June 12, 2007

Wamble on, Fire alarm, King maker, Big & Rich

Saturday, June 16 Doug WambleJazz virtuoso Doug Wamble is out of sorts. He’s in the throes of moving from Connecticut back to New York, and so far, the new Big Apple digs are far from feng shui. “It’s total bedlam all the way around,” he says.When he stops at The Jazz Factory (815 W. Market St., 992-3242) Saturday night, Wamble and his ensemble will be more organized, thanks to a Friday slot at Bonnaroo. Wamble, a Memphis kid, fawns over the festival’s inclusiveness. “It’s a bit of a challenge for us — we kind of get thrown from jazz to other things.” But he’s betting the open-minded fans dig his work. “They’re not going to radio to tell them what to listen to.”Wamble moved to New York in 1997, and says it’s still jazz central. “There’s no better concentration. Regardless of the music scene, New York is a pipeline of energy. I couldn’t take not being in it, being around people who are working so hard. I know I’ll never leave there again.”Except to play in Louisville. Wamble’s sets start at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.•••Friday, June 15Where for art thou, banjo? The Intermezzo Café and Cabaret (316 W. Main St., below Actors Theatre) has put together Fire on Main — a three-show series in June that kicks off with a performance by Boulder, Colo., outfit Hit & Run Bluegrass. The group formed in 2002 and has since performed with the likes of J.D. Crowe, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Galactic and G. Love & Special Sauce.Doors open at 8 p.m. and the band starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $10. Tickets will only be sold at the door, and the performances will be in the main lobby of Actors Theatre.•••Saturday, June 16If you’re going to open up a new outdoor concert venue at a casino, there’s no better choice to hop the stage first than the Muzik Mafia. Wild and crazy to the bleeding edge of mainstream country-crossover sensibilities, Big & Rich and their kindred co-stars offer plenty of party attitude and a fair amount of good music.Big Kenny and John Rich just put out a new collection, Between Raising Hell and Saving Grace, which leans toward balladry and a little away from freak cowboys asking to be ridden. Figure on plenty of swaying as well as stomping, but the duo can pull off most anything in the safe center of their range. There’s no doubt that fans will be well rewarded when Caesars Indiana has its outdoor cherry busted by these two. Mustang Sally and Cowboy Troy are warm-ups in the purest sense — just friends along for the ride — so you don’t have to sweat running in when the gates open at 2:30 p.m. The show starts for real at 4 p.m., and the new space at Caesars can hold more than 3,000. This gig is 21-and-over, tickets start at $35 and more info is available at 1-866-ROMAN-4-U. •••Thursday, June 14No More Kings singer Pete Mitchell made Louisville his home for eight months during the recording of the band’s self-titled debut. He loves the place. Hey, what’s not to love? “It didn’t feel like the South,” he says. “Louisville is very metropolitan. I was surprised at how many musicians I met.”Mitchell, 33, shows a fondness for the ’80s on the 13-song, pop rock album. One of the songs, “Sweep the Leg,” is a “Karate Kid” reference. “I didn’t set out to necessarily highlight that or anything. I was writing all these songs from, sort of, my childhood: They were all about talking cars (“Knight Rider”), the A-Team, the things that I watched as a kid.”The Kings arrive at Phoenix Hill Tavern (644 Baxter Ave., 589-4957). 49th Star, Dirt Poor Robins and The Trigger Code open. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.•••Monday, June 18Years ago, Straylight Run decided not to board the emo ship, a vessel watered down by dastardly derelicts of derivation, and set out to craft a style of pop with deeper textures and less distortion. The backbone of its Universal Records debut, The Needles The Space, is brother and sister John and Michelle Nolan, who share an affinity for dramatic songs about life, relationships and the uncertainty attached to both. John’s pitch climbs to high registers, acting as a counterpoint to Michelle’s soothing tenor. Best part is, Straylight keeps altering their style with every album, throwing subtle electronics in here, a disorienting string arrangement there.“I definitely do feel like, with this album, we hit our stride,” Nolan said. “We have started to find a sound for ourselves, and that was a process of spending time being in bands, spending time writing together and working on music together. All of us in the band are very into the idea of trying out new things with our songs. To us, it’s just a natural sort of thing.” Straylight Run joins Sparta and Lovedrug Monday at Headliners (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088). T.E. Lyons contributed to this report. Contact the writers at leo@leoweekly.com