By Alexis Soloski
By Molly Grogan
By R. C. Baker
By Christian Viveros-Fauné
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By Lilly Lampe
There are truly evil men sent to prison for the rest of their natural lives for assaults less brutally visceral than that which Christina Aguilera visited upon "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" at the Grammys. Employing her full arsenal of uranium-enriched HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYY- vocal warfare, she wrestled the tune to the floor like a gator, dropped to her knees, dug her teeth into its, uh, neck, and did it to death in the literal, biblical sense. Jesus wept. James Brown, inexplicably, did notrise from the dead. "Just one scream too many," sniffed the Times. Bah. Off-key, maybe, but dead on target, honoring JB's memory by indulging his, and our, bloodlust for ludicrous, histrionic spectacle, where one scream too many is 20 screams too few.
As spring dawns, let us incline our musical tastes toward the gloriously, wholly unnecessary. One could convincingly argue that in 2006 both John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae put out better records than Xtina's own double-disc monstrosity Back to Basics(the basics: plutonium, C4, lighter fluid, several prodigious wigs), but honestly, when it comes to Madison Square Garden spectacle, would you rather see those first two ply their tame, tasteful, Mom-friendly, no-screaming-whatsoever neo-soul (April 23) or behold Aguilera's sure-to-be-hilariously- garish, overstuffed, costume-change-addled D-Day campaign exactly a month earlier? Will the Norah Jones/M. Ward schlumpfest (sorry, M., we love ya) April 18 at the Garden even go off as scheduled, or will a delay be necessary due to ongoing cleanup efforts, given that Meatloaf will have blown everyone's faces off there the week before? Which high-profile reunion will be more fun: Indie-rock moping prototypes Sebadoh wincing the night away at Webster Hall (March 31) and Maxwell's (April 1), or Iggy and the Stooges doing [ censored due to obscenity laws and/or common decency] at United Palace Theater shortly thereafter?
Winter is the time for Culture, for Deep Thoughts and High Concepts, and thus we all dutifully marched off to that David Byrnecurated show at Carnegie Hall where everyone evidently played the same note for three hours. Delightful, that was, or would've been had we not all been out roaming the streets listening to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" on infinite repeat, preferably while flipping over cars or juggling large, cumbersome pieces of furniture or any number of other outrageous feats of strength and adrenaline only possible when listening to a song So. Incredibly. Ridiculous.Recall that by spring 2006 "Crazy" had already established its Song of the Year dominance a fine tune, but a little subdued, claustro- phobic, paranoid, insular. That's true to the title, I suppose, but let us hope Avril has sired the jam of 2007, a chanting cheerleader cherry bomb that feels like a pack of leering teenage girls throwing full cans of Red Bull at your head for three minutes or so. At the very least let it be the anthem of spring, our lazy high-culture reverie violently, gleefully interrupted by a slate of perpetually youthful pop tarts and perpetually ancient punk psychopaths. Set aside your notions of refined taste and decorumthe season's most anticipated album, after all, is an efficient, concise, delicately refined project titled Chinese Democracy, brought into being by Guns N' Roses, those models of restraint and unflap-pable couth. The jungle is waiting to welcome you.
Lupe Fiasco + The Roots
March 1112, 8pm Last time hip-hop's own Grateful Dead played Radio City, they dropped all sorts of jokey maybe we'll have some special guuuuesssts!hints and thusly enraged everyone who showed up and realized that Jay-Z might not. (Though at least one time, he did.) To solve that problem this time around, the Roots share marquee space with a dude whose 2006 record was much better than Jay's; at the very least, you can safely bet Mr. Fiasco is much better at both skateboarding and Wii Bowling. Nokia Theatre Times Square, 1515 Bway, nokiatheatrenyc.com, $39.50
Steve Earle and Allison Moorer
March 1213, 8 & 10:30pm Love this guy, but if he's seized by any sort of jazz impulse and bursts into "My Funny Valentine" or something, we are leaving, immediately, even if the impromptu creation of another exit is required. Blue Note, 131 W 3rd, bluenote.net, $25 bar, $35 table
Amy Winehouse + The Pipettes
March 13, doors 7:30pm The loathsome, burgeoning trend of critics and/or bloggers trolling for dates on Craigslist by offering their plus-ones to hot-ticket shows will only continue with this retro-soul soiree; Winehouse is basically Lily Allen with a much better voice, superior hip-hop cred, and a far greater capacity for violence and liquor, while the Pipettes (who also play Luna Lounge March 1112) are girl-group Motown porn for those enamored of the "foxy librarian" look. By the next morning God will have been forced to kill 300,000 kittens. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, boweryballroom.com, $18$20 (sold out)
Ed Banger Records Showcase
March 29, doors 9pm French house/disco/whatever label of the moment fetes itself, justifiably. Go for Justice, leave just in case Uffie shows up. Hiro Ballroom, 363 W 16th, hiroballroom.com, $12
Heaven & Hell
March 30, 8pm I.e., Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio, forced into a name change due to nefarious legal entanglements. The burning Sharon Osbourne effigy poses a substantial fire hazard. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave, radiocity.com, $54$74