THURSDAY, JULY 6
Belle & Sebastian, The Shins at the Hollywood Bowl
Judas priest. The Hollywood Bowl has some holy crap! concert combos this summer. This week: Belle & Sebastian backed for the first time ever by a world-class orchestra, the L.A. Phil. With the Shins, too? What a wet dream for sensitive kids in tight pants everywhere. B&S those dry little lads/lasses made the market on fragile-sarcasm/storytelling pop. Typical lines like Shes got everything to gain cause shes a fat girl with a lisp will indeed ring even more sweetly and unsettlingly accurate with full-orchestra oomph. As their latest album, The Life Pursuit, shows, a good B&S song is a lot like a smoking baby. To laugh or to cry? At once heartbreaking and humorous. At once sinister and innocent. Cellos required. Nights like these are a big reason not to hate L.A. (Courtney Fitzgerald)
FRIDAY, JULY 7Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus, Peaches at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
We know its lamentable how few occasions arise to wear leather pants. Well, dry your tears, dig out your fishnet shirt and get pumped for what may be the most exciting double bill in gothic-industrial history. A darkwave tour of fantastical proportions has headliners Nine Inch Nails paired with the paternal founders of gloom crooning, Bauhaus. Imagine a sea of spiked, inky black heads bobbing in rhythm to the soundtrack of your more angst-addled times, as Peter Murphy poses and stalks the stage with his low moans, then surrenders the spotlight to NIN, wholl deliver a distortion-heavy, synth-laced set in support of their latest album, With Teeth. Bauhaus might throw out a few new ones too, but itd be worth the admission for even the first strains of Bela Lugosis Dead. And dont miss Peaches, who opens with her gender-bending glam rock/electronica. (Alie Ward)The Legendary Pink Dots at El Rey Theater
Veterans now of something like 100,000 albums (and cassettes), the utterly strange and beautiful Anglo-Dutch hybrid the Legendary Pink Dots come recently with Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves (ROIR), as of noon today their latest collection of future antiques and curios. The Pink Dots offer spellbinding shadows of sound-story, at times a medieval-tinged ritualizing of art- (not prog-) rock textural and structural expanse; always a wee gloomy industrial dank lurks about their bleakly humorous house, but, too, rich coils of synth drone & loop, and sundry e-klink-klank, only to dub out into yonder electronic plainsong. Meanwhile, the drily deep history of leader Edward KaSpels poetic cautionary tales strews atop the entire mystifying mass, and its all served with utterly no explanation. The Pink Dots are the latest, greatest thing always will be cause one can never pinpoint exactly what theyre on about, but can suffer measureless revelation upon hearing it. (John Payne)
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Vans Warped Tour featuring Helmet, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, From Autumn to Ashes at Dodger Stadium
Twisted, harmonically improbable, psychedelic, crazed, plain weird: Thats the guitar solo on Swallowing Everything, the first track on Helmets new Monochrome. The next song barfs a wah improv almost as unruly; the third delivers more ax murder... you aint escaping. Page Hamilton, Chris Traynor and their new pals have huddled with their old producer, Wharton Tiers, and after Helmets kinda flat 2004 comeback, Size Matters, it feels good to hear the punk/metal noisewagon of 1991 running on hate and artistic potency again. To some extent, Hamiltons melodic agony as a singer can be blamed for so many of the simper cliques that usually clog Warped bills; main difference is, hes real. Joan Jett, of course, will rock without fail. And From Autumn to Ashes can honest-to-god write songs. But theres more. A lot more. (Greg Burk)
Lyle Lovett, Blind Boys of Alabama at the Greek Theater
Son, dont worry about what weve got in Texas, the late, great Ernest Tubb used to say. Worry about how much of it weve got. Tubb wasnt referring to Lyle Lovetts extravagant coif but, rather, to the multitude of outsider culture, down-home insight and wild music that gluts the Lone Star State. Its a mixture that has well served the freewheeling Lovett, whose knack for snatching and grabbing disparate elements has enabled the singer to nab four Grammys, movie-star matrimony (albeit short-lived, with Julia Roberts) and the opportunity to record with such an idol as Al Green. Paired tonight with the seriously soul-stirring gospel gang the Blind Boys of Alabama a nervy move, as a tougher act to follow is hard to imagine Lovett has his work cut out for him. (Jonny Whiteside)