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Knitting together a mix of rock, hip-hop, reggae

Fri., Feb. 26, 2010

Over the course of the next week, the Knitting Factory Concert House will be soaked in the sunny hip-hop blues of G Love, tanned with the tropical island grooves of The Wailers, mashed in the multi-genre party rock of 311 and thrashed with pioneering speed-metal overlords Megadeth.

Here’s a closer look at what’s in store at 919 W. Sprague Ave. (tickets available through TicketsWest outlets, 800-325-SEAT,

Megadeth with Testament and Exodus

When: Monday at 7 p.m.

Tickets: Sold out

Amid label changes and changing lineups, bandleader Dave Mustaine pulled Megadeth together to release yet another tightly reined record of metal rage in last year’s “Endgame.”

The second Megadeth album on Roadrunner Records, it’s the first with guitarist Chris Broderick – and the last with bassist James LoMenzo, as original bassist David Ellefson rejoined the band this month after eight years.

The album was recorded in Mustaine’s newly built studio, Vic’s Garage, named after Megadeth’s skull-faced mascot.

Despite all the shifting circumstances, Mustaine and company managed a critical and commercial victory in “Endgame.” It reached No. 9 on the Billboard 200, and the single, “Head Crusher,” was nominated for a Grammy.

But Megadeth also is looking backward on its current “Rust in Peace” tour, which opens in Spokane. In honor of that album’s 20th anniversary, the band is playing the entire thing live each night along with other favorites from its catalog.

“Endgame” continues to tread familiar Megadeth territory, with lyrical themes of political dismay (the title track is about compromised civil rights) and dark love (“…Sealed With A Kiss” tells of a lover entombed in a wall of bricks) – though there also are rare light moments, such as “1,320,” an homage to nitro funny car racing.

“After the smoke cleared from personnel and label changes, I knew that regaining respect for me and for Megadeth was going to be a huge undertaking,” Mustaine said in a news release.

“I’m grateful the fans have let me stretch my wings musically. It was a good lesson about the need to follow your heart.”

G. Love and Special Sauce, with Redeye Empyre

When: Tonight at 8:30

Tickets: $20

G. Love and the gang bring their tart and tangy alternative hip-hop blues with a new album in tow.

Released only in Australia and New Zealand, “Long Way Down” is the first title on the band’s own Philadelphonic Records. The album – G. Love’s 10th studio set – contains songs that have been previously recorded but unreleased.

Everything isn’t all beaches and beverages on this latest record. There are weightier moments, most notably on the cut “Peace & Happiness,” with lyrics exploring a man’s worry over his nation’s wars.

The Wailers, with Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds

When: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.

Tickets: $20

Together with Bob Marley, the Wailers have sold more than 250 million records worldwide and are considered the greatest live exports of Jamaica’s reggae tradition.

After Marley’s death, the group continued on with numerous lineups rotating around bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett.

The Wailers stepped into the new year by launching a campaign to end global hunger, called I Went Hungry, in which participating musicians donate a portion of their tour catering budget to the Word Food Program.

311, with Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $37.50

After two decades in the business, 311 released its highest-charting album with last year’s “Uplifter,” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

The CD/DVD combo includes 14 tracks and a behind-the-scenes look at the band’s annual March 11 shabang.

Blending various forms of rap-rock-metal-funk-ska-punk-reggae – and even a little jazz – 311 has managed to keep old-school fans hooked while spreading a message of unity through music to a new generation of listeners.

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