It’s comedy night at the Casbah, as the rock club’s favorite foil, the comic Neil Hamburger, will headline sets by MTV’s Johnny Pemberton, K-Strass of The Office, and our own brash beautician Jennifer Congernaum. Hamburger’s shtick — the vile mope in the bad suit with one helluva hostile combover — is the sharpest part of his show. "America’s Funnyman" is actually America’s worst comic. That’s the gag, and it’s funny, in a squirmy, why-am-I-laughing sort of way. When he’s not clearing his throat directly into the mic, his digs at celebs and politicos are fun, if dated. But the jokes/persona out of time have proven timeless for this seasoned vet.... Rather rawk than talk, San Diego’s stoner-metal big band Revenge Death Ball rolls into the Void (née Eleven) to kick off Whiskey Weekend after reunited punk four-piece Rail Them to Death. Bend an ear to RDB’s new mini-epic “Scavenger” at bandcamp: revengedeathball.bandcamp.com. Fuzzy wuzzy.
Keeping the whiskey flowing at the Normal Heights hot spot, a barnload of bands will fill the Void Friday night, including Stalins of Sound, White Mule, Kodiak, International Dipshit, Jeans Wilder, Shiva Trash, Last Years, and Hoodrat. For the rest of the stagey details on this rocket-fueled weekend affair, get to thevoidsd.com.... Right up the street at Soda Bar, garage-rock quartet the New Kinetics takes the stage after Paragraphs, Recordable Colors, and Ed Ghost Tucker. You checked out the Kinetics’ In Stereo yet? Get on it: thenewkinetics.bandcamp.com.... Some more local LOUDness over at Tin Can Ale House, where Black Market III does its bluesy grease-punk biz after Leanna May & the Matadors and Hello Penelope do theirs.... Down the big hill, SoCal punk perennials the Swingin’ Utters swing into Casbah after acoustic blues-punk duo Sean & Zander (Schloss of Circle Jerks), Wild Roses, and the Widows. The Utters got a new batch of booya out on Fat Wreck Chords called Poorly Formed, which I have not heard — I’m more a rump roast guy — but Mitch Attitude over at dyingscene.com gives it five out of five red stars and seems to know what he’s talking about, if you want to check that out.
Casbah catches Dengue Fever Saturday night. The L.A.-based ethno-indie hits have fused comfort-zone Cambodian surf-pop (sounds that found Cambodia via U.S. forces radio in the ’60s) to spy soundtracks, funky jazz, psychedelia, and synthy new wave to great success over their 12-year career, in critical praise, world-music awards, and philanthropics for the folks back home. The band’s latest record, Cannibal Courtship, is a pretty decent party platter as well as a barometer for where their art is, which is not far from where it was 12 years ago, blowing on the breeze of those beautiful Cambodian beaches. Speakinowhich, our own North Beach (née Short Eyes) opens the show with the Southland sand pop off of their debut disc, Granado’s.... Best of the rest: roots-rocking SDMA winners Dead Feather Moon glows on Soda after Brothers Weiss and Mrs. Henry...Dizzy’s does a double-dip of jazz trios Saturday night, including saxophonist Ian Tordello’s outfit and guitarist Peter Sprague’s three-man band...from the dancehalls of Jamaica, reggae singer Carlton Livingston (“100 lb. of Collie Weed”) visits Brick by Brick...while jammy funk ’n’ jazz band Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe takes the stage at Belly Up in Solana Beach.
Happy St. Paddy’s, the one day a year we all got a little bit of the beggorah. Can’t think of a better venue to wash down the corned beef and cabbage than Porter’s Pub at UCSD, especially since the band on hand is Greensky Bluegrass. A five-piece bluegrass band from Kalamazoo in Michigan, they’re Irishish, with their jaunty acoustic and banjo chops and full-band sing-alongs. Saw these cats several times out at the Joshua Tree Roots Fest, and they’re always an audience favorite. They used to do a pretty kewl cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” if ya get droonk enough to yell that out, laddy. Beantown troubadour Ryan Montbleau opens the show.... And speaking of rootsy troubadours, Richard Buckner will be at Soda Bar in advance of this year’s anticipated Merge set, Surrounded. Lo-fi-folkies Midnight Pine set that up. Gotta tell ya, every time 21-year-old Pine singer Shelbi Bennett steps to the mic, I get goosebumpy. And Al Howard’s songs suit her to a tee.... ’Round town: NYC buzz band the Virgins join Color and Har Mar Superstar at the Casbah. The Virgins on Tuesday dropped their sophomore set Strike Gently...and Boise thrash-metal heads Krystos will take down the Shakedown after like-minded locals Axis of Death, Aim to Kill, and Xpulsion.
The Vegas-based indie-pop act Imagine Dragons hits House of Blues Monday night. The quartet’s touring in support of their debut disc Night Visions, which, despite the hit single, fails to get a foothold with many critics — “So polished that it slips right in one ear and out the other.” That’s what radio’s for, yeah?... Off the beaten path, you got the Seattle-based folk-pop four piece Ivan & Alyosha at Soda Bar. The NPR-approved group is out to tout this year’s All the Times We Had. I&A’s tourmates, the dream-pop duo Lemolo, open the show...while Casbah stages Bay Area band Grass Widow, vocal-pop throwbacks that mesmerize with their chops as well as their words. Our own tropical fuzz-pop trio Heavy Hawaii up first. Catch up with HH via Jay’s report on the video shoot for their new single, “Airborn Kawasaki,” in this week’s Blurt.
“Hey, Little Rich Girl,” English two-tone ska revivalists the Specials will be at House of Blues on Tues. After a decade of silence, the rude boys last year released More or Less the Specials Live. Recorded over a string of dates in 2011, More or Less announced to the world that the Specials had indeed regrouped and were ready to tour the four corners. Well, a couple of the corners, anyway. “Dirty blues” duo Little Hurricane blows in first.... Up the Fifth Avenue hill, at Tin Can Ale House, you got sunny psych-pop by San Diego bands Golden Beaches and Sundrop Electric and, from Seattle, the Torn ACLs.... And northa town, Welsh alt-rock power trio Joy Formidable delivers this year’s v. recommendable Wolf’s Law to Belly Up. Brooklyn indie-rock band Fort Lean opens the show.
“Punk for the people.” Humpnight hits like the Spits, as the Midwest mainstays play Til-Two after our own Creepy Creeps, Lumps, and Useless Eaters...No? Soda Bar sets up punk-rawk Tampa Bay band Merchandise with Wet Hair and Ditches...Turkish alt-rock quartet Mor ve Ötesi (“Ultraviolet”) takes the stage at Bay Park bar the Griffin after Twenty7 and Hargo...borderland garage-rock band Electric Healing Sound plugs in at Tin Can Ale House after the Ballantynes of Vancouver and SanFran band Posole...while local noiseniks Retox, Secret Fun Club, Anthrot, and Innerds play the Ché Café in La Jawla. I’m over. And out.
— Barnaby Monk