Music Picks: Lauryn Hill, Bad Brains, Shuggie Otis | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Music Picks: Lauryn Hill, Bad Brains, Shuggie Otis 

Thursday, Nov 29 2012
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Lindi Ortega: See Tuesday.

PHOTO BY JULIE MOE

Lindi Ortega: See Tuesday.

fri 11/30

Nas, Lauryn Hill

WILTERN

On his new album, Nas insists that Life Is Good, even though he's been slammed with a massive tax bill from Uncle Sam and is still coming to terms with a painful divorce from soul-pop diva Kelis. The Brooklyn-born rapper is being sarcastic; he's said in interviews that Life Is Good is the rap equivalent to Marvin Gaye's 1978 Here, My Dear, a bittersweet account of the soul icon's own failing marriage. "They say the coolest playas and foulest heartbreakers in the world/God gets us back/He makes us have precious little girls," Nas declares, realizing that he hasn't been "the cleanest father figure" once he sees the effect his former thug lifestyle has had on his own daughter. The collision of early bravado with newfound emotional vulnerability elevates Nas' music to a much higher and more thoughtful level. Former Fugees rapper Lauryn Hill is facing her own serious tax problems this month, a mundane reality that contrasts with the spiritual and musical evolution she's undergone in recent years as she's moved away from the mainstream and gone searching for her own soul, literally and figuratively. —Falling James

Bela Fleck and The Marcus Roberts Trio

CATALINA

There are things that just don't seem like they would work together, yet they do. Bacon on your sundae? Vampires and Abraham Lincoln? How about jazz and bluegrass? Although both genres can be traced to the roots of American music, the differences between the two are black and white, literally. Banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck has teamed up with jazz pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio to attempt a hybrid fusion experiment. Roberts came to fame in the 1980s as the accompanist for an ascendant Wynton Marsalis, later becoming an expert stride-piano player. He and Fleck complement each other with impeccable rhythm and elegant explosiveness. The music is unique, unusual and fun. They could be a latter-day Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder — minus the singing and the No. 1 hit, of course. Tonight's performance is the last in a four-day set at the Catalina. —Gary Fukushima

Fashawn & Strong Arm Steady

KEY CLUB

Fashawn did not aspire solely to emcee status. A writer since he was 12, the Fresno-born storyteller and high school newspaper contributor planned to pursue a career in print journalism. His destiny changed in 2006 when his mixtape Grizzly City caught the ears of seasoned rap veteran (and fellow Fresnoan) Planet Asia, who soon invited Fash to join him on tour. Boy Meets World, Fashawn's autobiographical, Exile-produced LP, received international acclaim in 2009, garnering comparisons to Nas' Illmatic. In September, Fashawn released This Generation, a collaborative effort with indie-rap favorite Murs. Tonight's show (part of the Moet-sponsored Champagne & Styrofoam Cups Tour) also features respected underground rap pioneers Strong Arm Steady. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

The Zoo Foundation

THE 5 STARS BAR

Soulin', screamin' East L.A. combo the Zoo Foundation is one of the most fabulous recent additions to our oft-parched rock & roll scene. This youthful psych-soul garage-shock troupe consistently throws down a deep wall-to-wall carpet of plush, passionate back-alley testifying. It can be as head-spinning as an attack by rogue chimpanzees — if, that is, the group even shows up to the gig as announced. Yes, they can be flaky. but also as inspiringly frenzied and all-around fine as freshly brewed prison pruno. Billed with a gaggle of fellow musical malefactors including Erroneous Monk and The Dharma Bums, expect a stomping, bawdy romp of a good time. —Jonny Whiteside

sat 12/1

Bozzio/Machacek/Johnson

THE BAKED POTATO

Former Frank Zappa/Missing Persons/Jeff Beck drummer Terry Bozzio has teamed with Austrian guitar whiz Alex Machacek off and on over the past decade. A year ago, the pair added bassist Jimmy Johnson to the mix, which resulted in some of L.A.'s best concerts of the year. The trio reprises those shows tonight at the Baked Potato in Studio City. Bozzio's drum kit is so large, the drums, cymbals, gongs and percussion available likely will outnumber the patrons, even in a sold-out club. Expect some of the most intense sounds anywhere this year as three genuine virtuosos team for an evening of electric chamber music for the 21st century. —Tom Meek

Falling in Reverse, Enter Shikari

FOX THEATER, POMONA

Melodrama has overshadowed music on this post-hardcore package tour — perhaps a welcome distraction from headliners' Falling in Reverse's petty, poppy metalcore, but a shame for brilliant Brit rabble-rousers Enter Shikari. The scuttlebutt goes like this: Adamantly sober (and formerly incarcerated) Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke had opening band I See Stars removed from the bill in October after learning of their pretour pot bust. He later reinstated the electronicore sextet (allegedly after they forfeited their pay), only to boot them once again before their hometown show in Detroit earlier this month — and, allegedly, verbally abused and ejected their outspoken fans. Such drama! Come anyway for Enter Shikari's thoughtful and inspired dubstep-via-metalcore mélange. —Paul Rogers

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