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Friday, December 27
Cypress Hill The Observatory If you've been lucky enough to see Cypress Hill perform, you've experienced one of the true gems of rap's golden age. Though the South Gate-bred hip-hop group is well known for rhymes about getting high, they always bring an undercurrent of activism to go along with the shenanigans. Their one-of-a-kind sound was developed with the aid of percussionist Eric Bobo (son of Jazz percussionist Willie Bobo), whose contributions to Cypress Hill's live act brought explosive energy and trumped the efforts of lesser bands relying heavily on drum loops. With 10 albums under their belt and another on the way, fans can still witness the show live--your luck hasn't run out just yet, so check 'em out. (Brandon Ferguson)
Saturday, December 28
Fathers & Suns 4th St. and Vine Let the light in today with what will be a stellar performance by Long Beach folk quartet Fathers & Suns. With a blend of mellow acoustic guitar infused with a touch of psychedelia, the group's indie rock recipe is both unique and a welcome addition to the sounds of Southern California. Keep an eagle eye out for a new record coming in the new year, but do give a listen to their current Mama Provides album that will surely make you feel groovy for days. Hopeless Romantics will also be making a musical appearance tonight. (Aimee Murillo)
One More Time: A Tribute to Daft Punk Yost Theater Is there room for two Daft Punks in the world? Really, there's barely room for the one, at least psychically--but One More Time found a tribute-band-shaped space somewhere in there and managed to cram in their own Daft Punk light-up pyramid. Founded well before the release of Random Access Memories, One More Time keep the Alive 2007 era, well, alive in 2013, delivering what will one day be called the "classic" Daft Punk live experience. They got all the details handled, including some particularly deft costume changes, and they come with enough power to push through an hour-plus set of Daft Punk hits, sleeper hits and even some original remixes. Harder better faster stronger? Well, definitely hard and fast and strong enough. (Chris Ziegler)
Sunday, December 29
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Capt. Slookie and the Rogue Squadron Continental Room From the boiling swamp of punk and rock that is the Fullerton-Anaheim corridor comes Capt. Slookie and his Rogue Squadron, who seem to be people from Pterodacdudes and Bad Antics doing an everything-goes sort of psych-punk sound. If anybody remembers how the legendary Hickey warped older-sibling bands like Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath into their own mutant songs, Capt. Slookie and company do the same. They slide between zoned-out pop ("Let Me Be," which touches Teenage Fanclub at their trashiest) and afterhours spare-room shreddery ("Instrumetal," which delivers what it promises) and queasy Unwound-y noise ("These Antics"). Naturally, they don't spare any hiss or echo, which makes this all nice and disorienting. Their EP is out on Burger, too, of course. A great opportunity to stay up all night and get ready to put 2013 to bed. (Chris Ziegler)
E-40, Too $hort, Andre Nickatina The Observatory One of the most prolific, consistent and innovative MCs to ever touch a mic, his two decades of regularly satisfying output is without peer. Whether selling tapes out of his trunk to a degree that puts him alongside Master P and frequent collaborator Too $hort in the hustler hall of fame, or sharing the mic with everyone from Ol Dirty Bastard and Busta Rhymes to 2Pac and Murs, to using his resources to put on several generations of up-and-coming west coast artists, E-40 represents everything a veteran hip-hop artist can and should be. This weekend he's joined by Too $hort and Andre Nickatina to make the forge the perfect Bay Area trifecta. (Chaz Kangas)