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4/28/2005

Selections > Selections

Shearwater, Prefuse 73, Iron & Wine, Les Mis and more

 

Thursday • 28

SHEARWATER We've always thought of Shearwater as Okkervil River's clearly competent yet less compelling sibling. For years, these Austin-based bands have shared Will Sheff and Jonathan Meiburg, with Sheff dominating Okkervil's delicately despondent output and Meiburg helming most of Shearwater's sparse material. However, the two part ways on current tours – while Sheff is off supporting Okkervil's excellent new album Black Sheep Boy, Meiburg champions Shearwater's strikingly assertive EP Thieves. Meiburg might never free himself from Sheff's shadow, but these concerts should announce his arrival as a stellar stand-alone singer/songwriter. Meiburg's memorable characters sabotage functional relationships, and his tone trembles as he communicates their rationalizations and bitter realizations. Thieves combines that emotionally exhausting eloquence with elaborate arrangements. Massive marching-band percussion merges with forlorn fiddles, and placid piano-and-plucked-string passages gradually swell with orchestral grandeur. When Meiburg bellows, "I can't wait," during a cresting chorus, his trademark fluttering falsetto becomes a confident, commanding wail. It's as if he's waxing exuberant about the impending opportunity to step into the spotlight. (with Mountain Goats; 8 p.m. at Will's Pub; 407-898-5070; $10, $12)

PRO WAKEBOARD TOUR The three words in the title don't do justice to the exuberance of this four-day competition and its popular athletes from around the world. Everyone knows by now that professional wakeboarding is an Orlando-centric sport and many of the 'boarders live and train here, so it makes sense that this ultimate showdown between the best of the best takes place in the land of the lakes. (Those polluted lakes are good for something.) In the most highly hyped match-ups, the pressure is on champions Parks Bonifay, Phillip Soven and Danny Harf for the men's title. And Dallas Friday challenges Emily Copeland in the women's division. (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, free; 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, $10; at Orlando WaterSports Complex; 407-628-4802, ext. 1307)

PREFUSE 73 A Southern boy with Cuban/Irish/Spanish roots, Scott Herren knows what it means to be multifaceted. Accordingly, the futuristic electronica he records as Prefuse 73 (one of his many noms des guerre) is capable of pushing and pulling the listener in a variety of directions. Whether it's dark and claustrophobic or intensely atmospheric, Herren grounds everything in hip-hop's beat-minded crush, which is what keeps "complexity" from becoming "confusion." (with Battles; 9 p.m. at The Social; 407-246-1419; $13, $15)

Friday • 29

IRON AND WINE We're not even sure why we're writing about this show. Apparently everyone is already familiar with the beautiful music that Sam Beam makes as Iron and Wine; after all, this show sold out pretty early. We thought we were familiar with it, because we really loved his first album and then sort of stopped paying attention, thinking he could only take that spacious, plaintive acoustic sound so far. Boy, were we stupid. The folksy, introspective vibe that dominated his early records expanded on last year's Our Endless Numbered Days album and, to a far greater degree, this year's Woman King EP. Sure, it's still pastoral and personal, but Beam has employed sweeping arrangements with a wide variety of instruments. It's not like he's turned into Eric Matthews or anything, but the sonic substance is a noticeable improvement. We can't wait to see where he goes from here. (7 p.m. at The Social; 407-246-1419; SOLD OUT)

Saturday • 30

VICTOR MANUELLE Recently, it may seem like a line has been drawn betwixt Hispanic radio audiences: You're either young and like reggaeton or you're older and like salsa. And yes, reggaeton has become an absolute juggernaut. But it has definitely not been at the expense of salsa, which is holding its own, thank you very much. The kids who are saying yes to Daddy Yankee but no to Victor Manuelle probably never liked Manuelle to start with. (Whether it's reggaeton or hip-hop, as long as it pisses parents off, it's all good.) But Manuelle, with his suave, musically accomplished style and explosively effective band, is nonetheless packing crowds in, both young and old. And the size of those crowds is growing. His shows are absolutely electric; Manuelle's energy is as undeniable as his band is powerful, a combination that's far more intoxicating and relevant than any genre limitations. (with Bobby Valentin; 9 p.m. at House of Blues; 407-934-2583; $45-$110)

WALT DISNEY WORLD INLINE MARATHON If you can inline-skate a mile in 7 minutes or less and keep up the pace for several hours, then you're qualified to take part in the amateur portion of this totally Disney-fied extravaganza. If you lie, take heed: "Anyone not able to maintain these pacing requirements will be picked up and transported to the finish line." This is how they treat disgraced weekend skaters, so you can imagine the speed and intensity of the professionals in serious competition. The cool part is that the course has been revamped, so that skaters roll through Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios in the early morning before the tourists take over. And because this is Disney, there will be a host of family-friendly activities, including an all-day expo, with the latest gear and anything else that can be sold to rabid inline skaters or wannabes. (Races start 6:30 a.m., expo 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex; 407-939-4263; expo $10.75)

Tuesday • 3

LES MISÉRABLES Hear now the to-do list of Jean Valjean: Break window; steal bread; polish Tonys. The show that made French fugitive-hood chic is back for an encore run at the Bob Carr, bringing with it all of the elaborate set pieces, fog machines, slide projectors and related bells and whistles it takes to really sell a story about the poor and downtrodden. Though this SunTrust Broadway in Orlando engagement is performed by the show's third national touring company, it's said to be a "carbon copy" of the version that packed them in for 16 years along the Great White Way. So complete is the replication, say the producers, that if you stood in the same place at the edge of the famous turntable, you would travel half a mile during the course of the show. And since it's downtown Orlando, you still wouldn't find a place to park. (8 p.m. at Carr Performing Arts Centre; through May 8; 407-849-2020; $30-$65)

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