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Friday, October 3
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist come together again, this time for the daunting task of retelling the history of hip-hop. The medium: six turntables and 650 pieces of vinyl spanning four decades, pulled from the 40,000-plus collection of the godfather of the genre, Afrika Bambaataa. Audiences should not expect an old-school hip-hop set from the evening’s knowledgeable curators, nor should they expect strictly hip-hop. The 90-minute experience is not about nostalgia but about educating: showing Bambaataa’s — and through him, hip-hop’s — influences, discoveries and social activism. Considering Shadow’s and Chemist’s own formidable impact on music, dexterity on the turntables and erudite approach to the undertaking, it should be a historic night. —Lily Moayeri
The indie-rock space-time continuum collapsed for good between those early All Tomorrow’s Parties — when select bands began playing their classic albums start to finish — and this year’s Chicago Riot Fest, where seemingly every band played their classic album start to finish. But there’s something to be said nonetheless for revisiting records that need a decade or so to reveal their complexities, which is maybe why San Diego’s Pinback are doing a 10th-anniversary tour for their breakout, Summer in Abaddon. Abaddon was an understated, literate and idiosyncratic album on release, but its influence reverberates across a generation of indie music today — there’s a clarity of sound and personality at work that hasn’t aged a bit. Plus, to keep things from being too historical-reenactment-y, they’ll be taking non-Abaddon song requests via paper airplane during the show. —Chris Ziegler
Saturday, October 4
For the past handful of years, Elton John has barely taken his red piano to Los Angeles as a headliner. While he’s played with others, notably Leon Russell, and done several charity shows, the iconic pianist has kept a relatively low profile in Southern California. But this Follow the Yellow Brick Road tour will see John doing what he does best: playing his greatest hits. For a guy who’s as known for his Broadway hits as he is for his AIDS foundation, Elton John remains, above all else, a bona fide star who has the rare ability to connect with generations of listeners thanks to his exhaustive catalog. Also Sunday, Oct. 5. —Daniel Kohn
You know his wired-in mixes from his time as a member of electro-pop people The Postal Service, but that’s just a tiny splatter on Jimmy Tamborello’s wide-open palette. From the misty depths of his Silver Lake home studio, the curious sound-freak/conceptualizer is, even as we speak, making influential contributions to underground music’s furthest-spinning electronic/hip-hop/glitch spheres, always with one purpose in mind: to keep you (and himself) on your toes. Tonight’s an album-release event for Human Voice (Leaving Records), his first solo record in six years under his Dntel alias; it’s a densely textured, beat-laden thing featuring vocal guests the likes of Mia Doi Todd, Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley. Catch too the deep-down electronic sound-stories of Brainfeeder’s Teebs; also Leaving Records’ beatmakers/producers Brogan Bentley and Benedek. —John Payne
In an era when virtually no music by African-Americans is ever heard on lily-white classic-rock radio, Living Colour’s ongoing presence emphasizes that blacks not only invented rock & roll, they continue to make vitally powerful rock music, even if much of it occurs out of the mainstream spotlight. The New York hard-rock quartet has been on a nostalgia kick lately, touring now to celebrate its 30th year in showbiz and frequently cranking out full-length performances of groundbreaking 1988 debut album Vivid. Vocalist Corey Glover sings now with the New Orleans funk combo Galactic, and masterful guitarist Vernon Reid has produced and worked with an endless constellation of funk, jazz and rock stars, but they’re at their most thrilling when they collaborate in Living Colour. Look for a new album, Shade, this fall. —Falling James
Sunday, October 5
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What does knowing each other from your (self-proclaimed) loser boyhood to gracing the cover of Rolling Stone do to your relationship? In the case of The Drums’ Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham, it leaves you holed up in a dark cabin, crafting a comeback masterpiece devoid of self-consciousness and striving for the perennial. Five years removed from their debut EP, Summertime!, the surfy electro-poppers’ newest full-length, Encyclopedia, may not have singles like “Let’s Go Surfing” and “Money,” but the new tracks are still playful and plucky. The duo doesn’t entirely abandon its tranquil, melodic style but rather colors outside its own lines with a more bold approach. While The Drums have no doubt garnered new fans with Encyclopedia, longtime listeners will have plenty more than the beautiful interior of the Mayan Theater to be thankful for. —Britt Witt
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