Cage the Elephant
In the true rock ’n’ roll definition, this is not really a comeback, but when a band cranks the amps on its popularity as rapidly as Cage the Elephant did with the 2009 self-titled debut album, it’s easy to wonder where it went when the dance floor cooled off a bit, and after a sophomore effort didn’t quite have the same wallop. With bust-out tracks like “In One Ear” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” the band managed to simultaneously tap the baseline alternative rock spirit of the ’00s while hurling in heaps of soul-infected rhythms, beefy hooks and a little bit of Dixie-fried devilry.
By all accounts, Cage the Elephant dumped some gas on the fire and has come roaring back with last month’s release of “Melophobia.” It’s in the top spot for the Electric Christmas show, flanked by the chart-busting and delightfully quirky indie act Alt-J, Grouplove, the Features and more. 1 Sports Pkwy, Sacramento. $39.50. www.sleeptrainarena.com; www.cagetheelephant . com/music
It’s always the runner-ups! Although she finished second on Season 9 of “American Idol,” Crystal Bowersox’s success is noteworthy among recent alumni. For the woman who auditioned for the show by belting out Janis Joplin, her post-“Idol” debut album, “Farmer’s Daughter,” predictably marooned the singer in a limbo of overly produced pop that belied her flower-child roots.
That changed with the release of the aptly titled “All That For This” in March, which saw her team with producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, link up for a duet with Jakob Dylan, and remind viewers (or anyone who is a fan of Ingrid Michaelson or Alison Krauss) why they liked her so much in the first place. With Seth Glier and Bossa Zuzu. 1000 K St., Sacramento. $27.50. www.assembly sacra mento.com; www.crystal bower sox.com/home
The “house band” for the United Nations in 1962? If you ask founder and pianist Thomas Lauredale, that’s exactly what he would have hoped for his band Pink Martini – if it had the opportunity. Lauredale founded the group while working in the political field and realizing that mixers and fundraisers needed some musical pizazz. The group evolved into a worldly mini-orchestra of whimsical jazz and classically tinged pop with a heavily stamped passport.
Monday’s gig in Davis will showcase its deliciously original, refined and slightly edgy takes on classic holiday tunes. Don’t expect just “American classics.” 1 Shields Ave, Davis. $35-$75. www.mondaviarts.org; http://pinkmartini.com
Looking ahead: The Mother Hips, Dec. 27 at Assembly
Veterans of “California” soul, the Hips bring their Neil Young/Beatles/Byrds-influenced catalog to downtown before heading up to Crystal Bay to support one of Jackie Greene’s run of shows, then on to their hometown of Chico on New Year’s Eve. 1000 K St., Sacramento. $20. www.assembly sacramento.com; www.motherhips.com