When the New Times fax machine, which never sleeps or eats, always on guard for the next stunning press release, vomited up a notice that Etta James and the Roots were playing Old School Square (51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach) at 7 p.m. Sunday, we had to collect the bricks we had just shit. This had to be the coolest damn lineup we'd ever heard of. And then, our uninitiated asses were informed that this was Etta James and her backing band, the Roots Band, not Etta James and the saviors of alternative rap. Rats.
But now we're kicking ourselves for selling the Roots Band short. With this backing band, "The Matriarch of the Blues" (as she proclaimed herself in the title of a record several years ago) released a live album in 2002, Burnin' Down the House: Live at the House of Blues. That album revealed a singer that has lost little of her vocal talent in the nigh 50 years since "Roll with Me Henry" first made rhythm-and-blues fans sit up and take notice. As for the Roots Band, its chops are undeniable, particularly when it loops through such bizarre segues as Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" into "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf. For those R&B purists who shudder at the thought of James' taking on the biker anthem, rest assured that the only other covers on the album come in a medley of Al Green classics, with "My Funny Valentine" topping the list. A James concert is, if anything, diverse.
The concert has been billed as James' first tour in eight years -- which is perplexing, given the 2002 live album recorded from a 2001 concert. In any case, though, a gambling man would probably take odds that she won't be down here again. Ever. If your thing is the blues, rhythm and blues, soul, or any combination of the three, or if you just want to be able to say you saw one of the great legends of blues, this could be your one and only chance. Tickets cost $38.50 to $50. Call 561-243-7922. -- Dan Sweeney
It's Oh So Quiet
You're in the forest, the breeze gently ruffling your hair. A butterfly lands on your hand. And look, there goes a deer! You are at one with the universe. And what's that? Is that the music from Deep Thoughts? These are the feelings that go through your head after listening to the Album Leaf, the solo project from Jimmy LaValle, who has been in noise-rock bands like the Locust and Swing Kids and, more recently, a part of San Diego mood rockers Tristeza. If you thought Tristeza sounded like falling through space on Quaaludes, then the Album Leaf is like meditating on a cliff at dawn after snorting a few lines of ginseng (although we here at New Times do not condone meditating). A listen to LaValle's 2001 album One Day I'll Be on Time finds the orchestral tones of 1999's An Orchestrated Rise to Fall giving way to more minimal and ambient soundscapes and hushed guitar strumming. Brew some herbal tea and check out the Album Leaf with Summer Blanket and American Analog Set at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost $8. Call 561-832-9999. -- Audra Schroeder
Schimmel. Because He Cares.
Robert Schimmel arrives for a new round of pointing out life's absurdities
OK, we're just kidding about that headline. Robert Schimmel does not, in fact, care. The last time he came to town, we spent an hour or so on the phone with the man, and one thing we learned is that Robert Schimmel is a real jerk. But in that self-deprecating, funny way. Which is nice.
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Schimmel's comedy career has had a boost recently due to his status as a regular visitor to The Howard Stern Show, and in a town that boasts occasional comedy shows by even the most unfunny of Stern's people (K.C. Armstrong, we're looking at you), such cachet can mean a lot of heads coming out to Uncle Funny's Comedy Club (9160 State Rd. 84, Davie) Thursday through Sunday. And as long as they like dick jokes, Schimmel should have no problem making them laugh. As you may have guessed, this is not a show for people with, um, delicate palettes, shall we say. Ticket prices vary. Call 954-474-5653. -- Dan Sweeney
Kickin' It Freestyle
Aww, yeah. Forget about the '80s; the early '90s are coming back. If you lived in South Florida anytime between 1988 and 1991, then you remember calling up stations like Power 96 to request Timmy T's "One More Try," over and over. You probably also remember Exposé's roller-rink jam "Let Me Be the One" or one of the various imitators ("Sweet Sensation," anyone?). Well, you don't have to try to remember those days any more, because the "Miami Freestyle Reunion Concert" is coming to -- naturally -- Fort Lauderdale. Break out that Hypercolor T-shirt, bust open a Zima, and head over to War Memorial Auditorium (800 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale) for performances by Connie ("Funky Little Beat"), Sandee ("You're the One"), Gioia (pictured, formerly of Exposé), Erotic Exotic ("Come on Baby Take Me As I Am"), and Secret Society ("We Belong Together"). The show starts at 7 p.m. with DJ Hans spinning the best in Miami freestyle. Call 954-828-5380. -- Audra Schroeder