Coachella Day 1
!!!, The Aquabats, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, A-Trak, the Black Keys, Brandon Flowers, Caifanes, Cee Lo Green, Chemical Brothers, Cold Cave, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles, the Drums, Flogging Molly, Gayngs, Glasser, Interpol, Kings of Leon, Marina and the Diamonds, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nosaj Thing, OFWGKTA, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Ozomatli, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Robyn, Sasha, Scala & Kolacny, Sleigh Bells, Tame Impala, Warpaint, YACHT, etc. [Also see Music feature.]
HOUSE OF BLUES
[See Page Two.]
@ GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE
[See Page Two.]
Charlie Wilson, Babyface
@ NOKIA THEATRE
[See Page Two]
@ ALEX'S BAR
Like it or not, Tesco Vee has long been one of the leading musical pranksters and guiding lights of the Midwestern punk scene. His rudely influential fan zine Touch & Go documented bands like Negative Approach and the Necros long before pundits on either coast had a clue, and he carried the cultural subversion even further with his confrontational band the Meatmen. While many early punks were merely sarcastic, the Meatmen were vicious, with Vee taking potshots at SoCal legends ("T.S.O.L. Are Sissies"), the death of John Lennon ("One Down, Three to Go") and snobby Europeans ("French People Suck"). The verb "suck" summarizes Vee's feelings toward the human race in general, especially on the band's occasionally hilarious faux live album, 1983's We're the Meatmen and You Suck. —Falling James
Also playing Friday:
MASERATI, KENSETH THIBIDEAU at the Satellite; BOBBY LONG at McCabe's; EMBERS at Blvd. Café; EVANGENITALS at Pappy & Harriet's; SWEATER GIRLS at the Smell; THE DAMSELLES at the Echo.
Coachella Day 2
Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Big Audio Dynamite, Bomba Estereo, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, Daedelus, Delta Spirit, Elbow, Empire of the Sun, Erykah Badu, the Felice Brothers, Foals, Gogol Bordello, the Henry Clay People, Jenny and Johnny, the Kills, Lil' B the Based God, the London Suede, Mariachi El Bronx, Mary Anne Hobbs, Mumford & Sons, the New Pornographers, Paul van Dyk, Phosphorescent, Raphael Saadiq, Ras G, Scissor Sisters, Steve Angello, the Swell Season, Wire, Yelle, etc. [Also see Music feature.]
Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart
@ HOLLYWOOD BOWL
Some people have criticized the apparently marketing-driven choice to pair these two survivors of megaselling '70s pop. After all, Rod seems adamant in squandering his substantial claims to credibility (the early Mod sides, the early solo albums on Mercury, the early Faces pub sing-alongs) with, well, MOR schlock and Costco stocking stuffers. But the divine Ms. Nicks abides: still glorious, still weird and still Pied Pipering generation after generation of young women down the road of crystal-clear heartache and California decadence. Stevie turned out to be our very own Marianne Faithfull, and she should always be treasured as such. Go pay your respects. Also Sun. —Gustavo Turner
[See Page Two.]
Also playing Saturday:
EVANGENITALS at Pappy & Harriet's; MATTHEW DEAR at Avalon; AGESANDAGES, LAKE, BORIS SMILE at Bootleg Theater.
Coachella Day 3
Best Coast, Chromeo, CSS, Death From Above 1979, Delorean, Duran Duran, Ellie Goulding, HEALTH, Kanye West, Jimmy Eat World, Leftfield, Lightning Bolt, MEN, Nas & Damian Marley, the National, Neon Trees, OFF!, PJ Harvey, Ratatat, Rye Rye, She Wants Revenge, the Strokes, Tinie Tempah, Tokimonsta, Wiz Khalifa, etc. [Also see Music feature.]
Girls in Trouble, Daylong Valleys of the Nile
@ THE SMELL
With her art-pop project Girls in Trouble, Alicia Jo Rabins answers the musical question, "What if the girls in the Bible started an indie rock band?" Drawing upon her extensive knowledge of the Kabbalah and Torah, the Brooklyn singer and Golem violinist has penned a fanciful song cycle that spans two albums and places tragic characters from the Old Testament in a new context. Backed by her husband, Old Time Relijun bassist Aaron Hartman, Rabins crafts enchanting tunes that range from the throbbing folk rhythms of "I Was a Desert" to the intimately spare interlude "I Fell Off My Camel," stitching it all together with lilting violin melodies. Even listeners who aren't familiar with the Bible's arcane twists and turns might enjoy airily orchestrated tracks like "Secrets/You're Always Watching." —Falling James
Also playing Sunday:
STEVIE NICKS, ROD STEWART at the Hollywood Bowl; ORCHESTRA SUPERSTRING at McCabe's.
@ THE HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM
[See Page Two.]
Ms. Lauryn Hill
@ CLUB NOKIA
[See Page Two.]
Holy Ghost!, Chairlift, Futurecop!, Mattie Safer, Dave P + Sammi Slice
Production duo Holy Ghost! have proven themselves worthy of the exclamation point. As a pair, Alex Frankel and Nick Milliser whip up a propulsive stew of disco beats and electro throb anchored by white soul vocals, making them a living mash-up of Simian Mobile Disco and Chromeo. Even if you haven't seen 'em before, you've probably danced to their beat, either via their stint as touring members of the Juan MacLean or one of their numerous remixes (Moby, MGMT, Cut Copy et al.). Their Brooklyn neighbors, Chairlift, take an artier approach — preferring soupy atmosphere, distorted instrumentation and nostalgic synth sounds — but offer up an equally poppy, highly danceable groove. Meanwhile, Futurecop! shamelessly basks in a bevy of '80s influences, from video game music to Top 40 radio. —Chris Martins
Also playing Monday:
ANA EGGE at Hotel Café.
Dengue Fever, the Holloys, Jail Weddings
Formed in 2001, Dengue Fever has been one of the most enduring, hype-sustaining acts in the L.A. area since its inception, largely because there's not another band in the universe that does what they do. Theirs is a timeless, genreless, polyglot sound forged of surf guitar, space rock, Afro rhythms and Cambodian pop. The sextet is set to release its fifth album the same day as this show, and like its predecessors, Cannibal Courtship is expected to be a swooning, upbeat blend of the exotic and the familiar, tied together by the strange but comely coo of Chhom Nimal, who sings in both English and Khmer. Opening are Echo Park psychedelic pop crew the Holloys and local garage-punk big band Jail Weddings. —Chris Martins
@ THE MUSIC BOX
On his new album, So Beautiful or So What, Paul Simon made a conscious decision to move away from the rhythmic-based work he's been doing since Graceland and get back to the melodic folk songs of his early solo career and days with Simon & Garfunkel. At the same time, he experimented with samples and bluegrass influences, and the resulting album feels both familiar and strange. Spiritual themes abound in tracks like "The Afterlife" and "Questions for the Angels," while the title track is rooted in traditional blues guitar riffs. Although Simon often comes off as overly serious, he's at his best when he loosens up and croons relatively playful lyrics like "Well, the music made me merry, but it's only temporary." Also at the Pantages, Wed.-Thurs. —Falling James
Lost in the Trees, Sean Rowe
@ THE ECHO
A perfect storm of American folk and classical orchestration, Lost in the Trees is the poignant brainchild of Chapel Hill, N.C.'s, Ari Picker. Imagine a more direct Sufjan Stevens or a less arty St. Vincent, led by a heartbroken man holding a razor-sharp pen. The group's 2008 full-length masterpiece All Alone in an Empty House was as sorely unsung as it was incredibly inspired, and handpicked by the estimable ANTI- Records (Tom Waits et al.) for a reissue last year. Chances are Picker and co. have had enough time to divine some new material since then, so there could be some unreleased gems in the mix. Opening is label mate Sean Rowe, a baritone-voiced singer-songwriter with brooding tunes. —Chris Martins
@ FAIS DO DO
Sometimes it's hard to keep track of your Gogol Bordellos, your DeVotchKas and your opportunistic unemployed Eastern Europeans putting to profitable use the free musical training they received from the Soviet educational system. That's why the L.A.-based Fishtank Ensemble is so special: They operate within the slightly clichéd genre of "gypsy-xploitation," yet they're truly different. Everyone in the quartet is a virtuoso of sympatico different musical forms, from flamenco to Eastern European grooves to extremely credible tangos. And singer Ursula Knudsen is that rare thing: a vocalist who delivers consistent showstoppers without overshadowing her bandmates. —Gustavo Turner
Also playing Tuesday:
PLAN B at El Rey Theatre; GO! TEAM at the Echoplex; THOSE DARLINS at the Satellite; ÓLAFUR ARNALDS at Bootleg Theater; LINDI ORTEGA at Hotel Café; JOY ORBISON at Key Club; CAGE, EVIL DEAD, OCTANE MOB at House of Blues.
Mary Anne Hobbs
LOW END THEORY
[See Page Two.]
@ KEY CLUB
[See Page Two.]
@ GLASS HOUSE
Though their jagged logo adorns the jackets of Hot Topic teens nationwide, England's Subhumans (who formed in 1980) way predate punk as an off-the-shelf "style." Likewise, their organic musicality and liberal palette, which includes bluesy licks and pallid reggae, transcend the conservative three-chord template of later waves of the genre. The on-again/off-again Subhumans don't bother much with image, either, being more interested in anarcho-tinted issues (they have a drummer called Trotsky and a singer, Dick, who almost burst blood vessels railing against Britain's brutal poll tax in the late 1980s). Their sweaty, inclusive live shows belie any "godfather" tags, with sheer anti-injustice anger overriding borderline monotone, chant-along melodies and a tendency to overarrange. After so many years of suffering van tours and hard floors, assume these geezers mean every word. —Paul Rogers
Revolver Golden Gods Awards
@ CLUB NOKIA
Old and new are set to rub leather-clad elbows at heavy-metal magazine Revolver's third-annual Golden Gods Awards, which this year will feature headlining performances by O.C. mall-goth heroes Avenged Sevenfold and O.G. shock-rock progenitors Alice Cooper (reviving their classic lineup). Also on the bill: U.K. electro-metallers Asking Alexandria (who'll be joined by Sebastian Bach of Skid Row), ex–Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan's Loaded (with a guest appearance by Corey Taylor of Slipknot), Santa Barbara–based DevilDriver (doing a tribute to Black Flag with members of Hatebreed and Sepultura) and Danish rockabilly revivalists Volbeat. William Shatner is scheduled to attend as well — he's being designated a so-called "Honorary Headbanger" thanks to his work on an upcoming metal album. Expect an acceptance speech loopier than most. —Mikael Wood
Also playing Wednesday:
BAD BRAINS, BARRINGTON LEVY, SLIGHTLY STOOPID at Greek Theatre; ELLIE GOULDING, KNOCKS at the Music Box; KARA DIOGUARDI at El Rey Theatre; TIC TIC BOOM at Bootleg Theater.
Yoni Wolf, Nick T.
@ BOOTLEG THEATER
Attendees of this intimate gig are in for a rare treat of double-header proportions. Headlining his first solo tour is Yoni Wolf, the confessionalist mastermind behind cult-beloved indie band WHY? The Ohio-based group is known for an unprecedented mix of psychedelic pop, odd folk and drawled rap, and perhaps loved most for Wolf's highly personal, vividly poetic lyrics (on "Good Friday," from 2008's acclaimed Alopecia: "It feels exciting/Touching your handwriting/Getting horny by reading it/And repeating, 'Poor me' "). Wolf has promised stripped-down WHY? classics, unreleased band demos and covers (past versions have included songs by the Cure, Pavement and Bob Dylan). Opening is Nick T., otherwise known as the estimable Mr. Thorburn of such hallowed experimental pop acts as Islands and the Unicorns. —Chris Martins
Kurt Vile & the Violators, RTX
@ THE ECHO
With a name like Kurt Vile and a band called the Violators, you'd think this Philly musician was a skuzzy, lo-fi-loving garage punk. In reality, Vile is a refreshingly original singer-songwriter who's currently drawing comparisons to older archetype-setters like Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen. What makes his sound contemporary is an ear for occasional bits of electric dissonance and mildly psychedelic production, but what makes his music timeless is fantastic songwriting from the bottom up. His new album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, is chock-full of well-structured tunes colored by memorable melodies, emotive atmosphere and wry lyrics. Best of all, Vile's voice is a sonorous, resonant thing that creaks and groans gorgeously under the weight of it all. —Chris Martins
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@ EL REY THEATRE
Is it possible we're taking Emmylou Harris for granted? The Alabama-born singer has lent her distinctively stirring harmonies to dozens of songs by a stellar cast of friends, from her early partner Gram Parsons to peers like Neil Young and Linda Ronstadt to such young acolytes as Conor Oberst. Sometimes it feels like her silky voice is everywhere, but chances to hear the great diva perform her own music locally are rare and always cherished. Her latest, Hard Bargain, surveys her career through tracks like "The Road," which evokes her journeys with Parsons, and spectrally moving ballads like "My Name Is Emmett Till." While some of the other songs have relatively tepid backing, she usually soars above it all with a glorious voice that could rouse sleeping angels. —Falling James
Also playing Thursday:
PAPA ROACH, ALIEN ANT FARM at Coussoulis Arena (San Bernardino); KAYHAN KALHOR, SHUJAAT HUSAIN KHAN, SANDEEP DAS at Royce Hall; MELLOWMAN ACE at Club Good Hurt; YEFIM BRONFMAN WITH L.A. PHIL at Walt Disney Concert Hall; DEEP DARK ROBOT at the Roxy.