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Summer Slaughter Tour The Observatory This smorgasbord of all things death metal proudly bills itself as "the most extreme tour of the year." Hey, we ain't arguing. When you put together a lineup that includes Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Goat Whore and bunch of other bands that sound like they were named by a hallucinating medical intern, it's sort of like drawing a line in the sand, you know? And who's gonna cross it? The Warped Tour? Pffft. You think those goody-goodies could ever muster the stones to book a band like Thy Art is Murder? No way. If you want positive energy and intelligible lyrics, go see Jimmy Eat World. If you want foaming rage and totally sick blast beats, followed by a sublime sense of doom and emptiness, you bust out the Summer Slaughter Tour. It's a simple matter of taste. Whether you find that fact to be awesome or awesomely asinine, one thing's for sure: It's totally freaking extreme. (Craig Outhier)
Aaron Carter The Federal Bar Admitting that you love boy bands is something only done only under the heaviest cloak of secrecy, after a few cocktails. Admitting you like the musical stylings of a boy band member's younger brother who peaked 15 years ago, at the age of 10, thanks solely to his brother's name recognition, is done only in after-hours basement parties with other like-minded social outcasts. Given these well-established societal etiquette standards, it's fitting that Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, headlines a performance at the Federal Underground--the stage they set up in the basement of an old bank later converted to a restaurant/bar. Let's all hope the air conditioning is working, because it's going to get pretty hot down there as Mr. Carter blasts his hits from the year 2000, like "Aaron's Party" and "That's How I Beat Shaq." (Amanda Parsons)
Saturday, July 19
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Ziggy Marley Pacific Amphitheatre Oldest Marley son Ziggy hit something of a high-water mark with his most recent album Fly Rasta, released just a few months ago. While he's never been shy about experimenting, Fly Rasta is a versatile work-through of reggae and its various offshoots, with Ziggy switching ably between the feel-good pop reggae that led him to chart success ("I Don't Wanna Live On Mars") and more traditional roots music like the title track or the particularly sweet "I Get Up." (Plus it prominently features vocal work by his sisters Cedella and Sharon--something of an unofficial reunion or at least an easter egg for fans of the original Marley children's outfit, the Melody Makers.) Little else will sound as appropriate as this coming out of the Pacific Amphitheater as the sun sets--it's just what a summer night needs. (Chris Ziegler) The Chain Gang of 1974 The Constellation Room Upon the release of his third album and major label debut Daydream Forever, indie-electronica musician Kamtin Mohager (better known to the masses as The Chain Gang of 1974), has officially captured the interested ears of the music public. The former 3OH!3 bassist mixes genres by combining piano ballads with synth-driven new wave, each song containing heavy bass grooves with a distinctly vintage '80s feel. Despite receiving lukewarm reviews from critics, Mohager's project has caught on with fans like wildfire--his songs land regularly on both satellite and terrestrial radio. While his style isn't entirely a throwback--after all, dance pop hasn't exactly gone away--the Los Angeles-dwelling multi-instrumentalist's first headlining tour signifies a nice step in the right direction. (Daniel Kohn)
DJ Quik and Suga Free The Observatory DJ Quik is known for producing records at record speed, while Suga Free, the self proclaimed pimp-turned-rapper, is anything but sweet. This dynamic duo first came together in 1997 when Quik produced Suga's debut album, Street Gospel. True to Quik's name, the album was completed in just 28 days and featured a unique sound that became an instant California classic. Now the West Coast pioneers are at it again, co-headlining at the Observatory. Witness the magic as the pair performs their hits like "Down Down Down" and "Nobody." Unlike their monikers suggest, this concert won't be quick, but it's sure to be sweet. (Amanda Parsons)