The Avett Brothers Play the Greek
Also Parov Stelar at the Fox, Earth Day events, and an Abba tribute.
Photo courtesy of the Avett Brothers
Prepare for a folk explosion: Hipster folk duet the Milk Carton Kids teams up with often-black-clad bluegrass outlaws The Avett Brothers to put on a special rock-infused country hoedown at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre.
The Avett Brothers play honky-tonk bounce with a punk passion and a twangy country flair, but their music is acoustic folk. Their very name oozes folk rock cred, recalling 1960s family acts like the Clancy Brothers and the Seegers. But the band also boasts an indie rock origin story: It started not as a brotherly duo, but as two separate garage bands. In the 1990s, Seth Avett merged his Mount Pleasant High School rock band, Margo, into his brother Scott’s college group, Nemo. Eventually, the brothers started experimenting with acoustic music, and continued to collaborate after Nemo broke up. They won the Americana Music Association Duo/Group of the Year and New/Emerging Artist of the Year awards in 2007, and were later named “the Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone magazine in 2009.
Their bluegrass pop stands as the perfect complement to the soulful ballads of The Milk Carton Kids, who, somber-suited as Wild West undertakers, embody the wistful sadness and humor of a modern-day Simon and Garfunkel. April 30, 8 p.m. $97-$116. The Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley. www.TheGreekTheatreBerkeley.com
Parov Stelar livens up the Fox.
One of the pioneers of the modern electro-swing scene, DJ, producer, and musician Parov Stelar already took Europe by storm with his blend of vintage 1920s jazz updated with hot synth and hip-hop sensibilities.
Stelar started DJing in Austrian nightclubs in the 1990s, before his album Shine caught the attention of the BBC and got him branded as one of the most promising rising producers in Europe. These toe-tapping, hip-swinging, retro-modern tunes recall a mythical Roaring ’20s of smoky underground speakeasies populated by greasy gangsters in fedoras and pinstriped suits, kohl-eyed flappers with bobbed hair and art deco beaded necklaces, and bootleg hooch flowing freely.
But more than just a nostalgia trip or a reiteration of the now tinny and cacophonous nightclub ditties of the era, electro swing fuses those archaic sounds with an upbeat hip-hop vibe (Stelar’s chart-topping 2012 hit “Booty Swing,” for example, samples 1938 jazz tune “Oriental Swing” by Lil Hardin Armstrong), creating a mix of the dance hall and the dance club that will have you snapping your fingers. April 14, 8 p.m., $35. Fox Theater, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. www.TheFoxOakland.com.
Befriend the Earth
Join in the festival or a cleanup.
Kermit said it best: It ain’t easy being green.
You could spend the day fretting about oil slicks on the ocean, bulldozers in the Amazon, and litter on the beach. Or you could get out there and make a difference this Earth Day.
UC Berkeley celebrates Earth Day all week with Earth Week 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 17-24 at Sproul Plaza. Learn what you can do to help preserve the Earth and all its beauty for future generations with a week of educational talks and festive events on environmental and sustainability issues
Or be a friend of the earth at the annual Alameda Earth Day Festival 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 23 at Washington Park to find out about the little things you can do every day to make the world a healthier, cleaner place. Kids can enjoy free activities, games, and exhibits, and adults can shop at the farmers market. Feel the real spirit at the Earth Day Beach Cleanup, where you can help restore the shore; contact the Crab Cove Visitor Centre for more information about volunteering at 510-544-3187.
Celebrate the disco sensation in Livermore.
In 1977, Swedish disco sensation Abba starred in its first movie, about a frantic reporter’s attempts to interview the Scandinavian super group during a hectic Australian tour. More interesting is that apparently no one told Abba a movie was being filmed, so the band was mystified why that one really annoying stalker kept appearing at all their concerts. He was really the actor starring in the movie ostensibly about the group.
The film consists of stock footage of vox populi interviews with fanatical Australian Abba fans, most of whom seem unduly impressed by the band’s cleanliness. Hardly a fitting tribute to one of the most popular music acts of all time.
See a much better tribute to Anni, Benny, Bjorn, and Agnetha at the Livermore Performing Art Center’s Waterloo, with full scale reproductions of some of Abba’s most beloved performances—complete with show-stopping special effects, disco lights, and those classic bedazzled oh-so-’70s costumes—for eight of their biggest hits. Mamma Mia, here we go again! April 16, 8 p.m. $33-$44. Livermore Performing Arts Center, Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore. www.LivermorePerformingArts.org.