Some of you might be disappointed, as we surely were, to learn that Aqualung is not a Jethro Tull tribute act. It is, rather, the moniker under which British semi-genius Matt Hales releases the music that he also happens to write, perform and produce.
Lucky for us, beautiful pop-inflected numbers have become his specialty instead of Ian Anderson knock-offs. Hales has described his latest musical efforts (which he is taking with him on the road) as the by-product of reading William Blake while trying to marry space-rock, ghostly glockenspiel, old-fashioned piano rolls and linear soundscapes. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell indeed! Aqualung will be at ear X-tacy for an abbreviated but free set at 7 p.m. on Thursday, then for a full show at Headliners Music Hall (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088) at 9 p.m. Kim Taylor and Gran Bel Fisher open.
Thursday night is also a big night for the hard-rocking faithful. Cleveland heavies Chimaira will be in our river city to showcase songs from its third full-length record, evocatively titled, Chimaira. In all seriousness, the self-titled album it is currently touring behind contains its best material to date. Expect these road-weary buckeyes to be ferocious and melodic, as usual, when they invade the Expo Five Dome (2900 S. Seventh St., 637-5218).
TV on the Radio is all the rage these days. Fronted by visual artists turned musicians, this New York City ensemble is funky and articulate at the same time. Much like, say, Bob Marley & The Wailers, the band can be fun yet deadly serious (check out their homage to George W. Bush, “Dry Drunk Emperor”).
The band is not, however, one you could easily tag with any particular genre. In fact, The Village Voice proclaimed that they do not even sound like a band at all. TVOTR’s current album, the acclaimed Return to Cookie Mountain, shows these guys to be proficient in pop, punk, post-punk, soul, electronica, dance, glam rock, Hendrix-style feedback, random noise samples and gratuitous mellotron employment. Not to mention hypnotic vocals. TVOTR’s all-ages gig at the Brown Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday qualifies as a must-see event. People Noise opens. Call 361-3100 for tickets.
In discussing what’s missing from so many modern country acts, Shooter Jennings notes that “you don’t have to pick cotton to be a good artist, but people like Billy Joe Shaver, for example, who are connected with hard luck, hard living and hard times, bring a certain soulfulness to their music that can’t be learned or faked.”
For Shooter, authenticity is key. That’s exactly what the notorious offspring of Jessi Colter and the late, great Waylon Jennings has delivered thus far. Since Shooter first assembled his honky-tonk-rock outfit known as the .357s (less than three years ago), they have unleashed two solid (and sufficiently whiskey-sodden) studio albums and one raucous live album. Additionally, the .357s have been busy finishing off some basic tracks that Shooter had initially recorded with his father. The rough mixes from this project are mind-blowing to say the least. The band hopes the finished product, tentatively titled Waylon Jennings and the .357s, will be released sometime this year. Shooter and his partners in crime have somehow managed to also maintain a relentless touring schedule. They are headed back to town for a sure-to-be-sold-out show Saturday at Headliners. Johnny Berry as well as the spectacular Ladybirds share the bill.
Saturday also marks the return of the paradoxically and somewhat surprisingly English band, America. The group’s founders, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell, enjoyed a long run of hits in the 1970s and a brief revival in the early ’80s. Most notably, they are the guys who brought us “A Horse With No Name.” Now they are back with a new album and the support of such hipsters as Ryan Adams, James Iha and My Morning Jacket. Expect an interesting and nostalgic night, as they take to the stage of the Palace Theatre. Be sure to keep an eye out for bearded local musical heroes that just might be enlisted. This all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Get your tickets ($22-$74) by calling 361-3100.
Sunday there are some killer after-church options. Powerman 5000, Flaw, Fall For Nothing, Anvil Grey, I Sleepwalker and Morning Augment all appear at Headliners.
Also in town on the 11th is New Orleans’ youngest legend, Harry Connick Jr. Connick, now 40, first performed publicly at the age of 6. So, although youthful, the man has been around and his fingers certainly know how to stroke a keyboard. He will bring his charming self and his piano-driven tunes to the Palace Theatre for a true evening of class. The set will probably be heavily tilted toward songs from his latest album, a tribute to his hometown, entitled, Oh, My Nola. This concert starts at 7 p.m. and is all-ages. Call 361-3100 for tickets ($45.50-$75.50).
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