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Music Picks: The Hangmen, Brother Ali, Tommy Rock-A-Shacka, Weezer 

Also, Hellride, Bonobo, New Kingdom and others

Thursday, Nov 25 2010
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FRIDAY/NOVEMBER/26

THE QUEERS, KEPI GHOULIE AT THE TROUBADOUR

It may be hard to remember these days, but punk rock actually used to be fun. It was the kind of thing where several drinking buddies could spontaneously start a band and come up with flippant, catchy melodies and write rude, silly lyrics without worrying about whether they'd get signed or create "art" of lasting importance. The New Hampshire–based group the Queers formed under such a set of circumstances, in a haze of pot and beer in 1982, and, although lead singer Joe King is the only remaining original member, the trio continues to churn out the same Ramones-inspired short, fast and simple tunes they did when they first composed sarcastic ditties like "We'd Have a Riot Doing Heroin." King and company haven't really matured since then, penning such deathless hymns as "Mrs. Brown, You've Got an Ugly Daughter" and "Little Rich Working-Class Oi-Boy." Apart from the occasional ode to their onetime pal G.G. Allin ("I Knew G.G. When He Was a Wimp"), most of the Queers' songs are about girls, sex, drugs and taking the piss out of fussy art-school snobs and nouveau-punk elitists. Tonight they're billed with singer Kepi Ghoulie, from the aptly named Groovie Ghoulies — another punk gang of fools who are more cartoonish than apocalyptically anarchistic. (Falling James)

click to flip through (3) PHOTO BY BAROFT WIX - Left to right: DJs J & Nicki Bonner, Nina Cole, David Orlando. See Saturday.
  • PHOTO BY BAROFT WIX
  • Left to right: DJs J & Nicki Bonner, Nina Cole, David Orlando. See Saturday.
   
 

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WEEZER, BEST COAST AT THE GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE

Well, Raditude-haters, you've finally done it. After years of distancing himself from Weezer's 1996 emo-perv classic, Pinkerton, Rivers Cuomo is on the road this fall, playing that album (as well as the band's 1994 debut) in its entirety, satisfying at long last his fans' desire to see the guy air his most self-incriminating thoughts in public. Don't get me wrong: I loved Pinkerton when it came out and love it no less in its newly reissued form. But there is something kind of depressing about watching Cuomo give in to the morons who've spent the last decade holding him responsible for their collective inability to process gems like "Beverly Hills" and "I'm Your Daddy." Truly, no other alt-rock star (including Billy Corgan) has been subjected to as much misunderstanding as Cuomo has. Here's hoping he encores with "Dope Nose" six times in a row. With Best Coast, whose Bethany Cosentino took to her blog to call this opening slot a dream come true. Also Sat. (Mikael Wood)

BONOBO, TOKIMONSTA, INSPIRED FLIGHT AT THE MUSIC BOX

Brighton, England's Bonobo — aka Simon Green — rose to electronic-music fame as a star in the hallowed Ninja Tune label's second generation, where the innovative turntablism of folks like Kid Koala and Mr. Scruff was giving way to the darker digital arts previously monopolized by the Warp Records roster. His 2000 debut, Animal Magic, may not have immediately established Bonobo as a gilded name in the world of melodic downbeat pop, but his next two finished the job by 2006, bringing back a little bit of the old breakbeat flavor. His new record, Black Sands, is Green's first in four years and his most ambitious yet, staying positively mellow but venturing into both his homeland's ice-cold dubstep strains and L.A.'s more sunbaked beat scene. Hailing from the latter is direct support Tokimonsta, whose soulful instrumental hip-hop vacillates between melodic and soft on the one hand, and dizzyingly intricate on the other. (Chris Martins)

Also playing Friday: GESTAPO KHAZI, TIJUANA PANTHERS, FIDLAR, HINDU PIRATES at the Smell; MOONDOGGIES, DAWES and ROMANY RYE at El Rey; DJ QUIK at the Key Club; SALONEN CONDUCTS HINDEMITH, WAGNER at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

 

SATURDAY/NOVEMBER/27

THE HANGMEN AT THE CAT CLUB

No matter how much the underground rock scene has changed over the past two decades, the Hangmen keep plugging away, seemingly oblivious to (and totally unconcerned about) passing trends. When singer-guitarist Bryan Small first moved from his Boise, Idaho, hometown to Hollywood in the late 1980s, the early Hangmen lineups rocked hard enough to be billed with hair-metal pretenders like Guns N' Roses, but they also had a punk ethos that aligned them closer with such heroes as the Gun Club, Johnny Thunders and Tex & the Horseheads. Band members and serious drug habits have since come and gone, but Small keeps on keepin' on, twisting wickedly spidery hard-rock riffs around weirdly sodden lyrics ("My head is pounding last night"), all of it delivered with his trademark garage-rock snarl. Instead of coming off as a relic from punk's heyday, the Hangmen are still vital, with recent recordings produced by Social Distortion's Mike Ness, and they're ironically more popular than ever — with their "bad" reputation pushing them always closer to legendary status. (Falling James)

DJ TOMMY ROCK-A-SHACKA WITH JANDISCO SOUND SYSTEM AT LA CITA

Japan's Tommy Rock-A-Shacka is one of the world's top collectors and DJs of Jamaican music, and reissues Jamaican artists on his label, Rock-A-Shacka. He has one of the deepest Jamaican record collections in the world and returns to L.A. to share them with you, supported by some of the best local reggae and dub DJs: Nina & Viktor (Rock Steady Lounge), J and Nicki Bonner (Jandisco), Rock Steady Chris (Rock Steady Lounge), Boss Harmony (Dub Club/Punky Reggae Party), Bigger Boss (Set the Tone, London) and Jah Faith on the mic. It's only $5 all night long and you'll hear Jamaican rarities the way they were meant to be heard: extraloud over a real-deal Jamaican-style sound system. If you'd like to preparty — or just do some of the best homework you'll ever have to do — spend some time researching Tommy Rock-A-Shacka's selections on Pirate's Choice Radio, available within the rock-a-shacka.com website. This is a rare event, since Tommy doesn't visit L.A. as often as he should. (Which would be every Wednesday, bringing his sound system to my apartment courtyard.) He's only been here a few times since his first visit last winter. All those records must be tough to get through Customs. (Lainna Fader)

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