BORN IN the heartland but irrefutably transformed by years knocking around the New York art-rock scene, Akron/Family is the very definition of a cult band. Some of the group's touchstones clearly bear the mark of its Americana roots, as evidenced by the gentle twang and almost gospellike uplift of miniaturist folk sketches like "Love Is Simple." But just when you think you've got the band pegged as purveyors of charmingly shambling lo-fi twang, Akron/Family throws in something completely left-field, like the luminescent and chiming experimentalism of songs like "Always There." In those moments, the Americana roots that Akron/Family pays tribute to are extreme edges of traditional music, while retaining a minimalist sensibility incubated in the experimental underground New York scene. It's to the band's credit that it bridges the two extremes so seamlessly, making it one of the most striking acts to emerge this year.
KNOWN IN New Orleans for playing what is affectionately called Fish Head Music, the Radiators are infamous for doing away with setlists and diving into their repertoire of 1,300 songs at any given time, a practice the band adopted soon after forming in 1978. Moving between blues, jazz, zydeco and soul, the Radiators keep audiences guessing with a musical mix that depends just as much on the spectators as on the band, which keeps that Mardi Gras party atmosphere alive wherever they perform. Aside from live shows, the Radiators' 1987 album,Law of the Fish, is regarded as being among the best albums ever to come out of the Big Easy. The spirit of New Orleans is still alive, and it's ready to rock.
Wednesday Oct. 10
628 Divisadero St., San Francisco
AFTER THE pioneering socially conscious rap group A Tribe Called Quest called it quits, its most visible member, Q-Tip, put out a jiggy album called Amplified that was hated by fans, even though its two singles, "Breathe" and "Stop and Vivrant Thing" still hold up as innovative (if similar) club hits. Q-Tip quickly changed up his style and his name—he went with Kamaal the Abstract for his next (and self-titled) album, which never even saw the light of day. A strange, avant-garde blending of jazz, hip-hop and rock, it was too eclectic for his then-label, Arista. He'll finally release a new album this year. 88 Keys and Percee P also perform.
Tue. Nov. 6, 6:30pm
525 W. Santa Clara St.,
$39.50-$50.50 BUY TICKETS
Grammy Award-winning Maroon 5 is back in action after a hiatus that followed their 2002 Songs About Jane album. Maroon 5's new material has been blowing fans and critics away--it's sexier and better than ever. The music world has seen tons of artists infusing soul into their music, but Maroon 5 excels at it, making them heartthrobs for many adoring female fans. Funky beats and Adam Levine's unique vocals are still what set Maroon 5 apart from other alternative rock bands. The HP Pavilion might be a huge venue, but Maroon 5, The Hives and Phantom Planet will undoubtedly fill it up with fans and beautiful music.
--Capsules that were taken from the Metroactive Club Newsletter were written by: RO, DB, SL, GW, MC & CT