By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
SATURDAY, JUNE 24
POWER 106 POWERHOUSE at ARROWHEAD POND, ANAHEIM
WHAT IT IS: A Paul Wall video where you are the star!
WHAT THEY GOT: Platinum selection of radio hip-hop assembled with obvious care: E40 from Oakland, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire from Houston, Lil' Rob from San Diego, Pitbull from Miami, Kanye West from several television awards shows and Ice Cube from the movie Anaconda and the year 1993.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD:If you like your hip-hop huge, this is as powerhouse as the ads promise.
SUNDAY, JUNE 25
IRVINE LAKE BLUES FESTIVAL at IRVINE LAKE, IRVINE
WHAT IT IS: More modest afterglow of the Doheny Blues Fest a.k.a. sweatin' to the oldies.
WHAT THEY GOT: South Dakota Native-American blues-rock/bar-rock band Indigenous, multipurpose genre consolidators Blowing Smokes and the Smokettes, Cobra Records graduate Guitar Shorty, and blues, blues, blues 'til 6 p.m., which is two hours before sunset.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Smokettes cover Ikettes, but why doesn't blues rock sound like Blue Cheer anymore?
SATURDAY, JULY 1
THE HOOTENANY at OAK CANYON RANCH, IRVINE
WHAT IT IS: Where rockabillies go to fry, and where people who like the blues go before they get too old and blue to not want to be around people. Plus kustom kar kulture, vintage guitars' finish peeling in the sun, scary bald guys in suspiciously Teutonic T-shirts and so many sets of Bettie Page bangs you'll forget a girl can grow a forehead.
WHAT THEY GOT: A lot of make-up cases sweating out their shtick like Tiger Army, Horrorpopsand Charley Horse (featuring some stringer from the Cramps), plus seminonymous duck's-assers like 3 Bad Jacks and Hellbound Hayrideand ol' faithfuls Manic Hispanic, James Intveld, Big Sandy(coming off a new record) andLee Rocker.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Resurrected rocker gal Wanda Jackson, unfortunately promoting a new album all about her old boyfriend-for-10-minutes Elvis but fortunately still using the same voice that did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki what it will still do to you, plus Link Wray alums Robert Gordonand Chris Spedding, who started out as new wavers but then got all derailed by the first 14 seconds of "That's All Right" and never played no new wave again.
FRIDAY, JULY 7
THE WARPED TOUR at FAIRPLEX, POMONA
WHAT IT IS: Summer daycare camp for high school kids trustworthy enough to spend a day—and their allowance—unchaperoned, plus bands performing for a dumpster and two hungover roadies in a parking lot at 12:30 p.m.
WHAT THEY GOT: Chain-gang bands like NOFX, Anti-Flag, Less Than Jakeand the Bouncing Souls, who couldn't escape from something like this if they wanted, plus about 40 other bands that sound like NOFX but with higher vocals, and then a ton of those new haircut-hardcore bands with jeans that cost as much as their transistor amplifiers. Plus vendors, toilets and the first seeds of teenage disillusionment with music.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: The Germs, dead and loving it. Plus standby powerhouse Die Hunns, rigging-climbing rock pirates the Riverboat Gamblers and glam-space-cheese goofballs Valient Thorr, yet to discover intelligent life on this planet.
FRIDAY, JULY 7 AND ONGOING ALL SUMMER
THE OC FAIR at THE OC FAIR PLEX, COSTA MESA
WHAT IT IS: The hippest county fair in the country—since glossy-mag darlings Gnarls Barkleyare playing here before they play anywhere else in the county, our old joke about Lou Reed one day doing "Heroin" between the Ferris wheels has stopped being funny and started being plausible.
WHAT THEY GOT: A cosmopolitan lineup with a standard-of-credibility closer to fly-in festivals in New Orleans or Seattle than something where people pin prize ribbons on pigs. Cheap tickets here—$20 for shows that could go to LA and ask four times as much, plus valet parking—make for an old-school populist-style fair that elevates all who go until they start eating fried Twinkies. Plus Velvet Revolver.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Besides a reggae showcase and Cyndi Lauper, the OC Fair proudly presents Henry Rollins—formerly of a Grateful Dead-influenced band called Black Flag—and Wall of Voodoo and Riverboat Gamblers and of course Gnarls Barkley, who do Outkast with Busby Berkeley production values and who are the coolest band to play a county fair besides Cheap Trick.
SATURDAY, JULY 8
OZZFEST at HYUNDAI PAVILLION, DEVORE
WHAT IT IS: The disgruntled-guy metal fest that gets all the heavy bands Arthurfest doesn't want and puts them in a baking stadium named after a second-tier import car company—as complimentary as an environment gets for songs about hate, alienation and crushing frustration.
WHAT THEY GOT: System of a Down, Huntington's Avenged Sevenfold, goofy shtick band Dragon Force, bald guys, scowling fat guys, female keyboard players and half as many difficult time-signature changes as you'd expect.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Ozzy? Did he used to be in a band?
FRIDAY, AUG. 4 & SATURDAY, AUG. 5
SAN DIEGO STREET SCENE at QUALCOMM STADIUM, SAN DIEGO
WHAT IT IS: A 2.5-million-square-foot beer delivery system for college students and squids on leave, and Coachella for people who didn't want to drive to Coachella.
WHAT THEY GOT: Coachella alums Kanye West, Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, Bloc Party, She Wants Revenge, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Nine Black Alps, the Subways—oh, oops, they cancelled Coachella, but they would've played—and then bands that will probably play Coachella in 2007.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Wu Tang Clan, tragically billed below Social Distortion, and the Futureheads, who toured their first album sounding more like the early Clash than any of these plaid-and-safety-pin noodleheads who only like "Janie Jones" because it barely demands you play guitar to cover it.
SATURDAY, AUG. 5
ROCK THE BELLS at NOS EVENTS CENTER, SAN BERNARDINO
WHAT IT IS: Flagship hip-hop festival that picks up everyone who doesn't sign on for Power's warped stadium shows.
WHAT THEY GOT: Wu Tang Clan doing an ODB tribute, Mos Def, De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Del, Visionaries, Living Legends and a generous scoop off the top of big independent/better major label hip-hop.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: LA's Murs running with his excellent Murray's Revenge album plus that Wu Tang set that is probably gonna bulge with drop-ins per previous surprise blowout Rock the Bells appearances.
SATURDAY, AUG. 26 & SUNDAY, AUG. 27
SUNSET JUNCTION STREET FAIR at SUNSET BLVD. AND FOUNTAIN, SILVERLAKE
WHAT IT IS: People who would never go outside during the day going outside during the day and drinking to soothe the sensations of sunlight on their skin, plus funnel cake.
WHAT THEY GOT: A wide mess of LA's better local bands with vitamin shots from a few high-profile visitors—Cramps (visiting from . . . Glendale), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Hank the Wank III—to really make the already cheapo admission worth it.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: Jesus and Mary Chain worship by Fall-backing-band Darker My Love, love doll superstars Redd Kross, along with Jesus and Mary Chain worship also by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and a lunchtime show by Lavender Diamond, pretty much the best band in Los Angeles.
SUNDAY, AUG. 27
AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE at ARROWHEAD POND, ANAHEIM
WHAT IT IS: The predictable terminal point of karaoke during late capitalism, plus all your favorite singing stars whose names you only dimly remember.
WHAT THEY GOT: This season's top 10, uprooted from the studio sessions where they were hacking out debut singles like cold cuts and reunited to fake smiles and make money one last time. King Taylor Hicks leads notable also-rans Lisa, Ace, Katharine, Blondie, Mumbles, Screechy, Lazy Eye, Chesty Hickand Hickie Hick through a canned set of classics.
WHAT THEY GOT THAT'S GOOD: I always had a soft spot for Kellie Pickler, whose dad was in jail and whose r's always slurred out the side of her mouth, just because she reminded me of where I grew up.