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FOLK HERO: Bob Dylan plays the Monterey Fairgrounds this Saturday.

Music Calendar

August 11 - 18, 2010

Thursday | 8/12


Specialists in a very particular brand of Texas rock & roll, the Mother Truckers focus on the constituent parts of rock music. The band's blues-and-country-inspired rave-ups are undeniably habit-forming, with their anthemic sweeps and irrepressible sense of rhythm. It's the sound of Austin's Sixth Avenue music scene, which blares out of the city's bars beginning at the crack of dawn, and the Mother Truckers are the most realized and immediate practitioners of the sound. Touring behind their latest release, Van Tour, the band has delivered a set of immediate and unpretentious songs that would be at home on any '70s FM rock station. Moe's Alley; $12 adv/$15 door; 8:30pm. (Paul M. Davis)

Friday | 8/13


The sound of Moonalice might come as a surprise to those who know bandleader G. E. Smith from his decades-long gig playing for the Saturday Night Live band. Unlike the interstitial electric blues that Smith performed behind Don Pardo voiceovers, Moonalice's sound owes much more to the bucolic country-rock of '60s Grateful Dead. Flanked by onetime members of Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna, Smith revels in his newfound freedom to play to his heart's content, turning out psychedelic and country-rock that seems to have no limits. Don Quixote's; $10 adv/$10 door; 8pm. (PMD)

Saturday | 8/14


Ben Gibbard, the bookish indie icon of Seattle's Death Cab for Cutie, wasn't even a gleam in his father's eye when Jack Kerouac wrote his seminal novel On the Road in 1951. And Jay Farrar, the St. Louis–based brainfather of alt-country act Son Volt and former Uncle Tupelo frontman, was just 2 years old when the author died of alcoholism at 47. And yet the two indie darlings, like a huge cross-section of their fan base, are there, holding up their tattered Desolation Angels paperbacks like archaeologists claiming to have unearthed the missing link between hipsters and beatniks. For $75 this weekend you can take a road trip (amphetamines optional) to fittingly located Big Sur for a catered evening featuring the two said rock stars unfurling their new project—a musical ode to, you guessed it, Jack Kerouac. Henry Miller Library, Big Sur, $75; 6:30pm. (Curtis Cartier)

AKRON/FAMILY The most identifiable quality of Akron/Family is its ever-mercurial state. The band is constantly morphing and evolving, at times within a single song, as folk, Afrobeat, free jazz and psychedelic soul are all given a place at the table. The band's most recent release, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, has proved to be its most unpredictable and unclassifiable to date. Considering that they've been touring behind the album for over a year, it's likely the songs have mutated wildly from their recorded versions. It's rare for a band to evolve beyond a certain point, but that restlessness is coded into Akron/Family's very DNA. Brookdale Lodge; $15; 8pm. (PMD)


Anyone familiar with the Bay Area scene in the mid-'70s has probably heard of this partnership. After 30 years they still pack venues, and not in a past-tense, reminiscing-about-past-hits kind of way. They write, and it's awesome. Pense has the voice of a '60s soul legend, shouting her highs and purring her lows with a treble that could physically rock the stage. It's like Aretha Franklin coming to town. And Cold Blood are on the same rung—when they're heard together, it seems like the beefy brass was made for Pense's vocals. Don Quixote's; $16 adv/ $18 door; 8pm. (Katie Jacobson)

Sunday | 8/15


The glistening luster of ex-Pixies frontman Black Francis' bald noggin has reflected more than its share of stage lights over the last 20 years. And within that hairless chrome dome, he's hatched songs that have helped shape the face of modern alternative rock in the '90s and today. This time around Black is heading to the peaceful tranquility of Big Sur, where he plans on frightening native wildlife with his high-volume arrangements. A godfather of the indie movement, Black's work is as relevant now as it was when he sang "Debaser" and "Where Is My Mind." Henry Miller Library, Big Sur; $25; 3pm. (CC)

Monday | 8/16


If you watch one person play the 21-string African kora in your lifetime, it may as well be the best damn kora player alive. Malian prodigy Toumani Diabate arguably holds that title and he's got the CV to prove it, including collabs with everyone from Damon Albarn of Blur to blues legend Taj Mahal and Icelandic princess Björk, not to mention a Grammy win and a consistent spot in a handful of the biggest indie festivals on the globe. Seeing him perform his complex soundscapes at Kuumbwa will be an experience nothing short of one-of-a-kind. Kuumbwa; 7pm $25 adv/$28 door, 9pm $20 adv/$23 door. (CC)

Tuesday | 8/17


It's telling that a band as uncomplicated as Wavves has proven to be so divisive in the age of hyperactive blog buzz. The band's music—which lashes a skate-rat aesthetic to navel-gazing lyrics—is in no way unusual. Instead, it's a really well-realized version of an evergreen pop-punk sound. It's frontman Nathan Williams' seeming lack of self-awareness that seems to drive the bloggers nuts. Wavves is neither innovative nor the end of modern music: it's straightforward sad-sack pop-punk with a fashionable glaze of lo-fi fuzz. Crepe Place; $10; 9pm. (PMD)


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