Fri 8/2


Iration’s easy-going, optimistic sunshine reggae promises to be the perfect soundtrack for a summer Friday night. While the past five of their six albums to have landed at the top of the reggae charts, it’s always been the Santa Barbara sextet’s live show that’s been their big draw, all the way back to their college roots up in Isla Vista. With breezy guitar and contented tempos just oozing island-time attitude, it’s little surprise to find that all Iration’s members hail from Hawaii. Completing this good-times, head-bobbin’ bill are Arizona’s funky rock/hip-hop crew Katastro, the nuanced reggae rock of Hermosa Beach’s 420-friendly Fortunate Youth, and the apparently perpetually shirtless Hawaiian trio Pepper (who, ironically, Iration opened for on their first national tour). FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Blondie (Guy Furrow)

Sun 8/4


The impossibly-cheekboned Debbie Harry flanked by her besuited bandmates on the cover of Blondie’s 1978 album Parallel Lines remains one of new wave’s defining images. Yet it wasn’t mere visual appeal that propelled these New Yorkers to global stardom, but rather potent power-pop songwriting (with multiple band members, plus outside writers, contributing), concisely stylized arrangements, and Harry’s glacial, semi-detached vocals. Unlike many of new wave acts, Blondie also proved to be musically multi-dimensional, their enduring discography including explorations of disco (“Heart of Glass”), rocksteady (a cover of The Paragons’ “The Tide is High”) and even then-embryonic rap (“Rapture”). Completing what for many will be a double-header, Blondie peer Elvis Costello remains one of the most critically-credible artists treading the boards, his 30-album back-catalog almost defying categorization. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Wiz Khalifa (Jimmy Fontaine)

Fri 8/9


An adolescent rap prodigy who’s even now barely into his thirties, Wiz Khalifa seems to have been a pop culture fixture forever, signing to Warner Bros. Records as a teenager, marrying tabloid-fodder model Amber Rose, and collaborating with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Imagine Dragons. His grassroots following translating into mainstream success with 2011’s double-Platinum Rolling Papers, the weed-obsessed Wiz has stayed at the top ever since through gritty subject matter sweetened with hands-in-the-air flows and fluttering beats (plus the ability to break into song when required). Playboi Carti went from Internet sensation to serious contender when his giddy swag-rap debut Die Lit hit number three on the Billboard charts last year, while the more menacing storytelling of Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo has been similarly soaring for the past couple of years. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Sat 8/10


Occasionally, a reality TV show still turns real. After a stuttering start, 2006 Nashville Star winner Chris Young has become a true country star, enjoying a string of hit albums. There’s little secret to Young’s success, which is the reward for solid songwriting, timeless Tennessee-boy lyrics, and an endearing baritone timbre that can survive even the tinniest of smartphone speakers. Jimmie Allen was 32 before his debut album, Mercury Lane, emerged last year, but the record’s R&B-infused country was worth his years of struggle in Nashville, with “Best Shot” becoming the first debut single by an African-American artist to top the Country Airplay chart. A renowned songwriter (for the likes of Tim McGraw and Justin Moore), Chris Janson has lately enjoyed his own hits, beginning with 2015’s initially self-released “Buy Me a Boat”. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Fri 8/23


For evidence of rock & roll’s rather alarming maturity, consider this bill of bands formed in 1964 (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and 1969 (ZZ Top). Skynyrd, who put Southern rock on the map in the ’70s and remain all-but synonymous with the subgenre, have extended what was supposed to be their 2018 farewell tour, and a final album (their first since 2012) is apparently written and ready to record. While Skynyrd’s lineup was decimated by a 1977 plane crash, and fluctuated before and since, ZZ Top has boasted the same threesome since its earliest days. Following their rather unlikely, synth-embellished and video-driven chart successes in the 1980s (notably the multi-million-selling Eliminator), ZZ returned to their guitar-driven underpinnings and, while no longer a household name, are nonetheless one of the most respected blues-rock outfits anywhere. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

Tue 8/27


In the late 1990s, Poway’s Blink-182 personified the explosion of a distinctly Californian brand of pop-punk (genre peers Green Day, the Offspring, Lit and Eve 6 are also Cali bands). While still fast ‘n’ fuzzy, Blink and their ilk took a more flippant and less aggressive approach to punk, shunning weighty political lyrics or macro social angst in favor of adolescent-humor-laced bemoanings of girlfriend problems and teen frustrations. To mark the 20th anniversary of breakthrough album Enema of the State, the trio is performing the entire record on its current tour. In an intriguing move, this tour is co-headlined by veteran rapper Lil’ Wayne (who’d previously announced that he’d retire at age 35, and is now 36) – hopefully the start of a genre-blending trend which might encourage open-mindedness among mainstream concert goers. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

The Smashing Pumpkins (Olivia-Bee)

Thu 8/29


So great is the appetite for Smashing Pumpkins’ sound that during the band’s 2000-2006 hiatus L.A.’s similarly-named Silversun Pickups were able to forge a career out of lovingly emulating it. The Pumpkins’ fizzy alchemy is songs and arrangements both intimate and epic, darkly introspective yet loftily optimistic. With their original lineup once again three-fourths intact (singer/guitarist Billy Corgan, guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin), these alt-rock icons are revisiting their ’90s heyday magic. Being built around “that bloke from Oasis” is both a blessing and a curse for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: attracting instant interest from Oasis’ huge fanbase, but also raising expectations perhaps unreasonably high. AFI have never quite hit the arena-headlining status they’ve long been tipped for, yet their goth-tinted rock still commands an enviably fervent following. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

KORN (Jimmy Fontaine)

Fri 8/30


Even as “nu metal” became a dirty term, Korn, who’d helped popularize its bludgeoning signature in the late ’90s, prevailed. Because the Bakersfield band has always harnessed hard rock and hip-hop to youthful anguish like no other, becoming a down-tuned voice for young people – not necessarily poor, but certainly bored and cynical – for whom the capitalist world appears to offer only materialist ambition or escape into substance abuse. With singer Jonathan Davies still an ultimate middle finger from nerds everywhere, Korn’s dense yet oddly grooving music has grown with its audience. Co-headlining grunge stalwarts Alice in Chains soldier on in the enormous shadow of their late vocalist Layne Staley, while Underoath – with the lineup that recorded 2004’s screamo high-water mark They’re Only Chasing Safety returned – announced a focused return to form with last year’s Erase Me. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine

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