What to Do Tonight: Lou Barlow

Barlow, lamps, and amps
  • Barlow, lamps, and amps

To paraphrase John Waters: If you’re still full of the same piss and vinegar at age 50 as you were at 20, you’re probably a jerk. While Lou Barlow is six years away from that 50-year mark, he isn’t quite stuck in the indie rock and low-fi limbo of his past. As members of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and the Folk Implosion, Barlow has steered his entire career toward the anti-mainstream, DIY aesthetic. His most recent solo albums, 2005’s Emoh and last year’s Goodnight Unknown, are smooth, accomplished, and grown-up, but you don’t have to worry about Barlow taking over one of the vacated judges’ seats on American Idol any time soon. His willowy, breathy vocals and pensive romantic ruminations remain fundamental — there’s just less tape hiss and more ripened angst these days. Goodnight Unknown (recorded with the Melvins’ Dale Crover and singer-songwriter Lisa Germano) has the subdued and melodious style of vintage Nike Drake and Simon and Garfunkel. But don’t confuse this dexterity with dullness. Barlow certainly doesn’t. Lou Barlow, with Wye Oak, plays the Grog Shop at 8 p.m. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance. —Mark Keresman

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