311, Pete Yorn, Stevie Wonder -- ASD's Live Music Picks for Sunday, August 26
311, 7:30 at the Concourse at San Francisco Design Center. $37.
"It is the seamless way the songs on the eponymously titled 311 combine the band's influences into a potent blend of rap, funk, and rock that renders this album a cut above those of their competitors. These riff-heavy and radio-ready songs are underscored by a tight drum sound (often with a piccolo snare), the scratching of turntables, and the crunch of heavy guitars: a formidable backdrop for this surprisingly melodic effort." -- AllMusic
Pete Yorn, 7:30 at Paramount Theatre. $45/55.
"Sophomore slumps can be a bitch, suggesting a talent that burned up all its inspiration the first time out. It's tough to recover momentum after a slump, but the surest way to get the job done is simply to turn out an album as memorable as your debut. Pete Yorn takes that approach on Nightcrawler, which picks up the ball dropped by the all too aptly named Day I Forgot and returns to the sharp, smoky songcraft of his debut, Musicforthemorningafter." -- The Onion
Stevie Wonder, 7:30 at Sleep Train Pavilion. $35.50-$131(It's Stevie, what do you expect?).
"While engaging a slew of overdubbed instruments, Wonder nurtured his ongoing synthesizer affair, mimicking a sophisticated string quartet to highlight the horrors of "Village Ghetto Land" or laying down a warm bed of spongy keys for his baby-celebrating "Isn't She Lovely." Satisfying a disco-fueled hunger for lengthy dance cuts, he also jammed with George Benson, Herbie Hancock and other jazz A-listers on gospel-funk tracks like "Another Star" and "As." Veering from Duke Ellington ("Sir Duke") to childhood ("I Wish") to multicultural history lessons ("Black Man"), nostalgia addicts ("Pastime Paradise") and beyond, Wonder created a musical galaxy that encompassed the personal, the political and the spiritual. Songs did all this and posted Backstreet Boys-like sales numbers: Blockbuster albums would follow, but none could match Wonder's combination of commercial success, critical praise and musical scope." -- Rolling Stone