The spring concert season is starting to heat up, so here's a quick sampling of what's about to sprout.
Not content to be known as the glitch god of Canada, ambitious electronic threat Dan Snaith, aka Manitoba, has put aside his familiar blipscapes to create an impressively diverse song-oriented selection of psych rock, jazz and orch pop on his new Up In Flames (Leaf/Domino) disc.
The question is, will Manitoba be able to pull it off live? It should make for an interesting performance, particularly since he's sharing the May 27 Lee's Palace bill with the always intriguing Four Tet and Prefuse 73. 529 Bloor West. $15 advance. 416-870-8000.
On a recent UK tour with DJ Format, MC Abdominal -- who rhymes on Format's great new Music For The Mature B-Boy (Genuine/PIAS) -- got a taste of what the roar of 5,000 adoring hiphop fans sounds like at close range. The members of Jurassic 5 were so taken with the way Abs was flexin' that they're having Abs & Fase open shows on the current tour, which brings them to the Kool Haus April 20.
Equally impressed were Format's Genuine label reps, who are now planning to release Abs & Fase's great Flowtation Device debut in Europe and Japan. Perhaps one day Abs & Fase will get the same kind of love here at home. 1 Jarvis. $29.50. 416-870-8000.
back from oblivion
Herbie Hancock calls Hammond groove giant Brian Auger "the best B-3 player I've ever heard," and he's considered one of the fathers of UK dance jazz. Yet despite the accolades and an impressive resumé involving stints with Steampacket, Passport and Average White Band -- along with his own innovative projects like Trinity and the Oblivion Express -- the funky keyboard king has never gotten the props he deserves. Reports from recent Oblivion Express tour dates indicate that the 63-year-old Auger has still got it. Watch him raise the roof at the Orbit Room (580A College) April 18 and 19. $tba. 416-535-0613.
jazz history repeats
Speaking of Herbie Hancock, what better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Massey Hall jazz summit that involved Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach than having Hancock lead a stellar bebop tribute with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, bassist Dave Holland and Bird's former drummer, Roy Haynes. It happens May 15 -- exactly 50 years to the day after the historic getdown. If Garrett shows up without his sax, hopefully he'll be able to borrow a plastic alto for the show. 178 Victoria. $69.50-$290. 416-872-4255.
Have you heard the one about Pete Yorn covering the Elvis Presley tune? The singer/songwriter bumped into Lisa Marie Presley at a party, and when he told her about his plan to record Suspicious Minds, she suggested Yorn get the Sweet Inspirations to sing backing vocals, just like Daddy did. Yorn laughed it off, but a few days later the phone rang: the Sweet Inspirations were ready to go. They got together and cut the song, which apparently sounds incredible. The punchline is that Yorn, in his infinite wisdom, decided not to put the track on his forthcoming disc, Day I Forgot (Sony), which he'll be unveiling at the Guvernment with Grandaddy May 7. And he probably wonders why his career is going nowhere fast. 132 Queen's Quay East. $25.50. 416-870-8000.
winchester aims high
However many amazing songs Jesse Winchester composes, he'll be remembered by many as the music world's most famous draft dodger. Shortly after receiving his call-up notice in 67, the Memphis singer/songwriter skipped out on the Vietnam War and took up residence in Montreal. Despite recording and releasing a string of beautifully crafted albums to effusive critical acclaim, Winchester's inability to tour the U.S. during the late 60s and early 70s singer/songwriter boom prevented him from becoming the coffeehouse superstar he should've been. So he may not be fabulously wealthy, but he does have an incredible body of work to show off in two intimate performances at Hugh's Room May 2 and 3. 2261 Dundas West. $25. 416-531-6604.