Big shows, small shows, free shows, pay shows, cool shows, crazy shows. You can find them all this week.
First, the free shows. As the summer really starts to kick in, the free music series are starting to pop up around town. While the famous Santa Monica Pier twilight series doesn’t commence until July, the Levitt Pavilion offers two great series this summer, one in Pasadena and one in MacArthur Park. The lively Afro-Peruvian band Novalima plays on the Pasadena stage on the 23rd and in MacArthur Park the following night. KCRW is hosting special “Summer Nights” shows around town. This Saturday, they will host the hooky indie pop band Motopony at One Colorado in Pasadena. The Grand Ole Echo is kicking things up on Sunday afternoons at the Echo with Kip Broadman on the bill this Sunday. Instores never go out of fashion. This week, the young Nashville band (and by young I mean teenage) The Paperhead play at Permanent Records on the 24th before their gig at HM157.
When it comes to pay shows, the biggest ticket might be the Willie Nelson Country Throwdown at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena. Yes, it’s a drive, but the lineup includes Jamey Johnson, Jack Ingram, Lukas Nelson and Lukas’ dad Willie. Other big shows coming to Southern California this week are My Morning Jacket at the Pantages on the 22nd and Alison Krauss at Greek on the 23rd. A big show in its own cult-y way is the June 23rd show at the Wiltern with Okkervil River headlining and Titus Andronicus and New Villager in support. That might be strongest bill of the week.
The wildest of the crazy concerts should be Andre Williams’ gig at the Satellite on the 24th. Although his last album That’s All I Need was the first one he ever did sober, the Black Godfather is still a truly one funky cat. Holly Golightly might not be as extreme as Andre but she is quite a character. The UK transplant (to rural Georgia, no less) has a gripping, gritty new disc, No Help Coming, and a show at the Hotel Café on Friday the 24th. Adam Green, who was behind the Mouldy Peaches, will perform his off-kilter folk tunes at Largon on the 22nd, while the fabulous Fleshtones bring their ageless, timeless garage rock to the Satellite on the 23rd. They have a dandy new disc, Brooklyn Sound Solution, that is all revved up, old school rock ‘n’ roll.
Duncan Sheik goes old school in his own way on his new disc. Covers 80s, as the title suggest, is a cover disc of tunes from the Eighties. Sheik covers synth-pop bands like Tear For Fears, Thompson Twins and Howard Jones along with darker New Waves bands like New Order, Love and Rockets and the Smiths – but in an intimate way. He’ll undoubtedly be playing some of his selections at the Largo on the 20th.
Former Greenhorne Brian Olive has a really cool new eclectic Americana disc Two of Everything (co-produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach); he’ll stop by Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach on the 21st.
The Irish rock band Bell X1 lands at the Troubadour on the 22nd supporting the spring release of Bloodless Coup, a nicely textured slice of rock. Also on the 22nd, Cali rockers Rooney play at the Anaheim House of Blues before coming to the El Rey on the 24th. On the 23rd, meanwhile, you can find the Mountain Goats at the El Rey.
Largo welcomes old friend Jon Brion to its stage on Friday and Saturday. Once upon a time, Brion played there every Friday night in a freewheeling show, so expect the unexpected for these return shows.
Other strong Friday/Saturday options would be Keren Ann’s show at McCabe’s on the 24th, while the Hotel Café welcomes both Leila Broussard and Danielle Ate A Sandwich. Broussard, a finalist for the Rolling Stone cover contest, has a delightfully quirky style that I have praised in the past that should pair well with Danielle’s music. Also on Saturday, Chris Garneau comes to the Luckman Fire Arts Center.