Blah Blah Blah

We like the shows, the shows that go boom

L.A. is the place. Consider what it offers you in just one week. Besides the cool hip-hop shit happening (Pharrell, Dilated Peoples, etc. — see Music Picks), we also have the intriguing rock of Gogogo Airheart, who play in a genre we are starting to hate (garage/dancey/punky), and yet we cannot deny their sloppy charm. (Sun., 2/19, the Echo, at Part Time Punks, which keeps getting better!) . . . But our great city also offers you Ye Rock Gods of Old: Roger Daltrey appears at something called Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp (which we hope comes with a Simpsons sponsorship and fat office guys “jamming” in ponytails with rock legends; HOB, 2/20). Cheap Trick play HOB, 2/21, and they’re still pretty good. (Although they really should give Big Star, and Chris Bell in particular, a shout-out when they perform “In the Street,” a.k.a. the theme to That ’70s Show. I’m just saying.) But wait, there’s more! Aerosmith play Staples, 2/22, (and we hope they’re packing their GIANT INFLATABLE COBRAS this time), with Simpsons rock & roll summer camp counselor Lenny Kravitz — a guy whose rock fraudulence has gone on so long now, and with such undeniable commitment, we’re starting to kinda like the guy. (Kate Sullivan)


Mickey Avalon at the Roxy

Like his reportedly shady past, Los Angeles glam-rap sensation Mickey Avalon’s live shows are fast becoming legendary among jaded clubgoers and the hardcore O.C. surf crowd. Last time, he smashed a bottle over his head and engaged in not-so-simulated sex with a sultry backup dancer. There have been fights, a new car destroyed and, all the while, Avalon winning over the most hostile audiences with his rock-star charisma and ambisexual wordplay. Even though Avalon’s without a record deal, his songs are currently spun by DJs at the most exclusive clubs in town, so the crowd tonight will likely include everyone from Paris Hilton–style gossip magnets to serious hip-hop fans who dig Avalon’s undeniable rhyming skills. The rest will be there expecting the unexpected and hoping to see if his trousers don’t fall down. (John Albert)

Marianne Dissard, Naïm Amor, Inara George, Moris Tepper at El Cid

Tonight’s particularly superlative bill presents two hotshot guitarists (Amor, Tepper). Two maverick singer-songwriters (Dissard, George). One sings in French (Dissard), one sings bilingually (Amor). Avant-rock that’s alternately hard-edged and playful (Amor, Tepper) and plaintive, no-frills folk-rock (Dissard, George). The surprise is Dissard. While she’s collaborated occasionally with others, she’s currently recording her debut solo album, Entre Deux, with songs co-written by producer Joey Burns of Calexico. Her work has a lovely, mournful lilt, a sort of Parisian blues. Even those of us who don’t speak French cannot help but be touched by the stark beauty of her phrasing. Her husband, Amor, will accompany her on guitar with Tidypaws on saxophone and Dimitri Manos on drums. 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. (323) 668-0318. (Michael Simmons)

RJD2 & Aceyalone, Busdriver at El Rey Theater

Like De La Soul once rapped, three is indeed the magic number, especially for this hoedown and especially if you’re a local hip-hop fan. Freestyle Fellowship and Project Blowed legend Aceyalone has been pushing true-school rhyme for decades, and for the past few years he’s employed Def Jux regular RJD2 behind the decks to help him do it. And while the duo’s latest team-up, Magnificent City, might not blaze as hard as their previous collaboration, Love and Hate, they’re still one of hip-hop’s teams to beat. Meanwhile, left-field rapper Busdriver’s stature, especially in his home base of Lost Angeles, is only increasing with every lyric he spits. Expect him to fire off abstract nuggets from his latest release, Fear of a Black Tangent. Now’s the time to recognize, motherfuckers! 5515 Wilshire Blvd. (323) 936-6400. Aceyalone & RJD2 also appear at Amoeba Music earlier this evening at 6 p.m. (Scott Thill)


Dick Dale, Bow Wow Wow at the Henry Fonda Theater

The pairing of surf-guitar potentate Dick Dale and resuscitated old-school U.K. new-wave act Bow Wow Wow seems more than slightly schizophrenic, and the very clash itself is appealing in its simple weirdness. Yet Dale, primary architect of the early-’60s oceans of reverb and tsunami-of-riffs sound, and tribal-rhythm goddess Annabella Lwin are perhaps not so very far apart: There is an abstract commonality. Dale’s walloping sea-foam and sunbeam assaults were specifically designed to musically re-create the physical sensation of taking on the breakers, where Bow Wow Wow’s reach down into the primordial jungle ignites the passion primitive. Each takes a decidedly atavistic approach to music, coaxing forth the beast within, and the elemental juxtaposition should hit pretty damn hard. 6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd. (323) 258-2800. (Jonny Whiteside)

Rick Springfield at the Wiltern

A few years ago, I stuck a used Working Class Dog tape into my car stereo, and for the next couple months drove around L.A. listening to a whole lot of Rick Springfield. My life has been better ever since. Working Class Dog is fuller, stronger, wiser than people knew in 1981. Most kids thought Springfield sprang fully formed from daytime TV with an album in his contract, but these songs tell another story. Springfield was a dedicated musician for 15-odd years before his breakthrough, struggling to pay for studio time, no doubt fighting internally just to defend what was, clearly, a pretty brave vision of true power pop. Fuck the haters. They wish they’d written “Jesse’s Girl.” (His new covers album’s a hoot, too.) 3790 Wilshire Blvd. (213) 380-3005. (Kate Sullivan)

Lee “Scratch” Perry, Alton Ellis, Horace Andy?at the Long Beach Ragga Muffins Festival

While Lee “Scratch” Perry, the brilliant dub alchemist and penultimate madman of Jamaican studio pyrotechnics, rightfully enjoys headliner billing among the blend of creaky crooners (Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor) and dancehall jabberers (Admiral Bailey, Luciano) who dominate this bill, there are a couple of cats featured here, Alton Ellis and Horace Andy, without whom none of these performers — including Perry — would be around at all. Ellis was one of the very first Jamaican singers captured on record, and his subsequent development of rock-steady bridged the gap between ska and roots reggae. Andy, with his ethereal falsetto and such influential classics as “Mr. Bassie,” is also a key force (one still making strides via his recent collaboration with Massive Attack), and each should provide both rich context and dazzling showmanship. Long Beach Arena, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach.; the festival continues on Sunday. (562) 436-3661 or (310) 515-3322. (Jonny Whiteside)


Les Savy Fav, The Hold Steady, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Swearing at Motorists at Avalon

The post-punk event of early 2006, this solid quadruple bill promises to pack in more passionate, glasses-wearing nerds than a Harry Potter premiere. Brooklyn-based headliners Les Savy Fav are coming off a hiatus in which their art-damaged spazz-rock gave rise to copycat acts across America; their records are fun, but their live show — in which singer Tim Harrington virtually guarantees partial nudity — is why the band exists. The Hold Steady, also from Brooklyn (though they formed in the Midwestern indie cradle of Minneapolis), play raggedly glorious bar-band rock that manages to comment on the genre’s conventions at the same time that it indulges in them. Detroit’s Thunderbirds Are Now! are one of those LSF-inspired acts, while Swearing at Motorists recently enjoyed a move from Dayton to Berlin. 1735 N. Vine St., Hlywd. (213) 480-3232. (Mikael Wood)

Brant Bjork & the Bros, Fatso Jetson at the Troubadour

“I’m in the business of rocking,” Brant Bjork said to me once, three years ago. He was goofing with the Spinal Tap rap, but he was also speaking a bottom-line fact about what he’d been up to since co-forming Kyuss as a teenager in the late ’80s. Business has ping-ponged since then, but lately it’s been good: The Bros’ recently released Saved by Magic (Duna) — a generous double album of mota rock made by and for folks who have an enthusiasm for that heady age when musicians in popular bands (Hendrix, the Doors, Santana) listened to one another onstage — succeeds on its own terms, and world touring has been so successful that tonight is the band’s only show in L.A. this year. Expect jams. With fellow desert-rock lifers Fatso Jetson. (Jay Babcock)


Nada Surf, Rogue Wave, The King of France at Henry Fonda Theater

Rogue Wave’s recent Descended Like Vultures (Sub Pop) is a more than serviceable slab of modern rock art, should one decide to devote time to it. Founder-singer Zach Rogue pursues a deeply detailed kind of hard pop that the more politely pushing acoustic guitars of 2004’s Out of the Shadow only hinted at, enhancing his addictive melodies with arcanely electric textures and a brazen disregard for the niceties of trad harmony and rhythm. Post major-label/MTV tilt-o-whirl, veterans Nada Surf found new life with 2003’s Let Go and 2005’s The Weight Is a Gift (both Barsuk), the latter of which finds the New York trio facing their middle years in passably powerful pop raves and quietly poignant instrumental shades, taking on with a grimly enlightened tone both the prospects and possibilities of the “normal” life ahead. NYC’s the King of France, featuring rock crit Michael Azerrad, opens the show. 6126 Hollywood Blvd. (213) 480-3232. (John Payne)

Supergrass, Pilotdrift at Avalon

When Supergrass first fizzed from Brit television screens in ’94, looking like a sideburned-’n’-simian Planet of the Apes house band and lending their perky Kinks/Buzzcocks pop a nudge and a wink of Madness-y humor, they had novelty act written all over ’em. They’ve proved to be exactly the opposite, still filling theaters over a decade later with an ever-fashionable flush of melodic instinct, heady harmonies, a telepathic rhythm section and that barrow-boy charm. Incubated in distant Texarkana, Pilotdrift are as bizarre as their signing to Polyphonic Spree main man Tim DeLaughter’s Good Records implies. Like the Spree, they’re a freak occurrence — melodramatic chamber pop infused with early Bowie, Bond soundtracks and arcane instrumentation — yet their apparently irony-free, often-woozy Queen-via-Radiohead quirkiness has even cynics swooning. 1735 N. Vine St., Hlywd. (213) 480-3232. (Paul Rogers)


Pharrell Williams at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim

Pharrell Williams, a.k.a. Skateboard P, part of the Neptunes with Chad Hugo, is one of the hottest producers of our time. Dude is a multi-platinum-selling producer who has won countless awards, including Grammys, producing everyone from rappers Jay-Z to Busta Rhymes to Usher and Babyface to No Doubt and even popsters Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. If you flip the radio dial, you’re bound to hear one of his hits, whether it’s Gwen Stefani’s “Can I Have It Like That” or Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It like It’s Hot.” Skateboard P is doing it all — he even has his own line of Reebok sneakers called Ice Cream. Don’t miss Pharrell making his solo debut at the Pond. 2695 Katella Ave., Anaheim. (213) 480-3232. (Ben Quiñones)

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