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The Short List

Valient Thorr

By Michael Byrne | Posted 9/17/2008

WEDNESDAY: Gritty local punk outfit Dead Mechanical celebrates a new vinyl release at the Charm City Space with Bridge and Tunnel and We'd Riot for Less. Midnight Juggernauts, kinda the less interesting, Aussie version of Justice, plays a party for a car company at the Ottobar with Heartsrevolution, which is like the less interesting, American version of Crystal Castles, and the Tax Lo DJs. Philly punk trio the Loved Ones invade the Talking Head with Beat Union, Ergs, and Sick Sick Birds. High Zero continues its five-day run of improvisational love at Theatre Project with vocal artist Tom Boram delivering the night's solo performance and four collaborative improv groups following. The Noise in the Basement conference kicks off at Fletchers with a showcase featuring Somalian MC K'naan and southern hip-hop unit Nappy Roots.

THURSDAY: Walter Sickert marches his "death-folk" Army of Broken Toys through the Ottobar with the Opposite Sex, Music for Headphones, and Sonic Cheetahs of Death. More Noise in the Basement: In a most impressive trifecta of heavy, Motörhead, the Misfits (2008 version), and Valient Thorr get the ground shaking at Rams Head Live with Year Long Disaster, while Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello brings his solo project, the Nightwatchman, to Fletchers with the sometimes fun, more often tedious Black Kids and the Annuals.

FRIDAY: Mainstream rap--like, all of it--invades 1st Mariner Arena with the "Up Closer and Personal Tour," starring 50 Cent, Plies, Lloyd Banks, Tony YaYo, and Lil Boosie. Sunset Rubdown--Wolf Parade/Frog Eyes' Spencer Krug's ostensible solo band project, with other people, just not people you'd know by name--crafts fantastically ornate, sprawling rock tunes at Washington's Black Cat with Oregon's like-minded, bared-trauma-in-a-Xiu-Xiu kind of way Parenthetical Girls. Squaaks bring their bounce-along pop rock to the Metro Gallery with Philly's Swimmers, Grammar Debate, and Los Doggies. Amorphous cover band Egg Babies Orchestra plays the Ottobar with posi-hop outfit Soul Cannon. Yet more Noise in the Basement: Femme-rock vanguard the Pretenders, now in their 30th year, play Sonar with the Hold Steady and longtime Baltimore favorites the All Mighty Senators, plus an excellent and fitting tribute to the late Club Queen K-Swift goes down at Fletchers with a who's-who lineup of Scottie B, King Tutt, Say Wut, Tittsworth, Jay Claxton, and DJ Quicksilva. Rabid electro-punk blast Abiku gets ear stabby at the Sidebar with the Pussy Pirates and the Shortage. Pop-punkers the Pink Spiders spin their web for a free show at the Talking Head with Dingleberry Dynasty and Filthy Rotten Sex Machine. An excellent and fitting tribute to the late Club Queen K-Swift goes down at Fletchers with a who's-who lineup of Scottie B, King Tutt, Say Wut, Tittsworth, Jay Claxton, and DJ Quicksilva.

SATURDAY: The "Super Art Fight" takes over the Ottobar--for which artists "[go] head to head to complete art projects"--with Karmella's Game and DJ Sheephead providing the soundtrack. Funk-metal-what? jam outfit Jimmie's Chicken Shack performs at Towson's Recher Theatre with Outreach, Fire in the Hole, and Ever Since Ebbwood. Kindred the Family Soul headlines the final Noise in the Basement showcase at Sonar. Meanwhile, local goof-rock outfit Dirty Marmaduke Flute Squad headlines a night of the Baltimore Music Conference at Fletchers with Stone Lucy, xDWELLx, Afterdawn, and Turning Point.

SUNDAY: Sedate, electronically bent songwriter Natalie Walker plays the Metro Gallery. Honoring the late Dan Hess, of Ready Set Go!, the Ottobar gathers a collection of ska, punk, and pop bands including mainstays the Pietasters, the Shakedowns, Eastern Standard Time, the Ambitions and plenty more. Much vaunted country and bluegrass rock hybrids the Avett Brothers and Drive-By Truckers perform at Pier Six Pavilion. The Mars Volta gives you all the "post" and "prog" whathaveyou you can eat at Rams Head Live. High Zero wraps up at Theatre Project with John Berndt performing solo before the night's four improvised groups. Knotty experimental outfit Indian Jewelry does weird things to the Golden West with Ravi Binning.

MONDAY: Courtney Taylor-Taylor, of unrelenting self-aggrandizement fame, brings his much overmythologized indie-psych-rock band the Dandy Warhols to the 9:30 Club with Darker My Love and the Upsidedown. Old Time Relijun frontman Arrington De Dionyso presents his free-jazz throat-singing alter ego at the Talking Head with the hypnotic gypsy-death-jazz of Evolutionary Jass Band and the Nathan Bell Band.

TUESDAY: Better than your usual indie-rock flash in the pan, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah performs at the 8X10. Eat Skull is not only the drunkenest band you'll see around the Golden West this year, but quite possibly the best dirt-caked, no-fi jangle-pop band to save indie rock from itself in, like, forever; Psychedelic Horseshit and Sri Audrobindo round out the bill. Chicago indie-rock outfit the Soft Targets play the Talking Head with Abby Mott and the Jennifers. Euro metal legend Helloween joins its later spin-off Gamma Ray for a night of odd accents and funny looks at Rams Head Live.

WEDNESDAY: Post-hardcore trio Double Dagger delivers the good truth at the Talking Head with the Mathematicians, Engine, and Thrust Lab. Indie-rock gold standard Built to Spill performs its masterwork Perfect From Now On at Rams Head Live with the Meat Puppets and the Drones.

IN THE WINGS: Hot Chip comes to Rams Head Live Oct. 7 with the experimental guitar dueling of Growing. (For more information visit or call [410] 244-1131.) Oi! revivalists the Casualties come the Ottobar Oct. 8 with Municipal Waste and the Shortage. (For more information visit or call [410] 662-0069.)

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