A Foo Fighter, Wallflower and former Pearl Jam member join Marina del Rey’s Jonny Kaplan for a July 4 jam session by the sea

By Michael Aushenker

Jonny Kaplan

Jonny Kaplan

It’s the best kept July 4 secret in Los Angeles: every Independence Day, four parachutists land on the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue, kicking off a day of festivities in Pacific Palisades that includes a star-studded Americana parade and a rock concert with fireworks show at PaliHi’s Stadium by the Sea

This year, some contemporary rock royalty —including members of the Foo Fighters, The Wallflowers, and Marina del Rey’s own Jonny Kaplan — headline the concert, which also features Venice-based ukulele collective The Ooks of Hazzard.

A harbor live-aboard and front man for popular L.A. alt-rockers Jonny Kaplan & the Lazy Stars, Kaplan leads the all-star cover band After School Special. The lineup includes the Lazy Stars’ Rami Jaffee — the Grammy-winning Foo Fighters keyboardist and a founding member of The Wallflowers — as well as former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen, Blind Melon guitarist Christopher Thorn, Neil Young bassist Rick Rosas and violinist Jessy Greene, who has performed with Pink and Wilco.

Sweetening the deal, a special guest: Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett.

“After School Special plays classic FM rock ’n’ roll,” Kaplan said of his band’s high-energy set list, which includes some Young, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and T-Rex. “We all live and breathe to play music.”

The band enjoys a unique chemistry forged over decades.

“We’ve been playing together on and off together for 20 years,” said Jaffee, reached in Seattle while working on an upcoming Foo Fighters album and the accompanying HBO docu-series “Sonic Highways.”

Meanwhile, Ooks of Hazzard leader Ed Marshall promises a battery of hits from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Devo and MGMT “in our army of uke-style sound,” and a special patriotic song.

The Ooks launched with a cover of MGMT’s electronic hit “Kids” that went viral on YouTube and have since performed nationwide on a mission to reboot the ukulele’s reputation from caricature instrument to instrument  character.

“I’ve been attending the parade for decades, so I feel stoked and honored to be playing the [July] 4th fireworks show,” said Ooks’ Patrick “P.J.” Hildebrand, a PaliHi grad. He and Jaffee played together in the bands World Zen and El Vez, and Jaffee bought his first guitar from Hildebrand’s father’s Palisades music shop, Amazing Music.

“We were both excited to see ourselves on the same bill all these years later. I think I’m gonna jump up on the Ooks’ set, too,” Jaffee said.

The Palisades Rock the Fourth concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Stadium by the Sea, 15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades. Food trucks arrive at 4 p.m. following the 2 p.m. Americana Parade. Tickets are $10 or free for kids 12 and under, with proceeds going to PaliHi’s music department. palisadesrocksthefourth.org

michael(at)argonautnews.com

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