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Friday, November 28 Off! The Observatory The hair-flailing zeal of guitarist Dimitri Coats permeates and personifies Off!, the band he co-founded with former Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontmouth Keith Morris in 2009. With the exception of Morris (who for many fans is L.A. punk incarnate), Off!'s members arrived from a broad palette of styles: Coats formerly fronted hard-rock trio Burning Brides, bassist Steven Shane McDonald hails from alt-rock pioneers Redd Kross, and drummer Mario Rubalcaba does double duty with post-hardcorists Hot Snakes. The resulting elective enthusiasm and multigenre dexterity are all over Off!'s take on hardcore punk -- which, though primal and breathlessly to-the-point (the 17 songs on third album Wasted Years clock in at a collective 23 minutes), is warmed with real musicality and tasty changes of pace beneath Morris' perpetually indignant, revenge-of-the-nerds ranting. (Paul Rogers)
Saturday, November 29
Seedless House of Blues Anaheim OC's beach-city reggae scene is rolling deep to Anaheim this weekend as local faves Seedless headline the House of Blues. Though they continue putting the finishing touches on their much anticipated next album, their reliable rock-infused island vibes are still the strongest in a live setting. We're betting that audience preparation for their set will involve plenty of ganja and whatever Thanksgiving left overs are still in the fridge. They're taking the stage alongside their buddies and fellow Locals Only column alumni Poor Man's Change and Michah Brown. (Nate Jackson)
Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness The Observatory Andrew McMahon is a punk pop survivor. On top of his work as lead singer of Something Corporate, he's also the brainchild of Jack's Mannequin, his successful solo project. Before Jack's took off, however, McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The singer not only survived the potentially deadly disease, but released a DVD, Dear Jack, chronicling his journey, and formed The Dear Jack Foundation for cancer research. Even as his health wavered, McMahon's talent for songwriting never subsided. More recently, his Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (both a moniker and album name) caught on with radio--"Cecilia and the Satellite" is one of the most popular songs on SiriusXM's influential Alt Nation station. The album received both critical and commercial acclaim, landing near the top of the Billboard 200 and proving that, despite the obstacles he may face, McMahon is one of the true musicians who has the talent and drive to endure. (Daniel Kohn)
The Devious Means The Wayfarer Indie-rock darlings The Devious Means carved out a niche in Orange County's sonic ecosystem with smart, accessible songwriting that showcases crafty lyrics and more hooks than a fly-fishing competition. Armed with songs from their latest album, Other Animals, the band performs their rollicking live set at the Wayfarer with support from Wetwood Smokes and Work Friend. (Kyle Cavaness)
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Sunday, November 30
Michael W. Smith City National Grove of Anaheim It's a big ol' helping of wholesome tonight as Michael W. Smith swings by the City National Grove of Anaheim, bringing with him an arsenal full of Christmas songs (from a whopping four holiday albums, the earliest dating back to 1989). For his latest album, The Spirit of Christmas, Smith teamed up with a rather stellar cast of musicians to collaborate: Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, and Bono (who, of course, had to do some weird spoken word thing). Catch Smith tonight and get in the spirit of the season--it's not just all about mall sales and baked goods, you know. (Erin DeWitt)