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Monday, January 12
The Jayhawks Coach House With their country-inflected alterna jams, the Jayhawks (sprung from mid-'80s Minneapolis) could easily have been an influence on modern bands like Wilco--albeit with some rougher edges. Jayhawks' singer Gary Louris' voice shares more in common with the throatiness of the Weakerthans' John K. Samson than Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, but it's all part of this band's quirky charm. They've had breakups, makeups and a quarter century of fusing rock, country and folk music together into one truly American sound--so come check them out this week as the Jayhawks play South County's Coach House. (Brandon Ferguson)
Wednesday, January 14
Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon) The Observatory Kool Keith is a man of many mysteries, many personalities and, of course, many surprises. Since the twilight years of hip hop's Golden Era, Keith (aka Black Elvis, aka Dr. Octagon) has held the torch for rappers who dare to be different, and a little eccentric. This week, the rap gods have smiled upon you, as Keith takes the stage for a free show at the Observatory presented by Burger Records. (Nate Jackson)
Thursday, January 15
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Curren$y The Observatory Curren$y is one of the hardest working rappers in the game. He releases multiple mixtapes per year--the most recent, The Drive In Theatre, dropped last Valentine's Day. In between the long hours spent in the studio, the New Orleans-based rapper finds time to play as many shows across the country as he can, including Thursday night's set at the Observatory. If he's ever weary, the 33-year-old hardly shows it--energetic and engaging, Curren$y is easily one of today's most charismatic performers when he's onstage. As one of the few rappers who has worked with both No Limit and Cash Money Records, Curren$y is a rarity not only because of this distinction, but after a decade in the game, he remains one of the freshest voices in hip-hop. (Daniel Kohn) Purple Mountains Majesties The Wayfarer A six-piece group, Purple Mountains Majesties favor folk in its primary form--sing-a-longs and story-telling make up much of their live performances. And they embrace their recycle-generation's burden by primarily focusing on a message of environmental alarm. It's a jangly, jumping mix of guitars, flutes, tambourines, keyboards, and many more instruments (with band members bouncing from one to the next mid-song) to create a sound of folk electrified. Catch them for a free show tonight with support from The Bluffs and Ellie Mae and the Ricochets (Erin DeWitt)
Friday, January 16 Dead Kennedys The Observatory You can love the fact that three-fourths of San Francisco punk band Dead Kennedys have been performing since 2001 without original singer Jello Biafra, or you can despise it. What you shouldn't do is make assumptions without having seen the current lineup live. The first tours for the reformed group (Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride, drummer D.H. Peligro and singer Ron "Skip" Greer) played to approximately 300 people per night, but those who've seen the band since 2001 have apparently decided that a Jello-less Dead Kennedys are a worthwhile act; they have played numerous European festivals and a show in Bogota, Colombia, to nearly 100,000 people. This week the band returns to OC for a show at the Observatory, backed by JFA and supergroup GFP, featuring skateboard legend Tony Alva and Greg Hetson from Bad Religion. (Ryan Ritchie)