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Living Colour

Able to blend metal, punk, funk, jazz, and even some P.E.-style hip-hop into a potent hard rock groove, Living Colour enters its fourth decade as a band in 2014. After all these years, Vernon Reid, Corey Glover and company can still pack a mighty wallop, as their most recent studio album, The Chair in the Doorway attests, but their greatest strength has always really rested in their ability to conjure up interesting sonic textures, even during the densest of metal songs. This is certainly due to Vernon Reid’s preference for colorful chord voicings (à la Jeff Beck, Hendrix, or Van Halen) that give levity to riffs that would be leaden in the hands of lesser guitarists. Add Glover, still one of the better singers in hard rock, and a rhythm section that packs power and swing, and you’ll understand why “Cult of Personality” is still relevant today.

Thu., Jan. 2, 8 p.m., 2014

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The Rolling Stones

It may have taken the Rolling Stones until the end of 2012 to figure out how to celebrate their 50th anniversary, but there’s no question they’re doing it in style. On the heels of releasing the epic, 80-track greatest-hits comp GRRR!, they’ve already staged two raved-about live celebrations in the U.K. that featured ex-Stones like Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor and non-Stones like Mary J. Blige and Jeff Beck. As of press time they haven’t leaked any surprises for tonight or the coming week’s two New Jersey shows, but whatever they do, it will surely be big.

Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m., 2012

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‘A Celebration of Les Paul with Jeff Beck’

Rock icon Jeff Beck has said that the first guitarist to ever impress him was Les Paul. Beck has been paying tribute to the recently deceased six-string innovator ever since with his choice of instrument (just look at the cover of Blow by Blow). At this year’s Grammy Awards, he paid further tribute by duetting on “How High the Moon”—Paul’s signature duet with his then-wife, Mary Ford—with rockabilly chanteuse Imelda May. And tonight will be Beck’s grand farewell, in which he’ll play a set of Paul’s tunes in the intimate venue the guitarist called home.

Tue., June 8, 8 p.m.; Wed., June 9, 8 p.m., 2010

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Krantz Carlock Lefebvre

This would be Wayne Krantz (guitar), Keith Carlock (drums), and Tim Lefebvre (bass), an adrenalized trio of slipstream virtuosos savvy enough to split the difference between the jazz and improv-rock crowds. Their new album, Left It on the Playground, is a roiling brew of hypercaffeinated exploration. Tracks such as “Rushdie,” “Jeff Beck,” and “It’s No Fun Not to Like Pop” do uncanny things with time while navigating imaginary landscapes with confident precision at high velocities.

Wed., Dec. 9, 8:15 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 10, 8:15 p.m., 2009

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Party-Time Surf Rock for Your Pre-bar-fight Reveries

Steppin’ out for a little while, Dictators Thunderbolt Patterson and Ross the Boss peel paint on this instrumental CD of metallic party rock and the occasional Asian-sounding movie theme. Ross’s Les Paul drives the melodies, eschewing vocalists except for the occasional men’s chorus going “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and “Olé!” In adherence to ’70s classic-rock finery, Thunderboss falls somewhere between the Dictators’ own Manifest Destiny without the jokes and Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow with more “Freeway Jam” and no “‘Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers.” “King of the Road,” for example, furnishes a head-bobbing Patterson rhythm over which are scattered biker power-chord chomps and the type of shredding the likes of which guitar mags are quite fond. But what you’ll notice most is the foot-tapping boogie on “Olé” and “Hey,” delivered with the vim of that special time at a big cocktail party just before overserve is reached and fisticuffs begin. Ventures fans will be thrilled, and if you liked Bill Holden in The World of Suzie Wong, “Crube Train” and “Thunderbolt Theme” will work. Sounds like much of it’s in Cinerama too.

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Party-Time Surf Rock For Your Pre-Bar-Fight Reveries

Steppin’ out for a little while, Dictators Thunderbolt Patterson and Ross the Boss peel paint on this instrumental CD of metallic party rock and the occasional Asian-sounding movie theme. Ross’s Les Paul drives the melodies, eschewing vocalists except for the occasional men’s chorus going “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and “Olé!” In adherence to ’70s classic-rock finery, Thunderboss falls somewhere between the Dictators’ own Manifest Destiny without the jokes and Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow with more “Freeway Jam” and no “‘Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers.” “King of the Road,” for example, furnishes a head-bobbing Patterson rhythm over which are scattered biker power-chord chomps and the type of shredding the likes of which guitar mags are quite fond. But what you’ll notice most is the foot-tapping boogie on “Olé” and “Hey,” delivered with the vim of that special time at a big cocktail party just before overserve is reached and fisticuffs begin. Ventures fans will be thrilled, and if you liked Bill Holden in The World of Suzie Wong, “Crube Train” and “Thunderbolt Theme” will work. Sounds like much of it’s in Cinerama too.

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Born to Run



JOHN ADAMS

Age 32

Resides Brooklyn

Occupation Actor

Would you vote for Springsteen? I love “Dancing in the Dark,” and based on that song, yes, I’d vote for him. I don’t know anything about his politics.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? The transition can be made, but it has to be over the course of many years. Ronald Reagan had been in Hollywood for a long time before he became governor of California and later president.

What musician would you like to see in public office? Michael Jackson. He’s such a humanitarian. He’s given so much money and support to things like AIDS research. He went to Ryan White’s funeral. He is a very humble, very talented person, and you never hear about all the financial contributions he’s made. I only found out about them on the Internet, from a list of all the causes he’s funding. Michael Jackson’s in tune with all the world’s needs. He changed his skin color from black to white to send the message of his songs, that it “makes no difference if you’re black or white.” He’s the epitome of humanity.




BETH RODMAN

Age 31

Resides Bronx

Occupation Teacher

Would you vote for Springsteen? Yes, I would. I’m not a big fan, but I think he’s honest and not a publicity hound. I also think he has a sense of how hard people have to work to survive. When I was trying to finish my graduate program, and working two jobs—and I didn’t even have kids or a guy to take up my time—I know I was ready to go to Bellevue. I think Bruce understands that in a way Hillary Clinton never will.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? Yes. They’re used to being in the public eye. It’s essentially the same lifestyle.

What musician would you like to see in public office? Gregory Isaacs or somebody like him from the Jamaican reggae commmunity. Or somebody from the African American community. Not another white guy.




LAYLA KASTOO

Age 19

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Student

Would you vote for Springsteen? Yes, why not? We could use the excitement. I do hope he has real politics, and not just rock songs to go by. At the same time, I probably would vote for him based on his music.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? Yes, like Sonny Bono did.

What musician would you like to see in public office? Rod Stewart. He’s the vocalist extraordinaire. That’s a direct quote from Jeff Beck. I’m stuck in the ’70s.




BROCK MAHAN

Age 20

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Student

Would you vote for Springsteen? Probably not. Based on his music, I imagine he’s a populist, a working-class guy, but I don’t know his politics.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? Yes, in fact they’d probably have an advantage. They’re used to public speaking and memorizing lines. Although the current president often seems on the verge of shouting “line?”

What musician would you like to see in public office? I think Beck would be fun.




SHARON COHEN

Age 40

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Student

Would you vote for Springsteen? I don’t know. Who else is running besides him? You can’t vote for someone based on their lyrics.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? It depends. I wouldn’t say no. We’ve all had a million jobs.

What musician would you like to see in public office? Patty LaBelle, because she’s experienced and down-to-earth.




JOE BENDIK

Age 33

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Musician

Would you vote for Springsteen? Sure I would. I think he’s for the working class; he comes from the working class.

Can celebrities cross over to political life? I think it’s dangerous. What if Marilyn Manson ran for office and started promoting his own agenda?

What musician would you like to see in public office? Bob Dylan. I’m a huge fan.




XHIN SO

Age 47

Resides Manhattan

Occupation Kung fu teacher

Would you vote for Springsteen? I’m not a citizen of the U.S., but if I could vote I probably wouldn’t vote for him. I only know that he’s a rock musician. On the other hand, we had an actor for president, so why not a rocker in the Senate?

Can celebrities cross over to political life? I don’t see why not. My thinking is that quite a few actors came from Ivy League colleges. I wouldn’t want someone like Ozzy Osbourne as president.

What musician would you like to see in public office? Frank Sinatra.

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Tusks Stuck in the Muck

In the middle of L.A.’s concrete wasteland is the certifiably vile La Brea tar pit. Sold as a tourist attraction, it’s really just an inky pool of congealed petroleum mixed with water smelling of rotten eggs. In eons past, the story goes, it looked more like a real lake. Mammoths would stumble into it in search of a drink and get stuck. Then saber-toothed tigers would see the helpless mammoths and strike. And they would stick in the mire. Then carrion-eating birds would see the mound of dead meat, think it was easy pickings, and become caught fast, too.

So now there is a long-standing museum at the pit where archaeologists sort through the mess, scraping off caked oil and reconstructing skeletons. Some of it must be easy work. There’d be no mistaking the fist-sized molar of a mammoth, as you can plainly see from the illustration of a skull handily included with Mammoth Volume’s Noara Dance. Differentiating the breastbone of a common vulture from a similar bird that lived much earlier, though, must be much harder. Which is sort of like figuring out what’s up with Mammoth Volume.

Mellotrons come out of the sky and stand there throughout Noara Dance, but they have more to do with larks’ tongues than with roundabouts. The mastodon riff on “Railroad Rider” is straight from Jeff Beck as channeled through Martin Pugh for Keith Relf’s Armageddon. “As Say the Pilgrims, So Say I” even has the archetype prog pretension, although I’m suspicious it’s wise-guy sarcasm—coming, as it does, near the throwaway end and flip-flopping between wimpy-college-nerd stereosonics and David Cross fills. Most of the time, Mammoth Volume rip up the concrete from sheer lumpen excitement. And even when falling short, Noara Dance is still a, uh, La Brea of love. (Ouch! Please don’t hit me.)