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SHOW REVIEW: Yelawolf

Let’s cut straight to the chase: Tuesday at the El Rey, Yelawolf put on one of the best shows, hip hop or otherwise, that I have ever witnessed. He is the most dynamic and charismatic rapper working today, and if there is any justice in this world, he is about to be a major superstar. Which in a way would be kind of sad, because it means that he probably won’t be playing venues where he can jump into the crowd from a fifteen foot high stage-side truss. Of course, this was just one electrifying moment from a night full of them; enumerating the complete list would take many thousands of words.

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SHOW REVIEW: Watkins Family Hour with Jackson Browne and Fiona Apple

Why is Largo the best thing all of the time?
That, of course, is a rhetorical question. Any venue that can collect the Watkins siblings, Jackson Browne, Benmont Tench, Sebastian Steinburg, Blake Miller, Joe Purdy, and Fiona Apple onto a single stage deserves all the praise that it can receive. The Watkins Family Hour is a Largo tradition, and its most recent edition was a typically stellar showing. The only complaint that one could possibly make about the night was that it ended far too quickly, with barely enough time to bring all the guests onstage, much less let Sara and Sean Watkins really stretch out into some epic fiddle-and-guitar bluegrass breakdowns. (Having seen the Watkins Family Hour perform for more than two hours last year in the intimate Little Room of the Largo is probably a critical bias.) Which is not to say that there was a deficit of pickin’.

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SHOW REVIEW: The National, Neko Case and Sharon van Etten

For a certain kind of person, it was a star-studded night last Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to the names on the marquee, there were such luminous guests as T-Bone Burnett and St. Vincent, not to mention Neko Case’s fellow New Pornographer Kurt Dahle and the lost Wainwright half-sibling, Lucy Roche. Although none of these artists have achieved mainstream success (notwithstanding The National’s gold plaque for High Violet), anyone with an interest in Americana-inflected rock ‘n’ roll could not help but marvel at the array of musical talent brought to bear underneath the full Los Angeles moon.

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Review of “The Old Prince,” by Shad

In his sophomore effort, Canadian rapper Shad mixes race-conscious rhymes with soulful samples, bass-charged techno beats and nods to jazz and classical music. His Common-esque delivery and rhymes can get sloppy, but it's overall a feel good and thought-provoking record.…

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