April 10, 2007

Colbert’s foils, hello Andrea, Afrobeats, Rejects roll

Over the years, The Decemberists have become the band everyone can love. Musically, they aren’t married to any indie rock conventions or clichés, and lyrically, their songs are vast, storybook worlds.You could call them the English major’s response to MTV drivel. Recently, The Decemberists kicked things up a notch by releasing their hardest rocking album to date, The Crane Wife. The record features two jams clocking in at more than 10 minutes each, but it is also a concept album based on an old Japanese folk tale.“With this record, we used the recording studio as a practice space, so if we decided we wanted to record a song, we could record a song right away and get it up on the boards and listen to it,” guitarist Chris Funk told LEO.“For Picaresque, we got together and hammered out songs in rehearsal and then actually played them live and took them on the road, so they sort of groomed themselves from the live experience,” he said.“You would think taking songs out on the road would give it more of a band sound, but I think this record just sort of put the five of us in a room, and let it sort of gestate together cooperatively with the help of Tucker Martine and Chris Walla, who produced the record.”Funk is best known for his part in The Decemberists’ hilarious celebrity feud with Stephen Colbert.The feud ended with “December’s Rock and Awe: Countdown to Guitarmegeddon,” a guitar solo challenge between Funk and Colbert. Colbert won the challenge using Peter Frampton as a pinch hitter.The Decemberists bring their gypsy folk show to Louisville for two shows Friday. They play WFPK-FM’s Live Lunch (619 S. Fourth St., 814-6565) at noon. It’s a free, first-come, first-served concert. Later that night, the band brings My Brightest Diamond along for the ride. The show will start around 7 p.m., once the performers have landed their hot air balloon on the roof of the Brown Theatre (315 W. Broadway, 562-0188). Tickets are $27.•••You know those movies where the grizzled cynic meets the idealistic newcomer and ends up learning just as Andrea Davidson will celebrate the release of her record, Pick Your Poison, Friday at Gerstle’s.much about himself in the long run? These movies often contain phrases like “The kid’s got heart,” and so on.Talking with Andrea Davidson makes me feel like the cynical old man, but in a good way. She’s young, wildly passionate about her music, intensely grateful for any kindness directed toward her and desperately wanting to help anyone else if possible.Davidson will celebrate the release of her first record, Pick Your Poison, this Friday at Gerstle’s (3801 Frankfort Ave., 899-3609), but you might not know that by talking to her.She’s quick to talk about two charity shows she’s involved in: a breast cancer benefit Sunday at the Fox Den (133 W. Liberty St., 589-3866) that also features performances by Karsten Nelson and Michael Felker; and a concert next Thursday, April 19, at Headliners (1386 Lexington Road, 584-8088) for Kosair Charities, That one features Ebony and Ivory, Tyrone Cotton and The Big Diggity. Items donated by local businesses will be raffled, and celebrity appearances are scheduled.“I know this is going to sound really cheesy, but I really do feel like I was given the gift of music for a reason, and think it’s to make things more positive in any way that I can,” she said. “The CD release is really important to me, but not like the benefit is.” What can I say? The kid’s got heart.•••After three European releases, Century of Aeroplanes is giving the United States a taste of its medicine.The band celebrates the release of Slow and Drastic Saturday at The Rudyard Kipling (422 W. Oak St., 636-1311) with Jamie Barnes and Siberia.Bassist Rob Collier said the music of COA, which takes its name from a Claude Debussy quote, took on new interpretations after he assembled a group of musicians over the summer to flesh out the sound.“I decided to put together an ensemble to play some of the music that I’d been doing, but also to do music that I couldn’t really pull off by myself,” Collier said. “The previous CDs I had done were a lot of ambient music, and not too much that was composed for a set group of instruments.”Cover is $5; music starts at 9:30 p.m.•••When it began in 1998, Brooklyn’s Antibalas played almost exclusively in lofts, museums, galleries and other unconventional venues.The group is massive, touring with 11 to 14 musicians. It describes its style as afrobeat, which mixes jazz, soul, funk and Nigerian traditional music made popular in the 1960s by Fela Kuti.Since its inception, the group has brought its uncompromising stage show to more than 500 concerts in 14 countries. Antibalas plays Saturday at Headliners. Chin Chin, a dance-funk band that includes brothers and Louisville natives Torbitt and Wilder Schwartz, are the opener. Doors open at 9 p.m., and tickets are $12.•••Dead City Rejects open for The Queers tonight at Uncle Pleasant’s.Dead City Rejects are clear about where they fit in the pantheon of music.“It has a melody, and we actually know how to play our instruments,” said Chico, DCR’s seemingly ambidextrous drummer.Brent Starkey, easily the elder statesman of the group, calls DCR “punk rock ’n’ roll.” Bobby O., the most recent Reject, and Jeremy King round out the lineup.DCR meets musically somewhere in between the Clash, ’70s arena rock and Chuck Berry. They’ve stayed dormant for several months until Bobby O. joined earlier this year. With a full roster, it’s go time.They open tonight for The Queers, who are celebrating 20 years of boozing, bruising, rocking and generally giving the middle finger to whatever they deem stupid. The all-ages show starts at 6 p.m. at Uncle Pleasant’s (2126 S. Preston St., 634-4147). Tickets are $10.•••Damn universities. If UC-San Diego had given Neva Geoffrey enough dough to attend classes there, she might never have relocated to Lexington to live with one of her friends, and we might not know anything about her proclivity for pop song. So maybe we’re not that upset. She’s great, and acclimating nicely to living in the bluegrass.“It’s the smallest city I’ve ever been in, but it was a comfortable first impression,” Geoffrey said. “I’ve made a lot of friends.”Geoffrey returns to Louisville for a free show at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at ear X-tacy.  Music Editor Mat Herron contributed to this story. Contact the writers at leo@leoweekly.com