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The Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend

Morrissey -- See Friday
Morrissey -- See Friday

Friday, March 1

Morrissey and Patti Smith

STAPLES CENTER

The Staples Center's Morrissey show is embroiled in controversy having to do with the serving of meat, but let's focus on the lineup. Combined, Morrissey and Patti Smith have 20 studio albums. Both singers are known for their politics and adamant activism; both are regarded as living legends in alternative and punk music. Smith's raw, punk-poet performance style should perfectly contrast Morrissey's charismatic croon and swagger. Morrissey will be performing a selection of fan favorites and new material, while Smith is sure to feature classics alongside tracks from her latest album, Banga. --Diamond Bodine-Fischer

See also: Think Morrissey Is a Douche? Go Join the NRA

Wadada Leo Smith and Oguri's Notaway: Quest for Freedom

ELECTRIC LODGE

Rare is the pairing of musicians, dancers, poets and visual artists achieved in more surprising and resonant ways than in Body Weather Laboratory's Flower of the Season series. Notaway: Quest for Freedom blends the movement artistry of Japan-born dancer-choreographer Oguri with the improvised music of avant-jazz composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Taking its cues from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the work finds Oguri and dancer Yasunari Tamai physically representing the melody and harmony of the story's characters as Smith and his Golden Quartet play their aural counterpoints. And that Golden Quartet's lineup is a total killer: Anthony Davis on piano, John Lindberg on bass and the mighty Pheeroan akLaff on drums. Also Sat., March 2, at 5 and 8 p.m., and Sun., March 3, at 3 p.m. --John Payne

Dilated Peoples

THE ROXY

It's been six long years since Dilated Peoples have put out a full album, but that doesn't mean the local hip-hop trio hasn't been busy. Producer/MC Evidence released two solo albums (2007's The Weatherman LP and the recent Cats & Dogs), while MC Rakaa Iriscience soloed with Crown of Thorns. DJ Babu issued The Beat Tape Vol. 2 and continues to work with Beat Junkies. The Peeps' upcoming call to arms on Suburban Noize, Directors of Photography, is still under wraps, but it's bound to be a major conflation of icy beats and high-level wordplay that brings worldwide social concerns down to a neighborhood-specific level. Dilated Peoples may have had a taste of major success with their Kanye West collaboration "This Way," but they have nonetheless kept their ideals firmly planted in the underground. --Falling James

See also: Work the Angles: Dilated Peoples in the main event

Saturday, March 2

Meshuggah

THE WILTERN

Describing last year's Koloss as more accessible than these Swedes' previous six albums is like declaring cluster bombs cute 'n' cuddly compared with, say, nuclear apocalypse. As a band whose increasingly mathy, mind-bending compositions had become almost too complex for these virtuoso instrumentalists to perform live, even this reined-in take on Meshuggah's signature polymetric, jazz-tinged adventurism wanders way off metal's well-beaten tracks. While the 4/4 heartbeat upon which Meshuggah have long draped their drop-tuned, cunningly syncopated Rubik's weave of agitated, ominous expression is more groovily palpable of late, the quintet continue to dismember hard rock's cadaver and create abstract art from its parts. Mercifully, bullet-headed frontman Jens Kidman's parched, drill-sergeant-in-purgatory screech projectile vomits primal humanity all over his band's almost laboratorial exploration of heavy metal's illogical, uncomfortable extremes. --Paul Rogers

Lou Harrison: A World of Music

REDCAT

This event is the L.A. premiere screening of a great doc about Lou Harrison, the late Californian composer-artist-writer-rule breaker. Harrison made a huge contribution to 20th-century art with his enchanting music inspired by Javanese gamelan and the Chinese zheng. The iconoclastic originality of these works places their creator in the pantheon along with such American Southwest innovators as John Cage, Harry Partch, Terry Riley and Don Van Vliet. Directed by filmmaker and music producer Eva Soltes, Lou Harrison: A World of Music surveys 25 years and 300 hours of Harrison's performances, rehearsals and interviews. (Soltes will be in attendance). Opening the event is a performance of Harrison's great microtonal 1973 feast, "Suite for Violin and American Gamelan," performed by violinist Mark Menzies and CalArts percussionists on Harrison's custom-built gamelan, "Old Granddad." --John Payne

See also: Lou, at Last

 

Sister Ook

FERN'S COCKTAILS

Like their name, Sister Ook aren't like most groups in the underground-rock scene. The Ojai trio often plays punk venues such as this Long Beach dive, but the sludgy chansons on their upcoming album, Faster Than Gravity, are harder, heavier and occasionally slower than punk rock, with thunderous chords ringing out over desolate canyons to create a curiously atemporal, haunting and lonely aftereffect. Singer-guitarist Evangeline Noelle can wax pretty and melodic, as on the feedback intro of rumbling anthem "Tears for My Pillow," but most of the time she howls with a raw-throated, witchlike ferocity. Loud but stripped-down rockers like "Sweet Baby" and "Cuckoo Cuckoo" evoke the intensity of power-trio predecessors like Blue Cheer, mixed with a little of Dead Moon's garage-rock fuzz and Legal Weapon's soul-punk fire. --Falling James

Rudresh Mahanthappa

ROYCE HALL

South Indian music has a bit of a history with jazz, starting with Coltrane's tune "India," bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and countless collaborations with the late, great Ravi Shankar. It's fitting that this exciting fusion of musical art is recently best consummated by Indian-Americans such as saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who brings two bands to UCLA's Royce Hall. His Indo-Pak Coalition features famed Pakistani jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi. Mahanthappa's current working group, Gamak, includes bassist Francois Moutin and guitarist David "Fuse" Fiuczynski, whose expertise in microtonal intervals works well with Indian music and American blues. Playing drums for both sets is rhythmic savant and tabla master Dan Weiss. In true Indian-American fashion, the music is smart and spiritual but it also can get down like James Brown. --Gary Fukushima

Sunday, March 3

Religious Girls

THE L.A. FORT

Oakland's Religious Girls don't write songs so much as recombine DNA -- or seed fractals or probe wormholes or crack open crystals within crystals within ... sorry, is this getting too sci-fi? Because these guys are all about penetrating the nth dimension with a stack of synthesizers and a drummer who just can't be stopped. This is music like Terry Riley was making back on A Rainbow in Curved Air, like Animal Collective tried during their feral-electronic years and like Dan Deacon does now by making something that's more of a communal, conceptual experience than a pop song. Those are all musicians who found something powerful in a certain combination of melody and repetition, and that's how Religious Girls work, too. Prepare for transport. --Chris Ziegler

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