Live Music

Bang Camaro, Supersuckers, Rudresh Mahathappa + Vijay Iyer, Birdie Busch, Wissahickon Chicken Shack, Asteroid # 4, Cloak/Dagger

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Bang Camaro

Sat., Dec. 6, 9pm. $12. With Hooray for Earth, Leslie + Dirty Diamond. North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar sts. 215.787.0488.

It would take a toothsome bribe to get me to gig along in the van of Boston's Bang Camaro. For one thing, this Boston metal band's all dudes and dudes stink exponentially in herds. Second, the band brims with upward of 20 dudes on any given night, all of whom are billed as lead singers. The lineup is as ridiculous--and as mind-blowingly metal--as christening their sophomore album with a big Roman numeral II. Classic! Such shenanigans may sound like a 20-trick pony, but it's a pony that respects the art of shredding a flying V--they even have tracks on Guitar Hero II and Rock Band. If they can't coax the angst-ridden horny preteen boy living in your heart to punch out, fist in the air, devil horns up, you never had it in you. And that's just sad. (Tara Murtha)


Fri., Dec. 5, 9pm. $15-$18. North Star, 27th and Poplar sts. 215.787.0488.

Twenty years is a long time to do anything, so kudos to Seattle-via-Arizona's Supersuckers. Eddie Spaghetti and co. are celebrating two decades together with a flamethrower of a new album, Get It Together, and their "Hittin' the Gravel" tour. One of the few outfits that can call itself "The World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band!" and actually get away with it, the Supersuckers eat Marshall stacks and cowboy hats and shit out high-volume ass-kickery, Mot�rheading country music and Willie Nelsoning garage-punk and metal better than virtually anyone else, ever. (Michael Alan Goldberg)

Rudresh Mahathappa + Vijay Iyer

Sat., Dec. 6, 7pm and 9pm. $12-$25. With David Gilmore + Carlo de Rosa + Damion Reid. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914.

What do you get when you leave a Guggenheim fellow and a physicist/music-cognition researcher in a room filled with instruments? We call that jazz, baby. While saxophonist Rudresh Mahathappa and frequent collaborator pianist Vijay Iyer have impressive academic credentials, it's the music that's most remarkable. Mahanthappa's sax adeptly covers tones smooth and sultry, bright and sassy, with deliberate and compelling squeaks and squawks in between. Whether it's straight-up jazz or tunes with funk and Middle Eastern influences thrown in, he pulls it all together cohesively and compellingly. Meanwhile, Iyer glides across the keyboard seamlessly and passionately, even when he cranks out hip-hop grooves that sound like Wu-Tang samples--lilting, disconcerting and memorable. (Katherine Silkaitis)

Birdie Busch

Fri., Dec. 5, 7pm. $7. Green Line Cafe, 4305 Locust St. 215.222.0799

Currently putting the finishing touches on her third LP, Birdie Busch is simmering with excitement for her 2009 release. Her previous albums, made right here in Philly, are sterling arguments for using production as a prism to filter an artist's sensibility rather than pile on gimmicky layers of pitch-perfecting artifice. That's part of the reason it's so pleasing to watch Birdie unspool her whimsically astute songs in stripped-down coffee shop-style setting, where charming lyrics like "Sweetheart age/ a chapter in a chapter about chapters/ if you turn the page, you might end up in some midlife rapture" can make you cash in your Bloody Mary mornings for an evening on the ground. (T.M.)

Wissahickon Chicken Shack

Sat., Dec. 6, 9pm. $5. Blinkin' Lincoln, 6080 Ridge Ave. 215.487.9914.

In case you didn't know, our city is home to quite a few solid bluegrass ensembles, and with the release of Long Way From Sunset, Wissahickon Chicken Shack may snag some attention outside the usual humble bar gigs. The seven-piece's self-proclaimed fondness for folk, funk and honky-tonk livens up their tunes, as do mean licks of dobro and lap steel amid the requisite fiddle, banjo and mandolin. With tearjerking lead vocals from Bethany Brooks, "Abide With Me" explores the introspective flipside of party-starters like "Hot Rob Bob" and "Slow Train." Witness the troupe's strong collaborative spirit as they kick off the first of three shows this month at Roxborough's brand new music venue. (Doug Wallen)

Asteroid #4

Thurs., Dec. 4, 9:30pm. $10. With Darker My Love + the Strange Boys. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Sometimes in our busy lives we have the time to just lie on the ground and listen to music--not fall asleep, and not as part of a drug-induced haze, mind you, but just listen. Put on Asteroid #4, and you're caught up in a wave of sound--lush, heady, enveloping and unhurried. Shoegaze, space rock, psychedelia, folk rock or garage--whatever your poison, Asteroid #4 is an apothecary's lab of musical experimentation and combinations. Songs have a nostalgic quality that's bittersweet and carefree. Mystical narratives weave in and out of the droning, layered melodies, which are filled with tambourines, guitars, vocal distortion and feedback. (K.S.)

The Sleepwells

Sat., Dec. 6, 8pm. $5. With Box Five, Discount Heroes + Conversion Party. Connie's Ric Rac, 1132 S. Ninth St. 215.279.7587.

Once Boston folkie Katie Barbato fled to Philly after three solo albums, she founded the four-piece Sleepwells, whose new Somewhere Over the Radar was recorded in the local studio run by guitarist Matt Teacher and drummer Mike Lawson. For good measure, it was mixed in Nashville, though the band leans more toward piano-anchored pop than country. Fresh off teaching songwriting and voice lessons at Settlement Music School, Barbato guided the Sleepwells to a live spot on 'XPN and from there an upcoming CD release show in New York. (D.W.)


Fri., Dec. 5, 6pm. $10. With Static Radio, Birth Control + Aneurysm Rats. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888.

Manic guitars and thrashing drums are the first things that strike you when it comes to Cloak/Dagger. Then you realize this aural assault isn't just loud sounds, but full-fledged songs with memorable melodies and a surprising degree of technical ability. With an aesthetic akin to old-school hardcore and emo bands like Rites of Spring and Circle Jerks. Cloak/Dagger imparts an immediacy and passion that's impossible to fake. (K.S.)

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