Best shows to see: MGMT, Landon Knoblock's Cacaw | Bleader

Best shows to see: MGMT, Landon Knoblock's Cacaw


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Landon Knoblocks Cacaw
  • Landon Knoblock's Cacaw
Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away, but I'm eager for Turkey day to get here—or, more accurately, I'm excited for a holiday weekend overstuffed with excellent shows to finally arrive. There are plenty of shows to keep me satiated until then. Tonight there's the Kinks' Dave Davies at SPACE, and Flesk and Arcade breweries are celebrating a collaborative beer called Archnemesis with a free show at Township that includes performances from Scott Lucas & the Married Men, Dog & Wolf, and Nordic Thunder.

Nitetrotter Fest hits the Burlington Tuesday and Wednesday night; tomorrow night's show includes Unmanned Ship, Ono, Headless Horse Head, and a farewell performance by John Bellows (Gossip Wolf has more on that), and Idiot Glee headlines the second night, which also features Happy Jawbone Family Band, Jimmy Whispers, and Todays Hits. Elsewhere tomorrow night there's Gary Clark Jr. at the Vic and Two Houses at Township. On Wednesday night you can check out Emilie Autumn at House of Blues, Pink at Allstate Arena, Royal Bangs at Township, or St. Paul & the Broken Bones at Empty Bottle.

Those aren't the only concerts happening the next few days—check out Soundboard for even more show listings and read on for a couple picks from Reader critics.

Tue 11/19: MGMT at Aragon Ballroom

I never would've expected MGMT to become the kind of festival-headlining band they are today, and as Miles Raymer writes, they are one of the strangest pop-music success stories in recent memory. "In the mid-aughts two Wesleyan grads, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, were making electro-pop that mingled the arena-size sonics of the rave revival with the Flaming Lips' lysergically skewed pop aesthetic; it sounded like the type of niche thing that wouldn't travel far beyond Brooklyn, but thanks to the burgeoning EDM movement and the duo's talents for infusing large-scale pop hooks with a sweetly sad intimacy, they became global superstars, especially amongst MDMA-loving, body-painted college kids," Raymer writes. "They broke out with Oracular Spectacular in 2007, but on the two full-lengths they've released since then, 2010's Congratulations and a new self-titled album (all three are on Columbia), Goldwasser and VanWyngarden have left behind synthesizer anthems for quirky explorations of vintage psychedelia and modern experimental electronic music, bringing along a surprising number of the fans who came to the band through 'Kids.'"

Tue 11/19: Landon Knoblock's Cacaw at Jerry's

The recent Stellar Power (Skirl) from Landon Knoblock's Cacaw introduced Peter Margasak to keyboardist Landon Knoblock. "The first track, 'Double Dagger,' opens with drummer Jeff Davis laying down a huge backbeat and Knoblock playing a smeary synthetic bass line that sounds purloined from an old Human League record—it doesn't sound like jazz at all, until Knoblock adds soulful electric-piano arpeggios and reedist Oscar Noriega (Endangered Blood, Tim Berne's Snakeoil) slaloms his alto saxophone into the groove, changing the music’s complexion utterly even though the big beat and synth bass remain," he writes. Knoblock is a big sci-fi fan, but as Margasak notes, his strain of fusion is a far cry from spacey: "He injects his lovely postbop melodies with the granite toughness of hard rock and borderline cheesy retro synths, but those loaded signifiers don't detract from the group's jazzlike elasticity or shape-shifting improvisations, both of which are most notable in the interplay between Noriega and Knoblock."

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