Who was it who said Los Angeles is the home of perfectly formed illusions? Maybe nobody, but it highlights the phenomenon of appearance before substance. Those conventions are tested by the Mardo brothers, who strut and hand-clap their way into town on a hot desert wind Oct. 24. They're playing rock that's straight across the board, the kind that shakes the floor and somehow invites the tossing of underthings. They accessorize well and wear tight jeans, besides, and while this isn't a revolutionary sound, it's pretty close to perfectly formed, a glimpse into the sounds of the Left Coast these days. Mardo plays at 9 p.m. with opener Need to Breathe. $6. 643-2816.
Junior Brown at Canal Club
If ever there was any doubt as to his credibility as a country musician, his papers are definitely in order now that he's been the voice of The Balladeer in the "Dukes of Hazzard" movie, a role occupied by Waylon Jennings in the TV series. But as one of the finest steel-guitar players around, Junior Brown didn't have much to prove. He invented the double-necked guit-steel, a combination of six-string and steel guitars that, when he really gets rolling on those basso profundo honky-tonk ballads, looks like it's going to jump off his lap. He's touring in support of his newest release, "Down Home Chrome," but when Junior Brown plays Oct. 19 at 8 p.m., expect him to switch up genres and tinker with familiar tunes like he's tuning a cosmic radio. $16-$18. 643-2582.
Beenie Man at Canal Club
The Jamaican star just want dem pretty gals. Representing the new wave of contemporary dance-hall with gangsta hip-hop 'tude, Beenie Man (aka Moses Davis) got his nickname for his diminutive size. But his brash "toasting" over booming drum machine beats is anything but humble. From his days as a childhood sensation, Beenie has scored more than 60 No. 1 hits (winning a Grammy in 2000), while working with Janet Jackson, Wyclef and The Neptunes, and watching his commercial appeal spread through Britain and the United States. He's also provoked the ire of gay rights groups worldwide by writing songs that seemingly call for the killing and torture of gays (or "chi chi" men). Protestors helped cancel several of his concerts and got him booted from the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami. Has Beenie learned his lesson? Will he steer this highly danceable, new-school reggae away from bigotry? Richmonders find out when he brings his in-your-face, riddim-rocking style to the Canal Club Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. $25. 643-2582. Brent Baldwin
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