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Tuesday, April 1
School Boy Q The Observatory Remember when Kendrick Lamar played the Glass House? And Kanye played the Galaxy? Maybe you should make it a point to go see Top Dawg/Black Hippy's Schoolboy Q--with ferocious Long Beach local Vince Staples, who just released his Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 mixtape--at the Observatory while you still got the chance. Q's just-released Oxymoron is an intense and energetic listen, a gritty gangsta rap album powered by Q's charisma and snarling stories of LA life. And despite, or quite possibly because of (it's 2014, after all), an early online leak, his first-ever major label album debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200. Time will tell if it turns out to be a classic, but it's already a ripper. Schoolboy is also playing another sold out show at the Observatory the next night, April 2. (Chris Ziegler)
Wednesday, April 2
Celtic Woman: The Emerald Tour Segerstrom Center One might think that describing a musical group as "Riverdance for the voice" would sound an immediate death knell, but when it comes to these five Irish ladies channeling the music of the Emerald Isles (which includes Scotland), audiences loved them enough to help them break Andrea Bocelli's record of longest-reigning Number One album on the Billboard World Music chart. While they do chant some modern tunes along with the traditional, don't expect any elaborate fiddle/flute covers of Shirley Manson or the Cranberries. You can expect covers of Enya, Simon and Garfunkel, and American folk standards like "Shenandoah," however. And did you know that some ancient histories written by Stoics such as Posidonius describe an island of Celtic women warriors where men could not venture for fear of death, and where women routinely ripped each other apart? Here's hoping these gals take requests. Just a note: The show is happening on April 1 and 2. (SR Davies)
What Makes it Great? Beethoven Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts Rob Kapilow takes a well-known piece of music (that you've heard dozens of times, at least), then he slices it, chops it up, turns it inside out, and before you leave one of his acclaimed sessions, you have a completely new take on an old classic. For this installment of What Makes It Great?, Kapilow takes on composing behemoth Beethoven--specifically, his String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 1. Enjoy a live performance of this famous track by the Calidore String Quartet, then watch as Kapilow unravels it note by note. Called "an educator, motivational speaker, and game show host, all rolled up in one," Kapilow runs the show with interactive commentaries and riveting Q&A discussion. It's everything you didn't realize you wanted to know about classical music. (Erin DeWitt) Thursday, April 3
Madlib and Freddie Gibbs The Observatory
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In the press, Freddie Gibbs' likes to compare Piñata, his latest album with Madlib, with the 1973 Blaxploitation flick Black Caesar. Actually, that's probably a pretty accurate observation. At their core, both the old Larry Cohen directed film and the new Gibbs & Madlib record are grimy gangster tales, where the villain's lifestyle is at the center and the backdrop is a soundtrack soaked in soul. See for yourself when Gibbs and MAdlib team up on stage this week to deliver raucous cuts of what people are already calling the best rap album of 2014. (Patrick Montes)
Friday, April 4
Snow tha Product The Constellation Room Born to undocumented parents from Mexico--or as she rhymes "a product of illegals"--Claudia Feliciano hustled hard in trying to forge a path for herself in hip-hop. Originally from San Jose, she's now a Tejana based in Fort Worth, Texas. The city is hardly an epicenter of the rap world, but her talent couldn't be denied. In 2011, Snow Tha Product dropped Unorthodox, and independent album that showcased her speedy skills while also slowing things up for clever and hilarious storytelling songs. It didn't take long for Atlantic Records to come calling after that as Feliciano signed with the label. Ever busy in the studio, she churned out Good Nights & Bad Mornings 2: The Hangover, a 22-track mixtape keeping the momentum going as fast as her rhymes. See her pack the Constellation Room on Friday. (Gabriel San Roman)