Hammer Museum’s Also I Like to Rock takes a vacation, but live concert series abound: A sampling


The calendar for free summertime concert series is rapidly filling, but there is one longtime favorite that will be conspicuously absent this year: the Also I Like to Rock shows at the Hammer Museum.

Also I Like to Rock had a seven-year run of bringing live music to the Hammer courtyard every Thursday in July. This year, with the Hammer’s ambitious exhibition “Made in L.A. 2012” [preview] dominating the institution’s landscape, the museum will host DJs from KCRW-FM as vibe-setters for seven consecutive Thursday evenings beginning June 28, when KCRW music director Jason Bentley and Jeremy Sole kick things off at the “Hammer Bash.” In ensuing weeks, Chuck P (July 5),  Anne Litt (July 12), Chris Douridas (July 19), Anthony Valadez (July 26), Sole (Aug. 2) and Valida (Aug. 9) take over.

Still, there’s plenty to feed your free live music jones. Following is a roundup of special events that won’t cost you a dime – recommended if you like any of these artists: Amadou & Miriam, Bahamas, Band of Skulls, Best Coast, Dam-Funk, Delta Rae, Diego Garcia, Donavon Frankenreiter, Fool’s Gold, Haim, Hanni El Khatib, Lady Danville, Moby, Portugal the Man, Raphael Saadiq, the Belle Brigade or Van Hunt:

Santa Monica Pier

Another free series that in past years coincided with the Hammer’s Thursdays, the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier, just announced a formidable lineup, including Donavon Frankenreither, Haim, Amadou & Miriam and Best Coast.

July 5: Donavon Frankenreiter and Jeff Young
July 12: The Might Diamonds and the Lions
July 19: Haim and Wildcat! Wildcat!
July 26: Jackie Greene
Aug. 2: Kasey Chambers
Aug. 9: Cirque du Soleil Parade collective
Aug. 16: Amadou & Mariam and Y La Bamba
Aug. 23: Alex Cuba and Lucky 7 Mambo
Aug. 30: Hot 8 Brass Band and the Gumbo Brothers
Sept. 6: Best Coast

Make Music Pasadena

Of course, the first sign of the summertime music explosion in recent years has been Make Music Pasadena, coming up all day Saturday, June 16. Y La Bamba, La Santa Cecilia, NO, Chain Gang of 1974 and more have been added to a lineup that already featured Canadian songstress Grimes, as well as Dam-Funk, Dengue Fever, Grouplove, Milo Greene, Cults, Soko, Jessica Fichot, Gustavo Galindo. Not to mention a stellar crop of SoCal bands that includes Shadow Shadow Shade, the Happy Hollows, Ozma, Correatown, So Many Wizards, Electric Guest, the Steelwells and the Peach Kings. The full lineup is here.

Grand Performances in California Plaza

If you work downtown, your lunch hours will get a lot better starting in July, when free noon concerts co-presented by the Satellite will bring music to California Plaza. (This in addition to nighttime concerts, dancing and moving screenings at the Plaza.) The schedule for the noon-hour shows:

July 6: Allah-Las
July 13: To be announced
July 20: Haim
July 27: Lady Danville
Aug. 3: The Belle Brigade
Aug. 10: Ozokidz
Aug. 17: Ethan Lipton performs songs from “No Place to Go”
Aug. 24: He’s My Brother She’s My Sister

One Colorado in Old Pasadena

Two dates in the City of Roses next month are part of KCRW’s Summer Nights series:

June 9: Bahamas
June 23: Delta Rae [whom we caught at SXSW]

The Annenberg Space for Photography

Three Saturday 7 p.m. shows are scheduled at the Annenberg Space for Photography in conjunction with the exhibition “Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present.” RSVPs to the KCRW-presented shows are required. There’s quite a lineup:

July 14: Moby (acoustic performance) and DJ Jason Bentley
July 21:  Portugal. The Man (celebrating T. Rex’s “The Slider”) and DJs Dan Wilcox and Gary Calamar
July 28: Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls (celebrating the music of Bob Dylan) and DJ Anne Litt

Levitt Pavilion Pasadena

Starting with Dam-Funk’s show June 16 as part of Make Music Pasadena, the bandshell in Memorial Park will host an array of excellent shows from all genres. Go here to see the whole schedule. There will also be free concerts at Levitt Pavilion in MacArthur Park, but there’s no full schedule yet. Highlights on the Pasadena schedule:

June 21: Dustbowl Revival
June 23: Yuna
June 24: Barbara Morrison
June 28: The Watson Twins and Jesse Sykes
June 30: Fool’s Gold
July 1: Van Hunt
July 6: Sara Watkins
July 14: Thao With the Get Down Stay Down
Aug. 4: Vaud & the Villains
Aug. 9: Hanni El Khatib
Aug. 11: Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars
Aug. 19: Diego Garcia and David Garza

Skirball Center

Meanwhile, the 16th season of the Skirball Cultural Center Sunset Concert Series offers a wide array of sounds:

July 26: Samba Mapangala & Orchestra Virunga
Aug. 2: The Alaev Family
Aug. 9: Orquesta Sarabia under the direction of Roberto Rodriguez
Aug. 16: De Temps Antan
Aug. 23: La Santa Cecilia
Aug. 30: Eric Bibb’s String Band featuring Dirk Powell and Cedric Watson

Echo Park Rising

Watch for more details on a neighborhood even that’s in the works in Echo Park for August. Last summer, with the last-minute cancellation of Sunset Junction, area businesses (led by the Echo) hurriedly assembled a pop-up event a multiple venues and retail outlets called Echo Park Rising. With more planning this year, it could be something special.

Photo of Grouplove at Also I Like to Rock 2012 by Laurie Scavo