Friday, October 15, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not - the Citysearch concert previews that didn't run

One of the reasons I don't blog here as much as I would like (besides inertia) is that I've been doing a weekly concert preview thingy for Citysearch DC. It's been a great outlet and a chance to talk about acts I like that are coming to town, so it steals some of the energy from this enterprise.

Citysearch is undergoing some changes these days and the listings system is being traded for a blog style. In working with the new format, there were some logistical glitches with my proposed column for this week. The national editors are out of the office today (Friday), so it won't be posted until Monday, which not only makes moot about half of the shows I wanted to mention, but kills my intro/outro, which marvels at the every night/sometimes two each night offerings of this busy week.

Rather than toss the column into the scrap heap, here's what I wrote....

You could be out and about every night this coming week and still kick yourself for missing out on something. Yep, it’s one of those blessing/curse kinda times when an abundance of options makes for tough choices.

On Friday night (October 15), Thermals and Cymbals Eat Guitars bring the noise – of a melodic, rocking kind – to the Black Cat. Meanwhile, the Sensitive-in-a-Paul-Simon-kind-of-way Charlie Mars starts off a stretch of great shows at Jammin Java. It’s also worth making the trek to that Vienna venue to see a rare acoustic appearance by Irish rockers Bell X1 on Sunday (October 17), along with a bright newcomer, James Vincent McMorrow.
Remind me to tell you the story of seeing Bell X1 in Dublin, when they were just a baby band, and then having dinner/drinks with them many years later...

The weekdays at Jammin Java bring a trio of female singer/songwriters all worth your attention. Tuesday’s (October 19) attraction is Susan Cowsill – yes, the same little girl from those “The Rain, The Park and Other Things” Cowsills, but now she’s all growed up and playing her own stuff, like on the new “Lighthouse” CD with special guests like Jackson Browne, Cowsill brothers Bob, Paul and John and Vicki Peterson (Bangles/Continental Drifters). Wednesday (October 20) is for Jill Sobule, “songwriter, guitarist and gypsy” who kissed a girl before Katy Perry made it chart-worthy and recently opened for Fountains of Wayne. Now she gets a headline set of her own to display her quirky humor and well-crafted songs. Finally (at least for the Vienna visit), Thursday brings Catie Curtis, a veteran artist with a catalog of warm, rainbow coalition pop/rock material.
Do you think Susan Cowsill will sing "The Rain, The Park and Other Things"? No one wants to live in the past, but it's such a great song!

While music is the main thing we’ve been previewing here, comedy is also a good bet when you’ve got the caliber of talent coming to town this weekend. But oh, how to choose?!
On Saturday (October 16), all you fans of public radio’s smart and silly news quiz, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” can catch regular contributor Paula Poundstone at the Birchmere . But then you’d miss out on seeing the real king of late, late night when Craig Ferguson brings all his cheeky monkeyshines to the Warner Theatre. My mom joins me in being crazy about this Scottish-American scamp, but I wouldn’t bring her to the show – you just know that, without the CBS censors looking over his shoulder, Ferguson is gonna talk a blue streak.

Craig Ferguson is adorable. Case closed. That man is on my 15-minute list.

Sara Bareilles turned in a fine set earlier this year when Lilith Fair came into town, including a fine, flirty take on “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” She’s got plenty of catchy material of her own, like (who made you) “King of Anything,” from her new CD, “Kaleidoscope Heart,” and she’ll get to play it all when she stops at the 930 Club  on Monday (October 18) with Greg Laswell opening. The club site lists this show as sold out, so hit the alternate ticket market if you want in. Tickets are still available for Richard Thompson on Tuesday, though, and you can never go wrong with this classic singer/songwriter who also knows how to shred a guitar without histrionics.     

Ten shows in seven days? Literally can’t be done. But aren’t you glad you live in a city with such an embarrassment of riches?

 Richard Thompson, class act.