By Ian S. Port
By Cory Sklar
By Godofredo Vasquez
By Gil Riego Jr.
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Christopher Victorio
By Ian S. Port
Wednesday, July 3
Red Jazz & Blue II Last year at about this time BlueVision presented its first Independence Day Jazz Explosion. The vibe was so cool and the music so hot that the word got out, and Red Jazz & Blue graduated to annual-event status. Tonight's jazz-drenched procession includes the soulful groove of Anibade, fronted by the vital Ledisi; Hueman Flavor, with drummer extraordinaire Josh Jones and soulstress Sheherezade Stone; Butterflow, a groove-jazz unit headed by members of the Solsonics; and Manifest Yesterday, whose sweet funkiness finds a smooth resonance with vocalist Lance Freeman. In addition, a slew of guest DJs will be spinning rare groove tracks until 4 a.m. while local luminaries complement the wax with live instrumentation. DNA Lounge, 9 p.m., $12.
Thursday, July 4
"Super" Fourth Beer, burgers, and a little cheese from Super Diamond and Bud E. Luv (pictured) -- who could ask for more? There is nothing quite like Neil Diamond covers and Vegas lounge tunes to properly honor our country's birthday. Curveball, Herb, and Little Roger kick off the evening's festivities and the barbecue sauce starts flowing around 6. One can only hope that Surreal Neil and Luv will treat the crowd to a very special national anthem, and if the rockets' red glare plays second fiddle to the gaudy flash of Neil's sequin-studded duds, so much the better. Herbst Pavilion, 6 p.m., $20-25.
Friday, July 5
Virunga Led by the pure, authoritative voice of Samba Mapangala, this nine-piece soukous ensemble combines the pop sounds of its native Zaire with the more raw sounds of Kenya. The result is an intoxicating potion of rootsy vocals, elegant guitar stylings, and savory horn blasts that can be found throughout Virunga's latest recording, Feet on Fire. While the album's title invokes images of frenzied footwork and people hopping over hot coals, the music is actually a gentle wash of rhythm that warms the heart and relaxes the mind until the body is caught in its sway. Maritime Hall, 9 p.m., $15-18.
Saturday, July 6
Mermen While we are currently witnessing a resurgence in surf music, it must be noted that the Mermen have been around awhile. Their fearsome brand of sandy instrumentals turned heads in '94, making their first release, Food for Other Fish, one of that year's top-selling albums by a local act. Their latest, Songs of the Cows (Mesa), continues to push the limits of the genre, leaving other young surf bands wallowing in its wake. Scenic and George Michalski open. Slim's, 9 p.m., $10.50-11.
Sunday, July 7
Loudmouths Fronted by a true punk-rock babe who is not afraid to show her tonsils, the Loudmouths put faith in the perfect three-chord punk principle -- no softee MTV power-poppers these. Their debut on New Red Archives is chock-full of frenetic, aggressive ditties that will drive you to commit blatant acts of youthful rebellion while giggling uncontrollably. Spastics headline; Bottom Feeders and M. Alice Foster open. Kilowatt, 7 p.m., $5.
Monday, July 8
"Death Guild" So, while you were cleaning out your closet you stumbled across your floor-length black velvet cape and even though it was all rumpled and musty it got you feeling all nostalgic? Well, chin up, girl. If it still fits, slip on that old ivory wedding dress and dig out those custom-fitted vampire teeth because at "Death Guild" DJ Lucretia and the Melting Girl play both types of music: goth and death rock. You can sway like a tree and pull taffy to all your favorite spooky faves including Siouxsie and Bauhaus, as well as hear some brand-new beauties like local gothy goths Switchblade Symphony. Trocadero, 9 p.m., $3-5.
Tuesday, July 9
Hadda Brooks After being known as the "Queen of Boogie-Woogie" for more than 50 years, this 79-year-old torch stylist still has the shine. Her latest, Time Was When (Pointblank), is richly textured with the wisdom that comes with age, but it is Brooks' undeniably keen sense of humor that truly charms. Julie Ring's Heart & Soul, 8 p.m., $5.
By Silke Tudor
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