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Music Picks: Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg and Crazy Squeeze

David Mayfield: See Thursday.
David Mayfield: See Thursday.
PHOTO BY CRACKERFARM

fri 6/28

Chicano Batman

THE ECHO

This event is the triumphant release party for AM and Shawn Lee's La Musique Numerique, touted in this very space by this very guy not very long ago. Let's take some time now, though, for Chicano Batman, a group destined for triumph of its own sometime soon. Born (in part) in a bedroom with a giant Chicano Batman logo practically glowing on the wall, this is psyche-soul-edelic maximalism pulling from deep traditions on at least three continents — a band equal parts expert hands, thrift-store shirts and heartfelt songs that can open up and start breathing all by themselves if the time and place is right. The group's most recent EP, Joven Nave­gante, is a little piece of electric poetry, hopefully presaging a brilliant sophomore album coming soon. —Chris Ziegler

Erykah Badu

CLUB NOKIA

The BET Experience at L.A. Live is a glitzy affair, taking place over three days this weekend as the Black Entertainment Television cable network presents a series of star-studded concerts, comedy performances, film screenings and seminars, culminating in Sunday's BET Awards. Such events tend to be flashy and insubstantial, but the weekend gets off to a momentous start with a late-night set from R&B/hip-hop empress Erykah Badu. The contemplative Texas singer is no stranger to controversy, infusing her soulfully lulling tunes with provocative lyrics. In the video for the song "Window Seat," from her most recent album, New Amerykah, Part Two (Return of the Ankh), Badu returns to the streets of her Dallas hometown and literally strips nude for symbolic impact at the site of John F. Kennedy's assassination. What might seem tacky in other hands becomes strangely moving when filtered through Badu's vision. —Falling James

Beyoncé

STAPLES CENTER

Like her fellow Texan Erykah Badu, Houston-raised Beyoncé is part of the opening-night festivities at the BET Experience. But Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter's worldview is markedly different from Badu's. While Badu questions authority and slips subversive lyrics into her mesmerizing anthems, Beyoncé seems far more at peace with her place in the cosmos. Where Badu likes to dig deep, Beyoncé prefers to celebrate her fame and fortune without apparent irony or regret. It might be tempting to dismiss her as a shallow pop diva, but Beyoncé nonetheless pumps up tracks like "Run the World (Girls)" with an ebulliently defiant feminism that vaguely evokes the Spice Girls' earnestly populist "Girl Power." Unlike the prefabricated Spice Girls, though, Beyoncé infuses her exhortations with febrile production and pleasingly trippy and modern mechanized arrangements. Also Mon., July 1. —Falling James

sat 6/29

Snoop Dogg featuring Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, School Boy Q

STAPLES CENTER

The formerly Crip-affiliated Snoop Dog perplexed the entertainment world in 2012 after a public proclamation of conversion to Rastafarianism and alleged "connection with Bob Marley's spirit" during a monthlong Jamaican vacation. The rap icon has since spoken out publicly against gun violence and adopted the pseudonym Snoop Lion. In April, RCA released Snoop's long-awaited 12th studio album, Reincarnated, which features collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Drake and Chris Brown and includes production by electronic DJ/producer Diplo. Tonight's show features West Coast hot shots Kendrick Lamar, School Boy Q and Miguel, the R&B crooner panned most notably by "black" Twitter for his audience-endangering performance at the 2013 Billboard Awards. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

The Roots

CLUB NOKIA

The BET Experience continues tonight in high style with the ever-amazing Roots. It might seem contradictory that the Philly band, who just a few years ago were releasing cerebral and confrontational albums like Phrenology, spend much of their time these days whipping up quick novelty ditties for Jimmy Fallon's talk show. But the truth is that The Roots can play anything — and there's something insanely catchy about seemingly ephemeral Fallon songlets like "Pros & Cons." Such song fragments are far more interesting than most musicians' entire oeuvres, and one wishes that somebody would gather these miniature tunes and put them on an album. But, obviously, The Roots are at their most impressive and powerful when they stretch out beyond the confines of late-night TV on coolly groovy, dreamtime chansons like "Make My," from their 2011 full-length, Undun. Not only are they a brilliant creative entity unto themselves but The Roots remain among hip-hop's greatest collaborators. Expect some surprises tonight when they appear with pals including Nelly, Too $hort and MC Lyte. —Falling James

sun 6/30

Dave Kikoski, Bob Sheppard, Ed Howard & Gary Novak

VITELLO'S

East meets West as pianist Dave Kikoski and bassist Ed Howard travel from NYC to join saxophonist Bob Sheppard and drummer Gary Novak for two nights at Vitello's in Studio City. The heavyweight quartet will be playing music originally recorded with bassist Dave Carpenter in 2006 and now scheduled for release as an album called From the Hip for L.A.-based label BFM Jazz. Sheppard and Novak both spent years in New York before heading to Los Angeles, while Kikoski and Howard's West Coast appearances are rare. An exhibition of Carpenter's art and writings is scheduled before the shows, which coincide with the fifth anniversary of Carpenter's untimely passing in 2008 at age 48. Also Sat., June 29. —Tom Meek

Pole, John Tejada, Plaid

GRAND PERFORMANCES AT CALIFORNIA PLAZA

Back in the '90s, the visionary arts and culture promoter Green Galactic played a crucial role in our city's introduction to some of the most ground-breaking electronic music on the planet, such lesser-known artists as The Orb's Alex Paterson, Autechre, Cluster, Daedelus, DJ Spooky, Dntel, Herbert and Mouse on Mars. Tonight GG goes back to its roots with a 20th-anniversary party featuring live sets by veteran greats of the electronic scene, including Berlin's club/dub avantist Pole, beat-savvy "post-techno" soundscapes by U.K. duo Plaid and gorgeous techno melodicisms courtesy of L.A.-based artist John Tejada. Berlin DJ Barbara Preisinger opens. Plaid and Charlene Boehne have prepared stunning projection art, and Boehne performs live visuals during Tejada's and Pole's sets. Admission is: totally FREE! Starts at 7 p.m., arrive early enough to get seats; parking is $7.50 (cash only); complimentary bike valet available. —John Payne

John Daversa Progressive Big Band

THE BAKED POTATO

One of L.A.'s favorite sons heads for the bluer waters of Miami, effectively ending on Sunday his eight-year residency at the Baked Potato, where he manages to cram an entire big band onto that tiny stage. Jazz in L.A. has always been about big bands, so it's fitting that one of the hippest comes from a native Angeleno. It's an evolution rather than a revolution, synthesizing the power and orchestration of Kenton with the funk of D'Angelo. Daversa did us proud, affecting countless musicians over the years with his trumpet and writing, and as an educator he helped to push Cal State Northridge over the top as a jazz-school powerhouse. The University of Miami should cheer his arrival, if he keeps his UCLA and Lakers jerseys in the trunk. —Gary Fukushima

mon 7/1

Crazy Squeeze

THE SATELLITE

L.A.'s Crazy Squeeze (members of Stitches, Teenage Frames, Superbees and Richmond Sluts) hauled their entire debut album out of that rarefied moment when glam rock and pub rock were turning into punk rock, a time when every good song had a great guitar solo and probably a great punchline, too. In fact, to put this in true record-nerd terms, their self-titled, 12-song LP sounds like six classic 45 singles from 1976 all hitting at once. It sounds like a mélange of Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods and Cock Sparrer — covered here to great effect — plus Thunders, The Dolls, The Ramones (check out "Younger Girl") and of course The Joneses, whose "Pillbox" and "Tits and Champagne" I'm sure Crazy Squeeze could play from memory. Essentially, it's rock & roll—you remember that stuff, right? —Chris Ziegler

tue 7/2

Moses Campbell

THE SMELL

L.A.-based, five-person act Moses Campbell makes the kind of ferociously unfiltered, happily raucous punk-pop that always seems to spill out from the strangest places. These are songs for and from the outsiders, the home-aloners and the people about to hit the RECORD button late at night in their bedrooms. Of course, founder Sean Solomon started this whole thing by recording in his bedroom. Although Moses Campbell are now an unstoppable rock-with-violin monster — recent tracks come off like a maniacal mix of Meat Puppets and The Urinals, with legendary lyrics like, "She has a mind — don't mess with it!" — there's still a unique and unpredictable electricity just crackling all over them. There's also a new album coming soon, and I'm ready for it to shock me back into life. —Chris Ziegler

wed 7/3

Goldie

DRAGONFLY

Before EDM there was Goldie, with his outrageous looks, his outspoken personality and his original music. The Alchemist: Best of 1992-2012 takes a three-disc retrospective look at the British producer/DJ's music career. A sampling platter of the drum 'n' bass stalwart's sounds under his various nom de plumes, The Alchemist goes from the gnarly "Monkey Boy" to the palpitating "Terminator" to the sci-fi–inspired new track, "Single Petal of a Rose." His genre-defying song of soul vocals and breakbeats, "Inner City Life," is present only in the form of Baby Boy's remix on the third disc. This disc is dedicated to remixes, both those Goldie has done for folks including Björk, Ed Sheeran, Garbage and Bush as well as remixes of his own material. The collected sounds are subtle, intricate and, indeed, timeless. Presale only from respectclub.la or ticketfly.com; no tickets sold at the door. —Lily Moayeri

The Stompin' Riff Raffs

REDWOOD BAR & GRILL

In the Garage Rock fetish department, Tokyo division, expectations often drastically exceed bandstand execution. But pounding Japanese primitives The Stompin' Riffs Raffs have an engagingly legitimate gravity, one resulting from pure enthusiasm, readily evident emotional involvement and a high-octane mixture of guitar mangling and reckless rhythm wrangling. The three-girl, one-lad sensations arrive under the caution-free chaperonage of Frisco garage deity Russell Quan (of Mummies infamy), an alliance that surely lays to rest any qualms. Expect a nerve-shattering dose of nonstop raw and raucous, uncut, old-school freak-o-phonics. (Also Thurs., July 4, at the Barkley in South Pasadena and Fri., July 5, at Viva Cantina) —Jonny Whiteside

Fleetwood Mac

STAPLES CENTER

Most of us are past all that "guilty pleasure" stuff when it comes to the eternally glorious pop-rock titans Fleetwood Mac. True, their brand of richly melodic and sweetly harmonious pop is suspiciously easy to like, but it's inarguably also a rare-ish kind of silky smooth pop that bears actual dividends upon close, repeated listening. It's always been about old-fashioned things like songwriting and performance craft — first with founder Peter Green in the band's early-'70s incarnation, then with Bob Welch and Christine McVie in the middle period, then most famously with their fortuitous discovery of singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham in Mac Phase III. The current core unit of drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, Nicks and Buckingham tonight select from their full to brimming treasure box of hits, wind up and whirl, and there'll be not a dry eye in the house. Tears of joy, that is. —John Payne

thu 7/4

The David Mayfield Parade

ECHO COUNTRY OUTPOST

Everybody loves a parade, especially if it comes in the form of the shambling, rambling and fleet-fingered wiseacre known as David Mayfield. On one level, he's a simply astonishing bluegrass-guitar picker, raving his frets with a casually merry (but often dazzling) aplomb. On another level, he's a heart-rending songwriter with a plaintively mournful drawl on homespun reveries like "Human Cannonball." He's perhaps best known for his collaborations with Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and his sister, Jessica Lea Mayfield, but his own music is even more rewarding. His affecting songs and deft playing by themselves would set Mr. Mayfield apart from his peers in the crowded field of Americana, but onstage he's also a sublimely witty and marvelously entertaining prankster who could easily have a second career as a comedian. —Falling James

John Daversa
PHOTO BY TJ TESH