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Rock Picks: Detroit Cobras, Gore Gore Girls, MF Doom, Squeeze

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9

Playing Thursday:

VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ at Skirball Cultural Center, 8 p.m.; ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, AGAPE INTERNATIONAL CHOIR at Santa Monica Pier, 7:30 p.m.; LITTLE FEAT at the Canyon; FISHTANK ENSEMBLE at Hotel Café; BUCK-O-NINE at Knitting Factory; SIERRA SWAN, CARINA ROUND at Largo; THE CARIBBEAN, BRAD LANER at Pehrspace; REDWALLS, BANG LIME at the Roxy; BLOODY HOLLIES, RESTAURANT at Spaceland; THE LOVEMAKERS at the Troubadour; SIXTH CHAMBER at Viper Room.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10

Adolescents at Safari Sam’s

Like Sonic Youth, the Adolescents have had trouble literally living up to their name, especially now that it’s been more than a quarter century since the terminally bratty punk rockers first crawled out of the Fullerton scene. (The Adolescents have been around so long, founding guitarist Frank Agnew’s son Frank Agnew Jr. is now playing in the band alongside his dad!) Unlike Sonic Youth, the Adolescents can still convincingly invoke the sheer, exhilarating rush of their early classics while also churning out catchy new songs like “Pointless Teenage Anthem,” “Lockdown America,” “Monsanto Hayride” and the title track from their underrated 2005 comeback CD, O.C. Confidential. What made the Adolescents stand out from other early O.C. punk bands like Agent Orange and Social Distortion was their majestic twin-guitar attack, as well as a viciously absurd sense of humor on such lovely ditties as “I Hate Children” and the bizarre science lesson “Amoeba” (where singer Tony Reflex cheekily wonders, “A one-celled creature, a one-celled thing/It hardly knows it’s alive . . . How can this small mind cope?”). They’re appropriately billed with the similarly influential early-’80s punks Channel 3. (Falling James)

Also playing Friday:

CHEAP TRICK, AIMEE MANN, JOAN OSBORNE, AL JOURGENSEN at Hollywood Bowl; LOS CREEPERS at Anarchy Library; MONOGROOVE, ANNY CELSI at Good Hurt; KRAIG GRADY, DOG, BAVAB BAVAB at Il Corral; MARK OLSON, PRISCILLA AHN at Largo; MORT SAHL at McCabe’s; CARLA BOZULICH, IMA FUCKING GYMNAST at the Smell; GREAT NORTHERN, COMAS at Spaceland; VIEUX FARKA TOURÉ at California Plaza, noon, and Temple Bar; PELICAN, 400 BLOWS at the Troubadour.


{mosimage}SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

Rock the Bells Festival at Hyundai Pavilion

On a recent episode of The Henry Rollins Show, Rage Against the Machine ax-man Tom Morello explained that it’s actually healthy for a band to temporarily part ways and reconvene. Well, after a seven-year hiatus, hard rock’s most incendiary band officially regrouped and came like a Bush-bound bomb at this spring’s Coachella, playing to 55,000 fans sprawled out over a field as far as the eye can see. Rage knows they’d be nothing without hip-hop, owing as much to forebears like Public Enemy and Eric B. & Rakim as they do to Sabbath. So, picking up where they left off after a brief, ill-fated 1997 co-headlining tour with Wu-Tang Clan, Rage is re-teaming with RZA and the boys for this mostly indie and alternative hip-hop fest (2004’s incarnation featured a fully reunited Wu-Tang, just months before the late ODB shimmy shimmy ya’d out of our lives) that also includes Cypress Hill, Public Enemy, Nas, the Roots, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Sage Francis, Brother Ali and many others. 2575 Glen Helen Pkwy., Devore; 11 a.m. www.rockthebells.net. (Siran Babayan)

Also playing Saturday:

CHEAP TRICK, AIMEE MANN, JOAN OSBORNE, AL JOURGENSEN at Hollywood Bowl; VERY BE CAREFUL at the Bordello; LUTHER RUSSELL at the Echo; A.M., MINNIE DRIVER, MARK OLSON at Hotel Café; BEAT JUNKIES at Knitting Factory; SACCHARINE TRUST at Mr. T’s Bowl; AZALIA SNAIL at Pehrspace; SOUL OF JOHN BLACK at Temple Bar; BLUE HAWAIIANS at Farmers Market, 8 p.m.


{mosimage}SUNDAY, AUGUST 12

Burning Spear, Sly & Robbie at the Hollywood Bowl

This knockout package pretty much covers the entire reggae spectrum, and it would be difficult, at this late date, to put together anything more comprehensive: Burning Spear, whose incandescent voice and explicit mysticism galvanized reggae through the crucial mid-’70s album Marcus Garvey and its dub masterpiece twin, Garvey’s Ghost — works that dealt with black pride and social conscience in a singularly compelling manner — established him as a figurehead second only to Bob Marley. Spear today remains a force so spiritually powerful that in performance he almost seems to hover above the bandstand. Better still, you get Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare, the incomparable, alchemical Jamaican bass-and-drums duo who certifiably rate as the world’s greatest rhythm section: When these two get to work, reality just melts away, replaced by a hypno sway and hard-dub thunder that so thoroughly permeate the brain that one wishes they’d never stop playing. Ever. (Jonny Whiteside)
 

MF Doom at El Rey Theatre

MF Doom is a real character — specifically, a comic-book character with a commensurate back story: After Daniel Dumile’s brother and then-collaborator DJ Subroc was killed, Dumile fell into an NYC-based semi-homeless stupor for a long while before re-emerging as a Southern rapper with a name ripped from a certain Dr. Doom. He’d grown, as it often happens, remarkably weird, and into multiple aliases (multi-multi-aliases: Dumile’s string of a.k.a.s runs as long as his buddy Ghostface’s, with whom he worked on the upcoming collab Swift & Changeable) and sporting a protective mask of armor. MF Doom’s persona is but the raw stuff of his music, which is obsessive, smart and schizophrenic. The album-length meditation on food as allegory, and his recurring homage to cartoons, position him among a particular group of great rappers, strange geniuses and dark-horse superheroes all. (Kate Carraway)

Also playing Sunday:

DEEP PURPLE, BLUE OYSTER CULT at Pacific Amphitheatre; SQUEEZE at Grove of Anaheim; CRYSTAL ANTLERS, DIRTY GIRLS, JENNIFER GENTLE, DODOS at Alex’s Bar; BLUE HAWAIIANS at the Bordello; MIKE STINSON, JAKE LA BOTZ at the Echo, 5 p.m.; GO BETTY GO at Safari Sam’s; MR. TUBE & THE FLYING OBJECTS at Spaceland; E-40 at Vault 350.

{mosimage}MONDAY, AUGUST 13

Squeeze at the Greek Theatre

They swore it would never happen, but, then again, so did the Police, Genesis and Pink Floyd (okay, that last one is wishful thinking). The pop geniuses of ’80s hitmakers Squeeze, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, along with original bassist John Bentley (he played on Argybargy, East Side Story and Sweets From a Stranger), have put aside their acrimony and agreed to treat old and new fans to live versions of their stellar catalog of shining, expertly penned songs in support of their new greatest-hits collection, Essential Squeeze. At this point, coming up with anything new to say about these gorgeous, radiant tunes is like pulling mussels from a shell. “Cool for Cats,” “Up the Junction,” “Tempted,” “Black Coffee in Bed” and “Hourglass” — each one is simply three and a half minutes of musical perfection, and what bands like Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party can only dream of ever accomplishing. Also at the Grove of Anaheim, Sun. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Monday:

DEEP PURPLE, BLUE OYSTER CULT at Ventura Theatre; QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE at Henry Fonda Theater; RONELLES at the Cat Club; DONITA SPARKS, VERUCA SALT, EMMA BURGESS at the Roxy; LOW VS. DIAMOND at Spaceland; GLISS at Viper Room.


{mosimage}TUESDAY, AUGUST 14

Jennifer Gentle at Sixth Street Gallery

Padua, Italy’s Jennifer Gentle is an avant-pop proposition under the guidance of founder and songwriter Marco Fasolo, who has, like other creative minds of his generation, largely foregone his own cultural time for the sake of plumbing Euro art-rock and film scores of the ’60s and ’70s, beaming an intriguingly absorbent new mess back out again. His new Sub Pop album, The Midnight Room, which Fasolo played and recorded in a crumbly old house on the plains of northern Italy, is a chaotically varied affair equally loaded with twangy guitars and sad old carnival keyboards that suggest both ’50s greaser rock & roll and your harsher Ennio Morricone strains or the eerily whimsical melodies of Nino Rota. Sun Ra, Brainticket, the Shaggs and Creedence Clearwater also spike the hash, somehow. A five-piece touring version of the band brings the ghost-flesh of this hallucinatory, humorous dream music to nocturnal life at Sixth Street Gallery, 1269 E. Sixth St., dwntwn. Also at Alex’s Bar, Sun. (John Payne)

Cambodian Rock Night at the Knitting Factory

Who is Ros Sereysothea? Good question. You should ask the Khmer Rouge, who threw the Cambodian pop star into a gulag during the mid-’70s and did everything in its power to suppress her musical output altogether. Her disturbing trajectory is recounted in the documentary The Golden Voice, which kicks off the Knit’s all-night celebration of Cambodia’s fertile pop and psych-rock scene before the Khmer took over and fucked everything up. Other cinema on the bill includes Sleepwalking Through the Mekong, a documentary about Sereysothea’s indirect progeny, the brilliant Los Angeles groove factory known as Dengue Fever. In fact, the film is named after one of Fever’s most haunting tunes, which you’ll no doubt hear when they take the stage after their documentary debut. Also on tap are musical turns from the jazzed-up Khmer Fusion Project and DJ Siem Reap Duff on the wheels of steel, making Cambodian Rock Night your go-to show for those sick of hearing Western Civ recycle the same sonic signatures. (Scott Thill)

Also playing Tuesday:

MAGIC NUMBERS, LITTLE ONES at El Rey Theatre; AARON LEWIS at the Wiltern; MERLE JAGGER at Good Hurt; MORMONS at Mr. T’s Bowl; NU-TRA, 8-BIT, MORMONS, BOLIDES, LONDON BROIL at Safari Sam’s; MR. AIRPLANE MAN, THE SLIGHTED at the Scene; VAN HUNT at Temple Bar.

{mosimage}WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15

Gore Gore Girls at Amoeba Music

If the Gore Gore Girls don’t drive you crazy with their music — which combines ’60s girl-group melodramatics with a more modern, fuzzed-out punk rock intensity — they’ll likely get you all hot and bothered with their short miniskirts and groovy go-go-girl getups. They’re a boot fetishist’s dream: The Gore Gores’ new CD, Get the Gore (Bloodshot), marks the second time that their front-cover art has been dominated by a close-up of a sexy-cruel, spike-heeled boot. Get the Gore is a good introduction to these Motor City hellcats, although similar versions of several of the CD’s best tunes — including stomping originals like “Casino” and “Don’t Cry” and a hypnotically swirling version of the Treez’s “You Lied to Me Before” — have already been released on their earlier albums. “Breaking hearts is what I do,” singer-guitarist Amy Surdu coolly brags on one of the CD’s new songs, “Pleasure Unit,” which was co-written by erstwhile Runaways Svengali Kim Fowley. Just about the only things that have remained constant throughout the band’s numerous lineups changes are bandleader Surdu’s feral yowling and judicious guitar ravaging — not to mention those heartbreaking boots. The show starts at 7 p.m. Also at the Echoplex, Thurs. (Falling James)

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at the Steve Allen Theater

Amit Itelman is best known as the amiable, bespectacled fellow who runs the Steve Allen Theater, famous for its genre-busting outsider theater and music, not to mention Kids in the Hall. He is also one sick fuck. Itelman teams with Pixies drummer Dave Lovering for this new project, coyly dubbed the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, for a monthly residency. Itelman’s own musical past includes the stomp band the Tulsa Skull Swingers, fake Christian-metal band Stigmeta and various jug bands. The new band, he warns, “is raw, stripped-down hard-rock garage metal that sounds like a woolly mammoth in heat. Topics range from the secret sex lives of astronauts, slaying hibernating dragons and Cherokee suicide missions.” Having never heard a woolly mammoth in heat, I’m guessing there will be a lot of squirming by both performers and audience. With David Scott Stone, who cultists will know for his experiments with Melvins, the Locust and Mike Patton. BYOB. 4773 Hollywood Blvd.; 9 p.m.; $5. (323) 666-4268. (Libby Molyneaux)

Also playing Wednesday:

HILARY DUFF at Gibson Amphitheatre; DJ Z-TRIP, GIFT OF GAB, LATEEF, ACEYALONE, CHALI 2NA at House of Blues; JUNIOR SENIOR at the Roxy; HANSON at Viper Room.


{mosimage}THURSDAY, AUGUST 16

The Detroit Cobras, Dan Sartain, The Willowz at the Troubadour

The Detroit Cobras story is strikingly similar to the preposterous plot lines in The Commitments and Justine Bateman’s wannabe-rocker flick Satisfaction: Several drinking buddies start a casual cover band that, inexplicably, becomes wildly popular. Neither of those cornball movies could convincingly explain why a mere cover band would stir up so much excitement, but the Detroit Cobras aren’t a typical tribute act. No offense to Amy Winehouse, but it was the Cobras’ Rachel Nagy who first reinvented the ’60s soul-pop diva as a boozy, punk-informed, smart-mouthed chanteuse in the late ’90s. She and guitarist Mary Ramirez have always had a gift for digging up the kind of R&B and soul obscurities that would doubtless blow the mind of Bateman’s middle-of-the-road character, and their new CD, Tied & True (Bloodshot), is another excellent assortment of remakes of the Flirtations’ “Nothing but a Heartache” and lesser-known gems penned by James Brown, Dr. John, Jerry Ragovoy and Norman Meade. It doesn’t hurt that Nagy is a charismatic, fiery song interpreter and that Ramirez keeps things raw instead of slick with relentless garage-rock riffing. Fresh from his tour with the White Stripes, Alabama singer-guitarist Dan Sartain is a wickedly clever roots-rock auteur whose “Walk Among the Cobras” takes on added meaning tonight. And don’t miss the spiffy, souped-up and harder-rocking new incarnation of the arty Orange County garage-pop band the Willowz. (Falling James)

Alejandro Escovedo at the Mint

Alejandro Escovedo has a place in rock history if only because he was in one of San Francisco’s first punk bands, the Nuns, as well as a founding member in the influential early-’80s cowpunk combo Rank & File. Of course, he’s done so much more since then, starting with his jangle-worthy Austin band the True Believers and continuing with his fertile, late-blooming solo career. Unlike so many performers lumped in with the No Depression and roots-rock revival movements, Escovedo doesn’t sing with a fake cornpone twang nor does he engage in clichéd cowboy mythologizing. He mixes his country roots with darker and stranger influences, such as his chillingly somber, slow-as-molasses remake of the Gun Club’s “Sex Beat.” His 2006 John Cale–produced CD, The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch Records), ranges from the spectral ballad “Arizona” to the hard-charging Dylanish/Velvety rocker “Break This Time,” as well as a surging, ominous remake of his frantic early anthem “Sacramento & Polk.” We’re lucky he’s still with us after surviving a double shot of bad luck in recent years — a near-fatal bout with hepatitis-C and, worse, the shame when George Bush announced that Escovedo’s “Castanets” was an iPod favorite. (Falling James)

Patti Smith at the Santa Monica Pier

What was most amazing when Patti Smith began touring again in the mid-’90s after a decade-long absence from the spotlight was the way she contrasted the ultra-serious, profoundly sad elegies to her late husband Fred Smith and Kurt Cobain (from such grand and cathartic albums as Gone Again and Peace and Noise) with a refreshingly down-to-earth, self-deprecating stage presence. It was utterly charming how she’d lighten the mood with quick-witted jokes before launching into emotionally convulsive epics like “About a Boy” and “Beneath the Southern Cross.” After a decade of fending off constant “We love you, Patti!” shout-outs, it’s perhaps not surprising that Smith has seemed warier, distant and even a little condescending to her sycophantic, if well meaning, fans at recent gigs. She lets down her guard somewhat on her new all-covers CD, Twelve, a mixed bag that ranges from a clever banjo-laced reworking of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and a seductively sinuous version of the Doors’ “Soul Kitchen” to surprisingly wimpy takes on standards by the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Still, it could be quite magical to see how the seaside setting sparks the imagination of this ever-restless poet. This free (!) show starts at 7:30 p.m. (Falling James)

Also playing Thursday:

TONY BENNETT at Greek Theatre; BANG SUGAR BANG, THE PRIX at Alex’s Bar; GORE GORE GIRLS, MIDNIGHT MOVIES, IRVING at the Echoplex; VEILS, CARINA ROUND at Hotel Café; PUBLIC ENEMY at House of Blues (see Music feature); CIVET at the Scene; TINA DIGEORGE, PATRIA JACOBS at Taix; BLACK PINE at Pershing Square, 8 p.m.


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