Good Friday: Danielson, Black Eyed Peas, Dokken, Faster Pussycat, Venus Flytrap, Robert Deeble, Josh Alan Friedman, Mark Growden, Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, B.J. Thomas, Shannon McNully, Matthew Good, Automatic Loveletter, Off With Their Heads

With Pete down in Austin attending to all things SXSW, it falls to me to come up with some show recommendations for our area. And there's a lot of stuff going on.

Tomorrow brings a Dillinger Escape Plan show to The Granada Theater, and Sunday is especially busy with 97.9's Car Show in Fair Park (featuring Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and loads more), KHYI-95.3 FM The Range's Texas Music Revolution happening at South Fork Ranch with appearances by the likes of Hayes Carll and Band of Heathens, and the SXSW spillover mother lode at The Double-Wide's Bro Fest.

As for other activities to keep you busy this fin de semana, just read on.

Danielson, Ortolan, Ben + Vesper
Friday, March 19, at Haileys

Daniel Smith is Danielson, he and whomever he chooses to work with. For almost 15 years, Smith has played his Jesus-inspired indie pop, gaining many, ahem, disciples along the way. But the music of Danielson certainly cannot be pigeonholed due to Smith's religious affiliations. Hell, the guy is hip enough to have an album recorded by Steve Albini and another one that features collaborations with Deerhoof, Sufjan Stevens, Why?, Serena Maneesh, and Half-handed Cloud. This evening's triple bill with Ortolan and Ben + Vesper should be, well, inspirational.

Black Eyed Peas
Friday, March 19, at American Airlines Center

This will be the best-attended show of the weekend as Fergie brings her well-formed booty to the AAC. While I admire the talent of Will.I.Am and vocalists Apl.De.Ap, Taboo, and Fergie, I've never understood the mass popularity the band has generated over the past 15 years. But at least it's dance music with a bit of a brain. And these days, that's saying something.

Dokken, Skid Row
Friday, March 19, at Glass Cactus

With original guitarist George Lynch back in the fold, fans of the semi-legendary American metal band Dokken can once again revel in delight. The band's biggest commercial heyday was 1983-88, not a good time in popular music. But Don Dokken and various ensembles have carried the metal banner through 4 decades and only the final judgment will bring an end to it. A retooled Skid Row (featuring Texan Johnny Solinger) will open the proceedings.

Faster Pussycat
Friday, March 19, at The Loft

Speaking of 80's hair metal hangovers, some folks don't know that Faster Pussycat's main man, one Taime Downe, changed the band's musical direction around 2001, adding to the fray some industrial elements that pissed off a lot of the band's original glam metal fan base. So much so that three original members formed their own version of Faster Pussycat in 2006, but that version was thankfully put down a year later. Anyhow, Downe's version isn't that much better, but it doesn't look back as its only option.

Venus Flytrap, Robert Deeble
Friday, March 19 at The Cavern

One of the best things about SXSW backwash is getting to hear a lot of cool international bands. Hailing from the Netherlands, Venus Flytrap creates a super intense indie pop that's almost ear friendly. Opener Robert Deeble aint no slouch either, although his brand of folk/pop is much easier to digest, which is not always the better thing.

Josh Alan Friedman, Mark Growden
Saturday, March 20, at The Kessler Theater

Since Robert Wilonsky blogged about what a hip writer and guitarist Friedman is, I thought recommending this gig was sort of the proper thing to do. Plus opener Mark Growden is considered to be some kind of Bay Area musical genius, a guy who fancies himself as much of a philosopher as a musician. Sounds like a heady evening of music.

Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, B.J. Thomas
Saturday, March 20, at Nokia

Last time the Beach Boys came around, my in-laws went and told me that the members looked like they needed walkers just to get around the stage. Face it, without Brian Wilson these wheels are threadbare. But Glen Campbell is still considered one of the best guitarists, like ever. Ask any country player or headbanger for that matter. Campbell is that good. Now B. J. Thomas? You got another thing coming.

Shannon McNully
Saturday, March 20, at Sons of Hermann Hall

Nice to see a show at Sons and McNully is a perfect choice for such a great venue. The country/soul this Mississippian can conjure up will send shivers up the spines of those who still swear by Lucinda Williams's self-titled album.

Matthew Good, Automatic Loveletter
Sunday, March 21, at The Granada Theater

Kind of grungy but in an earnest sort of way, Matthew Good reminds me of a Canadian Eddie Vendor, only with worse hair but a better voice. Good's anthemic rants about society's ills make for surprisingly good rocking. Tampa, Florida's Automatic Loveletter is far less interesting, but the band's brand of Emo is at least unoffensive.

Off With Their Heads, Smoke or Fire, Dead to Me
Sunday, March 22, at Rubber Gloves

One of my favorite American punk outfits, Off With Their Heads makes it to our area quite often. Loud and angry, the band's songs feature shout-a-long chorus ala The Misfits or Fear, two legends of the genre. And hey, they are from Minneapolis, home of Husker Du and the Replacements. Nuff said.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers