This week’s must-see L.A. shows include Scottish rockers, the godfather of funk, a mariachi punk band, and more.
TUESDAY: Don’t call it a comeback, but after a four-year hiatus Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand released Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action in August of last year and have finally returned to Los Angeles to support it. The Glasgow-based band burst onto the scene in 2004 with its self-titled debut, which won the band the Mercury Prize Award and legions of listeners who dug the disco rock anthems. Cate LeBon supports.
Wiltern Theater, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown. Tix: $45.
WEDNESDAY: ’80s icon Boy George has managed to keep the flame lit on a career that has weathered highs and lows (who can forget his disastrous Live Aid performance in 1985?), but these days Boy, née George O’Dowd, has cleaned up his act, adopted a sober and vegan lifestyle, and hit the road. Released in 2013 This Is What I Do was his first collection of original material in more than a decade; it also marked a shift from his celebrity DJ gigs to live performances from his catalog of Culture Club and solo tunes. For those pining for new music, Culture Club has scheduled time in May to reunite and record.
Mayan Theater: 1038 S. Hill St., downtown. Tix: $35.
THURSDAY: Latin legend Juan Gabriel brings his popular mix of Ranchera and Latin pop to town. After selling more than 10 million albums worldwide, Juanga, as he is known to fans, has had his compositions covered by many international artists and has won numerous awards (Grammy, Billboard, ASCAP, to name a few). After a bout of pneumonia that forced him to cancel his L.A. dates earlier this month, the crooner has recuperated and will give his massive fan base what they have been waiting for. Also appearing: May 3, 4, 8, and 28.
Nokia Theatre: 777 Chick Hearn Ct., downtown. Tix: $80-250.
FRIDAY: George Clinton isn’t merely a trailblazer of funk, he was a key influence on early hip-hop. Early rappers relied on loops and samples of all his work with Parliament and Funkadelic. Today, the Funkmaster stays busy by producing, writing, fighting for artists’ rights, and keeping the funk alive after receiving a Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee School of Music. Joining George and his P-Funk All Stars are 70’s funk super groups whose reputation as party bands and records also filled in to make many rap records successful: Cameo, Con Funk Shun & Dazz Band.
Nokia Theatre: 777 Chick Hearn Ct., downtown. Tix: $40-110.
SATURDAY: Celebrate Union Station’s 75th anniversary at a day of free music and festivities that’s open to the public. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. various performers including Mariachi Reyna, Las Cafeteras, Ladd McIntosh Swing Orchestra, Mudbug Brass Band, and Cava will take the stage. The set by Watts’s own Big Jay McNeely is our pick. McNeely began his career as an R&B saxophonist in the 1940s; we’ve seen Neely live and at 87 years old he still honks and squeals like nobody’s business.
Union Station: 800 N. Alameda St., downtown. Tix: FREE.
What better way to pre-game Monday than attending the Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival with performances from the headliners themselves as well as Mariachi El Bronx and hometown heroes Ozomatli. Last year, Los Lobos marked its 40th anniversary by releasing the live album Disconnected in New York. Ozomatli, for its part, released its eighth full-length album, Place in the Sun, in March. We can’t think of anything more hardcore than a punk band moonlighting as a mariachi band. Enter Mariachi El Bronx. The group puts out groovy English mariachi tunes and the members suit up in full mariachi regalia.
The Greek Theatre: 2700 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz. Tix: $25-70.