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Preview: Mike Dillon 

A one-night-only tribute to exotica king Martin Denny and emo poster boy Elliott Smith

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Photo by Bill Douthart

Leave it to an unpredictable percussion wizard to pay tribute to a swinging mid-century tiki lounge musician and one of the saddest of the sad and sensitive singer-songwriters at the same time, at the same show. Mike Dillon's percussion and vibraphone handiwork appears on more than a dozen projects, from Minutemen-inflected jazz punk to straight forward sledgehammer funk and psychedelic rock, while his signature vocal rasp shares as much with a smoky, finger-snapping jazz poet as it does Tom Waits or Lou Reed. Dillon never is content to be defined by any genre at any moment, constantly shifting his post-modern palette to make something familiar as unrecognizable as possible. At this one-night-only midnight gig, Dillon — accompanied by like-minded musicians Clint Maedgen, Brian Coogan, Jason Marsalis and James Singleton — looks to disparate artists, seemingly picked at random from a spinning wheel, for his latest genre-bending exercise: Martin Denny's tropical "exotica," often accented with chirping birds and surf sounds, and the late Elliott Smith, whose often-dark, near-whispered folk and pop songs inspired a generation of introspective, heart-on-sleeve singer-songwriters. Dillon couldn't have picked two better artists for us to get a glimpse inside his head. Tickets $20-$45; proceeds benefit the Preservation Hall Foundation.

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