Playing Around 

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32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.,
Sunday, Sept. 21 at 9 p.m.
Presale, $8; Day of show, $10, 955-5664 or www.32Bleu.com
All ages

Old school R & B is on its way back. Angst is for the good times. But when the zeitgeist is angst and desperation, working slobs need to relax into their politics with some bump-and-grind good times. Part Rick James funk freaker, part Al Green creamy crooner, Reggie Watts of Maktub has a helmet-rific afro to go along with the expansive sound of his soothing voice. It wouldn't be fair to call these guys just R & B, or just funk, since they occasionally indulge in background metal riffs (though it does seem like a gratuitous attempt at crossover). Seattle-based Maktub's at its best with melodic love anguish on tracks like "Baby Can't Wait" and workaday moanings on "So Tired": I want some understanding from this world today/ It hurts when I see people stuck inside their ways/ And I don't see compassion burning in their eyes/ It's hard to make a living when all you know is try, try/ I'm so tired of makin' a livin' ... Mmmhmm.

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