KCRW’s free Sound in Focus series is heading back to Century Park—a cozy parklet hidden between the Century Plaza Towers—for three Saturdays in July. And while Los Angeles has no shortage of outdoor musical offerings, the way a low-hanging sun hits the buildings gives Sound in Focus an urban cool, bring-your-own-blanket kind of vibe.
The stage is strategically nestled between Century City’s iconic twin towers; KCRW’s clout brings in top-notch bands, and their DJs spin tunes between sets. There are cafes, food trucks, and a beer garden for the lucky 21-and-over crowd, not to mention access to the Annenberg Space for Photography (which stays open late for the occasion). Here’s what you can expect from this year’s lineup:
Saturday, July 9: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Don’t look for a Mr. Sharpe in this band. Lead by singer/songwriter Alex Ebert, this 10-piece collective’s not-to-miss live shows are joyful improvisational wonders of indie folk.
Opening act: Imarhan
DJ set: Jason Bentley
Saturday, July 16: Baaba Maal with L.A. Electronic Duo Classixx
Baaba Maal grew up in Senegal and was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—meaning he was set to become a fisherman. But he had other ideas. Over ten studio albums later, he’s one of Africa’s best-known troubadours, collaborating with heavy hitters like Peter Gabriel,
Brian Eno, U2, and Mumford & Sons.
Opening act: Brazilian Girls
DJ set: Aaron Byrd
Saturday, July 23: Nas
The clever, poetic, and outspoken songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones—Nas to you—played the trumpet as a little kid but quickly switched over to hip hop. Smart move. His debut album, Illmatic, is still considered one of the best in the genre.
Opening act: Wild Belle
DJ set: Garth Trinidad
→ Admission to the Sound in Focus series is free, but RSVP is required for entry. Respond here.