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Quite the diverse trio of shows in our area this evening as a fine local act and a couple of touring combos make things awfully interesting.
Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae at the Verizon Theater
Peter Gene Hernandez (aka Bruno Mars) has only released one album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, and has already become somewhat of a household name. Easy as it might be to dismiss Mars as just another pop fad with a limited shelf life, one has to give the guy his due. Sure, his sound is clearly derivative of a number of Motown acts, but hits such as "Just the Way You Are" and "Grenade" never pretend to be anything other than R&B-tinged pop songs. Plus, the dude co-wrote "Fuck You" for Cee-Lo. Fellow up-and-coming R&B-tinged star, Janelle Monae co-headlines.
Calhoun at Good Records
Just last year, it was thought that Fort Worth's Calhoun was calling it quits. Then, the news came down that frontman Tim Locke and guitarist Jordan Roberts, the two remaining original members, would be entering the studio to record a new Calhoun album. No celebrating the release of their new album, Heavy Sugar, the band appears refreshed, augmented with several fellow local musical luminaries (Little Black Dress' Nolan Thies and Toby Pipes, The O's' Taylor Young) now in the fold. It's unknown how long this recent reconfiguration will last, but either way, Locke and crew will appear in-store at Good tonight to showcase tracks from Heavy Sugar, a damn fine record that proves that these guys still have their best days in front of them.
The Human Abstract, Scale the Summit and Let Live at Trees
The progressive metal of Los Angeles' The Human Abstract is some of the most technically impressive pretentiousness I've heard in quite a while. Talented to be sure, this five-piece simply doesn't know the meaning of the word restraint. Such reckless riffing would be better fitting of a jazz fusion combo, but these guys make it work by sheer musical hubris. Hell, The Human Abstract's original singer, Nathan Ells, quit in 2009 and the rest of the band didn't flinch in reaching out and grabbing Travis Richter (From First to Last, The Color of Violence) to take Ells' place. Even with a new frontman, the band's most recent release, Digital Veil, doesn't deviate from the path of excess. Songs like "Holographic Sight" and "Horizon to Zenith" are as confounding as their titles indicate. Bring earplugs. And a dictionary.