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Music Critics' Picks: Turn Me On Dead Man, Pheasant, Akeem's Birthday Bash, Easy Star All-Stars

Sept. 7-11: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

The Easy Star All-Stars instrumentalists convert Pink Floyd's monster basslines into slow-bouncing riddims.

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On tour to promote their second album on Jell Biafra's Alternative Tentacles, Turn Me On Dead Man brings their heavy psychedelia to Olympia. Do I hear a little Pink Floyd meets The Smiths? A landscape of groovy reverb, grounded with blazing licks and tricked out with heavy, loud-ass space jams, people should be stoked to catch them live - especially since the line-up consists of tour mates The Spiral Electric who bring their own brand of psychedelic rock. To round off bill is Olympia's The Big Red Sun - who is welcoming Jon Thorn, drummer for Oly old-school favorites Engine 54 and The Jerks - and Tacoma's From the Sea. "(Jon Thorn) plays the shit out of the drums," says John Boyce, bassist for BRS. "He's up there with a lot of the great drummers around here. He brings justice to the rhythm." This show is going to rule. {NIKKI MCCOY}

TURN ME ON DEAD MAN, w/ The Spiral Electric, The Big Red Sun, From the Sea, 9:30 p.m., McCoy's, 418 Fourth Ave., Olympia, $3, 360.352.0696


Pheasant is a band of contradictions: while their music is unabashedly joyful and fun, full of driving beats and irresistible hooks, there is an undercurrent of ... something. It sounds sometimes like anger, or maybe bitterness, or depressive resignation. The Portland band lavishes their tunes with horns, sing-along choruses and strummy guitars, but lead singer Matt Jenkins has a hidden depth beneath his swagger, which makes him a compelling frontman. A restless, nervy energy - even on the slower songs - gives off the vibe of a man madly dancing to distract himself from all of the obnoxious input from a difficult world. He's sticking his chin out for the next punch, his face adorned with a shit-eating grin even as he knows the pain that lies ahead. But, on a surface level, Pheasant are a rollicking good time, effortlessly churning out profoundly catchy indie rock, and maybe a little more. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

PHEASANT, w/ Jake Bellows, One F, 10 p.m., Le Voyeur, 404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5710


Akeem, aka Robert Akeem Green, of the Lacey-area in The 360, made his entry into rap through the "Breathe Easy" clique. He has remade his name as a battle MC and lyricist, gaining the favor and respect of many ears in The 25360. Thus, it is fitting that he invites the public to celebrate a fall-back-to-school show, which doubles conveniently as his birthday bash. Helping Akeem blow out candles will be Cauze N Efekt, Patron, DJs Pasquan and Luvva J (me!) and the award-winning MC (and long-expected "next-to-blow"), Afrok.  Also, there will be open-mic ciphers for MCs, polished and aspiring, who want to bless the mic one time.  Akeem has notably gained recognition and been compared to MCs such as Nas and Rakim for his thought-provoking, yet relatable lyrics that have seen him win battles and respect alike. {JOSE S. GUTIERREZ, JR.}

AKEEM'S BIRTHDAY BASH, w/Akeem, Afrok, Cauze N Efekt, Patron and open-mic ciphers, 7 p.m., Sampan Restaurant and Lounge, 922 Hensley St., Lacey, $5, 360.456.8020


In the category of "things that should be totally silly but are actually awesome," a classic entry has to be Easy Star All Stars' 2003 opus, Dub Side of the Moon. In the tradition of dub music, Easy Star All Stars covered an entire album in the style of reggae - a practice they've repeated with varied results on their OK Computer cover album, Radiodread (pretty great), and their Beatles cover album, Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band (not so great). But they never bested the magic to be found on Dub Side of the Moon, which Easy Star All Stars will be playing in its entirety to mark its 10th anniversary. Something I'm pretty sure everyone remembers from Dub Side is the replacing of the cash registers on "Money" with rhythmic bong rips. But "Us and Them" remains an utter showstopper in reggae. {REV. AM}

EASY STAR ALL-STARS, w/Mighty High, Positive Rising, 8 p.m., Jazzbones, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $15, 253.396.9169

See Also

Calendar: Arts and Entertainment

Calendar: Music and Nightlife

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