The Five Must-See Shows in OC This Week

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Imagine Dragons--See Tuesday
Monday, March 18
The Vespertines
The Constellation Room

Long Beach's Vespertines do prickly prog-psych in a way that teaches you to expect the unexpected--and to expect the introspective, the contemplative and the explosive, too. (Plus, expect a trumpet--sure, it might startle you when it blooms out of the silence on a song like "Prime Meridian," but that's why its singer Vanessa Acosta's secret weapon.) With a complex and carefully detailed full-length recorded at Long Beach's storied Compound studio, the Vespertines now decamp to OC's Observatory for a month-long free residency. It should suit them well--this is a band who seem like they'd love a space to try something new every time they step on stage. (Chris Ziegler )

Tuesday, March 19
Imagine Dragons
House of Blues Anaheim

The two singles most of us know from Imagine Dragons are "It's Time," a bouncy, brightly-tuned song and "Radioactive," a gritty alternative rock track. But the rest of the Las Vegas-based band's catalog flows from poppy dance to soulful, darkly honest songs about the battles of depression. It's their genre-bending talents that have critics swooning and music charts dominated--"It's Time" held a spot on the 2012 Alternative Top 10 charts longer than any other song last year. This week, they stop by the House of Blues for an electrifying show before embarking on a slew of summer festival performances (at time of press, we counted a dozen). This night, they play with Australian indie band Atlas Genius (of the ultra-catchy "Trojans" single) and LA's Nico Vega, fronted by the raw silk-voiced Aja Volkman. (Erin DeWitt)

Wednesday, March 20

The Specials
Fox Pomona

Though original rude boy, toaster, vocalist and percussionist Neville Staple departed from The Specials in January due to health issues, Terry Hall, Roddy Radiation, Horace Panter and the boys continue to carry on their groundbreaking combination of ska and punk into the band's 36th year of existence. This week, they make an all-too-rare appearance in California at the Fox Theater before heading out to homeland England for a May tour. So, if it's been awhile since you broke out your two-tone, well, anything, come to the Fox to revisit the glory days of ska--or at least to hear "A Message to You Rudy" live. (Erin DeWitt)

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