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FOSTER THE PEOPLE at the Wiltern; ZEE AVI at El Rey Theatre; THE HOLD STEADY at the Echoplex; A DECADE OF DIFFERENCE at Hollywood Bowl; DROPKICK MURPHYS at Hollywood Palladium; METRONOMY at the Troubadour; AUDRA MCDONALD at Segerstrom Concert Hall; THE DOGS, THE GEARS at the Redwood; THUNDERCAT, DADDY KEV at the Getty; FRIENDLY FIRES, THEOPHILUS LONDON at Club Nokia; PETER ERSKINE TRIO at Vitello's.
Triple threat? Think again: This Ohio-born musician is a singer, songwriter and producer who plays multiple instruments. His first album, which included sexy slow burners "Down Here in Hell (With You)" and "Seconds of Pleasure," showed off a talent for constructing real rhythm & blues records, and he was nominated for a Grammy. Seven years and a couple of label scuffs later (Blue Note never released his third album, Popular), he's relocated to L.A. from Atlanta. His latest, what were you hoping for?, is full of rollicking rock & roll, but he proves he can still accompany candlelit nights with the gently driving "Moving Targets." —Rebecca Haithcoat
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when rock bands were branching out with album-length songs and 20-minute drum solos, San Francisco's Flamin' Groovies stubbornly went in the opposite direction — playing rock & roll instead of rock, and distilling the music to its primal essence in perfectly rendered three-minute pop songs. Although they paved the way for the DIY indie and punk scenes, the Groovies were more accurately a power-pop group, blending old Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly covers with their own melodic gems, including the sublimely yearning classic "Shake Some Action" and the riff-heavy antiheroin anthem "Slow Death" (which was a harder-rocking and less cheaply sentimental answer to Neil Young's "The Needle & the Damage Done"). Former members Roy Loney, George Alexander, James Ferrell and Mike Wilhelm appeared on onetime Groovies singer Chris Wilson's recent solo album, Love Over Money, whose title hints at the motivation behind this totally unexpected reunion. —Falling James
EMPIRE OF THE SUN, MAYER HAWTHORNE at Club Nokia; JENNY LEWIS at McCabe's.
Marsha Ambrosius, Miguel
True to its corporate billing, the Grey Goose Rising Icons Tour presents a pair of midlevel R&B acts on the way up: Marsha Ambrosius, formerly known as half of the English-expat duo Floetry, and L.A.-based Miguel, who wrote songs for Usher and Jaheim before striking out on his own. (Like so many soul singers these days, Ambrosius has written for other artists, too, including Michael Jackson.) Late Nights & Early Mornings, Ambrosius' recent solo debut, rarely lives up to its sly lead single, "Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)." But opening for R. Kelly at the Nokia Theatre in June, she had the crowd cursing a no-good ex right along with her. Miguel aims for a kind of space-age D'Angelo vibe and usually gets there. —Mikael Wood
PETE ANDERSON at the Moose Lodge; BATTLES at the Mayan; JENNY LEWIS at Largo; CATALINA 25TH ANNIVERSARY at Catalina; TRAE THA TRUTH at Key Club.
Beth Gibbons has a chillingly beautiful voice that should sound even more majestic rattling around in the echoing catacombs of the Shrine. Her soulfully quavering entreaties are always given atmospheric depth by her Portishead bandmates Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow, who surround her fragile vocals on songs like "Glory Box" and "Roads" with somber waves of synth, trip-hop beats and intriguing wisps of guitar. This summer the English trio headlined a series of large European music festivals and recently curated both the British and American editions of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. One never knows when this reclusive and unpredictable group will drop out of sight again, so don't miss Portishead as they turn this old hall into their own personal Shrine. Also Wed. —Falling James
First he was Butterfly from Grammy-winning jazz-rap titans Digable Planets, then he moved on to velvety electro-funk as Cherrywine, and now Ishmael Butler is Palaceer Lazaro, ruler of Shabazz Palaces' carefully constructed, closely guarded universe of dense, blasted beats, airtight rhymes and existential musings on freedom, identity, motivation and desire. The most exciting hip-hop act to come out of Seattle in decades, Shabazz Palaces released two mini albums in 2009 (s/t and Palaces of Light), and their debut LP, Black Up, came out a few months ago on indie-rock powerhouse Sub Pop. They return to L.A. with TheeSatisfaction, the similarly enigmatic and spaced-out project of Catherine Harris-White and Stasia Irons, who sing and rap on Black Up. —Lainna Fader