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The Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend

Vieux Farka Touré
Vieux Farka Touré

Friday, February 1

Vieux Farka Touré, Fool's Gold

ROYCE HALL

Music critics often describe Vieux Farka Touré as "the Hendrix of the Sahara," but the Malian guitarist doesn't really sound much like Jimi Hendrix. Instead, Touré has a distinctively exotic style that's more similar to the music of his countrymen Tinariwen, the nomadic guitar army whose serpentine, side-winding riffs sizzle, sparkle and invert themselves in a mesmerizing, trance-like fashion. What Touré does have in common with Hendrix is the inexplicable ability to conjure shape-shifting patterns with his guitar, creating transcendent moods that take you to other worlds. There is much great music coming out of Mali today -- Amadou & Mariam, Toumani Diabaté, Rokia Traoré, Ballaké Sissoko -- even as the West African country is being torn apart by a vicious civil war. Tonight, Touré looks for guidance and comfort in the music of his late father, Ali Farka Touré, following a set by locals Fool's Gold, whose sunny, indie-rock songs are infused with African influences. --Falling James

Mark de Clive-Lowe

BLUE WHALE

Keyboardist/DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe calls what he does CHURCH, which is fitting because it's spurring a revivalist movement on both coasts. But this is no religious ritual; instead, it's a new kind of jazz and improvised music that has captivated skilled musicians, bourgeois dilettantes and dancing fools alike. De Clive-Lowe's innovations fuse hip-hop, electronic music and jazz, which might be a trivial contrivance by someone less skilled, but he has the chops to pull it off. His big-band album, Take the Space Trane, drops Feb. 5, and could reintroduce big-band music to the dance halls where swing was once king. Tonight, De Clive-Lowe leaves his covenant residency at the Del Monte Speakeasy to embark on a second CHURCH mission trip to Little Tokyo. Vocalist Nia Andrews and trumpeter Kamasi Washington also are featured. --Gary Fukushima

See also: Mark de Clive-Lowe Throws a Great Party

Cro-Mags

KEY CLUB

Thirty years before metalcore was even a thing, New York City's Cro-Mags were fusing hardcore punk and heavy metal to crudely influential effect. A blizzard of band members and bastardized incarnations have come and gone since the revered The Age of Quarrel (1986) and Best Wishes (1989) albums; the band's recent history has been as much about mudslinging as music. The trouble peaked with a backstage melee at New York's Webster Hall in July, after which founding former bassist Harley Flanagan was charged with stabbing two current band members (the case was dismissed in December). Without an album since 2000's Revenge and currently centered by longtime vocalist John Joseph McGowan, Cro-Mags is literally not the band it once was, but even echoes of its original brutal brilliance should keep Key Club's stage-front security plenty busy. --Paul Rogers

Saturday, February 2

Shock, The Dogs

THE REDWOOD

A night where rare records come alive! This is a reunion show by Shock, the first-wave local punks (produced by Danny Holloway!) whose "This Generation" is a Killed By Death Records classic and whose "I Wanna Be Spoiled" and "Overseas" did U.K.-style punk with L.A. vigor and velocity. Nerds will also remember them being right next to The Weirdos and Dickies on that famous flyer to save the Masque, L.A.'s original punk club. And speaking of: Detroit-to-L.A. high-energy trio The Dogs were among the first Masque bands. They did then and do now some of the best Stooges-MC5 rock & roll ever commited to vinyl. They play slightly more often than Shock ... once every decade, maybe? So let's be accurate and call this one a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity. --Chris Ziegler

Radar Bros.

THE ECHO

It's rooted in bittersweet nostalgia, maybe, but there's an undeniably puckish surrealism to the L.A. indie-rock veterans' new Eight. Produced direct-to-tape by mainman Jim Putnam, this psychedelic new Americana scales ambitious heights with Crazy Horse/ZZ Top guitars, analog synth ornaments, tack piano and a heavenly chorus. The songs' resonant mix-and-match of nuanced instrumental textures, surprising chord progressions and veering-into-dissonance harmonies makes you feel like you're witnessing a mountain levitate. Listening to these guys seems to reveal the future -- or at least the inherent possibilities of sound mixage itself. Also playing: Young Unknowns, Babies on Acid. This is an early show: Doors open at 5 p.m.; all ages. --John Payne

Testament

HOUSE OF BLUES HOLLYWOOD

Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax are known as thrash metal's "Big Four." But some aficionados will make a case for Testament being part of that group as well. The band was sidelined at the turn of the millennium by vocalist Chuck Billy's battle with cancer, but his victory over the disease and the return of original guitarist Alex Skolnick in 2005 reignited the group and brought them back to matching their past glories. 2012's Dark Roots of EartH -- the second album since those two key events -- is a furious thrasher full of contenders for the angriest vocal performances of Billy's career. In turn, Skolnick and second guitarist Eric Peterson contribute their trademark solos, which hit high marks for both ferocity and virtuosity. We foresee the pit for a new song like "True American Hate" being just as vicious as the pits in the band's early days. --Jason Roche

Sunday, February 3

D.O.A.

WEBER'S PLACE

It's hard to believe that Canadian punk legends D.O.A. are finally calling it quits after a 35-year career in hell-raising and musical subversion. What's lead singer/guitarist Joey Shithead going to do now? Raising a ruckus is his raison d'être, and there are only so many careers one can have with a surname like Shithead. He's already run for office twice as a Green Party candidate in his native British Columbia, and back in 2004 he penned his memoir, the eloquently titled I, Shithead: A Life in Punk (where he merrily recounted the group's notoriously silly feuds with The Clash and David Lee Roth and noted that Kurt & Courtney first met at a D.O.A. concert). Many punks assume that D.O.A. peaked during its early-'80s heyday, when Shithead's ragged, blue-collar broadsides were powered at a then-astonishing, breakneck hardcore pace, but the band's ever-evolving lineups continue to pump out riotous anthems about beer, hockey and saving (what's left of) the environment. Say it ain't so, Joe! --Falling James

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