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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tonight in Music: Talib Kweli, Esben and the Witch, Billy Bragg

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM


TALIB KWELI, CORY MO, LOS CHICHARONES, DJ BIGGZ
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Despite working alongside a list of hiphop's A-listers—including, um, Kanye and Jay-Z—Talib Kweli's never found the recognition he deserves. That doesn't stop him from putting on fantastic shows—and tonight should be no exception, since Kweli, the muscle behind Black Star and Reflection Eternal, will be backed by a live band. ERIK HENRIKSEN


ESBEN AND THE WITCH, HELIOTROPES, NIGHTMARE FORTRESS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The entrancing, nightmarish pop of Esben and the Witch casts a spell over you, as the Brighton, UK trio walks that fine line between delicate and destructive. Their latest, Wash the Sins Not Only the Face, is filled with roiling drama, and their live show is like being situated in the eye of an enormous hurricane—in other words, a real rush. NED LANNAMANN


BILLY BRAGG, KIM CHURCHILL
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) When he's not busy lending his support to various left-leaning political standoffs, Billy Bragg is one of the world's steadier producers of folk and protest music. His muse never far from his sleeves, Bragg's collaborations with Wilco for the Mermaid Avenue series featured a reimagining of the Woody Guthrie cache of unreleased lyrics set to new music, and became one of his more notable contributions to the folk canon, despite his own prolific tendencies. Still, his new album, Tooth and Nail, is his first release of all new material since 2007's Mr. Love and Justice, and is a bit of a resigned listen, if only for its relative lack of Bragg's subtle lyrical snarls. As you might expect by now, Tooth also includes a Woody Guthrie cover, but don't let his tributes to old folksters lull you into thinking Bragg's had it. See this show for proof. RYAN J. PRADO

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