Monday, October 14
Wavves The Observatory Wavves, the feral brain child of Nathan Williams, is a San Diego-based garage rock band that, despite being relatively young and surviving a full member re-do, have already hit some pretty massive rockstar milestones. In 2009, singer Williams took a bunch of drugs and had a public meltdown during the Barcelona Primavera Sound Festival. He later admitted to alcohol addiction. Check. And for one of this year's most anticipated (and heavily marketed) video game releases, Grand Theft Auto V, Wavves exclusively recorded a song. Check check. From public disgrace to media placement gold, they seem right on track. March's Afraid of Heights album sees the band tighter than ever, wrangling gritty garage around pop-worthy hooks and a catchiness usually reserved for radio-ready acts. But maybe they're headed that way. (Erin DeWitt)
Sleigh Bells The Observatory When the Brooklyn-based duo of Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller bring their brand of noise pop to Orange County, they'll be supporting their third LP, Bitter Rivals. While there doesn't seem to be any anger directed at one person or entity, the record is a bit cleaner, and perhaps even a bit more melodic than what fans may have come to expect from Sleigh Bells. With "Rill Rill" already getting some love from Apple on the new iPhone commercial, Krauss and Miller, along with their new backing band, are ready to prove why Anthony Bourdain was smart to jump on their bandwagon early. (Daniel Kohn)
Thursday, October 17
Michael Franti and Spearhead House of Blues Anaheim Since his Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy days, Michael Franti has pushed the envelope in terms of how far music could go while still being hip-hop. In the last decade, however, Franti and Spearhead seem to have largely pushed into something entirely different from hip hop, the reggae-pop and hippie-folk populism taking centerstage, even if Franti's vocals still often reveal his rap and spoken word roots. In fact, Franti could very well be the first true post-racial, post-hip hop artist. Songs such as "Say Hey (I Love You)" and this year's "I'm Alive" mark perhaps the first time that the genre has been entirely engulfed in pop music without seeming too corny or exploitative. That is an immense accomplishment. (Winston Gorman)
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Earthless Alex's Bar We once saw Earthless clear a room--but it wasn't because they were bad. It was because they disintegrated every single person there War of the Worlds-style with riff after relentless riff, and now several years later, they are still out to utterly destroy. If you ever got super into the solo during a Hendrix or Blue Cheer track and maybe dared to wish it could go on forever, well, Earthless is that band and they push the realms of physical and creative capacity both with almost-endless instrumental shred-sagas each more legendary than the last. One single Earthless track is as dense and intense as full albums by less ambitious bands, and if you don't turn into a little pile of dust once they finish a set, it's probably because you're still on fire. (Chris Ziegler)
Friday, October 18
The Growlers' Beach Goth II, Night 1 The Observatory Teens and young adults have been counting down the days to the second installment of Beach Goth, brought to you by Costa Mesa natives The Growlers. Featuring a cavalcade of Burger Records stars, you'll get to experience the eccentric synth-pop of The Garden, the easy listening lo-fi of The Blank Tapes, and the psychedelic fuzz-garage of Night Beats. Add in more revered bands such as Gap Dream, Mystic Braves, Enjambre, Froth and more, and you've got a night to remember. Here in Orange County, we're all Beach Goths at heart. Tonight is the first night of Beach Goth weekend at The Observatory. (Aimee Murillo)