Five Best Concerts of the Week


We’re still smiling stupidly from the weekend’s Animal Collective and Wilco masterpiece concerts out in the East Bay. But no time to dwell on the immediate, wonderful past. The immediate future looks just as good. To wit:

GZA/Genius, Tuesday, Slim's
The Wu-Tang co-founder is bringing fans on a trip down hazy memory lane on his current tour. He’ll be performing his classic LP Liquid Swords, the album that affirmed GZA’s singular creative genius to Wu-Tang devotees and forward-thinking hip-hop fans. Of course, that’s the tentative plan. GZA has a reputation by now as something of a wild-card performer, so check your expectations at the door. Peep this review of his recent show in Denver to get an idea of how things can go wrong for GZA.

Menomena, Wednesday, Bimbo's 365 Club
Portland’s Menomena have made a name for themselves in a refreshing way, with dense theatrical pop music and a great sense of narrative. Founding member Brent Knopf departed the band in early 2011, but there’s still a great sense of purpose and vision found in the band’s latest release, Moms, a dense and rewarding collection of forceful songwriting. And yes, motherly thoughts and themes are central to the various narrative threads found here — the band admitted as much in a recent Pitchfork interview — so have some respect and pay attention, and make your bed already.   

Ryan Bingham, Great American Music Hall on Tuesday, Slim’s on Wednesday
Yee + Haw = Two words you better be familiar with if you’re gonna check out this soulful and rockin’ Americana maverick. You might recall Bingham’s star rise meteorically when his song “The Weary Kind” stole the show on the soundtrack to Crazy Heart, that fine 2009 masterpiece starring Jeff Bridges. Bingham has since proven he’s more than a benefactor of fortuitous cross-media placement. His albums have been regulars on Billboard Charts and in Critics’ Year-End Top 10 lists.

Beach House, Fox Theater, Friday
Victoria Legrand, you can play here anytime, anywhere, anyway you want, and we will show up. The Beach House lead singer/bandleader has a voice that melts and intrigues and echoes naturally, and keeps fans coming back for more. The effect of her slow-mo delivery and tempo is alternatively surreal and mesmerizing. Her latest album, Bloom, finds her hitting a career stride, fully realizing the outer bounds of her still-expanding vision.

Aimee Mann, The Fillmore, Friday
First off, here’s some required viewing for Aimee Mann — and for that matter, Jon Hamm — fans:

So, yeah, that happened. Of course, random artistic digressions are nothing new for Aimee Mann, who had a cameo on Portlandia not too long ago, and shows up at NPR for interviews early just to hang out. Aimee is currently staying busy in support of her new album ‘Charmer,’ which finds Mann getting back to the basics of smart songwriting and playful synths. In short, Aimee’s in a good mood these days.


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