Music Picks: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Esperanza Spalding, Jack White | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Music Picks: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Esperanza Spalding, Jack White 

Also, the Crystelles, Arturo Sandoval, Backbiter and others

Thursday, Apr 26 2012
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fri 4/27

Esperanza Spalding

FONDA THEATER

click to enlarge Jack White. See Monday.
  • Jack White. See Monday.

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  • The Sonics

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The folks behind the Grammy Awards get it right in their choice for Best New Artist about once every 10 years, which also is how often a performer like Esperanza Spalding comes along and enters the public consciousness. The Portland, Ore., native, who won the award in 2011, is a marvelously nimble bassist, but she's also a soulful vocalist who infuses her jazzy rambles with memorably sophisticated pop melodies. "This song's the one," Spalding aptly declares amid the funky horn retorts of "Radio Song," from her fourth and latest album, Radio Music Society. She's accompanied by such jazz heavy hitters as Jack DeJohnette and Joe Lovano, as well as guest vocalists Lalah Hathaway, Q-Tip and Gretchen Parlato, but ultimately this is Spalding's show. —Falling James

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

L.A. SPORTS ARENA

Look, I can't be the first person to say it: There are moments on the new Bruce Springsteen album, Wrecking Ball, that could easily pass for parody if presented that way. Take "Jack of All Trades," one of many new tunes in which the Boss explicitly inhabits the working man's point of view: "I'll mow your lawn, clean the leaves out your drain," he offers over a pitiful little piano arpeggio, "I'll mend your roof to keep out the rain." This is not what anyone in the 99 percent deserves. Fortunately, when he's onstage in a room the size of the one he'll play tonight — the second show of a two-night stand — Springsteen still possesses the fading-rock-star knack for transforming goofy to grand. Go on and mow that shit, Bruce. —Mikael Wood

Desecrate

COBALT CAFE

In a classic coming-full-circle, bands like Desecrate that shun all currently hip bastardizations of the metal genre — metalcore, screamo, post-haircuts Metallica — are once again being welcomed into upstart underground venues like the Cobalt Cafe. With a fury that perhaps only an upbringing in suburban Burbank could summon, these four hairy heshers have a Dungeons & Dragons–like sense of structural and technical adventure, yet deliver with the punkish ire and irreverence that made early thrash metal so irresistible. Desecrate's best-of-all-worlds alchemy of anthemic ambitions, actual audible lyrics, twin chuggy/widdly guitars, and drums brilliantly described in their bio as "the horrid thumping of a heart attack" put a style long deemed dated firmly back into the here and now. —Paul Rogers

Also playing:

HOWE GELB at McCabe's; OPEN HANDS at the Baked Potato.

 

sat 4/28

Backbiter

REDWOOD BAR & GRILL

Like AC/DC, Backbiter slam out such a heavy and massive sound that they really belong in sports arenas and stadiums instead of small clubs. After two decades of playing mostly cheap or free shows through tinny PAs at every underground dive in the county, the local hard-rock trio tends to get taken for granted by the hipster glitterati. But Backbiter's punk-meets-the-godfather style makes plenty of sense to nonironic heshers, unrepentant classic rockers, disaffected stoners and O.G. punks, with singer-guitarist Jonathan Hall (celebrating a birthday tonight) injecting some good ol' Cheetah Chrome slobber into his Pete Townshend power chords and intricately unraveled Ross the Boss solos. Hall, bassist Heath Seifert and drummer Bob Lee could get by just on their deftly rendered covers, but they also write strikingly intense originals, ranging from the demented chaos of recent tunes like "Dr. Robot" and the Dylanish jangle "Blood & Broken Glass Blues" to flat-out-explosive oldies like "Nova" and "Flying." —Falling James

KDAY Krush Groove

GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE

With high-profile performances by Odd Future, Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar, the Paid Dues Festival did a reasonable job earlier this month of representing the state of hip-hop's vanguard. The old-schoolers get their say at KDAY-FM's Krush Groove concert, with a solid bill featuring Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and Mystikal at the top. (The Pharcyde, Masta Ace and Ras Kass also are scheduled to appear, plus the requisite special guests.) Ice Cube is, of course, a dependable headliner; nobody rises to the level of all-purpose entertainer like he has without the skills to pay his kids' bills. But we might be most amped for Cypress Hill: Before the weed overtook them during a 20th-anniversary gig at the Troubadour last summer, they were as merrily chaotic as we've ever seen them. —Mikael Wood

Lovely Bad Things, Mo-Odds

BLUE STAR

Lovely Bad Things are four kids from the corridor cities of Orange County who fold and warp "Rodney on the ROQ" classics like X, the B-52's and the Cramps into a soda-pop garage band all their own — one that obviously loves to play fast and loud but can't resist playing sweet and sappy sometimes, too. They've got a guitar snapping around like a severed high-tension wire and boy/girl vocals in perpetual ricochet, and that adds up to a lot of chops and a lot of charm, too. Support band Mo-Odds are equal parts fuzz and soul, drunkenly crash-landing somewhere between the high-energy Detroit rock of the Bellrays and the high-personality Detroit R&B of the Gories. Together, it's a night of volume, vigor and velocity. —Chris Ziegler

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