Our weekly concert picks: August 27–September 2

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 12: Kanye West performs onstage as Samsung Galaxy presents JAY Z and Kanye West at SXSW on March 12, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Samsung)

What we’re doing Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, August 28: X

X are one of those great punk bands who have been jamming together, on and off, for nearly 40 years now — but still sound as raucous as they did in the old days. Originally formed in 1977 by bassist/occasional actor John Doe, his girlfriend/vocalist Exene Cervenka, and guitarist Billy Zoom — with drummer DJ Bonebrake hopping aboard shortly after — X helped kick off the first wave of American punk in the 1970s, and helped establish hometown LA (more known for its proximity to Hollywood and for inspiring bands like The Beach Boys) as a legit punk scene.  Their distinct blend of three-chord punk with bits of rockabilly, blues, and boy/girl harmonies won them critical appeal—and 35 years later, songs like “Adult Books” and “White Girl” are still righteous ragers known to cause headbanging. The band went through several break-ups and reunions throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s — but is now back together, and will play a supercharged show at the Troc this Thursday. The last time we saw them live, they played for two hours, Doe stomped and sweated, Cervenka wailed like a Banshee, and Zoom winked at me. What will this Thursday hold? There’s only one way to find out.

8:00 at the Trocadero, 1003 Arch St., $22. Tickets available here.


Saturday, August 30: Trombone Shorty with Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Before hearing Trombone Shorty I confess my opinion of the trombone was inexplicably tied to high school band concerts (my younger brother used to play) and perhaps not all that positive as a result. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way. But Trombone Shorty is not my little brother — and can do things with a trombone that will make you seriously re-evaluate its musicality. Born Troy Andrews, in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, he was nicknamed “Trombone Shorty” at an early age due to his virtuosic playing (some accounts have him leading his neighborhood band at the age of 6), and quickly gained wider notice as an act to watch. He went on to open for the likes of Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz, and DMB — and these days, he’s one of the most exciting artists making jazz music right now. He’s joined this Saturday by the funky soul man himself, Charles Bradley, who together with his Extraordinaires will have you dancing and grooving like it’s 1970.

10:45 at the TLA, 334 South St., $38.50. Tickets available here.



Saturday, August 30–Sunday, August 31: Made in America

Over the past 2 years we’ve loved watching Made in America — the massive, impressive tour de festival founded by Jay Z — morph into our unofficial end to summer, and one last fling before the start of a new school year. This year, MIA expands to two cities—Philadelphia and Los Angeles — although we’re convinced we have the better line-up (take, that LA!). Kanye and Kings of Leon headline Saturday and Sunday, respectively — although both days feature a ton of acts we’re psyched for: like Pharrell, Baauer, Steve Aoiki, Spoon, Grimes, and Mayer Hawthorne. This year for the first time ever the fest also features a Skate Park Stage, which will play host to locals Cruisr (who just signed to Vagrant Records!), Nothing, OCD: Moosh & Twist, Pissed Jeans, and The Menzingers. Go for the big names; stay for the small! We’ll be there ourselves, live-blogging all weekend; if you see us, come say hi!

Noon to midnight at Ben Franklin Parkway, $150 for a 2-day pass. Tickets available here.


Monday, September 1: Spoon

Can we talk for a sec about how great the new Spoon record, They Want Me Soul, is? So good, right? It’s no surprise, really, coming from a band that have managed to be a staple on every college rock playlist ever in the last 20 years — but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. An Austin, TX rock group formed in 1993 by Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, Spoon make quirky, visceral pop that is simultaneously snarky and insightful; hook-y and volatile; perfectly percussive but still rough around the edges — and in a land of Killers and Weezers, restore our faith in the ability of American rockers to continue making great music as they age. Over the past 20 years, they’ve released eight records, and more than 100 songs — ranging from quintessential youth anthems to new hits — and will stop at World Café Live this Labor Day for a much hyped Free at Noon performance. (They play the MIA Fest as well, but fans not willing to shell out the $$$ might find this option more attractive). Unfortunately, the RSVP list is already full — so we hope you already got your tix! If not, no worries — you can still listen on the radio (just like you did when Spoon first came out).

12:00 noon at World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St., sold out.