Music Picks: Funk-a-Palooza, Keith Jarrett, Ute Lemper & the Vogler Quartet | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Music Picks: Funk-a-Palooza, Keith Jarrett, Ute Lemper & the Vogler Quartet 

Also, Hot Snakes, Strange Boys, Ken Parker, Flash Express and others

Thursday, Mar 22 2012

fri 3/23



click to enlarge Mr. Gnome: See Thursday.
  • Mr. Gnome: See Thursday.

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Funk never needs a reason to celebrate. It is celebration — the original musical holiday, the Grand Palooza, if you will. Funk encourages us to forget Uncle Sam and his wars, to abandon petty distinctions like skin color and sexual orientation, to embrace each other under the groove and get fucking weird. The man most responsible for planting funk's freak flag is the legendary George Clinton, who appears here at the head of the aural army that is Parliament Funkadelic. There was a time when those were two different bands — the former roughed up by heavy psych-rock, the latter anchored by smooth R&B — but today it's one big, cross-pollinated pileup of expert musicianship, wild costumes and relentless rhythm. To celebrate his birthday, Clinton just dropped a mixtape of rarities dubbed Baby Makers. At 70, the man is still bringing new generations of funk fans into the world. —Chris Martins

Strange Boys, The Coathangers


Just back from South by Southwest and suffering withdrawal from a lack of booze-sponsored indie-rock shows? Here's some hometown hair of the dog: a Friday-night quadruple bill brought to you by the alt-inclined rum-makers at Sailor Jerry, who'll let you into Los Globos gratis in exchange for your precious email address. The Strange Boys, from Austin, headline with their catchy-scruffy roots-punk jams, but be sure to show up early for the Coathangers, an amped-up Atlanta girl group that feels something like a female Black Lips. On last year's Larceny & Old Lace, they make good on titles such as "Hurricane" and "Trailer Park Boneyard." With White Mystery, brother-sister trash-rockers from Chicago, and L.A.'s Wounded Lion, who've got an upcoming 7-inch in Matador's single-of-the-month series. —Mikael Wood

Flash Express


The Flash Express ride again! Or maybe they've been riding all this time, leaving big, steaming tire marks on the pavement and waking up the neighbors from Canoga Park to Kalamazoo. Like The Dogs and The Up before them, L.A.'s too-rarely-gigging Flash Express are the kind of band every city needs: proto-punk with plenty of punk and even more proto-ness, ably demonstrated every time guitarist-singer Brian Waters bent over to shout a chorus into the pickups on his Telecaster. These guys were and are soul 'n' roll primitives, extensively schooled in the history and application of amplified attitude. Half their songs were about how cool it was to be in the Flash Express, and that wasn't even bragging. It was just reportage. It's Motor City–style heavy music at its loudest and proudest. —Chris Ziegler

Black Spring Festival


Black is the theme at this second annual showcase of a diverse array of L.A.-area musicians. Low-fi rockers Black Love, whose vocalist (and frequent Weekly contributor) David Cotner is producing the event, are standouts. The trio offers a rare blend of minimalist rock, meshing funky rhythms and a touch of reggae; and Cotner plays instruments ranging from the Tibetan bell to the toy piano. Huntington Beach's Black Sea imbue dreamy melodies into their low-fi, echo-y sound. Atmospheric metal band Black Mare's music is lush and haunting, with crunching guitars and ethereal vocals. Suburban-bred grindcore duo Black Sheep Wall, hailing all the way from Moorpark, erupt with heavy guitar rifts and grunting vocals. —Elano Pizzicarola

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sat 3/24

Allen Stone, A B & the Sea


With his messy shock of blond hair and thick, plastic-rimmed glasses, Allen Stone doesn't look like anybody's definition of a soul singer, but that makes hearing his voice for the first time all the sweeter an experience. The Washington-born 24-year-old grew up singing in his father's church and later worshipped at the houses of Marvin and Aretha, arriving at a style that feels both confessional and built for stadiums. His self-released, self-titled second album managed to climb the charts and secure him a spot on Conan. While Stone's style incorporates a dash of pop breeziness, he's the real deal and, at the very least, a rock-solid stand-in while we await D'Angelo's return. Openers A B & the Sea are a different beast entirely — earnest and soulful, sure, but specializing in sunny, beach-baked pop that sparkles and glistens like the Pacific itself. —Chris Martins

California E.A.R. Unit


In its clanking evolution out of the academy and onto the dance floors, electronic music got a jolt with Morton Subotnick's 1967 Silver Apples of the Moon. Not just an arhythmical series of bleeps, squawks, whizzes and whirrs (though it does some of that quite nicely, too), Subotnick's piece was relatively listener-friendly, charting oddly beautiful new sound spheres with thick, rich textures. It was electronic music "experimenting" with its potential emotional impact. Promising a night of "spontaneous performance and decision making" with the aid of longtime collaborators California E.A.R. Unit, Subotnick will update portions of Silver Apple's original Buchla analog synth creations on his new digitally enhanced Buchla 200e, along with selections from his 1977 A Sky of Cloudless Sulphur. —John Payne

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