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Somewhere inside the web of freeways between the Orange Curtain and Los Angeles, a group of eight guys who call themselves the Shape Shifters are making some of the most diverse hip-hop songs on the shelves today. This group of MCs, beat makers and graffiti writers have just released their latest record (The Shape Shifters Was Here on Cornerstone RAS), their eighth release as a group since 1999. This time around, they've got tracks such as the Transformers-influenced "More Than Meets the Eye" or a song called "Circuit City," which wraps diamond-studded microphones and cokehead girlfriends around '80s-style techno beats right off the beginners' level on Dance Dance Revolution. And it's somehow still amazing—the Shape Shifters never sit still, hot-potatoing the mic around the room and finishing each others' rhymes. (Charlie Rose)

THE SHAPE SHIFTERS WITH OZOMATLI AND 2 MEX AT the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583. Sat., 8 P.M. $20-$22.50. ALL AGES.



When Madonna and Courtney Love are lauded as the authorities on tough-girl showmanship and survival skills (although in Love's case, those skills appear to have dropped off the edge, alongside her sanity and underpants), it shows just how criminally little the world knows about the true, done-it-all broad: Ronnie Spector, whose autobiographical tome is justly subtitled "How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts,and Madness," Spector's early career in the '60s with the Ronettes spawned "Be My Baby" and a jumble of other girl-group hits. But after a bitter struggle to go solo (and get away from hubby Phil "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" Spector), Ronnie played with a cuckoo's nest of rock-pantheon notables, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. She got a few hits and took several commercial swan dives, even putting out a critically extolled EP on the indie-cred-machine label Kill Rock Stars. So while other rock-vocal veterans went the Stevie Nicks, scary-unicorn-lady route, Ronnie Spector and her inspiring hair are more vital now than at their supposed peak. She's a tiny but ferocious performance machine, with a voice and an increasingly diversified repertoire that's still beautiful—and tough—for all the right reasons. (Kate Carraway)

Ronnie Spector with The Muffs at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583. Wed., 7 P.M. $25. All ages.


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