More than 40 years of Sparks, East Bay hip-hop royalty Glam.I.Rock, and UK goth-poppers Esben and the Witch
And the Maels work hard to layer those lyrics with humor, depth, and a drop of speculation. "It's important to us to have something that's provocative, but in ways that maybe aren't like, being a punk band with a stance that you know what it is in five minutes. The Sparks stance is a little bit hard to articulate and place. We kind of like that too, that there is an ambiguity to what we're doing."
Their most recent project is that The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman piece. The plot of the radio drama is a farcical situation imagining that Ingmar Bergman had been lured to Hollywood and got trapped in the LA film industry in his worst nightmare — a big-budget action film he can't figure out how to escape. The Swedish radio spot went so well that Sparks was asked to perform it live at the LA Film Festival last year, where they did so with a cast of 14.
The brothers are currently working on turning it into an ongoing theatrical performance — and also a motion picture. They have the Canadian director Guy Madden on board to direct, but still need the financial backing, so they'll be flying out to the Cannes Film Festival in May to look for funders.
But before Cannes, Sparks will first play the massive sweaty shitshow that is Coachella for the first time. And yes, they will do it as a stripped-down duo — still just Two Hands, One Mouth.
"We know the show works in our own context, so we thought we should be faithful to ourselves and do it there as well, even if it seems incongruous with what you might expect at a big festival," Russell says. Do I detect a tiny smirk through the phone? Perhaps wishful thinking on my end.
"It'll be received however it will be received — [but] it will be different from other things there," he says. "You tend to get blinded by an assault of 160 indie bands doing their indie thing. We'll be doing whatever we do, whatever you want to call it."
ESBEN AND THE WITCH
With swelling crescendos, emotional lyrics, gothy undertones, and shimmering vocals in tow, UK post-rock trio Esben and the Witch comes across the pond for the first time in two years, on tour with newest record, Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (Matador). Should be a witchy one. With Heliotropes.
Thu/4, 9pm, $13. Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission, SF. www.brickandmortarmusic.com.
Lyrically gifted young Oakland rapper Glam.I.Rock — the first half an acronym for "Good Lyrics And Music" — will perform a free in-store during Art Murmur this Friday. If you want to be in on an artist at the tipping point, this would be your chance. The MC has that classic '90s female-empowerment hip-hop vibe but with some different interests (check the "Who is Glam.I.Rock?" video of her tapping out the Rugrats theme), and a more modern style.
Though like her predecessors, she still very much reps her home-base, performing "Inspire Oakland" at Oakland Digital's Inspiration Awards last December. Makes sense, she's the daughter of Nic Nac — the only female member of the Mobb crew — and Dangerous Dame, a member of Too $hort's Dangerous Crew. Glam.I.Rock's debut EP, The Feel, recently dropped on Savvie1ent/The Olive Street Agency.
Fri/5, 8pm, free. Oaklandish, 1444 Broadway, Oakl. www.oaklandish.com.