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Friday, May 23
Gloria Trevi's controversial and unpredictable history often makes her life seem like something out of a telenovela, so it's no surprise that last year she starred in the Mexican soap opera Libre para Amarte. Her art will further echo her life when the singer from Monterrey shoots an upcoming reality series for cable network Mun2. Seldom has a mere pop chanteuse stirred up so much trouble, whether she's provoking conservative authorities with her defiant lyrics about women's rights and oppression of the poor, or finding herself in Brazilian and Mexican prisons for four years on charges of kidnapping and corrupting minors. Her latest album, De Película, is sparked by uptempo dance-pop tunes such as "No Soy un Pájaro," which combines hip-hop touches with tropical beats, and such grandiose piano ballads as "No Querías Lastimarme." - Falling James
Rock singers don't come much wilder than Wendy Lee Gadzuk, who for many years fronted Philly hard-rock outfit The 440's before moving to Arizona and shredding guitar with Whiskey Bitch. She's changed her sound radically with her new Oakland trio, Andalusia Rose, mixing such moodily melancholic ballads as "A Thousand Miles" with slide guitar - driven, hard-blues workouts like "A Little More," where her fierce vocals reveal a newfound rootsy soul. Gadzuk occasionally reaches into her punk past with blasts such as "Promised Me the World," where her searing, jangling guitar contrasts with the burning melodicism of her singing. She says that the band's name and many of her new lyrics came to her in a dream, when a ghost named Andalusia Rose told Gadzuk, "You are my channel. Go forth and sing to the people." - Falling James
Saturday, May 24
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival
RANCHO SANTA SUSANA PARK
Simi Valley might not be the funkiest enclave in the Southland, but this weekend it moves a whole lot closer to Louisiana in spirit with its annual Cajun and blues festival. Saturday's headliners include British blues maven John Mayall and the surviving remnants of influential local blues-rock heroes Canned Heat, but no one will draw more attention than Guitar Shorty, the fret-spinning, guitar-twirling, note-stabbing master showman who was a major influence on the young Jimi Hendrix. Appearing on Saturday and Sunday are C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, led by the son of late, great zydeco wizard Clifton Chenier. Squeezing out his bittersweet surges of accordion, C.J. infuses the blues with the magically deft, shuffling rhythms of zydeco, turning loneliness and heartache into a merry celebration. Among other delights, Sunday closes with the soulful entreaties of Swamp Dogg and the insanely elaborate pedal-steel forays of Robert Randolph. Also Sunday, May 25. - Falling James
Chase & Status
HOUSE OF BLUES
U.K. bass ambassadors Chase & Status' slick commercialization of the underground sounds of drum 'n' bass continues with an admirable lack of genre loyalty on their third full-length, Brand New Machine. Paying overt tribute to the duo's influences, the Italian piano house of "Count on Me" and "Deeper Devotion" throw back to the early '90s, harkening to Prodigy's breakbeats on the former and Crystal Waters' dance-floor soul on the latter. Taking the soul to M.J. Cole - style two-step is "Blk & Blu," which contrasts with the punishing drum 'n' bass beats on "Machine Gun." The big bottom bass of the Major Lazer moombahton collaboration, "Pressure," is picked up in the gravelly tones of the ragga number "International." The duo's regular MC, Rage, joins Chase on this DJ-set North American tour. - Lily Moayeri
Miami group Torche have found great acclaim over the last decade combining the heaviness of Black Sabbath with the poppiness of Foo Fighters. The roots of that band are found in Floor, the previous group of Torche leader Steve Brooks. During their original existence from 1994 to 2004, Floor indulged in a sludgier sound. But the group's new reunion album, Oblation, finds Brooks fully capable of showing off a few harmony tricks picked up during his Torche years while still making your body rumble with some seriously heavy riffage. Between both bands, Brooks has spent many years perfecting the art of constructing short, compact songs overflowing with massive hooks. The material he crafts with Floor may not be as catchy as with Torche, but his new work is still very much a best-of-both-worlds scenario. ? - Jason Roche
Mark de Clive-Lowe
In the age of automation, auto-correct and Auto-Tune, it's more common to see a DJ mixing beats and tweaking knobs than someone playing piano. One never sees the same person doing both simultaneously, yet that's precisely what Mark de Clive-Lowe does. He's a jazz musician whose improvisational mastery extends beyond the keyboard to include myriad sounds and grooves from various electronic devices. He even orchestrates his band members on the fly, spontaneously mixing their talents into his soundscape. If Duke Ellington had been a DJ, this might be what he would have done. De Clive-Lowe's new album is called Church, named after his trendy, live-performance series. Blessed are the innovators, for they shall inherit the adoration of the Earth. ? - Gary Fukushima
Sunday, May 25
Backbiter, The Bob Lee
REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Like most of the better drummers in L.A., Bob Lee is in more than one band. He's so explosive that he can dutifully re-create Keith Moon's rambling tom-tom fills, but he's also much more solid than the Who drummer ever was. Lee is experimental and jazz-minded enough to jam with Mike Watt, and he used to anchor the seriously bent art-jazz-punk combo Claw Hammer, but he's not too snobby to slather on face paint, light his kick drum on fire and howl at the moon with the twisted, Alice Cooper - style shock rockers Fearless Leader. This afternoon, he celebrates his birthday with a couple of his other bands, including Backbiter, the long-running trio that alternates between heavy stoner rock and bursts of punk, and The Bob Lee, where he spits out Angry Samoans covers. ? - Falling James
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