Splendour in the Crass
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 not rise 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)
March 19, doors 8pm You have won fourth prize in a beauty contest. Collect a career in butt-rock balladry. Irving Plaza, 17 Irving Pl, irvingplaza.com, $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
April 10, doors 8pmThe NME just luuuuvs these dudes; ordinarily sensible blogger types are bandying about "new rave" as a descriptor and call to arms. Crikey. A Culture Club for those who define culture very loosely. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, boweryballroom.com, $15 (sold out)
Souls of Mischief
April 18, doors 8pmWest Coast indie-rap titans reprise the mighty " '93 Till Infinity" while you weep with joy. Southpaw, 125 Fifth Ave, Bklyn, spsounds.com, price TBA
April 22-23, doors 8pmIf you're ever on a blind date and he/she proclaims Pulp's "Common People" the greatest song of all time, marry him/her immediately; no matter what literate, lecherous oaths frontman Cocker hurls from the stage as he sketches out his prurient but playful Britpop, do not marry him. Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, bowerypresents.com, $32$35
Devildriver + Dimmu Borgir + Kataklysm + Unearth
April 26, 7pmSay hello to jovial Voice listings guru and black-metal totem D. Shawn Bosler (guaranteed to be in the crowd), and marvel at how metal cred is often attainable merely by switching your Cs to Ks. Nokia Theatre Times Square, 1515 Bway, nokiatheatrenyc.com, $25
Konono No. 1
May 5, doors 7pmLavishly praised, joyously noisy African pop maestros make white people dance even more awkwardly than usual via expert manipulation of the likembé (a/k/a thumb piano), which resembles the device used by meter maids to deprive you of the joy these folks bring in spades. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey, boweryballroom.com, $20$23
May 14, doors 7:30pm Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Webster Hall, 125 E 11th, bowerypresents.com, $20$25 (late-March Bowery Ballroom dates are sold out as fuck)
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
May 30, doors 6pmNo need to patronize this vibrant institution merely out of lingering New Orleans guilt hunt down last year's fantastic, criminally underpublicized track-by-track remake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On for insight into precisely that. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W 42nd, bbkingblues.com, $16$19
Ahhahahahaahahahahaha. Nowhere, Never
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