Tonight at the Old Rock House, LA's Stew and the Negro Problem will be performing as part of the venue's Listening Room Series. The show's at 8:30 and tickets are $27.50 for reserved seating, $20 for general admission. This is the group's first tour in six years -- they've been involved in the Broadway musical Passing Strange during the road break. A recent LA Weekly profile by A to Z pal Kevin Bronson gave a rundown of the group's history:
The Negro Problem released three critically praised albums: Post Minstrel Syndrome (1997), Joys & Concerns (1999) and Welcome Black (2002); in his solo capacity, Stew's more singer-songwriterly material comprised three more, including the brilliant The Naked Dutch Painter and Other Songs. A new collection that Stew and Rodewald debuted in Brooklyn last year, Making It -- which documents the end of the romantic partnership between the duo as their professional exploits were taking off -- will be available on tour.
When The Negro Problem splashed down in L.A. in the mid-'90s (they played the very first Monday residency at Spaceland in 1996), Stew already had traveled the world in pursuit of his various muses. The band's music sounded like it, an intoxicating mix of avant-, punk-, prog- and power-pop, which served as a canvas for the songwriter's rapier treatises on race, politics and culture -- streams of consciousness with lovely rivulets of melody that could have come from the likes of Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb or Arthur Lee.
At Off Broadway, Ben Kweller is returning to town with Julia Nunes in tour. Her music, in a word? Darling.
The 21-year-old ukulele sensation was discovered on the strength of her YouTube channel, which features her performing originals and covers. She's opened for Ben Folds and played with Weezer, among other notable shows. Here's her covering Spoon's "The Underdog":