72 Hours: Joan as Police Woman, Lupe Fiasco, My Chemical Romance and more
A look at some of the weekend's top concerts...
Joan as Police Woman @ The Bootleg. Joan Wasser's third album under the Police Woman moniker hasn't been met with the open-armed underground reception as her prior two efforts, but the classically trained musician, who has gradually been drifting deeper into the world of soul and R&B, has too civilized a sound to not warrant attention. She's caught somewhere between joy and sorrow on "The Deep Field," and while she does sultry ("Chemmie") less well than desperation ("Nervous"), this is an album about stretching out (the guitar is much more prominent) and taking a breather from her more laid-back sadness. Friday at The Bootleg Theatre, 2220 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $12. -- Todd Martens
Red Pony Clock @ the Smell. How, exactly, this San Diego artsy-pop collective has graduated beyond SoCal house parties is a bit of a mystery, but just be glad Red Pony Clock is finding its deserved audience. Largely the brainchild of the bearded and round Gabe Saucedo, this loosely knit string of instrument-swapping musicians (think horns, accordions, banjos, whatever toy will fit on the tour bus) write the kind of bouncy indie-pop that could soundtrack a cool kid's quinceanera. It's silly, mariachi-inspired rock 'n' roll, at least sometimes. There's a good chance Red Pony Clock aren't exactly sure where things will end up. Friday at The Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles. Admission is $5. -- TM
My Chemical Romance @ The Palladium. For all intents and purposes, My Chemical Romance shouldn't be headlining much of anything. Penning a bunch of gothy theatrical songs about the cycle of cancer isn't exactly a way to the top of the charts, but 2006 album "The Black Parade" seemed to hit all the right notes at just the right time. Over-the-top? Check, as this was Billy Corgan-meets-Muse like bombast. Silly? Check, as one can't sample hospital sounds in a glam album without having a sense of humor (see audience-bating "Teenagers"). Theatrical? Check, as "The Black Parade" not only fit Broadway, but was ahead of its time, hitting three years before the hand-me-down generics of "Glee."
A follow-up, "Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys," didn't resonate quite as much with the buying public, but nevertheless, hard rock is rarely this fun. In fact, when singer Gerard Way demands fans show him their "jazz hands" on "Na Na Na," one doesnt' know if the act is being serious or mocking itself. Perhaps that's why this gig is at the Palladium and not the Bowl. Saturday at Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $41, not including surcharges (A Friday show is sold out). -- TM
Day 1 of the Jazz Reggae Festival @ UCLA. The first of this two-day event is dubbed "jam day," but who cares about the label when Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco is headlining. His latest, "Lasers," may be his most pop, but Lupe is still challenging his audience to think, lacing political barbs with pop-culture references. There's plenty good to be had on the campus grounds Sunday. Don't, for instance, miss the grown-up neo-soul of Bilal, who seemed to be at risk of disappearing into obscurity before being saved by local label Plug Research, or the jazzy hip-hop of Talib Kweli. Far lesser-known is Danish duo Quadron, but the act delivers exquisite electro-soul. On Monday, the fest takes a turn for the reggae. Sunday on the UCLA campus, 405 Hilgard Ave. Single-day tickets are $29 if bought in advance ($35 day-of). -- TM
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Photo: Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times