WRIGHT ON: Loudon Wainwright III, like so many musicians of the ’70s and ’80s, was once billed as the next Dylan. Unlike others, Wainwright, a soulful and slightly ironic folksinger who combines poetry and humor with a generational message, is still around. And while he never reached Dylan’s fame-he addresses the subject in “Talking New Bob Dylan,” a song he wrote in the early ’90s-his music enjoys a strong cult following around the world.
Part of Wainwright’s appeal is his relentless, hilarious, and sometimes uncomfortable penchant for honesty. His often self-abasing lyrics have been branded confessional folk, a moniker supported by his candid stage presence. He sings about intensely personal issues-sometimes ruefully, sometimes comically, but always with touching affect. He’s also the father of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, about whom he wrote the breastfeeding ballad “Rufus is a Tit Man,” although history would later prove him incorrect.
His easy sound and unpretentious lyrics are a welcome reminder that musicians need not reinvent whole genres to make great music. Wainwright comes to SOhO on Sunday, May 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets and show details are available at sohosb.com. -Greg Nichols
PEACE OUT: Rock music has often been used to bring about social change, and this Friday, May 25 offers a chance for Santa Barbarans to take part. While Iran continues to ignore the international community’s call for it to suspend its nuclear program and proclaims its intention to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth, you can protest all wars and nuclear weapons while rocking out to the Boston-based hip-hopper Radio Active, East L.A.’s socially conscious reggae/dub stars Quinto Sol, and psych-prog agitators-cum-Rage Against the Machine-derived hard-rockers Aztlan.
Perhaps the most intriguing act on the bill is singer/songwriter/performance artist Pussywillow Sparks (formerly of Clitorectomy & the Mutilators), who is known to break out into spontaneous tap dances during her performances. The show-hosted by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Youth Empowerment Initiative-goes down at Earl Warren Showgrounds, and though it could all very likely be diverse and politically aware, one thing is for sure: Dude, it’s gonna be weird. -Max Burke
HIPS DON’T LIE: Most bands that formed in 1991 and were even remotely associated with the “alternative rock explosion” are but a distant memory these days. It is a testament to the talent and dedication of The Mother Hips that they are still making music, their original lineup is (relatively) intact, and their sound isn’t dated whatsoever. It’s no easy feat to have been on the H.O.R.D.E. Tour (remember that? Probably not …) and end up on the right side of a melodic power pop revival in 2007, but that’s just what The Mother Hips have done with their latest release, Kissing The Crystal Flake. The band will be taking the stage this Saturday night at SOhO. Don’t miss out-they’re the real deal, no joke. -MB
GREEN-EYED SOUL: Singer/songwriter Marina V will be at SOhO on Tuesday, May 29 to play her original melodic, piano-driven rock. Marina belongs to the extraordinary diaspora of young Russian artists now making their mark in the States. Her songs wrap around you and lift you up like the best of the Beatles or Tori Amos, and reveal a solid grounding in classical technique and composition. The most memorable thing about her music is her voice-sultry, passionate, and full of yearning. Welcome her back from the island of Maui, where she just played a Sierra Club benefit with Matt Ellis, Jason Serfling, and Owen Plant. -Charles Donelan
SUBLIME, INDEED: For all you Sublime fans out there, the next best thing is coming to Velvet Jones on May 25. Sublime Unauthorized is a tribute band that’s keeping the music alive. It’s not the same, of course, and the band readily acknowledges that. But they still do a remarkable job capturing the energy and enthusiasm that Sublime brought to every show, and coming from Long Beach, they’re dedicated to preserving the sound that grew out of their hometown. Bradley’s no longer with us, but his music lives on, and we may as well celebrate it. -GN
THE ROUNDUP: Still not satisfied? Here’s a rundown of what else is going on this week on the S.B. music scene: Electronic folk-rockers and onetime openers for India.Arie, Raining Jane will be pounding the pavement in front of the State Street Borders on Monday, May 28 from 2-4 p.m. And Delaney Gibson-backed by Joe Baugh on guitar and Tina Guo on cello-returns to the S.B. stage as one of the four women headliners of a show at Rocks next Thursday, May 31. Rikka Z, Lisa Goe, and Jennifer Hira will also perform. -Sarah Hammil