Howe Gelb has recorded some of the most curious American music of the last 20 years. Whether solo, with his band Giant Sand or with collaborators that have included PJ Harvey and Neko Case, Gelb has been a master of the unpredictable, offering up everything from tinkling piano rags to bombastic, noisy rock. Among the wild swings from highbrow to lowbrow and the moments of meticulous musicianship that suddenly collapse into muddy distortion, Gelb manages delicate restraint. A knee-jerk reaction would be to call Gelbs work shambolic, but its actually a very controlled chaos. Theres also an endearing earnestness in Gelbs experiments. After all, this is a man who not only recorded a piano-and-conga version of Black Sabbaths Iron Man, he meant it. Gelb is often witty, but he doesnt wink. The delightfully unironic environment of the Orange Show should be the perfect venue for Gelbs idiosyncratic Americana. Hes touring in support of his gospel-tinged 2006 album Sno Angel Like You, but expect the unexpected. Gelb is known for performing sans set list. Special guests include Little Joe Washington and Vinyl Ranch. 7:30 p.m. 2402 Munger. For information, call 713-926-6368 or visit www.orangeshow.org. $12
Fri., Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., 2007
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