George Lewis Jr. isn't exactly your typical '80s revivalist. Granted, his self-produced 2012 breakthrough, Confess, definitely has that intangible sheen of cocky-optimist gloss that coated the decade's best pop in breathless decadence. But true to the form of the day, that gloss is only there to conceal an uncertainty that drives cockiness to the point of arrogance. Whatever effortless cool is detectable has raw nerves bristling underneath, an anxious energy that comes from a deep awareness of mortality and alienation. And if that sounds like a downer, well, it's a beautiful one: that voice of his careens between moments of wounded or hesitant restraint into full-voiced wails of soulful catharsis, and the downpour of funereal synthesized chords and rattling guitars are almost seductive. In isolation, it's bracing stuff; live, it promises the human connection his best work longs for. With Elliphant and DJ Jake Rudh. 18+.
Fri., May 31, 8 p.m., 2013