Tonight, Tonight: Michelle Shocked at AllGood Café, Jason Isbell at Hailey's, Serena-Maneesh at The Loft and The Independents at the Double Wide

Another Wednesday rolls around, and there are a number of intriguing musical options with it...

Michelle Shocked at AllGood Café
Having renowned singer/songwriter Michelle Shocked at a venue like AllGood Café offers a few lucky individuals the chance for a very intimate concert experience. And Shocked, a native of East, Texas, is still capable of dazzling a crowd with her clever wordplay and engaging demeanor. Beginning in 1986 with the release of her roughhewed debut, The Texas Campfire Tapes, Shocked has confounded fans and critics at every turn. In 2007, Shocked released ToHeavenURide, a straight-up gospel effort that revealed the singer's strong Christian beliefs. 2009's Soul of My Soul proved that Shocked's spiritual renewal was no fluke. With or without that old-time religion, Shocked's grace and humor has produced a bevy of fine songs in a variety of Americana styles.

Paste Tour with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Seryn and Mimicking Birds at Hailey's
Wow, what a crowded bill for a Wednesday. But packaged tours like this one just keep rolling along. One-time Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell headlines this nice collection of alt-country acts; Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Isbell's 2009 sophomore effort, was produced by Centro-matic's Matt Pence and features some of the similar (and beautiful) idiosyncrasies associated with that band. Seattle's Jesse Sykes adds her intriguing brand of Americana to this hefty bill. Sykes hasn't released a record since 2007's Like, Love, Lust & the Open Halls of the Soul, but her impressive songwriter chops and road-weary voice should provide ample ear candy for fans of Emmylou Harris and Jenny Lewis.

Serena-Maneesh, Wovenhand at The Loft
Norway's Serena-Maneesh is sort of a Scandinavian version of The Velvet Underground. Dark and dense, the music of Emil Nikolaisen and crew can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. The title of the band's second effort, Abyss in B Minor, tells a good deal of the story. For fans of My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab, the music of Serena-Maneesh will certainly be gothic manna. Wovenhand is an alternative country outfit from Denver that features former 16 Horsepower frontman David Eugene Edwards. An odd but thought-provoking double bill.

The Independents, Sawed Off Sick, Ten Can Riot at the Double Wide
For almost 20 years, South Carolina's Independents has been spreading the horror ska gospel. Mixing the classic, sing-a-long punk of The Misfits with a hard-edged version of rockabilly, The Independents live in a fucked up work all its own. Songs like "Vampires from Outer Space" and "Necrophiliac" are tongue-in-cheek, but still rather disturbing. Like all good punk, the music of The Independents is confrontational and relatively stupid.  Two local acts, Sawed Off Sick and Ten Can Riot, will add some Texas heft to the pyschobilly blare.

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers