Rock Picks


Playing tonight: Stephen Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, K’Naan, Channel Rock Movement at House of Blues; Xu Xu Fang, Stephenson Ranch Davidians, Ludger at the Silverlake Lounge.

FRIDAY, APRIL 27Linda Ronstadt at USC’s Bovard Auditorium

Back in the late ’70s, when Elvis Costello was first trying to prove what an angry young man he was by racially insulting folks like Ray Charles and James Brown, he also trashed Linda Ronstadt for daring to record a straightforward, perfectly lovely version of his fairly mainstream ballad “Alison.” Ronstadt was an easy target for the not-exactly-punk Costello, but she clearly has had the last laugh, expanding her musical range since then to encompass jazz and pop standards — long before he (and many other aging rockers) got the same idea. Unlike Costello, she can still belt out these classics with radiant charisma and awesome vocal power, and her aim is just as true when she slips into her various mariachi, folk, country and rock & roll personas. Fact is, we’re lucky to have her, especially since a sudden illness kept her from touring much of last year. Tonight, in a special benefit for the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles’ Schools Outreach program, she’ll play her own set then join the chorus for some lush and lively tunes by the likes of Billy Strayhorn. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

CALIFONE, ERIC JOHNSON, THE ONE A.M. RADIO at Malibu Performing Arts Center; CIRCLE JERKS, 400 BLOWS at the Echo; TIM FINN at Largo; MEMPHIS at the Troubadour.

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