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Five Can't-Miss Live Shows

Photo courtesy of HipHopWired

This is usually the time of year when music fans hibernate until NoisePop rears its eclectic, beautiful head. Not this year. Here we are, in the middle of December, and venues are still spelling out recognized and beloved names on their marquees. Here’s this week’s roster:

Kanye West & Jay-Z, Wednesday, HP Pavilion San Jose 

IF YOU PREFER YOUR HIP-HOP SERVED IN ALL CAPS, YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS KANYE WEST WEDNESDAY AT HP PAVILION!!!! Or at least that’s how we’re guessing Kanye would handle the marketing copywriting himself for this one. Of course, there is nothing lowercase about Kanye’s live performances, which often feature unexpected cameos and emcees from his own label, G.O.O.D. Music. This concert features the cameo of all cameos — longtime collaborator and Hip-Hop Throne incumbent Jay-Z. Watch the throne, one says to the other, on their new collab album. But we say watch the stage at all times when these living legends are onstage together.

Baths, Slims, Thursday

It’s no secret that some of hip-hop’s greatest beat engineers aren’t even producing hip-hop albums. Baths, aka wunderkind Will Wiesenfeld, could easily set his complex but inevitably hoody-bobbin’ compositions to some rap star’s rhymes and ride coattails. Instead, Baths’ lyricism resides in dense, quivering soundscapes and morphing textures. “Apologetic Shoulder Blades” is perhaps his masterpiece, with stuttering but confident syncopation and subtle instrumental sequencing adding up to something transcendent.

Oh Land, Rickshaw Stop, Thursday

It’s sold out, which makes sense. This Scandinavian indie pop phenom recently hitched herself to the Katy Perry world domination wagon, drawing ears and comparisons to fellow Euro-twee queens Robyn and Bjork. She really falls somewhere between the two, with the pop, sentimental sensibility of Robyn and the occasional artistic nuance of Bjork. Oh, and she’s a total babe. Shwing.

Tori Amos, Saturday, Paramount

Let us not forget the badassness of Ms. Amos, who made the alt-rockers take notice in the mid-’90s without the benefit of electric guitar or flannel-soaked indifference. Amos was, and still is, righteous in her own way, with a voice unbound by the rules of any vocal traditions. She’s never gone about her business in a typical way, all the way up to 2011 and the release of her fascinating concept album Night of Hunters, which comes with a mirror album explaining each song, abstractly or specifically. This one could get interesting. Or weird. Or both, we hope.

Pinback, Bottom of the Hill, Saturday (also New Parish in Oakland on Friday)

Please dear God let this mean Pinback is releasing a new album. These SoCal slowcore rockers come around fairly often, but it never seems like often enough. Two local gigs this weekend should whet our appetite for another few months.

 

@ChrisTrenchard