Another summer, another ridiculous panoply of free live music events to enjoy around our sprawling metropole. That's right, free. Not guest-list free but gratis to any ol' body who can lift himself out of the daily humdrum and make the scene (and there are at least a dozen solid scenes around town) for a little get-down, kick-back, or freak-out. All those "I don't ever go east/west of La Cienega" excuses don't apply (and they're lame anyway), since the venues range from the Santa Monica Pier to LACMA midtown and Cal Plaza to Pershing Square downtown and the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. This weekend (at least for those who recover from Thursday night, after Soulive's and Breakestra's dual throwdown on the SM Pier or the cracklin' salseros La Excelencia at Skirball), Friday the 13th features at least three lucky choices: Nick Mancini's vibraphonic new-groove jazz at LACMA, the Budos Band's instro-globo horn-swingin' thang at Levitt MacArthur Park, and one of the double bills of the season, at Grand Performances, L.A.'s own Cambodian-tinged psych rockers Dengue Fever, opening for Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, Malian purveyors of the funkiest-ass string-driven tuneage this side of Bamako. The next night at GP the party continues, as Haiti's compas godfathers Tabou Combo shake the ass in classic, while on Sunday piano improviser Viyaj Iyer reconfigures the 88s at Levitt Pasadena. The freebie flame burns bright for the rest of the summer, fueled by such noteworthies as Nortec Collective (GP, Aug. 21), Kenya's Kenge Kenge (Skirball, Aug. 26), Antlers (Getty, Aug. 28), Bonedaddys (West L.A. Bandshell, Sept. 1), and Dr. John (SM Pier, Sept. 2). Beautiful people, it's time to get your groove on!
Fri., Aug. 13, 2010