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Tonight, Tonight: Black Lips at The Loft, Lauryn Hill at House of Blues, James Taylor at the Music Hall at Fair Park and Seryn at Renfield's.


A fairly packed Wednesday night of music awaits the discerning listener who wishes to venture out this evening. Oh, and Charlie Sheen will be winning with tiger blood at the AAC tonight, too.

Black Lips and Vivian Girls at The Loft
Atlanta's Black Lips have a style that has been described as a mish-mash of blues, rock, doo-wop, country and punk. Most bands would have difficulty juggling so many styles, but not Jared Swilley and crew. These guys succeed with pure slacker hubris. The band's forthcoming album, Arabia Mountain, thanks to production work from Mark Ronson, sounds like it'll probably the Lips' most polished album to date. Then again, polished for these guys means little more than tuning their instruments. Known for their chaotic (and sometimes repulsive) live shows, Black Lips have been doing their messy thing for over a dozen years at this point. Let's hope they make it last a dozen more.

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Lauryn Hill at the House of Blues
Hard to believe that Lauryn Hill has been making music for almost 25 years, but lo and behold, the gal was singing at weddings way back in 1987. Known for her work with the Fugees in the '90s and her outstanding debut solo effort, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the talented singer and songwriter kind of fell of the musical map around 2000. During her self-imposed exile, Hill sometimes seemed at the point of a nervous breakdown as she (among other things) chastised the Catholic Church over child abuse issues. To make matters worse, in 2004, Hill basically sabotaged a Fugees reunion singlehandedly. Despite all of the controversies that are seemingly part and parcel of everything this women has a hand in, she's still a damn good singer with a lot to say. You can't say that about just anyone.

James Taylor at the Music Hall at Fair Park
When I was a kid, James Taylor had hair and sang mellow and thoughtful songs that actually made teenagers slow down and think about life. These days, Taylor's bald. But he can sure make an audience of 40-, 50- and 60-somethings smile and bask in the memory of more innocent times. The audience tonight will most certainly come out for the hits -- like "Fire and Rain" and "You've Got a Friend" -- but there's a hell of a lot more in Taylor's bag than those '70s FM radio staples. Perhaps he'll dig deep into his catalog and pull out a gem like "Millworker" from 1979's Flag. Sung from a female perspective, the song goes a long way in explaining why Taylor's always had a strong connection with the ladies.

Seryn at Renfield's Corner
Last time I saw Seryn, they were opening up for The Walkmen, and theirs was an impressive performance that was just the beginning of a great night of music. The band's debut album, This is Where We Are, just got the vinyl treatment. Add in the fact that this show's a free one, and you've got yourself quite the nice option here.

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