Upcoming concerts with Warsaw Poland Bros and Otis gibbs

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Otis Gibbs



Warsaw poland bros. Thursday · Stanley's Pub

If you haven't heard of Arizona's Warsaw Poland Bros. (aka Warsaw), it's not from lack of effort on their part. In the past decade, the band claims an average of 300 shows a year. With a sonic adventurousness that is as transient as their touring habits, the trio specializes in short attention span theatrics, slipping effortlessly into Punk, Jazz, Celtic Folk, Hip Hop and Funk motifs with a masterful ease. But the area in which Warsaw seems most at home is Reggae. The group rumbles through the genre's various subcategories with loving reverence, tackling Ska (nodding to each "wave"), Dub, Roots Reggae and Dancehall with great success. While the band is definitely playful in their aural rambunctiousness (think a weed-happy, Dub-lovin' They Might Be Giants without the nerdy afterglow), they don't skimp on the details, proficiently nailing whatever type of music they care to fiddle with thanks to some fantastic chops (particularly in the rhythm department). Listening to tracks from the band's self-released discography is a bit like randomly spinning the dial in a radio market free of corporate drivel. Despite growing a fanbase across the country (including in Hawaii!) the old-fashioned way (that is, touring incessantly), big-time record deals have eluded Warsaw so far.

But by releasing albums on their own label (Invisible Mass Records), the group is free of forced focusing by overseers, and it's the freedom of the Bros.' music that is its greatest appeal. The trio's open-ended and energized approach suggests a fantastic live show — it's something they should be very good at given the mileage they've put in so far. (Mike Breen)

Dimmu Borgir and Bleeding Through

Friday · Bogart's

Metal. The coffee of the music world. Too strong for many to enjoy without swirling in softer additives to take the edge off of its harsh bitterness. Various creams and sugars have been put in Metal's brew but few have found a lasting blend. The Rap/Rock phase peaked and faded quicker than a cicada brood, leaving many metalheads and B-boys whispering "Thank you" as it dissipated into music's Hall of Shame. Prog Rock has attempted a union with Metal, which has produced some surprisingly good results. Then there's Dimmu Borgir, creators of perhaps the most shocking genre crossover, Black Metal with Classical music. Haven't heard of it? Not surprising. This style has remained a small market for bands to plunge into given the formidable challenge of combining the intricate aspects of both techniques. Among the 10 million ways this could produce a sound that never escapes the darkest recesses of Hell, DB somehow found the one way to make it work. The start of DB's quest began with their album, Stormblast, where their first attempts of infusing Classical and Opera with Metal were favorably received. With each subsequent release they grew deeper in richness adding more strings, woodwinds and brass to their dark throne of Black Metal. For their latest album, Death Cult Armageddon, the band summoned a 48-piece orchestra from Prague to accompany their vicious thrashing and ritualistic incantations. Whatever their plan is, it's undoubtedly difficult. The prolific Black Metal maestros fill each album with layers upon layers, creating a catacomb of completely innovative and freshly unique Metal.

Bleeding Through are not quite as blasphemous as the headliners, but they don't need to be, as they show on their newest album This is Love, This is Murderous (Trustkill). Any album that starts with a sound bite from Boondock Saints is bound to be bad ass. Most of their power comes not from sacrificed souls or stolen relics but from each individual member being outstanding at their instrument. The extra bonus is their addition of a synth machine that maintains a continuous atmosphere of darkness to emphasize the already seething Metal assaults. In particular, listen for the song "Revenge I Seek," possibly the angriest post-breakup song ever recorded, explosively using the word "fuck" 23 times in just four minutes! And that's not even the only obscenity used in the song! And here you thought Eamon was pissed. (Jacob Richardson)

Otis Gibbs with Justin Lynch

Friday · York Street Café

Central Indiana singer/songwriter Otis Gibbs is a fine proletariat troubadour, falling nicely into the lineage that starts around Woody Guthrie and goes up through Steve Earle at his most outspoken. Gibbs is the quintessential travelin' man; as the frontman for The Lost Highway, he saw most of the country, and what he didn't see then, he apparently made up for on his own time. His press materials claim he's also planted 5,000 trees on his journeys, to drive home his homespun genuineness. But the honest Country/Folk splendor heard on Gibbs' three solo releases — particularly his fantastic new effort, One Day Our Whispers — speaks for itself. Painted over an uncomplicated, sturdy acoustic-based setting, it's Gibbs' words that are most alluring, relaying tales of the working class in a voice befitting that modest, lonely straggler sitting at the end of the bar, re-reading The Grapes of Wrath for the 600th time and trying his best not to reveal his deep intellect to his fellow patrons, each of which he has earnest compassion for. Delivered wrapped in poignant, sanguine melodies, Gibbs sings from a globetrotting small-town boy perspective, spinning intuitive observations like an idyllic idealist. On "I Wanna Change It," Gibbs sings "There's been an awful lot of talk about changin' the world/If we're gonna succeed we got to get out the word," which sums up his artistic stance nicely. Gibbs knows he isn't literally going to change the world, but he also knows that opening dialogue is at the heart of all good revolutions. Gibbs is political in a sense, addressing socio-political issues, but never in overt, didactic terms. And, while passionate, Gibbs is never vitriolic. The closest he gets to a direct political statement is on "Big Brother John," a rumbling Country shuffle with an anti-Ashcroft slant ("Dissent is marginalized/When you're patriotized/Dissent is marginalized/When the fear starts to rise"). On "The People's Day," Gibbs does his own "Power to the People"/"Give Peace a Chance," with shout-outs to Cesar Chavez, Mother Jones, Medgar Evans and Gandhi. While often dealing with class issues, Gibbs doesn't shy away from love songs and smaller-picture, blue-collar musings. "Small Town Saturday Night" is a moon-eyed waltz about the simple life, full of "Bowlin' alleys, skatin' rinks/Hot dog stands, 32 ounce drinks" (Otis can rightfully take that small-town poet laureate bestowment away from Johnny Cougar, who let it go almost two decades ago). On the sleepy ballad "Thirty Three," Gibbs sings about leaving that small town and its ethnocentric shelter, peppering it with the same sense of optimism that runs through most of his songs. Hard-hearted skeptics might take a gander at Gibbs in his bib overalls and unruly beard and assume he's a gimmick, using the hayseed-suckin' stereotype to forge a career in "AltCountry." But, if One Day Our Whispers is any indication, Gibbs is the real deal. You can fake a lot of things, but effective songwriting is not one of them. (MB)

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