Wednesday, June 6
Texan Gary Clarke Jr. is often compared to guitar greats Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan — and with good reason. His strumming (and singing) is soulful and inspired. Tonight's show is a benefit for the Ubuntu Education Fund. It provides world-class health and educational support to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. At Roseland Ballroom.
Thursday, June 7
ESG formed in the South Bronx in the early '80s and emerged as an influential and dynamic force at the crossroads of hip-hop, funk and post-punk. The foundation of the band has been the Scroggins sisters: Renee (vocals), Valerie (drums), Deborah (bass) and Marie (congas, vocals). Originally signed to Factory Records in the U.K. their first album was produced by Martin Hannett (Joy Division, U2, New Order). In the U.S. they released music on New York's underground 99 Records label alongside No Wave groups such as Liquid Liquid, The Bush Tetras and Konk. Tonight at Le Poisson Rouge is expected to be their last NYC appearance ever, and their final album (which was released in March) is aptly titled "Closure."
Friday, June 8
The New York Times calls multi-talented performer Jane Krakowski, “A gold digger, a femme fatale, a sex-crazed she-devil in a red dress." Best known for her work on TV's "30 Rock," Krakowski is an all-round entertainer, belting out classic American ballads and saucy jazz tunes that recall such cabaret dames as Eartha Kitt and Mae West. At The Town Hall.
Saturday, June 9
Macho Englishmen The Cult join Florida punk rockers Against Me! and L.A.'s The Icarus Line at Terminal 5. The Cult formed in 1983 and enjoyed their biggest successes internationally with their 1989 album "Sonic Temple" and the 1991 effort "Ceremony." The bands mix hippy, punk and metal aesthetics, thereby crossing over more successfully than many metal bands. Check out "Love Removal Machine," a big hit in 1987. The Cult are touring behind their first album since 2007, titled "Choice Of Weapon," which renews their partnership with Canadian producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi).
Sunday, June 10
Lana Del Rey is playing two shows at Irving Plaza (also Thurs., June 7) this week. As a teaser, check out her recent live performances on NPR's World Cafe. Whatever the Internet chatter may be, the singer has managed to craft a unique persona in a very crowded marketplace. That she is also able to back her manufactured image with some truly moving songs is why her "Born To Die" album is one of this year's biggest sellers, reaching the top spot in Australia, most of Europe and No. 2 in the U.S.
Monday, June 11
Jonathan Richman began playing guitar at 15, and in the early 1970s formed the hugely influential Modern Lovers, whose raw, minimalist sound (think The Velvet Underground) helped lay the groundwork for punk rock. By the time the group's debut album — including the much-covered "Road Runner," a top five single in Europe — was released in 1976, Jonathan had already moved on to a quieter sound and a gentler, more lyrical focus. Since then, he's continued to record and tour prolifically, first with a series of Modern Lovers lineups, later on his own, and eventually as a duo with drummer Tommy Larkins. Richman's music has absorbed a multitude of influences, from doo-wop to country, without sacrificing his effervescent personality. At the Bowery Ballroom. Also Weds., June 13.
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