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Friday, September 19
Drake vs. Lil Wayne Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Two of hip-hop's best buds are sharing a stage together this week. Aww. We know the whole thing is supposed to be a Capcom-sponsored "battle" between two of the hottest emcees in the game. But let's not forget that Drake and Lil Wayne are also the two softest rappers in the game. And that's not necessarily an insult. It's more of a comment on how hip-hop's emotional maturity has evolved to the point where you can rap about being heartbroken over a girl and no one laughs at you. Sure, these rappers brandish tough lines from time to time (in Wayne's case, maybe a few from his forthcoming album Tha Carter V). But let's be honest, this battle will probably end up being more of a love fest punctuated by a truly genuine bro hug. And we're okay with that. (Nate Jackson)
Rival Sons The Observatory Since the release of their last record in 2012, Long Beach's Rival Sons have been traveling across the globe spreading their brand of arena-ready blues rock. As the band geared up to record their fourth full-length, Great Western Valkyrie they underwent some changes. Bassist Robin Everhart left the band and they've powered on with Dave Beste filling in. Between opening for Aerosmith in Europe, and an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (which they compare to "playing a thousand shows because of its reach) now that they've returned stateside, Rival Sons have a busy couple of months ahead of them. Fans should be more than happy to see the band's homecoming show fat the Observatory this weekend. (Daniel Kohn)
The Aquabats The Glass House If that sounds crazy to you, imagine what that means to its members: That's 20 years of tights-wearing, gravity-defying, villain-fighting, rock & roll shenanigans on stage. Led by the M.C. Bat Commander, backed up by Crash McLarson, Jimmy the Robot, Ricky Fitness and Eagle "Bones" Falconhawk, this 'super'-team never really planned on staying together for two decades. And yet here they are: middle-aged men in superhero costumes, entertaining kids and kids at heart everywhere. Guess the adage is true: Time does fly when you're having fun. (Lilledeshan Bose)
Saturday, September 20
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The Bang Festival The Observatory Even with the absence of The Hootenanny this year, OC will always find a way to celebrate summer (or at least the end of it) with a loud, potent pairing of roots music and punk rock. Enter: The Bang Festival. The bill (carried on three stages, including an Outdoor Stage) is split up quite nicely between both genres, going from headliners X, Buzzcocks and Los Lobos to the Alvin Brothers, Wanda Jackson and Junior Brown. And the full card of local and national supporting talent sharing the spotlight at the Observatory show a thorough timeline of the bands who've gone on to be influenced by such legends. What will happen when punks, greasers and pin-up girls collide? Hopefully something worth writing home about. (Nate Jackson)
Jack's 9th Show Honda Center It's hard to believe that Jack FM has been on the air nine years--ever since 2005--but as the sound of what KROQ used to be when it was actually good, Jack became the haven for people who not only prefer classic alt music, but who also cringe at insipid DJ babbling (Kevin and Bean. Not you, Lisa May, we love you). At Jack's 9th show, you'll get to hear some of the yesteryear alt rock that refuses to go quietly into the night, featuring Joan Jett, the queen of leather pants and stud bracelets. Jett can still rip up an amphitheater, and gets some help from the Violent Femmes, Naked Eyes, Bow Wow Wow (we forever covet "Aphrodisiac"), and the amazing Billy Squire, whose "My Kinda Lover" and "In the Dark" really need to be added into Jack's rotation. (We know--no requests!). Collective Soul also snuck into the show like twirling '90s hippie chick, but whatever--anything Jack can do, no one really does any better. We're in. (SR Davies)