Friday, April 14, High Noon Saloon, 10 p.m.
As the most influential music columnist ever, I get asked lots of questions. Often they're of the "who are you" and "get out of my gazebo you dirty hippie" variety, but every so often someone asks, and I'm paraphrasing, "Why, in this age of iPods and video phones and satellite radio-equipped riding mowers, should anyone pay to see live music anymore?"
And my answer is always: drums. There's just something about a well-used drum kit that can't be captured in a recording. It goes beyond sound into some kind of extrasensory vibrating tidal thing that, in my younger, dreadlocked years, I'd be able to explain to you as we obsessively ate Marshmallow Peeps in some dude's smoky gazebo.
I mention this because when Low, the trance-ified softcore band from Duluth, Minn., come to town this week, singer-slash-drummer Mimi Parker will finally be playing all the drums her roadies meticulously assemble on stage. And the songs she'll play from their surprisingly driving 2005 opus The Great Destroyer don't so much chuck that "trance-ified softcore" label as add a layer of tidal vibrations that, as I said earlier, are a little hard to explain without the Peeps.
Low has always succeeded as much from presence as performance - another trait mixing boards can't capture, and another reason to go see them live.
Sunday, April 16, the Annex, 8 p.m.
Okay, here's another reason to love live shows and time-delayed Olympics: The endurance events. Ann Arbor's Tally Hall is in the midst of a month-long regular $5 gig at the Annex, where they play each Sunday, then shlep all over the Midwest for other shows, only to return here a week later.
A lot of nice things have been written about their Liverpool-flavored debut album, so I'll just say "true dat," which I'm told is hip. That hipness is key, because Tally Hall's single "Good Day," as pleasant a retro-rock confection as you'll find, was featured on last week's "The O.C." Now that's hip! Or not. I still watch "The West Wing," so what do I know.
The other benefit of this weekly stand is that several up-and-coming local bands have gotten a chance to open for them. I'm still bummed I missed seeing them play with the Madison funknomenon that is Seven Day Weekend, and so are you.