James Hunter; Chris Isaak

Who says the British Empire has fallen? James Hunter, who follows in Eric Clapton's sandal tracks like a lemming over the cliffs of Dover, is here to prove that perhaps there are a few more unspoiled paradises where the natives will salute the Union Jack. He's gotten some precious metal out of the mine—Hunter's version of American blues is the kind for which kindly old men issue little gold statues. His debut album People Gonna Talk shows off remarkable guitar work and an approach to the genre that will have many a critic reaching for their annotated copy of Heart of Darkness. Hunter is opening for Chris Isaak. Whether punching far above his weight (a roll in the beach sand with Helena Christensen) or far below it (debasing himself as a D-list buffoon on Showtime), Isaak's voice and his messages never fail to sooth the suburban beast, and are as pleasing to the palate as a fat-free pudding pop (vanilla, natch).
Wed., Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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