Celebrate July 4th with an underground rock show

In high school, I never excelled at American history, though I was gifted at reciting production credits on every significant rock album made between 1969 and 1990. Nothing has changed since then, which means I can’t say for sure if the Fourth of July is meant to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Whatever, it’s too hot to grill in my Black Flag T-shirt, so if you’re like me, then here are some entertainment alternatives to burning hot dogs and watching TV.

Las Vegas’ best all-female garage-punk outfit The Seriouslys get serious at Double Down Saloon at 10 p.m. July 6. The trio somehow pays homage to the whole Runaways style of gritty, greasy, sassy pop without sounding like a watered-down cherry bomb. A few of their three-chord rave-ups—“Downtown,” “Wrong Tree”—get stuck in my head and I groove on all the gnarly gang chants and choruses these young women pitch into every song. If you’re looking for a cool, fun and under-the-radar band to check out this week, here you go. The Tinglerz share the bill.

Memphis cow-punkers Lucero saddle up to the Beauty Bar at 9 p.m. July 10, and I’m way too excited. The acclaimed band released a Southern-fried new disc, Women & Work, in March, and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. I’m smitten by songs such as “On My Way Downtown,” in which frontman Ben Nichols extends an invitation to a lady to meet for a few simple drinks in a simple bar, where things are likely to get very complicated. The album was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where so many great artists (the White Stripes, Cat Power) have cut records. Live, Lucero has always pulled off a satisfyingly rocked-up country show. If you haven’t heard of Lucero but are a fan of Drive-By Truckers and Steve Earle, you’re going to dig this.

Don’t forget to bang your head to bits and pieces at House of Blues at 5:30 p.m. July 12 for Tampa, Fla., power-metal warriors Iced Earth. The band’s most recent album is last year’s Dystopia, a cycle of thrashy and melodic songs presumably inspired by dystopian sci-fi cinema. For example: “V” takes off where the film V for Vendetta left off, and “Dark City,” is an ode to Alex Proyas’ 1998 neo-noir movie of the same name. So if you like your super-technical heavy metal on the fantasy-adventure side of the lyrical spectrum, this will be the next best thing to dressing up like a wookiee and attending Comic-Con. Iced Earth shares a bill with Volbeat, Hellyeah and Killinger.

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Jimmy Cliff

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Jimmy Cliff

By Sean DeFrank

Before Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff became reggae’s first international star with his standout performance in the 1972 Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come. Now 40 years later, Cliff appeared as youthful and energetic as ever during his poolside performance. The 64-year-old opened with the uplifting “You Can Get It If You Really Want” from the Harder soundtrack, dancing, twirling and leaping around onstage like a man half his age, before dipping deep into his catalog, spanning from his ’60s ska days to his upcoming album, Rebirth.

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