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Van Halen, Beach Fossils and Leo Kottke Play New York

By DNAinfo Staff on February 29, 2012 8:04am

By Daniel Jumpertz

Special to DNAinfo

Wednesday February 29 

Twelve string guitar master Leo Kottke is playing Wednesday at City Winery. While he has never been a household name, Leo made his major label debut in 1971 and has been making stunning, often instrumental, music ever since. He's known for his idiosyncratic fingerpicking style, which draws on influences from blues, jazz and folk music, and his syncopated, polyphonic melodies. Although self-deprecating, I think he's a fine singer, too. Perfect music for kicking back with a glass of good red! 

Thursday March 1

Reformed rockers Van Halen play Madison Square Garden, with Dave Lee Roth back as lead singer. Kool and the Gang support. 

Friday March 2

Chiming guitars and a minimalist '60s take on dreamy pop — Beach Fossils — are equal parts The XX and early REM. At the Music Hall Of Williamsburg

Saturday March 3

Royal Baths weave their dark, bluesy magic at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. The Brooklyn Vegan music blog hit the nail on the head: "Kind of a bad trip acid rock, dark and seedy but not atonal. But it’s definitely down the rabbit hole. In a good way."

Sunday March 4

Funny guys Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and chart-topping bands Coldplay and Mumford and Sons plus many more are appearing to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary at Radio City Music Hall Sunday. The show promises to be "a bad night for dictators and a good night for free speech," according to organizers. The Secret Policeman's Ball was first celebrated in London in 1979 as a fundraising concert (and subsequently a film and album release). In its first iteration, Monty Python's John Cleese was responsible for recruiting the comedic talent, nabbing Peter Cook, Michael Palin and Rowan Atkinson while Pete Townsend (The Who) rallied some of his rock star pals, including Sting and Eric Clapton. 

Monday March 5

Gifted bass player and all-round musical powerhouse Meshell Ndegeocello stars at the Schomburg Center's annual Women's Jazz Festival, performing "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, The Works of Nina Simone."

Tuesday March 6

Robert Johnson died a young man in 1938 in Mississippi after recording just a handful of tunes. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson enjoyed little commercial success or recognition in his lifetime. But since his Delta Blues recordings were re-released in the early 1960s, his legend has steadily grown. Eric Clapton called Johnson "the most important blues singer that ever lived." Tuesday night's tribute at the Apollo Theater, celebrating Johnson's 100th birthday, stars some of his many fans: The Roots, Shemika Copeland, Bettye LaVette, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Sam Moore, Todd Rundgren, Macy Gray, Chuck D, Savion Glover, Pedrito Martinez Group, Living Color and Elvis Costello. The event is a fundraiser to assist with the building of the Blues Hall of Fame by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee.