"If I'm content as an artist to write a hit song or have a platinum record, then I'll have failed a lot of my fellow human beings," says Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, a band whose name sounds like a complicated dance step. Props bro because those mediocre sellout rock stars leave depth and communication on the road to the bank. Wait. Somebody is thinking about someone else because Switchfoot's 2000 album Learning to Breathe put the band on the entrance ramp to mainstream modern rock. And they were full-on commercial cruisers when they recorded a song for the Mandy Moore flick A Walk to Remember. As long as he's still content as an artist ... Opening is The Honorary Title, a pop duo full of catchy melodies and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Wednesday, October 13, 6:30 p.m., $16, Big Easy.
Bay Area singer/songwriter Saul Kaye has never been in my kitchen. And he has also never before performed his jazzy, folky, funky original tunes in Idaho. No one can tell what to expect in a situation like this, but I'll take a stab at it: Saul Kaye is a lyrical mix master, but the real depth comes from his musical talents on piano and guitar. A uniting kinda show, where jazz fans sip martinis amid the wiggling-arm dancing of jam band fans.
Thursday, October 14, 9:30 p.m., $3, The Bouquet.
A vivid description of Ember Swift reads, "A brilliant jazz vocalist inhabiting the body of an alternative folk singer/songwriter." Over the years, girl has recorded seven albums on her own label Few'll Ignite Sound. Like other Canadian lyrical marvels (think Gordon Lightfoot, Barenaked Ladies and the Hip), Swift is a compelling performer and songwriter with a devoted following. Won't be long till she turns all Avril on us as Ember was voted "Toronto's Vocalist of 2001" by NOW magazine readers.
Sunday, October 17, 8 p.m. $8, Big Easy Bourbon Street.
What do you get when you pair Widespread Panic's bassist Dave Schools and everybody's favorite jack-Mormon Jerry Joseph? You get a jam band that noodles desire into the hearts of amplifiers everywhere. Stockholm Syndrome is that band and it fills its instrumental duties with other equally accomplished artists for a pleasant, munificent groove. For the curious, the band's name refers to the psychological experience in which a hostage bonds with captors. I don't know what that says about the true reason for the coming together of these musicians, but maybe saxophonist extraordinaire Karl Denson can shed some light on the subject since he's been touring with them.
Monday, October 18, 7:30 p.m., $21.50, Big Easy.
The Original Comets
In 1952, The Saddlemen changed their image, sound and name--to Bill Haley and his Comets--and suddenly shot to rock 'n' roll superstardom with a timely little ditty "Rock Around the Clock." Haley died in 1981 at 55, but The Original Comets still rock, rock, rock until broad daylight to golden oldies that helped with American pop music's maiden voyage. Other hits include "Shake, Rattle and Roll," "See Ya Later, Alligator" and its sequel "After a While Crocodile." OK, I made that last part up. The Dusty 45s open.
Tuesday, October 19, 8 p.m. $18, Big Easy.
Mexican-American singer Lila Downs possesses a passion for expressing Latin culture with formal vocal training and emotional enthusiasm. She owns the stage with range-stretching pipes in the foreground of a jazzy international band. For more on Downs, flip to the Noise Feature on page 24.
Tuesday, October 19, 7 p.m., Egyptian Theater.
Main Street party house Humpin' Hannah's is celebrating 26 years of decorating walls with braziers and getting butts wigglin'. Come for the party and hear the musical stylings of house performers Rocci Johnson Band (admit it, we're all richer for having seen them). Lots of fun planned: Party goers can take their picture in the Humper Chair with Hannah herself or nab Hannahbucks for free drinks.
Friday, October 15, 9 p.m., FREE, Humpin' Hannah's.
They say the best musicians live their material, and Travelin' Travis' mix of beat poet ballads, political croons and lighthearted narratives nicely parallel his patchwork history. From wandering the streets of Haight Ashbury to working luxury yachts to studying spirituality with the Hare Krishna, he has done a bit of everything. His music is colored by the richness of his life, and its various moods and melodies weave protest, revelry and reflection. With the help of local talents Rebecca Scott, Ben Burdick and Greg Belzeski, Travis recently put together an album, and though he'll travel again when the wind takes him, he's planning to stay awhile.
Saturday, October 16, 10 a.m., FREE, Saturday Public Market. :