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It’s a Hard Knack Life

We’re saddened by the news that the Knack’s drummer, Bruce Gary, has died of lymphoma. And Knack singer Doug Fieger is struggling with serious health troubles as well. Just when we were having a real Get the Knack renaissance of late — you know, really enjoying the deeper cuts, digging the unique way this group managed to make power pop with balls. Our warmest wishes, and thanks, to the group and their families...  We find the power-pop spirit continually reborn; as we don’t have cable TV, we’ve only recently discovered young Drake Bell, who’s long been a star on Nickelodeon but who really deserves consideration as a songwriter per se, with a precocious grasp of Beatlesque harmony that makes us smile. (He’ll play the Roxy Sat., Sept. 16, FYI — his first-ever L.A. gig!) (Kate Sullivan)


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

{mosimage}Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Forum

Embracing middle age and Anthony Kiedis’ much-improved vocals, the Chili Peppers are thankfully focusing on their more melodic, melancholic efforts on their current tour, offering but glimpses of their tuneless punk-funk of old. Much of their set is from talented-but-troubled guitarist John Frusciante’s second stint with the band (including this year’s more-of-the-same Stadium Arcadium), though largely ignoring the lithe beauty of 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik until the encores. The Peppers seem oddly ambivalent toward their audiences, and their trademark wackiness looks increasingly choreographed, but they still have a true force of nature in eccentric bass-beater Flea — debatably worth the price of admission alone. They’re the ultimate made-in-Hollywood band, from red carpets and rehab to pseudo spiritualism and back-in-the-day antics. Hopefully, Kiedis and company will step off the arena-ready conveyor for this hometown show. (Paul Rogers)

Simon Dawes at the Troubadour

Simon Dawes is a band, they’ll have you know, and indeed the L.A. combo have a quite-kicking new EP called What No One Hears out now on Record Collection that proves their legitimate bandness beyond all doubt, and a debut full-length, Carnivore, set for September release on the same fine label. Want some context? It’s Kinks, methinks, with singer-guitarist Taylor Goldsmith’s Ray Davies–like lazy, snarly-sweet delivery in the forefront as his band mates riff about sloppily but very musically. It’s all mid-’60s/early-’70s electric and acoustic guitars (in a Mersey Beat mode, decidedly nonmetallic), shakers and tambourines shimmering away, and the boys adding a nice harmony vocal when the mood hits. What’s the gist? None of these seemingly off-the-cuff tracks, recorded as if to catch a feeling before it fleets, seem overly fussed over yet they contain a considerable weight. That’s the way to do it. (John Payne)


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

DJ Z-Trip at MOCA’s Arco Court

A Phoenix transplant still riding a tidal wave of adulation from 2005’s Shifting Gears, Z-Trip (né Zachariah Jeremy Sciacca) was one of the first hip-hop DJs to work a set entirely around rock band Rush and arena-rock anthems in general. He started Bombshelter DJs with fellow Phoenix DJ Radar, whose Concerto for Turntable broke ground with an orchestral score using the turntable as a percussion instrument. Now departed from Hollywood Records (which released Shifting Gears), Z-Trip is up to some new tricks, including a reworking of the Run Run Run cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You,” remixes for Motown — and marriage?! And while his impassioned, playful scratching gets you 10 steps closer to heaven than the other five times you’ve seen him, if it gets too samey, there’s always udon around the corner. Starts at 8 p.m.; 250 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn. (213) 626-6222. (David Cotner)

{mosimage}Acid King, Eternal Elysium, Black Cobra at Mountain Bar

Acid King are a total rock environment. It’s dark down where Lori S. tortures her Les Paul into a moaning coma of staggering riffs and evilly premeditated lead statements, matching the bloody Acheron vibe with Donita-damaged vocal imprecations awash in subterranean echo. Bassist Mark Lamb slides around in the goo while drummer Joey Osbourne flogs the beast, his fills sounding like a bloated corpse beaten with tire irons. On the road since ’93, the S.F. trio do the stoner limbo right; their current III, produced with Billy Anderson (Sleep, Melvins, Neurosis), is an unconscious death march perfect for your afternoon commute or a weekend smoking away your rent money. With Japan’s relentless, compatible and thoroughly excellent Eternal Elysium and L.A.’s thrashy, noisy Black Cobra. Ace bill. 473 Gin Ling Way, Chinatown. (213) 625-7500. (Greg Burk)

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

{mosimage}The Sharp Ease, The Starlite Desperation at the Echo

The Sharp Ease rock the house like a 15-year-old with a new credit card with the release of their new 180-gram-vinyl EP, Remain Instant, on the Smell’s in-house label, Olfactory Records. Newer members Anika (sax) and male guitarist Aaron (snorkeling through the estrogen seas) bring them ever closer to the X-Ray Spex and Essential Logic legacy than ever before. They’re also recent winners of an endorsement by the Daisy Rock company, makers of “the girl guitar.” The Starlite Desperation’s psychedelic, stomping R&B presents an unusually oomph-ful version of blues and androgyny in the voice and the hips; their rider demands the following in the green room: “gravy, money, Arlon Roth’s Rock Guitar for Beginners instructional DVD, a DVD player, a melon, place mats and Tang.” (David Cotner)

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Deerhoof, Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog
at the Troubadour

A pleasurably discordant avant-garde comes cleverly masked as pop music with San Francisco’s long-running Deerhoof, who challenge all faiths with their peculiar vision of an ideal teen beat. The band is now down to a trio — bassist Chris Cohen having left to do his Curtains band full-time — which means that singer Satomi Matsuzaki assumes bass duties in addition to her breathy-baby fairy tales about who knows what and all points in between. Their trademark sound, as best heard on last year’s The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars), lures one in with guitar, drums and bass, plus the odd electronic or twiddle-box effect, while the emphasis remains on combined realities — i.e., everything they do sounds like Top 40 hits from another galaxy, long, long ago. Plus NYC downtown-type ax-man Marc Ribot and his free/punk/funk/experimental/ psychedelic/postelectronica collective, Ceramic Dog. (John Payne)

The James Gang at Gibson Amphitheatre

In the annals of rockdom, the chapter on the James Gang would be short or altogether missing by the mere fact that Joe Walsh’s career as a solo artist and his stint with the Eagles dwarf the little power trio he fronted in the late ’60s and early ’70s. But for the true hard-rock aficionado, the James Gang’s 1969 release, Rides Again, sits prominently among the Top 20 rock albums of all time. “Funk #49,” the quintessential air-guitar anthem (rivaled only by Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”), kicks off a seven-song journey that roams from women-done-me-wrong cock-rock, ball busters about closet queens and ballads about ashes, rain and well-tended gardens to mellow country-rock without ever losing its cohesiveness. The following album, Thirds, boasted the radio-friendly hit “Walk Away” — and then that’s just what Walsh did. Replacing Walsh with Tommy Bolin on guitar, and with Roy Kenner on vocals, the James Gang released the impressive Bang album but quickly disappeared off the rock-&-roll map. Perhaps hedged on by the success of Cream’s recent regrouping, the power trio are making the rounds again and bring their Cleveland rock to the Gibson Amphitheatre tonight. (Peter Fletcher)

{mosimage}James Brown, Angie Stone at the Hollywood Bowl

J.B., J.B.: Whether fleeing the cops in a high-speed pursuit or inflaming the passions with his screaming, steaming treats from the soul bowl, he really is the hardest-working man in show business. Brown’s groundbreaking, untamed vocal technique set the entire tone for modern black-American music, and, significantly, made an equal sociopolitical impact; as an innovator and a liberator, James Brown will never be rivaled. With the addition of a set from singer-musician Angie Stone, the evocative, neosoul stylist whose professional life began with early-’80s female funk/hip-hop sensations the Sequence (y’know, “Funk You Up”), and whose stirring R&B/soul sound has been well informed by numerous studio jobs with everyone from Buckwheat Zydeco to Ray Charles, this one’s a double-barreled bull’s-eye shredder. (Jonny Whiteside)

The Zombies, Phantom Planet, The Mooney Suzuki, The Woggles, The Holograms at Avalon

Even though Little Steven makes for an unconvincing gangster on The Sopranos, he’s also a pretty damn cool rock & roll DJ with hipper taste than you might expect from a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. His nationally syndicated radio show, Underground Garage, revels in not just the great, lost garage-rock bands of the ’60s, like the Kingsmen, the Sonics, and Davie Allan & the Arrows, but also gives valuable exposure to more recent, Nuggets-inspired combos such as the Gore Gore Girls, the Cynics and Lyres. On this Underground Garage à Go-Go tour, he’s presenting one of the grooviest (and still-thriving) ’60s British bands, the Zombies, whose best tunes (“She’s Not There,” “Time of the Season”) blend Colin Blunstone’s melodically world-weary vocals with Rod Argent’s sublime keyboard touches. The rest of tonight’s lineup is a mixed bag with the deliciously fizzy fuzz-pop of L.A.’s own cartoon-come-to-life girl group, the Holograms (see this week’s Diggin’ Your Scene); plus, the stomping caveman beats, snarling vocals and wailing harmonica of the Woggles (who were an obvious influence on the Hives); the similarly retro but overly jivey Mooney Suzuki; and Phantom Planet, whose mainstream production and self-conscious Strokes-style rock sticks out uncomfortably on a bill like this. (Falling James)

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7

{mosimage}Tool at Staples Center

It’s heartening that a band of Tool’s sprawling sonic ambition and almost perverse refusal to pander can play a vast shed like the Staples. The listening public, it appears, welcomes a challenge. Tool’s new album, 10,000 Days, while still prog as fuck, is way more welcoming than 2001’s Lateralus, with freshly focused production and collaborative writing creating the comforting/terrifying surge of an intravenous painkiller. Tool’s substructure has changed little: arachnid bass visited by both unison and syncopated guitar; Danny Carey’s Kali-armed percussion; and the curious sounds that emanate from Maynard James Keenan — incantations at once menacing and self-flagellating, ecstatic and suicidal, exotic yet lurking in all of our heads. Make the most of it — Tool don’t do anything in a hurry, so Lordie knows when they’ll visit us again. (Paul Rogers)


More Shows

Thurs., 8/31: POP LEVI, GRAND OLE PARTY, THE BLAKES, SKY HARBOR at the Echo; ROCKING HORSE PEOPLE, THE HORSE THIEVES, THE HORSES at Little Pedro’s . . . Fri., 9/1: THE DICKIES et al. at Safari Sam’s; THE GRAY KID at the Echo; JAMIE LIDELL at the Getty; THE PLASTIC CONSTELLATIONS at Spaceland; WAYNE KRAMER at Farmer’s Market . . . Sat., 9/2: HAZARD COUNTY GIRLS at Little Pedro’s; early rockabilly stars JOE CLAY, GENE SUMMERS, LEVI DEXTER at 1160 Lounge; ROLLINS BAND at the Key Club; SUPER BEES, FLASH EXPRESS, CHELSEA SMILES et al. at Safari Sam’s; WAR, BETTY LAVETTE et al. at Long Beach Blues Fest (also Sun.); TOM FREUND, BRETT DENNEN at the Hotel Cafe . . . SUN., 9/3: TRACHTENBURG FAMILY SLIDESHOW PLAYERS at the Troubadour . . . MON., 9/4: THE RANDIES, OVERNIGHT LOWS at the Key Club; SEA WOLF, EUX AUTRES at Spaceland . . . TUES., 9/5: KINKY at the Avalon; CENTROMATIC at the Troubadour; OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW at the Henry Fonda; THE ADORED et al. at Safari Sam’s . . . Wed., 9/6: MIKEY DREAD at the Echo; SNOG at the Key Club; VOODOO ORGANIST at Lava Lounge; THE GRATES at Spaceland . . . Thurs., 9/7: FERRABY LIONHEART at Little Pedro’s; DENGUE FEVER at Japanese American Center; TOYS THAT KILL, SABERTOOTH TIGER at Spaceland


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