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Friday, October 24
We Can Survive with Taylor Swift, Pharrell
Even with the change of seasons (however subtle that might be in Southern California), the Hollywood Bowl hosts one more big outdoor spectacle as if it were still summer. The main appeal of We Can Survive — an annual benefit for the Young Survival Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer — is that it brings together a bunch of pop’s biggest names, including several who could fill the Bowl on their own. Important questions abound. Pharrell Williams’ breezy “Happy” was the perfect, if ubiquitous, summertime song — will it maintain its charm despite overexposure? Will Taylor Swift ever run out bad boyfriends for songwriting fodder? And who’s Iggy Azalea feuding with this week? Meanwhile, Azalea’s “Problem”-matic pal, pint-size powerhouse Ariana Grande (who won’t be back in these parts until April), continues to impress with her soulful vocal acrobatics. —Falling James
It’s usually useless to try to predict what Bob Dylan might do next. He’s traditionally untraditional about mixing his set lists with unexpected obscurities while dramatically rearranging the early hits. So what are we to make of his tour last month in Australia, where he played the same songs in the same order every night? If the recent formula holds true, expect a lot of tunes from Dylan’s late-career rejuvenation (gruff, growling blues such as “Things Have Changed” and “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’?”) mingled with just a few of the eternal verities (“Tangled Up in Blue,” “Simple Twist of Fate”). Dylan has long been one of music’s most shameless plagiarists — even lifting parts of his own autobiography (!) from other writers — but he adds just enough of his own vision for a distinctly personal kind of found art. Also Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26. —Falling James
With their latest (and 16th) studio release, The Violet Flame, out last month, Erasure display their dance-floor relevancy in 2014 just as they did three decades ago with “Chains of Love.” For anyone who mourns the days when electronic dance music didn’t bring to mind kandi or offensively donned Native American headdresses, The Violet Flame is a sweet, synthy throwback to ’80s electropop — but with sneaking hints of modernity, especially since Andy Bell and Vince Clarke ditched their typical process of writing with acoustic instruments and went straight to the software. Bright, brisk and full of trance-inducing tracks such as the delicate “Elevation,” listening to the “new” Erasure feels like reuniting with an old friend. Also Saturday, Oct. 25. —Artemis Thomas-Hansard
People sometimes forget that The Swell Season was about more than just Glen Hansard, the Irish actor-singer who also fronts The Frames. At their best, The Swell Season was a marriage of equal parts, yin and yang, with Czech singer-pianist Markéta Irglová providing a sweetly soothing and natural contrast to Hansard’s sometimes strained and mannered vocals. Her melodicism also was the perfect balm to his more ponderous lyrics, providing an emotional heart that centered his attempts at blue-eyed soul. What they had together musically was special, which makes it all the more puzzling that Irglová’s own music has been eclipsed by Hansard’s. Irglová unfurls her tremulous voice on her new album, Muna, with dream-laden folk songs such as “Fortune Teller” and “The Leading Bird” draped in elegant folds of piano. Also Saturday, Oct. 25. —Falling James
Saturday, October 25
CATALINA JAZZ CLUB
Drummer Terry Bozzio first came to prominence in the band of Frank Zappa, a manic presence propelling the group as featured in the movie Baby Snakes. Bozzio then went on to co-found the ’80s hit band Missing Persons before eventually landing with Jeff Beck. Since leaving Beck, Terry has spent much of his energy on the instructional website DrumChannel.com, along with assembling and playing the world’s largest tuned drum kit. The complete drumset, containing well over 100 drums, cymbals and other percussion instruments, takes hours just to set up, and Bozzio makes sure to use every piece of it. If anyone’s ever said to you that drummers aren’t really that musical, an evening with Terry Bozzio and his massive kit will dispel that notion. Also Sunday, Oct. 26. —Tom Meek
EL REY THEATRE
Gorgon City’s highly anticipated debut album, Sirens, is full of ear-catching vocalists: Jennifer Hudson, Katy B, Laura Welsh. But don’t let that distract you from the music, which holds its own both on and off the dance floor. Sirens has its share of booty bounce, but it also has a tinge of melancholy, particularly in the vocals, which, when coupled with shuffling, midtempo house tones, makes the album a fitting soundtrack for breezy days and lonely nights alike. The featured ladies are fabulous, but it is through the gentlemen that Gorgon City really shines: the irresistibly smooth “Ready for Your Love” with MNEK, the pouty Maverick Sabre on “Coming Home” and “Hard on Me,” and the velvet-throated Zak Abel on the scorching “Unmissable.” This is a DJ-only tour, but there are heavy hints at “special guests.” —Lily Moayeri
Sunday, October 26
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Hall and Oates
With more than 80 million albums sold worldwide, Daryl Hall and John Oates are the best-selling duo in music history. The Philadelphia-based, soul-infused pop outfit ruled the charts during the late 1970s and into the ’80s with such hits as “Sara Smile,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Maneater,” “Out of Touch” and many others. Their signature brand of blue-eyed soul has received heavy rotation in both pop and urban radio formats. While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees still perform together as a duo, they continue to pursue solo projects: Oates’ latest album, Good Road to Follow, was included in Rolling Stone’s list “The 26 Albums of 2014 You Probably Didn’t but Really Should Hear.” Tonight’s show features the soulful Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Mutlu, who has appeared frequently on Live From Daryl’s House, Hall’s Webby Award–winning online music show. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley
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