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Friday, June 7
THE QUEEN MARY
This three-day veneration of art, cars, music, burlesque and all things tattooed boasts some impressively wild, certified legends scattered among the horde of rockabilly hucksters and punk revivalists. Although the groups billed as The Stranglers and Dead Kennedys don't include lead singers Hugh Cornwell and Jello Biafra, respectively, there are plenty of authentic thrills to be found, from the manically explosive reggae-thrash true believers Bad Brains to the exhilaratingly soaring melodies of sisterly San Antonio trio Girl in a Coma to intense and uplifting English ska band The Selecter. Prime garage rock comes in all flavors -- there are literarily scuzzy and soulfully cerebral (The Dirtbombs), sultrily hard-rocking (The Woolly Bandits) and ebulliently, reverentially retro (The Fleshtones). In many ways, country-rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson, who appears Friday night, is even more talented than her onetime beau and tourmate Elvis Presley -- she writes some of her own songs, plays a mean guitar and sings up a storm. But the most incendiary performance comes Saturday, when Iggy & the Stooges reunite with napalm-dealing lead guitarist James Williamson for a set of Raw Power punk prototypes that will literally rock this old boat. Also Sat.-Sun., June 8-9. --Falling James
Jubilee Music & Arts Festival featuring Black Lips, Trash Talk, Bleached, et al.
DOWNTOWN ARTS DISTRICT
It has left Silver Lake for that awesome warehouse-y thing under downtown's Sixth Street bridge, but this newbie local festival is more jubilant than ever, particularly with this year's punk-garage lineup, perfectly suited for this kind of concrete-jungle setting. Besides headliners Black Lips, attendees get a formidable rawk-block, starting with Long Beach's Brown and Blue and ricocheting through Burger Records buddies Pangea and Cherry Glazerr to the apocalyptically ferocious hardcore band Trash Talk and the C86-style noise pop of L.A.'s Bleached. On deck on other stages Friday are Free Energy, Check Yo' Ponytailers Franki Chan and Thee Mike B, A Club Called Rhonda's Goddollars and many more. Saturday gets you The Drums, Salva, Fool's Gold, HOTT MT and -- yup -- many, many, MANY more! --Chris Ziegler
See also: Bleached Return to Their Original Shade
The Kandinsky Effect
Jethro Tull, Franz Ferdinand, Dandy Warhols, The Mr. T Experience -- all bands named after famous men. Saxophonist Warren Walker, bassist Gael Petrina and drummer Caleb Dolister decided to get in on the trend via Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, the first abstract painter, whose visuals are indefinably coherent and stunning. Painting what he termed "compositions" and "improvisations," Kandinsky heard music in color; similarly, the band named after him paints ephemeral sonic pictures grounded by less abstract constructions of rock beats and pedal effects. Their latest album, Synesthesia (the term for a neurological condition that affects sense perception), is a sound palette of rock, jazz and electronica, and thus perhaps also an homage to Kandinsky's attempt to combine all of his artistic techniques into his greatest masterpieces. Warhol and Mr. T would approve, but if this band's fame lasts only 15 minutes, pity the fools. --Gary Fukushima
Saturday, June 8
L.A.'s Santoros match honking harmonica and top-volume bellowing with jittery D. Boon-style guitar and cascades of organ to tell cracked-up stories about life on the night side of the city. Lotta Human Switchboard here, if anybody remembers them. Or Plugz? Or Randoms? Or Swell Maps? Modern Lovers? In any case, there's definitely some awesome and strange kind of collision happening here between three or four styles of music that you can figure out in a bedroom by yourself -- punk, folk, garage and the kind of new wave that never got near a slick studio. It all makes for songs that stick to you as much for their spirit as their substance. It's a little rough, sure, but so is waking up in the morning, right? Santoros play with comrades-in-reality Dirt Dress, who really put the punk back in post-punk. --Chris Ziegler
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET
Juicy J may be best remembered as half of the pioneering Southern hip-hop duo Three 6 Mafia, the group that shocked the world in 2009 when their song "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from the film Hustle & Flow won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Juicy J's seamless foray into solo artistry yielded collaborations with rap star Wiz Khalifa and eventually, the 2012 strip-club anthem "Bandz a Make Her Dance," which peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2013, Juicy J released his third solo studio effort, Stay Trippy, on Wiz Khalifa's Taylor Gang imprint. The well-received LP includes appearances by The Weeknd, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj, among other hip-hop luminaries. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley
Sunday, June 9
Gaining acclaim from the likes of Filter, NME and Spinner, The Reflections have been building anticipation for their debut LP, Limerence, over the past year. Co-created via email by Darian Zahedi and Jon Safley (the drummer in Bleached), The Reflections have established themselves as a go-to for dreamy reverb, velvety melodies and fuzz-toned power chords that contrast with Zahedi's breathy vocals. This all enhances ruminative lyrics such as, "I search the memories of better days/I never meant to let my feelings change." The group's ambient fashion is hypnotizing live, with each song echoing beyond its physical existence and leaving a lingering sensation of breezy nostalgia. The Reflections don't take themselves too seriously, and when they released a series of their own singles remixed by artists including Gardens & Villa and Baz Tub, they demonstrated dynamism in both songcraft and self-image. Supported by fellow local female trio Clear Plastic and the charged Fever the Ghost, this record-release party is sure to excite both the body and the mind. --Britt Witt
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
L.A.'s landmark Natural History Museum is marking its centennial with a double-header that will live on forever: Devo and GZA, together at last and surrounded by dinosaur skeletons, too! Besides popularizing the concept of de-evolution and then watching in horror as it consumed the world, Devo made some of the best pop songs of the modern age. (Don't miss their early demos, just reissued on Superior Viaduct.) And besides popularizing the concept of liquid swords and then watching proudly as hip-hop fell at his feet, the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA wrote some of the best rap songs of the modern age. Putting these two together in this building is proof incarnate of just how fantastic the world can be. Let's all hope we get a party like this when we turn 100. --Chris Ziegler
See also: Taking Physics Class with Professor GZA
North London big-beat exciters The Kinks always displayed more natural-fact, hard rockitivity, genuinely creative ka-pow and less derivative monkeyshines than any of their 1960s comrades, and the great majority of that voltage was generated by bandleader Dave Davies. His deliciously offbeat songwriting and savage riff slinging have always had guts, drive and vision to burn, and the ornery, outspoken Davies simply refuses to mellow. In the last decade, the hardheaded singer-guitarist has survived both a gunshot (suffered while chasing down a New Orleans mugger who lifted his girl's purse) and a seriously paralyzing stroke. But the indomitable iconoclast, here to throw down some numbers from his just-released album, I Will Be Me, continues to rock and roar with a complex, formidable fire and depth that plays out on a Shakespearean scale. --Jonny Whiteside
Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar
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