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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tonight in Music: Mission of Burma, Todd Rundgren, Mickey Hart

posted by on October 1 at 9:00 AM

Mission of Burma - “Trem Two”
Mission of Burma, Welcome
(Neumos) When Mission of Burma released their seminal debut record, Vs., in 1982, I was still in diapers, and punk rock’s meteoric marks were still being made on the musical landscape. Count Vs. as one of those marks. This frenzied, fractured slab of jittery post-punk, which was rereleased this year as a triptych with the two MOB albums that followed, picked up at a time that two of the band’s not-too-distant predecessors—Gang of Four and Pere Ubu—had fallen flat. The urgency of Vs. still resonates, capturing a fervent energy guitarist-vocalist Roger Miller once said was meant “to mimic the natural feel of a live performance.” Vs. as presented as an actual live performance in its entirety promises to be an essential experience. TRAVIS RITTER
Todd Rundgren - “Hello, It’s Me” (live on The Midnight Special)
Todd Rundgren
(Triple Door) Few musicians have fallen off as precipitously as Todd Rundgren. The Philadelphia singer/songwriter/studio sorcerer peaked early and often with psych-garage foursome Nazz (whose “Open My Eyes” is a contender for greatest song in the universe) and solo LPs bursting with maverick blue-eyed soul pop like Something, Anything? and A Wizard, A True Star (whose “International Feel” electrifies Daft Punk’s Electroma), and the prog opus Initiation. Rundgren flaunted a devastating melodic touch with baroque arrangements and odd electronic embellishments. But even as he kept up with technological innovations, Rundgren faltered compositionally, sporadically falling prey to gimmickry and triteness. Those treasuring his ’60s and ’70s output will probably get their fill of faves, but they’ll have to suffer some cringeworthy duds in the process. DAVE SEGAL
Mickey Hart performing at the Harmony Festival earlier this year
Global Drum Project, Mickey Hart
(Benaroya Hall) Please bag your knee-jerk disdain for the Grateful Dead and hippies in general for a minute. I feel your skepticism, but Dead drummer Mickey Hart has done some worthwhile music in the post–Jerry Garcia era. For instance, Hart’s latest ensemble with Zakir Hussain, Taufiq Qureshi, and other exotically named players rides hypnotic percussion excursions, Dilshad Khan’s blissful, glinting sarangi, and sage, inspirational male vocals (including some by the legendary Babatunde Olatunji) to a noncheesy place of profound peace. You can listen to Hart and Hussain’s Global Drum Project, get your gentle groove on, align your chakras, chant “om” till the gurus come home, and still respect yourself when morning yoga class rolls around. DAVE SEGAL

Search through our online listings for all the rest of what’s happening tonight.

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