In the hierarchy of L.A.'s outdoor amphitheaters, the humble Levitt Pavilions in MacArthur Park and Pasadena are often overlooked in favor of glitzier cousins in Hollywood and Los Feliz. But maybe they shouldn't be.
The two theaters have announced their 2011 summer concert series, and they're a marked and welcome step up into contemporary Latin and experimental music. MacArthur Park's series kicks off Sunday with a cumbia festival headlined by locals Very Be Careful and Azucar L.A., followed up with notable sets by South L.A. rappers Akwid, avant-punks No Age, saucy L.A.-via-Tijuana singer Ceci Bastida, Chilean firebrand rapper Ana Tijoux, and two Dublab-hosted nights showcasing artists from Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label and a tribute to Lotus' relative, the harpist Alice Coltrane.
Pasadena's season isn't quite as adventurous but does have solid turns from country-rock troubadour Maxim Ludwig, rising Mexican singer-songwriter Ximenia Sarinana, barn-burning soul survivor Bettye LaVette, Belle Brigade's winsome indie pop, and the close folk harmonies of Secret Sisters. All the shows are free, and hopefully will introduce the venues to a young and wide-ranging audience.
-- August Brown
UPDATE: This post orginally misspelled MacArthur Park in one instance.
Latina rappers make their voices heard
No Age Turns up the noise
Flying Lotus could get our of the underground with 'Cosmogramma'
Photo: Ana Tijoux. Credit: Nacional Records