8 p.m. Nov. 22. Louisville Palace, 625 S. Fourth St., Louisville. $32.50. Livenation.com or Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.com. Louisvillepalace.com.
8 p.m. Nov. 22. Brown Theatre, 315 W. Broadway, Louisville. $20-$40. 1-800-775-7777. Kentuckycenter.org.
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Doors open at 8 p.m. Nov. 22. The New Vintage (formerly Uncle Pleasants), 2126 S. Preston St., Louisville. $10-15. (502) 749-4050. Newvintagelouisville.com.
Far be it from me to recommend that you spend the entire weekend before Thanksgiving in Louisville. But with three different but recommended performances in the River City on Friday, perhaps a brief, pre-holiday road trip might be in order. Hey, you can be back in town Saturday. No one will even know you were gone.
Leading the list is MGMT at Louisville Palace. The New England collective has become one of the most commercially prominent acts in modern psychedelia.
Formed by vocalists/ guitarists/keyboardists Andrew VanWyngarden and Benjamin Goldwasser during their freshman year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, MGMT's fabrics of electronica, prog-rock accents and psychedelic flourish have taken a pop turn on its self-titled third album. The record's highlights — Cool Song No. 2, Your Life Is a Lie and Astro-Mancy — sound like a cross between Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the formative '80s synth-pop records of Soft Cell. Kuroma will open the performance.
Just around the corner from the Palace at the Brown Theatre will be a sound that should place you in a more tropical climate: the music of ukulele pioneer Jake Shimabukuro.
The Honolulu native took to the ukulele's light, summery sound at age 4. By his mid-20s, he had developed a solid fan base in Japan. But it took collaborations with several stylistically varied artists — Béla Fleck, Yo-Yo Ma, Cyndi Lauper and, in particular, Jimmy Buffett — along with a viral video of his solo version of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps for Shimabukuro's music to break in the United States.
Subsequent albums, including Live (2009), Peace Love Ukulele (2011) and the orchestral, Alan Parsons- produced Grand Ukulele (2012) have fortified his resoundingly sunny music.
From Hawaii, we head to the desert encampments around Niger, where guitarist Goumar Almoctar, known professionally as Bombino, soaked in videos by Jimi Hendrix and Mark Knopfler to become one of the most championed musicians among bands of displaced Tureg exiles.
Bombino's 2011 debut album, Agadez, caught the attention of Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, who signed on as producer for the 2013 follow-up, Nomad. The newer album forges a modestly streamlined version of the percolating guitar lines and rhythms that have forged Bombino's music into often incantatory compositions.
Having played Louisville already this year with a brief Sunday afternoon set at the Forecastle Festival in July, Bombino returns for a club show at The New Vintage (formerly Uncle Pleasants). This could be a late one. Doors open at 8 p.m. with a 9 p.m. start time for the music. But the venue's website says the show might not wind down until 2:30 a.m.
In other words, your Friday stay in Louisville could go into overtime.
Having served as the modern-day incarnation of Patsy Cline (in the original production of Always ... Patsy Cline), Mandy Barnett has turned to another country legend, songwriter Don Gibson, on her new tribute album, I Can't Stop Loving You.
Of course, Barnett is still on familiar classic country turf with the recording. Among the many songs Gibson wrote was one of Cline's most career-defining hits, Sweet Dreams.
Barnett will be in town for Monday's taping of WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third Street.
Also performing will be the California roots music ensemble The Dustbowl Revival. (6:45 p.m. $10. Reservations recommended: call (859) 252-8888. Woodsongs.com.)
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider at Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts in Danville: In a performance instance that was as ironic as it was revealing, Fleck deconstructed the second movement of The Imposter Concerto, the original orchestral work that commands the first half of his newest album (The Imposter) into a solo banjo piece. In doing so, the work revealed a folkish reverence and deep Americana conscience that has long been at the heart of even his most modern music.
The irony came from the movement's title: Integration. One might not have experienced the symphonic meshing of styles in this sketch pad-style reading, but what resulted throughout the rest of the program was very much the product of a musical integration.
The concert teamed Fleck with the progressively minded New York string quartet Brooklyn Rider. With little, if any, precedent for a banjo-led string ensemble, the music followed several intriguing paths of cultural pollination.
In essence, Fleck's Americana works, displayed neatly in the evening's show-opening, chamber-style revisions of the 2003 Flecktones tune Next and the 1994 solo piece The Landing, worked off of Brooklyn Rider's preference for Eastern European influences.
The latter was allowed to roam freely within the Romanian flourishes of Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin's Culai, which the quartet performed without Fleck. But on extended works like Fleck's Night Flight Over Water, the integration was plentiful. The dynamics, rich throughout the piece, crested in a finale of car-chase speed between banjo and strings.
Further stretching the tug of war between Americana and European folk sources was Brooklesca. Composed by Brooklyn Rider violinist Colin Jacobsen, it initially underscored the design difference between the single plucked notes of the banjo — often played at dizzying speed with remarkable melodic dexterity — and the longer bowed phrasing of the Riders. Then the lines blurred into a playful but precise whole.
There also were moments when the music embraced glorious quiet, as in a cover of João Gilberto's subtle bossa nova Undei, which let the program's worldly integration settle into a state of incantatory global cool.