Friday · Aronoff Center
If some concrete proof of EG Kight's legitimacy as a Blues artist is required, her five W.C. Handy nominations in the past two years should speak to her authenticity. But the Blues wasn't always Kight's primary focus; the self-proclaimed "Georgia Songbird" began her musical education in church in her hometown of Dublin, Ga., where she sang solo at the age of 4, and continued with her Country performances at area festivals and civic functions as a teenager. After appearances with Country giants like George Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis and regular guest slots on TNN's Nashville Now, it seemed as though Kight's path toward a career in Country was a foregone conclusion. That changed in 1995 when she was first introduced to the magnificence of Blues legend Koko Taylor. That initial exposure completely altered her perception about the kind of music she wanted to present as she channeled all of the music she loved into a Blues configuration. Considering her Blues epiphany was just a little over a decade ago, Kight's accomplishments in that time are impressive, to say the least. In addition to her Handy nods, Kight made it to the final round of the International Songwriting Competition in 2004, had two tracks placed on two prestigious NARM/BMA Blues compilations and opened shows for Little Feat, Delbert McClinton, Taj Mahal and Merle Haggard. Since her 1997 debut album, Come Into the Blues, Kight has released a trio of acclaimed Blues albums — 2000's Trouble, 2003's Southern Comfort and 2004's Takin' It Easy — all of which showcase her grittily evocative vocals (a cross between Bonnie Raitt's bourbon stung growl and Phoebe Show's emotive warble) and her sinewy rhythm guitar playing. Perhaps the biggest testament to Kight's Blues progress is the amazing procession of respected players that have graced her recent albums, including everyone from Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell and Country superstar Lee Roy Parnell to Roomful of Blues saxophonist Greg Piccolo, Marshall Tucker Band guitarist Chris Hicks and Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women pianist Ann Rabson. She might touch on elements of Country, Gospel, Jazz and Funk, but it all comes out Blues when EG Kight's done fixing it.
Moonlight Towers with B Movie Star
Saturday · The Comet
Finally, some Southern-fried Pop Rock from Austin, Texas, which has nothing in common with Spoon! Moonlight Towers is a refreshingly straight-ahead quartet that is brimming with energy and talent. Restraint is the name of the game, but not minimalism — the sound is full, but not dense. Formed in 2001, they take their name from a bygone urban lighting system that used six carbon-arc lamps on tall, triangular towers in place of streetlights. Austin is the only city that maintains these devices, which cast light up to 3,000 feet. The band chose the moniker well, as their back-to-basics, hook-laden tunes remind you that simple, tuneful bands have become somewhat of an anachronism. Starting as a trio, they released a self-titled disc that established their trademarks — James Stevens' brown-sugar voice and chugging/soaring guitar, and the bash-and-thump grooves of bassist Jason Daniels and drummer Richard Galloway. Jacob Schulze asked to join shortly thereafter, bringing slippery leads and counterpoint. For their latest album, they traveled to New Orleans and enlisted the services of Mike Napolitano, whom Cincinnatians will recognize as the producer of ex-Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers. (Napolitano's credits also include Blind Melon and Joseph Arthur.) The fruit of their labor is Like You Were Never There, a solid effort that, like baby bear's porridge, is just right. Not too rough but not too slick; not too heavy but not too delicate; not too busy but not too sparse. The album sounds very live and direct, like it would not take a crew of seven musicians to re-create it faithfully. They've had a lot of Superdrag comparisons, which are fairly apt. The Towers have been on the road quite a bit since releasing their latest album last summer; the band's Cincinnati stop is part of a one-month jaunt around the Midwest. (Ezra Waller)
Femme Fatality with Le TechnoPUSS13S
Monday · Southgate House (Parlour)
When considering all of the scenes in the country where Electronic/Dance music has made inroads, St. Louis is not a likely locale to crop up in the discussion. That's fine with Monanani Palermo and Hephaestion Palermo, the River City duo better known as Femme Fatality. The synth pair's only real concern is advancing their succinct and blatant philosophy: "Dance or Die." The band began in 2003 with Monanani and Octavia Leito and their desire to resurrect the exciting and mysterious aspects of '80s Goth/New Wave/Industrial synth music. In late 2004, the pair released their debut album, Never Had a Daddy, which played up FF's '80s homage to early synth pioneers like Human League and Depeche Mode while also bowing to the decade's noirish Electronic impulses, nodding to everyone from Cabaret Voltaire and Gary Numan to The Units and Joy Division. The duo began adding video monitors to their stage shows to accentuate their Clockwork Orange-colored Dance Pop manifesto and they quickly became a live sensation at home, earning numerous accolades from readers of the St. Louis newsweekly, Riverfront Times, in the paper's annual year-end "Best Of" poll. In September of last year, Leito departed the band, a potentially disastrous event for a duo. But, without missing a programmed beat, Monanani welcomed Hephaestion Palermo to the fold within two weeks. By November, Femme Fatality was playing out-of-town shows and once again inciting ecstatic responses on the dance floor and in the press. Femme Fatality works so magnificently because they are neither slavish revivalists nor smirking parodists; the Palermos present a visually stimulating and deliberately excessive theater of the absurd while maintaining an adrenaline-inducing pace with their Electronic soundtrack. You won't die at a Femme Fatality show, but you'll bloody well dance. (BB)