The Greatest Little Show on Earth

Thursday 17
Ready for some heavy mellow? L.A. recording artist Jim Putnam resets with a new crew of Radar Bros. for this year’s Merge Records crit hit The Illustrated Garden. Crawled up to Spaceland in March for the record release and have to say the band sounds sui beefy, giving Putnam’s gauzy vox, desert-rock ruminations, and strummy compositions something new to chew on. With SanDago ex-pat Ron Fountenberry’s soft-rocking SoftLightes and ambient Austinites My Education setting the Soda Bar stage, these’d be the sets to see Thursday night.... Other notable shows include Athens, GA’s garage-rocking revivalists the Whigs up at Belly Up. The trio’s out to tout this year’s ATO offering, their third proper, In the Dark. L.A. rock-roll classicists Everest open.... British new-wave duo Wang Chung (“Dance Hall Days,” “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”) will nudge your nostalgianator at Anthology. They’ve got a new single on the www called “Rent Free” that’d be fun to listen to while you coif your '80s hairdon’t.... SanFran cock-rock band Flexx Bronco and country skrunks the Screamin’ YeeHaws rendezvous at Hillcrest hideaway Ruby Room for some ear-bleedin’.... Who else’s got Billy Squier’s “In the Dark” in their head right now?

Friday 18
Bay Park rock spot Brick by Brick corrals that ol’ Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom and his rockabilly traps. This time out, Jim jams with Jamie James and Robert Gordon of the Kingbees. This full-sleeve tat-rock showcase includes Gino & the Lone Gunmen and Johnny Wadd & the Stiff Sheets. Really?... L.A. Celtic rockers the Young Dubliners and like-minded locals Lexington Field will get yer Irish jigger going at Belly Up.... Need an “acoustic sandpaper massage”? Then Alfred Howard’s foray into folk, the Heavy Guilt, will be rubbing ’em out at Tin Can Ale House Friday night. Western Set and River City up first.... Soda Bar sets up a locals-only punk-pop show with Gran Sasso, Swore, and Ox Eyes.... And if none of that appeals to you, my God, man, there’s midget wrestling at 4th&B — I’m sorry, Micro Wrestling. It’s “The greatest little show on Earth.” Just go to the Micro Wrestling Federation (yes, there’s a federation) website and see for yourself:

Saturday 19
Ché Café stages jammy math-rock maniacs WITT with lo-fi psych-folks Snuffaluffagus to kick-off this summer’s “Snuffaluffawitt Tour.” Duchampion (CT) and the Shade will set the campus stage.... English indie-pop act Athlete works out at Casbah Saturday night. I know...I’ve never heard of them either, but apparently they won an Ivor. That’s a British award for songwriting named after Ivor Novello. I know...I never heard of him either. Anyway, they’ll be joined by like-minded Los Angelinos Carney; so there, you get your spit and your polish. I kinda can’t believe this is at Casbah. Anyway, whatevs, tough times, I guess.... If the sounds coming onto Kettner cool your heels, you can turn ’em toward Anthology for Chi-town trad-jazz three-piece Martinis & Sinatra...or brave the Laurel Street hill to Tin Can Ale House for a smorgasbord of sound, featuring Crawler-tested and -approved nu-wavers Watusis with psych-pop throwbacks Space Nature (love these guys). Wheels on Fire and Moonbeams share that Banker’s Hill bill.... And the Original Wailers will be down at House of Blues with Psydecar. Dave’s got that one “Of Noted,” if you need the low.

Sunday 20
Pregnant, Religious Girls, Indian Camp, and Moon Pearl fill a kill bill at Ché Café if experimental bedsit comps are what you crave. Though East Bay pop auteurs Religious Girls chill(wave) the mainstream, it’s Sac-town’s Daniel Trudeau (aka Pregnant) that muddies up that stream, drowning out glo-fi lite with sound collages of sampled voice and guitar. Go get his new full-length Liquidation on Swans at and see what you think. “There’s a River” is a generous sample.

Monday 21
Local folksy experimentalists Halcyonaire hit Tin Can Ale House Monday night. Their “Weeping Canopy” still hits me like a brick when it shuffles onto the Pod. Bay Area rootstronica combo Blank Tapes and Rubedo from Denver are also on the bill.... Casbah’s Anti-Monday thing gets downright mammalian this week, pairing indie kids Da Bears and D/Wolves. Recordable Colors round out this trick triple bill.... Another solid three-way sees Sea of Bees swarm into Soda Bar behind Metrofique and Aaron K. Swanton. Tough call, all. Really digging the out-of-towners (, though.

Tuesday 22
Humphrey’s by the Bay hosts neo-soul songstress Erykah Badu Tuesday night. Ms. Badu’s got a new t’do, New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh) that debuted at number four on the Billboard charts, if that’s how you measure stuff. If you measure like I do, using the badassbabydollcanthrowdown-o-meter, then Ere-e-eka will pin your needle, holmes.... Else: Josh Ritter and the Watson Twins will perform their polite pop at Belly Up...former Foreigner front man and current Christian rocker (no kidding) Lou Gramm appears at the Fair...while Radio Room dials in Breaker Breaker One Niner and whiskey-soaked Chula Vistan Jesus in Furs.

Wednesday 23
Casbah gets punk’d humpnight by old-school hardcores G.B.H. and local hardcore throwbacks Rats Eyes. Legendary Birmingham band G.B.H. is out to tout their new disc Perfume and Piss, and, no shit, these guys’ve still got it. I mean, y’know, if you want it.
Barnaby Monk

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