This week, to make things simple, just set your digital (or analog if you're Brian) video recording device to record Letterman every night, as Paul Shaffer and the Late Show Band will be hosting a must-see act every night, bookending the week with two acts I'm particularly excited to see: Grinderman and Buffalo Tom.
First up tonight is the Nick Cave-led Grinderman, which is essentially a stripped-down version of The Bad Seeds. It's driven by the raw sounds of Cave playing electric guitar for the first time in his life, and is a sort of return to the post-punk roots of his early eighties band The Birthday Party. His lyrics and delivery are more off-the-cuff and like his guitar scratches, completely raw, which almost always translates into a great live experience.
Tuesday night, Letterman welcomes critic darlings The National, featuring the lyrical poetry lead singer Matt Berninger, who's baritone delivery is understated magic. Wednesday night, country legend Porter Wagoner stops by and shows how country music should be done, even at 80 years of age. Thursday brings the garage-punk sounds of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Karen O's stage presence will surely produce beads of sweat on Paul Shaffer's balding head.
And ending the week in style, the Boston-based trio Buffalo Tom return after nine years with a new album (Three Easy Pieces) and easily jump to the top of the indie rock reunion heap. Funny to think that the last time they played a talk show (in support of 1999's Smitten,) it on the final night of The Jon Stewart Show on MTV (see video.) Bringing it full circle, one of Stewart's guests on that final show was David Letterman.
Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention that PBS is re-airing the infamous Guided By Voices appearance on Austin City Limits, documented on DVD in full earlier this year. That their cohorts in the episode are Modest Mouse only adds to the necessity to tune in (again.)
Monday, July 23
Tuesday, July 24
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The National
Wednesday, July 25
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Porter Wagoner
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Stephen Stills
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Ben Kweller (REPEAT)
Thursday, July 26
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: T.I. (REPEAT)
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Friday, July 27
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Buffalo Tom
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Silversun Pickups (REPEAT)
Saturday, July 28