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Sactown Rundown – March 3-9 – The biggest Rundown in history!

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Sweet Jesus, I’ve finally done it – the biggest Sactown Rundown in history.

It’s just that kind of a week here in Sacto, friends. With no disrespect to the amount of local talent that pours blood on the stages week in and week out, there were way too many “can’t ignore this” shows coming through town this week – and we’re not even talking about Eric Clapton at Arco or Escape the Fate over at Ace of Spades. Harlow’s is packed, and you’re going to have to pick at least one week night to go to work smelling of cheap hooch and leftover sweat.

Did we mention that the initial High Sierra lineup is up? Too much to talk about this week, heads will explode!

And much of this coincides with Beer Week to boot? Strap on your drinking hats and earplugs, lemmings, let’s go for a ride!

The Mother Hips – There’s a bit of a shakeup in the “California Soul” community over the recent announcement by the veteran Chico-native band that bassist Paul Hoaglin is on an “extended leave” from the group, with no return date set or reason given. Plenty of speculation is fluttering about on the band’s message boards, but the one thing we do know for sure is that band buddy Scott Thunes (Frank Zappa, Steve Vai) is filling in. The band cancelled a pair of earlier bookings, presumably to get Thunes up to speed, but all signs point to him not missing a beat in plucking the thickies for the Hips’ unique brand of powerpop and psychedelic jam rock. Standard comparisons often slap them with the “four B’s” (Byrds, Beatles, Band, Beach Boys) – I’m not one to argue, but if you happen to miss the dirty rock and roll wiles of Neil Young, circa Crazy Horse in there as well, then you’re clearly not paying attention. In the long history of bands to come out of California and never achieve their due recognition, the Hips have to rank as one of the most criminally unheralded on the list; call that an ongoing bonus for long time fans who can still get “Back to the Grotto” in Marilyn’s sized clubs. My knees still haven’t recovered from June of 2009 – someone get be two braces and a Sierra Nevada, stat! With Floating Action. 9 p.m. Saturday. Marilyn’s on K, 908 K St. $20. 21+. www.marilynsonk.com.
Check out the Mother Hips on Daytrotter.

North Mississippi Allstars – As Dustin Hoffman said in “Stranger than Fiction,” there are only two outcomes to a story, “the continuation of life, or the inevitability of death.” The core of North Mississippi Allstars isn’t hearing voices (we think) like Will Ferrell’s character was, but there does indeed exist a crossroads between those two turning points on the group’s new record “Keys to the Kingdom,” written just after the legendary Jim Dickinson (father to NMA members Luther and Cody) passed away, and also coincided with the birth of Luther’s first child. The Allstars previous records have been bouncy and junk-funky delights of roots rock, blues and Americana, but they were hardly teeming with the emotion of this new record, which has heaped some newfound mainstream popularity on a group that’s been at it since the late ‘90s. Don’t spend your time at this show feeling sorry for the brothers Dickinson; they’ll Dobro or washboard you right in the face. 8 p.m. Tuesday. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $17.50. 21+. www.harlows.com.

Truth & Salvage Co. – If you were one of the fastest rising Americana bands in the country, having toured with Chris Robinson and the blazing-hot Avett Brothers, would you want to admit that your biggest fan in a particular California city was this guy? Truth be told, two of your Sac Press music aficionados have developed soft spots for this scintillating sextet of rebel rousers from L.A. (but way of North Carolina), whose Robinson-produced debut album was one of the overlooked treasures of 2010 – and we stand by the mancrushes! Courtesy of a core of four singer-songwriters and their swaying vocal harmonies that cascade over Southern-fried guitar hooks and plank-spanking rhythms on their way up to the rafters, T&S Co. are constantly walking a balance beam on the fence between country and rock and roll, being careful not to fall into the abyss of broken down Airstreams and empty bottles of Boone’s on one side and the flame tattoos and scratched up copies of Bachman Turner Overdrive on the other. They’ve snuck Harlow’s gigs into the middle of their last two headlining tours – we’re cool with that pattern. 8 p.m. Wednesday. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $10. 21+. www.harlows.com.
Check out Truth & Salvage Co. on Daytrotter.

Kaki King – Kaki King will eat your face. She’s got that look of the kind of girl that is way too edgy to approach at a bar and drop a pick up line on without getting crotch-checked; but really, we’re talking about her unbridled approach to music. She bucks the notion that all mad scientist guitar cradlers need be grey-hairs with skullets and tribal jewelry purchased on Haight Street in 1977, as she routinely plasters crowds with inventive strums, hooks, slaps and slides. But not to be overlooked is her acumen as a songwriter – sharp, endearing, a little twisted, but consistently as inviting and intriguing as the Apple Store on iPhone release day (did I just compare her wistfully organic chops to smart phone technology? Someone crotch-check me, please!). With Washington. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $15. 21+. www.harlows.com.
Check out Kaki King on Daytrotter.

The Snobs with Prieta – Two of Sacto’s finest rock bands in a joint with cheap tallboys of PBR and a natural inclination to get weird with it on a Tuesday night. I don’t really need to sell this any more, do I? OK, maybe a bit more – if you love a good wailin’ Hammond, and even if you hate bands with a sax by default (they’ll change your mind), you’re set for the night. Script your call-in-sick statement beforehand, it’s gonna be wild. 9 p.m. Tuesday. Press Club, 2030 P St. Cover TBA. 21+. Facebook event page.

Heartless Bastards – Dayton, Ohio isn’t all that far from New York City; ditto for the no-frills breed of vintage NYC, attitude-pulsing, punch-mouth garage rock churned out by Heartless Bastards. We’re talking pure Patti Smith, Velvet Underground, Stooges type chord cramming here. They’re the kind of band that make no qualms about being raw and sludgy, with rumbling bass lines that stop off for cigarettes and road beers on the way from the strings to the amps, guitar hooks that don’t care if they get there on time, and vocals from sparkplug Erika Wennerstrom that would get any Catholic school girl some ruler lashes and eraser-clapping duty. 8:30 p.m. Monday. Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Blvd. $12. 21+. www.bluelamp.com.
Check out Heartless Bastard on Daytrotter.

Joe Buck Yourself – Any San Francisco Giants fan probably uttered some combination of those words last October; thank God for bar background noise and plenty of “Let’s-go-Gi-ants!” chants to drown out the nonsensical ramblings of baseballs biggest announcer’s booth mistake. This is not that Joe Buck; this is the fire-and-brimstone Joe Buck that would like to toe-tag the lead singer of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers (his former outfit), swears he will never have a “band” of his own, and (according to him) used the internet for the first time in 2008 so he could buy Ron Wood’s jacket on EBay; I really don’t care if that’s true or not, it’s awesome. The long time sideman of Hank III, Buck is a wrecking ball of angry kick drums, acoustic thrash and the kind of teeth-gnashing lyrics that made you want to hide under a blanket and sob like Haley Joel Osment in “The Sixth Sense.” You know those hairs on the back of your neck? That’s Joe Buck. With Chop Tops and Hooten Holler. 9 p.m. Friday. Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Blvd. $10. www.bluelamp.com.

Mark Your Calendars (if you can handle more) – Zach Deputy – Turns out the guy in charge of stocking Hawaiian shirts and cargo shorts at Target can drop a sweet beat box over an equally awesome reggae riff…all by himself! March 29. Harlow’s, 2708 J St. $12. www.harlows.com.

If you are planning or promoting a concert in the Sacramento area, or just know of a show you’d like to see featured in the Rundown, shoot me an email.

Believe it or not, there’s more! For a complete listing of Sacramento area music happenings, check out Ann Freeman-Clement’s Concerts, Music Events and the Local Music Scene every Friday on Sacramento Press.

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