Tuesday, May 30, 2017
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We’re Floating in Space

The long-awaited Flaming Lips musical ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ places tech-savvy spectacle over spastic psychedelia.

Brotherly Love: The Black Crowes and Oasis

Newlywed Chris Robinson and The Black Crowes performed May 14 at the Greek Theatre as part of the Brotherly Love Tour that also featured dueling brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher, of Oasis.

Though Oasis struggled to gain the acceptance of the crowd, the Robinson brothers stole the night, which ended with a cover of ""To Love Somebody"" with Noel and Joan Osborne.

The Black Crowes performed new songs like ""Midnight From the Inside Out,"" ""Greasy Grass River"" and ""Cosmic Friend,"" as well as hits like ""Twice as Hard"" and ""Sting Me.""

Oasis opened with ""Go Let it Out"" and closed with a cover of The Beatles' ""I am the Walrus"" and included hits like ""Don't Look Back in Anger,"" ""Morning Glory"" and ""Champagne Supernova.""

Oasis is working on a follow-up to ""Standing on the Shoulder of Giants"" and The Black Crowes have a new album in stores titled ""Lions.""

-- Story and photos by Brian Moghadam

Masters of punk rock return with a vengeance

Social Distortion, the pre-eminent forefathers of punk rock, will grace the stage of Canes Friday night to cap off a short tour of small California venues. Social Distortion has visited San Diego in each of its three tours of the new millennium.

Few bands have changed the face of their musical genre as greatly as Social Distortion. Formed in 1978, the band has been in a constant state of self reinventation, having gone through numerous member changes that have given birth to four other punk bands. Amid the tragically wicked lifestyle of Mike Ness, the unfortunate brain aneurysm of bass guitarist Dennis Dannell and the coming and going of countless other musicians, one thing remains the same: Social Distortion sells out shows in California.

This is due in large part to the undying passion of Ness, the only remaining original member of the initial Social Distortion lineup, to play music live.

With eight full-length albums that do not include two solo albums released by Ness in 1999, and countless other releases (EPs and singles), Social Distortion is one of the most covered bands in the world today. Any new band coming on to the punk rock scene realizes the necessity of covering Social Distortion on an album. This rite of passage pays homage to the living legends that helped shape the face of punk rock before punk rock ever had a face to shape.

Their most commonly covered songs are ""Ring of Fire,"" ""Story of My Life"" and ""Sick Boy,"" each famous for their hard-rocking sing-a-long quality.

When will Social Distortion stop touring? Although only Ness can answer that question, one thing is certain: They show no sign of slowing. It seems possible that, like his bass guitarist, Ness will not stop until he has to stop. As Ness was reminded in 2000 by his bandmate's death: That day could come at any moment.

Ness seems content to be on the road near home, playing shows exclusively in California where his genre, his movement and his way of life saw their genesis. Friday at Canes will be perhaps one of the last opportunities San Diego has to experience the revolution before Social Distortion and Ness go the way of the Buffalo.

Social Distortion will be at Cane's Bar & Grill. The show is limited to those who are 21 and up. Look to the Hiatus calendar on page 13 for ticket information.

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Hiatus Weekly Calendar

All tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling (619) 220-8497 or by going to http://www.ticketmaster.com, unless noted.

22 Thursday

Flamenco Vivo presents Noches Flamenco. This passionate San Diego dance troupe will heat things up at Dizzy's. There will be a performance at 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. The cover is $10. Call (858) 270-7467 for ticket information.

Eve Selis, who is often compared to Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow, blends different styles of American roadhouse rock to create her own distinctive style. Selis will perform at the Belly Up Tavern at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5.

David J, who is one of the founding members of legendary Goth band Bauhaus, is now behind the turntables spinning an eclectic musical concoction ranging from electronic to Billie Holiday. He will perform at The Casbah at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8.

23 Friday

Enjoy the Kenny Dorham Tribute featuring an evening of music by this underrated bop trumpet player. The show will feature Gilbert Castellanos, Gary Lefebvre, Rob Thorsen, Paul Keeling and Brett Sanders. There will be shows at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The cover charge is $8. For more information call (858) 270-7467.

Greg Hetson from Bad Religion, Eric Melvin from NoFX, Derrick O'Brien from Social Distortion and Mike Watt from The Minutemen and Firehose will be your band for about two minutes at The Casbah's Punk Rock Karaoke. Tickets are $10. Sign up before the show to get the chance to be on stage. Check http://www.emperorsnewfoes.

com/songlist.html for the complete songlist and lyric sheets.

24 Saturday

Cindy Lee Berryhill along with Joy Eden Harrison will perform at Dizzy's, each showcasing her own acoustic-folk style. The show starts at 8 p.m. Call (858) 270-7467 for details.

Texas band The Gourds are already successful in Europe and are looking to break into the American scene. This five-piece band recently released an album titled, ""Bolsa de Aqua."" Fans of Phish might enjoy this group. Tickets cost $8. The show is at the Brick by Brick and starts at 8 p.m.

25 Sunday

The eclectic hip-hop stylings of Jurassic 5 will be at 4th & B. This Los Angeles-based group has been together for the past six years and it has definitely given a very vibrant and positive spin to hip-hop. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $22.50.

27 Tuesday

George Winston is a solo piano artist whose style comes from 1950s pop instrumentalists. His most recognizable works are probably the soundtracks for the ""Charlie Brown"" cartoons and ""The Velveteen Rabbit."" Winston will be performing at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. The show begins at 8 p.m. and tickets cost $30.

28 Wednesday

Girls Against Boys opened for Garbage at RIMAC Arena about a year ago, and to put it simply, they were very good. This Washington, D.C. group bases its music on thick, crunchy guitar and driving drum beats. It will be supported by Autolux and Drop Science at The Casbah. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. and tickets cost $8.

Henry Rollins, former frontman of the Rollins Band and Black Flag, will be at 4th & B talking about his life on the road and his humorous reflections on politics and touring around the world. Tickets are $15 and the event starts at 8:30 p.m.

Folk Hero Orchestrates Existential Crisis

Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois was an intricate celebration of life and Americana that raised the bar impossibly high for fellow singer-songwriter contenders. That was half a decade ago. Since then, he’s given us an album of “outtakes,” a five-disc anthology of Christmas songs and a soundtrack for his film about the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Those releases were great and all — albeit somewhat random — but they left us wondering: Will our erratic hero ever release another Michigan or Seven Swans?

After years of anticipation, The Age of Adz answers this question with a resounding “no.” What takes the expected folk album’s place, however, is something much more intriguing.

The piano and pizzicato strings of “Futile Devices” opens the album with a familiar delicacy, but quickly reveal themselves as a bait-and-switch for the surprising sounds that filter through the rest of it: glitchy electronic beats, sweeping orchestrations and epic choruses. No subtle acoustics or simple melodies here — Adz is a dense, beautiful mess.

“Too Much” is quirky, smiling pop, but Stevens’s sheer joy and earnestness keeps it from becoming trite or boring. The same goes for the 26-minute-long closer “Impossible Soul,” which holds our interest well into its exhilarating sing-along climax.

Even when the album descends into atmospheric chaos — as in the meandering “Now That I’m Older,” or the middle-school-marching-band title track — Adz gives way to another distinct beat or melody long before it gets tedious.

In an interview last year for Exclaim! Magazine, Stevens mentioned his descent into a full-blown existential music crisis. He brooded extensively over the purpose of a song and whether he should bother to continue with any future albums.

In Adz, this frustration is apparent. Even with 75 minutes at his disposal, there is still a sense that The Age of Adz can’t contain all that Stevens wants to say. Toward the end, “I Want To Be Well” encapsulates this meltdown, leading to a startlingly profound refrain: “I’m not fucking around/ I’m not, I’m not, I’m not fucking around.” He really isn’t. (8/10)

Winter Movie Preview

Winter break can be a snooze, but even the smallest hometowns have movie theaters. Here's your guide to the best flicks of the holiday season.

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