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Livewire

Besnard Lakes

It should come as no surprise that Besnard Lakes singer and guitarist Jace Lasek made his bones as a producer. Even a cursory listen to the group's three albums reveals a frontman who's obsessed with layering, tone, and atmosphere. The Montreal quartet's songs transport listeners to strange and distance realms, echoing My Bloody Valentine's shoegazer rock and lavish Pet Sounds pop. But their eerie psych-rock flourishes soon blow you off course. It doesn't hurt that Lasek and wife Olga Goreas (who also writes for the group) wield powerful, haunting voices that increase the epic scope of the band's songs. — Matt Whelihan

Besnard Lakes, with Land of Talk and Lighthouse & the Whaler. 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show; 216-383-1124 or beachlandballroom.com

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy's latest album, A Taste of Extreme Divinity, came out in November, and the Swedish band had plans to tour around the time of its release. But frontman Peter Tägtgren's visa problems forced a last-minute cancellation. Things are settled now, and the group is cranking out its brand of riff-happy, sci-fi-obsessed, modern-day death metal across the country. In a way, Hypocrisy are in the U.S. supporting two albums: In 2008, they re-recorded 2002's Catch 22, an album many fans hated in its original, nü-metal incarnation. Tägtgren promises a 90-minute set that will encompass the band's entire career. And even though Children of Bodom guitarist Alexi Laiho — who was supposed to join the band on tour the first time around — is absent, Immortal drummer Horgh will be there to crush the skulls of patient fans. — Phil Freeman

Hypocrisy, with Scar Symmetry, Hate, Blackguard, and Swashbuckle. 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27, Peabody's. Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show; 216-776-9999 or peabodys.com

Drake

Fans of the TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation — and not too many others — can vouch for Drake's acting abilities, but the rest of the world has gotten a taste of his microphone skills over the past year. Lost in all the hype about whether Drake is the future of rap, music, or Western civilization is that the 23-year-old Canadian can wrap his sinuous voice around a beat from just about any producer you care to name and kill it softly ("Shut It Down," his duet with The-Dream) or rip into it like a doberman savaging a steak (hit singles "Forever" and "Over"). So far, Drake's great subject is his hyper-awareness of the expectations he's been saddled with. His debut album, due next month, is tellingly titled Thank Me Later.Ray Cummings

Drake, with Francis and the Lights. 9 p.m. Thursday, May 27, House of Blues. Tickets: $47.50 advance, $50 day of show; 216-523-2583 or houseofblues.com

50 Cent

50 Cent hasn't made a good album, or even one that people have really cared about, since 2005's The Massacre. But that isn't stopping him from launching his 19-date Invitation Tour in Cleveland this week. (He's bringing along Monica, Soulja Boy, and Lloyd Banks to help fill seats.) Fiddy's latest album, last year's Before I Self Destruct, stinks more than the mulch my neighbor dumped in front of his house last week. Maybe that's why the rapper has a new record, Black Magic, due this summer. 50 Cent has been telling people he's experimenting with some new sounds. Hopefully, they're good ones. You'll probably hear a preview of Black Magic at the show, but most of Fiddy's set should be heavy on the hits he's racked up over the past five years, like "In Da Club," "Candy Shop," and "Just a Lil Bit." You know, the stuff fans like. — Michael Gallucci

50 Cent's Invitation Tour with Monica, Soulja Boy, and Lloyd Banks. 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, Wolstein Center. Tickets: $50.50-$100.50; 216-687-9292 or ticketmaster.com

GZA

When you're known to friends and fans as "The Genius," you have a lot to live up to. And for nearly 20 years, the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA has been proving himself time and time again. He may not be as bombastic or as colorful as Wu affiliates Ghostface Killah, Method Man, or Raekwon, but GZA's lyrical skills wipe out the need for such theatrics. Flow alone has earned GZA his place alongside hip-hop's best. From 1995's Liquid Swords to 2008's Pro Tools, GZA has excelled at crafting clever similes and vivid street vignettes. With a relaxed, battle-rap style, the MC settles perfectly into the role of Wu-Tang's wise older brother. The RZA-produced Liquid Swords 2 is scheduled to drop sometime later this year. — Whelihan

GZA, with Muamin Collective and All Day Recess. 9 p.m. Saturday, May 29, Grog Shop. Tickets: $15; 216-321-5588 or grogshop.gs

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Over the past decade and a half, singer Anton Newcombe and his revolving door of acid cases in the Brian Jonestown Massacre have sculpted a cool indie career and a loyal fan base that hews slightly above cult status. They simultaneously look backward (to the Rolling Stones' sonic tripping of the late '60s), less backward (to '80s psych-gazers like Echo and the Bunnymen and the Church), and forward (as a low-fi band with boundless ambition, balls, confidence, and wild-eyed creative ability). Brian Jonestown Massacre's early outings ran the gamut from shoegazer and garage rock to straight psychedelia, twangy acid blues, and increasingly expansive cinematic soundscapes, with each evolutionary notch clearly defined by Newcombe's unhinged brilliance. On their newest album, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, Newcombe and the latest version of the band combine their love for psychedelic exploration with their recent filmic perspective, while adding a new sonic wrinkle: a contemporary trance/techno pulse. Like most of Newcombe's musical hybrids, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? isn't merely a new idea tacked onto the front of an old structure, but a fascinating blend of stylistic directions that expands Brian Jonestown Massacre's range while retaining a consistent identity. It's further evidence of Newcombe's ability to incorporate new sounds into his existing sonic profile and to produce a new yet familiar experience. — Brian Baker

Brian Jonestown Massacre, with Elephant Stone. 9 p.m. Monday, May 31, Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show; 216-383-1124 or beachlandballroom.com

Holy Fuck

It's too easy to get turned off by electronic music. The chirping blips and bass thumps can sound more like easily programmed algorithms than the work of actual musicians. A sense of cold, calculated artificiality often overshadows the passion and individuality that make live performances so vital for music fans. Holy Fuck, an electronic-based group from Toronto, are an interesting alternative. By eschewing computers in favor of vintage keyboards and tweaked gadgets of all sorts, Holy Fuck play, rather than program, everything you hear — from blissed-out, 8-bit funk to droning post-rock mood-setters. The band's latest album, Latin, marks the addition of a full-time bass player and drummer, making Holy Fuck even more adept at filling dance floors and constructing a blistering path to full-on rock glory. —Whelihan

Holy Fuck, with Nice Nice and Radio People. 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, Grog Shop. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show; 216-321-5588 or grogshop.gs

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