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

La Roux -- See Thursday
La Roux -- See Thursday

Monday, April 15

Spiritualized

PAPPY & HARRIET'S PIONEERTOWN PALACE

In the past when performers have been booked to appear at Coachella, they've been contractually prevented from playing other shows in the SoCal area during that time. Now, with the desert music festival spread out over two weekends, bands have increasingly been popping up at small clubs in the region to kill time between their Coachella sets. Tonight, Spiritualized falls to Earth with an intimate set in Pioneertown, a faux-fronted former movie set turned into an actual tiny town. Leader Jason Pierce got his start shifting shapes and conjuring dreamy idylls with Spaceman 3, and his latest version of Spiritualized conjures similarly hazy spells, mixed in with a bit more pop melodicism. Fellow British Coachella performers Franz Ferdinand drop by this same club on Thurs., April 18. --Falling James

Ghost B.C.

EL REY THEATRE

Opus Eponymous, the 2011 debut album from Sweden's Ghost B.C., was a refreshing blast of '70s-inspired melodic metal that threw back to the days when Blue Öyster Cult reigned supreme. Songs like "Stand by Him" and "Ritual" were delightfully catchy odes to Satan. The band's image also added to their mystique. Vocalist Papa Emeritus casts spells over live crowds while dressed in warpaint and an evil pope costume. The rest of the band, known simply as Nameless Ghouls, plays their sweet, sinful sounds dressed in hooded robes that obscure their identities. Ghost B.C.'s new album, Infestissumam, continues to provide Satanic sing-alongs that stay in your head for days, but tracks like "Secular Haze" and "Year Zero" also take risks -- with great rewards -- by adding a creepy, Satanic circus vibe to their already well-honed songcraft. --Jason Roche

Tuesday, April 16

The King Khan and BBQ Show

TROUBADOUR

Can I get a hallelujah? Because after far too long -- their last LP together was in 2009 -- the twin world-class rock & rollers Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) and King Khan are finally back together and doing an extended U.S. tour as the band that made us love them. ("Did they hate each other?" they explain online. "Yes, they did. But like brothers!") During what we might call their "trial separation," both Khan and Sultan explored extremely rewarding solo careers, with King Khan using Vice's record label to internationally amplify his ferociously sweaty brand of overcranked rock & roll and Sultan releasing stand-out album after stand-out album on legendary L.A. garage-punk label In the Red. Now, however, after teaser shows in the Midwest late last year, the King Khan and BBQ show is hitting both coasts for a full-out, from-all-sides assault. Worth the wait? Ask me as you peel me off the floor. --Chris Ziegler

Sparks

MASONIC LODGE AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

On their critically hailed "Two Hands One Mouth" tour, the, well, yes, legendary Sparks offer something so unusual, so artistically conceived and so wittily executed and fun that you'd be an utter fool to miss it. (We suspect you're aware of that.) Mustachioed ivory-tickler Ron Mael and his singing sibling, Russell, bring their vast catalog of sharply drawn, now-classic songs, which date all the way back to somewhere in the early '70s. These songs trailblazingly ranged across a pioneering panoply of prog/glam rock to electro-dance to rock-pop operetta, plus quite possibly more. The trick tonight is that the striving intricacies of the songs' original super-detailed arrangements will have to be conveyed with just, you know, two hands and one mouth. Also Wed., April 17. (They'll be playing Coachella, too.) --John Payne

Foals

EL REY THEATRE

Holy Fire, the third album from the Oxford, England-based outfit Foals, sees the art/dance, math/rock experimental dabbles of the group's previous works take form. Under the tutelage of accomplished progressive producers Alan Moulder (Bloc Party, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins) and Flood (New Order, U2, Depeche Mode), Foals' artsiness has found direction while their electronics have developed structure. This makes Holy Fire sound large and defined, which is exactly what Foals needed. From the gurgling pop of "Inhaler," the flirty Hot Chip-esque "Number" (where vocalist Yannis Philippakis cheerfully speaks about changing his phone number so as not to receive texts from his ex), and the exhilarating builder "Milk and Black Spiders," to the dark moodiness of "Late Night" and spiky guitars of the dense "Providence," the passion on Holy Fire is undeniable. --Lily Moayeri

 

Wednesday, April 17

The xx

FOX THEATER

Though allegedly influenced by club music, any party-hearty echoes on The xx's 2012 sophomore album, Coexist, are almost literally that. Even when Jamie Smith's beats get bulbous (and the kick drum certainly is cranium-cracking in places), their humble place in the mix makes them but backdrops, as if seeping in from some neighboring apartment or distant dive, to the delicate and utterly intimate co-ed confessionals of Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim. With stringed instruments sparsely plucked and space deftly respected, the true stars of Coexist are this pair's exquisitely grained timbres and nuanced musings on learning and losing love. Building a monument to sonic restraint from the empowerment of its critically adored, 2009 eponymous debut, today's xx evokes daybreak pillow talk and finger-trailing farewells like few others. Also Sat. 4/13 at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at Empire Polo Club, Indio. --Paul Rogers

See also: The xx Are Grown Up, But Still Lovesick

Public Enemy

HOUSE OF BLUES

Even if Public Enemy had never existed in the late 1980s and early '90s, when the New York rappers released their most famous albums, they'd still have to be considered one of the most important hip-hop (and rock) groups of all time. How is that possible? While critics and fans seem to think Chuck D and Flavor Flav dropped off the face of the earth after releasing early classics like "911 Is a Joke" and "Fight the Power," they've actually recorded some of their best albums over the past decade or so. Last year Public Enemy were so prolific, they released two fiery, confrontational and consciousness-raising CDs, The Evil Empire of Everything and Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp. Chuck D gave George Bush a hard kick in the ass on 2002's Revolverlution, while 1999's apocalyptically soulful, millennial state-of-the-union address, There's a Poison Goin' On, was possibly P.E.'s best album of all. Augmented now by the insanely talented, Hendrix-style guitar whiz Khari Wynn, Public Enemy rivals The Roots as rap's best truly live band. --Falling James

See also: Chuck D of Public Enemy Gets Into Twitter Beef With LA Weekly

Thursday, April 18

La Roux

THE FONDA THEATRE

Amid the cold-ass, high-style world of electro-pop, there's something refreshingly real and warm about La Roux. When the English duo, singer Elly Jackson and co-writer/producer Ben Langmaid, debuted with their eponymous 2009 album, it was hailed for the supple, soulful athletics of Brixton homegirl Jackson's voice as well as the thoughtfully stylish crafting of its synthetic musical settings. Yet fans seemed to connect above all with the songs themselves. La Roux's tracks are imaginatively designed things that touch lyrically on pop's familiar trove of heartbreak and hurt and rising above and conquering all, etc., but they do so with an unaffected intelligence that offers far more genuine depth than previously thought possible in the narrowly defined electro-pop genre. That La Roux is danceable to the 40th power is but icing on the cake. --John Payne

See also: La Roux and Millennial Synthpop

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