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The Best Concerts to See In L.A. This Week

Katy Perry -- See Wednesday
Katy Perry -- See Wednesday
Timothy Norris

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Monday, October 22

Laura Marling

IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

"I will not be a victim of romance/I will not be a victim of circumstance," Laura Marling announces on the title track of her fourth album, Once I Was an Eagle. The English folk-pop singer hardly seems like a victim anyway, not after being nominated for the third time for the prestigious Mercury Prize while gaining popular and critical attention for her sly tangles of words and acoustic guitars. The new album is purportedly a thematic song cycle that charts its heroine's progression from love to cynicism and back again, but the songs pretty much stand on their own. "Devil's Resting Place" starts out with Marling's trademark confessional vocals and stripped-down acoustic guitars before accordions enter and pump things up, while "Master Hunter" aptly summarizes the singer's sober-minded reserve: "I cured my skin/Now nothing gets in." --Falling James

Tuesday, October 22

James Blake

WILTERN

Twenty-five-year-old electro-soul phenom James Blake makes bedroom music, which, at least for a while, he actually made in his bedroom. That's where he recorded the self-titled, full-length debut that introduced the world to his searching lyrics, tender layering of sound and the melancholy voice that functions as the most important instrument in all of his work. Two years and one album later, the Brit is still growing into all three, and the real reward lies in hearing him figure out new ways to fuse his influences to his emotions. On April's Overgrown, Blake grew the brooding crooning of his debut into dramatic, powerful extremes focused less on plugging in his equipment and more on tuning in to his feelings. The result is an eerie, delicate blend of folk and rave created by someone who can (and does) channel both RZA and Brian Eno in the same sonic space. --Kelsey Whipple

Au Revoir Simone

THE ECHOPLEX

It's been four long years since Au Revoir Simone released a new album, with the three singer-keyboardists busying themselves with other pursuits during that time. Heather D'Angelo finished her environmental-biology degree, Annie Hart had a baby and collaborated with Uninhabitable Mansions and Pursesnatchers, while Erika Forster released a languidly lovely electropop EP under the name Erika Spring. The Brooklyn trio is back in typically entrancing form on fourth album Move in Spectrums, whose title reflects the increasing variety of colors in their palette. Softly soothing, conspiratorial vocals ride serenely over the boxy drums, keyboard-light glimmer and spacey echoes of "The Lead Is Galloping" in a most captivating fashion. The whispered, candied confessions of "Gravitron" are a pure synth sugar rush, while the video for the more guitar-based gem "Crazy" is a really cute, perfectly realized parody of the Martin Scorsese film After Hours. --Falling James

Wednesday, October 23

Katy Perry, Tegan & Sara

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

This multi-act "We Can Survive" bill (benefiting the Young Survival Coalition, a nonprofit focused on young women facing breast cancer), features a pair of acts whose glossy production and presentation can distract from their serious pop chops. Headliner Katy Perry, whose fourth album, Prism, drops the day before, is deadly serious about making ostensibly silly sounds. Largely co-written and partially co-produced by Swedish hit machine Max Martin (Britney Spears, Robyn, etc.), Prism is Euro-esque to the point where delightfully anthemic lead single "Roar" almost sounds like it's being delivered in a second language. Tegan & Sara's seventh full-length, Heartthrob, released in January, is a gloriously shameless, ultra-melodic and super-massaged effort to propel the Canadian duo to Bowl-level headlining status -- and after a decade as arena bridesmaids, why the hell not? --Paul Rogers

See also: Katy Perry: Part of Me Review

 

Frank Zappa's 200 Motels

DISNEY HALL

L.A.'s late composer/troublemaker Frank Zappa's 200 Motels was the product of a weird and wonderful time in our cultural past when non-mainstream artists somehow hoodwinked big-moneybag fools into forking over stacks of cash to make films of their most extreme artistic visions. Zappa's vision was a surreal and psychedelic alterna-opera with a central theme of how the touring life can drive a band buggy (that's, uh, the clean gist of it). The work mixes rock, electronic and orchestral strains with live-action stage goof-offery and video art. This Green Umbrella presentation of 200 Motels is the world premiere of the complete version of Zappa's epic, and fortunately it will be helmed by L.A. Phil conductor laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen, no doubt one of the few batonmen gymnastically equipped to handle the work's still-radical minefields of symphonic and electric-band schematics. He and the Phil are joined by the Los Angeles Master Chorale and a band that includes original Mothers of Invention keyboard/sax player Ian Underwood and Zappa band bassist Scott Thunes. The cast includes singer-actors Michael Des Barres, Ann Cusack, Jeff Taylor and Frank's daughter Diva Zappa. --John Payne

Thursday, October 24

The East Los All Stars

GRINGO'S CANTINA

The early-1960s East L.A. soul-rock conflagration was one of this foul city's finest hours, producing a slew of memorably badass and brilliant bands including Thee Midniters, The Premiers and Cannibal & the Headhunters. High-powered guitarist/singer Rudy Salas was there at this era's very dawning, first with sharp-dressed teenage rockers The Jaguars, then as a very productive duo with his brother Steve. The duo cut lusty laments like "Leaving You" and the rockin' response "The Return of Farmer John" and, in '73, founded the magnificent Chicano orchestra Tierra, prized for the five-minute-plus bilingual soul-jazz epic "Barrio Suite." Salas was one of the key East Los spearheads, and at this no-cover every-Thursday jamathon, he's joined by a reliable crew of veteran ELA hired hands and plenty of special surprise drop-ins. (Wailing Midniters wildman Jimmy Espinoza has been known to participate.) It's a strictly-for-kicks gasser of a night: "Since we check our egos at the door," ax man Ray Carrion says, "we'll play any song you request." --Jonny Whiteside

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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