Rock 'n' roll is generally viewed as the purview of the young. Nobody told Alejandro Escovedo this, but it's unlikely he'd care, anyway. Escovedo was a member of the Nuns, a first-wave 1970s S.F. punk band, and later Rank & File, one of the earliest alt-combos to embrace country music (circa 1980, when it wasn't cool). He's a primo example of a rocker aging gracefully maybe it's because he sings of real life without forfeiting fire and urgency, without posturing or narcissism. He's conscious of musical roots without cocking a "retro" attitude (covering the Rolling Stones, Ian Hunter, and the Stooges live), and evokes the feverish dissonance of the Velvet Underground ("Sacramento & Polk") without coming across as a shallow knockoff. Escovedo must be seen, and then believing is easy. He performs on Friday, Sept. 29, at 12 Galaxies at 9 p.m. Admission is $20-22; 970-9777 or visit www.12galaxies.com for more info. Mark Keresman
Years ago, cinematic auteur John Waters offered this advice to America's youth: If you really want to "rebel," don't blast loud music (your parents expect that) instead, play quiet music that imperceptibly bores into the brain. How prophetic the sad-/slow-core of Red House Painters, Low, and Mark Eitzel were/are the antithesis of punk/indie rock's faster-louder aesthetic. But the Commander of Quiet remains Lambchop, Nashville's strangest, largest, most subdued rock combo. Featuring the purr-like vocals and dryly sardonic lyrics of Kurt Wagner, Lambchop is virtually a genre unto itself. Deftly drawing from aspects of country, old-school soul/R&B, post-punk, folk-rock, and whatever else the members are feeling, Lambchop sounds like no one else (save the Tindersticks sometimes). The group's latest opus, Damaged, brings it to town as the nearly dozen membership gently, gracefully distills the sounds of yearning and life's gradual disintegration. You'll be OK. Lambchop performs on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Admission is $20; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. M.K.
Thought dance-punk was over, huh? Well, it kind of is, even with the Rapture's new effort gearing up the crowds for a return to the club floor pigeon strut. Still, the Washington, D.C./New York band Supersystem has been carrying the disco torch through wax and wane, and its new record, A Million Microphones, is proof positive that world music and folksy harp melodies fit perfectly into the sometimes confining space of a 4/4 kick-snare beat. The quartet's marriage of beats, post-punk tendrils, and African-flavored guitar licks should keep the walls pounding during its appearance on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Rickshaw Stop at 9 p.m. Admission is $10; call 861-2011 or visit www.rickshawstop.com for more info. Jonah Flicker