moniker from the plane that broke the sound barrier. The results were major stardom in Bell X1's Ireland home — second only to U2, boasts the press release — and now an attempt to get Americans on board by touring behind a debut U.S. release, already three years old. The group's expansive palette and arena sound bolsters overarching lyrics sung in Noonan's dusky, pleading voice, often similar to that of David Byrne. $12. 9 p.m. The Loft. 404-885-1365. www.theloftatl.com. — Hal Horowitz

KATE WALSH, BRANDI SHEARER, QUINCY COLEMAN Celebrate unplugged girl power with this touring package of three talented rising female folksingers for the price of one. All navigate the changing musical waters with indie, in some cases self-released albums that successfully balance commercial instincts with artistic integrity. Coleman's upbeat, jazzy pop stands out, but Walsh's "Grey's Anatomy"-approved introspective noodlings and Shearer's sultry delivery both show potential to elevate their somewhat colorless material in concert. Onstage collaborations are likely, which further enhances this bill's prospects. $12. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — HH


CHARLIE LOUVIN, ASHLEY MONROE Louvin is a country legend, whose duets with his late brother, Ira, inspired folks like the Everly Brothers and Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris. After Ira's premature passing, Charlie forged a respectable solo career, and at 80-plus years old he is still able to hit those high harmonies. Opener Ashley Monroe writes tunes for hot new country artists. $20-$100. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — JK

THE ROOTS They've never locked down commercial success — despite the acclaim heaped on 1999's Everything Falls Apart — but no hip-hop group has sustained their creativity for as long. In the dog years of rap, the Roots' two-plus decades make them Methuselah. Even the Wu Tang Clan hasn't forged a catalog as consistently entertaining. Their jazzy, conscious style is backed by a live band — helping spark another hip-hop trend — keyed to versatile drummer ?uestlove. Their 10th and latest album, Rising Down, is as canny and politically relevant as any album they've released to date. $45-$100. 8 p.m. Fox Theatre. 404-881-2100. www.foxtheatre.org. — Chris Parker

SHE WANTS REVENGE, BE YOUR OWN PET As the go-to glossy publication for the female post-tween bling-obsessed age bracket, Nylon magazine — under whose banner this tour resides — isn't exactly a bellwether for edgy musical tastes. Similarly, neither L.A.'s She Wants Revenge's brooding retro cool, which rips pages from the '80s diaries of Joy Division, Depeche Mode and David Bowie, nor Be Your Own Pet's female-fronted, zippy garage pop-punk are rewriting music history with their derivative approaches. Call it comfort food for a generation that missed this music the first time and hope the twentysomethings get inspired to research their sources. Switches and the Virgins warm things up. $18-$20. 8:30 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-223-1100.variety-playhouse.com. — HH


ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL It's the world's best bar band, although its set list isn't top 20 or classic rock. AATW plays classic Western swing, honky-tonk and pure country. It mixes in a few of its own tunes throughout the evening, but its delivery of those Bob Wills songs is what makes it all work. Be sure to wear your broken-in cowboy boots, because you WILL be dancing! $25. 8 p.m. Variety Playhouse. 404-524-7354. www.variety-playhouse.com. — JK

ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL Part of a month-long "31 Days of Jazz" celebration, the Atlanta Jazz Festival offers three days of free, open-air music. Featured acts include Genetic Drift, Heather Johnson and Rua6 (Sat.); Ojeda Penn and Kemba Cofield (Sun.); Zon 3 and Mace Hibbard (Mon.); plus the top three winners of the Youth Jazz Band Competition co-sponsored by Spelman College and WCLK-FM — one per day. The festival continues through Memorial Day. Free. Noon-10 p.m. daily. Woodruff Park. 404-935-0808. www.atlantafestivals.com. — MG

THE BOOZE, DOUBLE DYNAMITE It's a well-matched bill, as both of these local acts mine a '60s garage-rock aesthetic highlighted by their use of organ. The Booze boasts a foot-stomping vintage style that sounds more like the Hollies than the Hives. Their garage-soul sound is steeped in British Invasion melodic warmth, with attractively crisp, understated arrangements. Double Dynamite is an organ-and-drums duo with howling wild-man vocals that recall ? and the Mysterians. $7. 9:30 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CP

JAMES TAYLOR First the Eagles, now this; it's yuppie heaven in Atlanta. There is little that screams "Chastain experience" more vividly than cozying up to Sweet Baby James with a few bottles of expensive wine, classy candles and a spread of high-end comestibles. JT, who just turned 60, is traveling with an incredible 12-piece, horn-powered band, the better to drown out the clinking of silverware and crystal, not to mention the typically chatty Chastain audience who isn't likely to recognize songs not included on Taylor's Greatest Hits Vol. 1. Show repeats Sun., May 25, and Mon., May 26. $38-$78. 8 p.m. Chastain Park Amphitheater. 404-233-2227. www.ticketmaster.com. — HH


THE BONAVENTURE QUARTET, AMY PIKE The Bonaventure Quartet gives a breath of fresh air to classic jazz and swing sensibilities with a strong but elegant Gypsy flare. This show is the CD-release party for the group's latest self-released full-length, titled The Secret Seduction of the Grand Pompadour. Django Reinhardt worship with a touch of camp gives BVQ's blend of ballroom jazz a subtle sense of humor. Amy Pike opens. $10. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — CR

CLINIC These scrubs- and surgical-mask-clad Liverputians have been forging their distinctive brand of creepy art-punk for a decade, swathed in distorted drone and flavored with organ-fueled garage-psych shimmer. Deeply informed by the Velvet Underground, even moments of beauty seep disquieting thrum. The atmosphere is thick like sweltering road haze and doesn't outstay its welcome, with just a handful of songs in their five-album catalog cracking four minutes. Their latest, Do It, soft pedals rumble in favor of shamanistic '60s swoon. $15. 8 p.m. The Earl. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com. — CP


FRED EAGLESMITH, AUDREY AULD MEZERA Canuck Eaglesmith is one of those great storytellers who makes everything rhyme. His tales of woeful losers and pathetic dead-enders are equally sad and hilarious. Mezera played in the Tasmanian Youth orchestra — is that cool or what? She's also one of the best country-folk artists around, and makes it worth arriving early. $18-$90. 8 p.m. Eddie's Attic. 404-377-4976. www.eddiesattic.com. — JK

THE JAZZ GUARDIANS This 18-member "big band," one of the musical outreach groups of the U.S. Army Ground Forces command at Fort McPherson, plays charts from yesteryear's greats like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Woody Herman, to today's innovative big-band sounds (including charts by Big Phat Band leader/saxophonist Gordon Goodwin), plus a panoply of patriotic and popular selections. Family friendly. Free. 7:30 p.m. Thrasher Park, Norcross. 770-448-2122. www.norcrossga.net. — MG


OPETH, DREAM THEATRE, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME These heavy-hitting trios head metal's progressive wing, infusing melodicism and intricate passages into their dark metal throb, creating an alternately menacing and majestic sound. For almost two decades Sweden's Opeth has been pushing boundaries, finding room for acoustic folk and piano within its 10-minute epics. Berklee College grads Dream Theatre features the elegant, pyrotechnic of guitarist John Petrucci, and expansive, slow-building tracks that suggest Rush with a dash of Marillion. Between the Buried and Me meld screamo with oddly shaped prog passages that arrive out of nowhere and disappear as quickly. $35-$39.50. 7 p.m. The Tabernacle. 404-659-9022. www.livenation.com. — CP

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.