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

Beyonce -- See Tuesday
Beyonce -- See Tuesday
Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images

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

Monday, December 2

Cat Power


For much of the past decade, Cat Power has exorcised her soul demons with legendary guitarist Teenie Hodges and the Memphis Rhythm Band or been carried aloft by the stormy dynamics of Dirty Delta Blues, which features Dirty Three drummer Jim White and Blues Explosion guitarist Judah Bauer. On her current solo tour, however, the singer-guitarist-pianist returns to her folk roots. She'll likely revisit songs from her most recent album, Sun (2012), which is more piano-based and electropop than the R&B balladry of The Greatest (2006) and the guitar-spiked Jukebox (2008). The former Chan Marshall also is known for her languid covers, such as "Sea of Love" and the Stones' "Satisfaction," which she pulls apart like taffy, slowing them down so much and distilling them so minimally that they shift into entirely new blue moods. --Falling James

Tuesday, December 3

Pretty Lights


From the burgeoning EDM hotbed of his home state of Colorado, Derek Vincent Smith turned years of record collecting into a solo project into a live spectacle into a career into a record label. The multilayer maestro behind Pretty Lights found a following early on as a college electronic enthusiast but quickly dropped out to spend more time performing for students than studying with them. Since then, he's mastered the festival circuit and helped to mastermind multiple albums published under Pretty Lights Music. He's also released four under its title project, culminating in this year's ambitious A Color Map of the Sun. Released for profit for the first time (as well as for free like the rest of his discography), the two-part, 26-song epic trades years of carefully curated sound samples and a dominant interest in hip-hop for hand-selected live musicians and groovy, astute dance jams that are at once introspective and retrospective. --Kelsey Whipple



Even on her current, concept-y Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, Beyoncé lacks the easy-to-grasp shtick of her ostensible competitors Lady Gaga (eccentric ultra-liberal), Pink (cute/funny tomboy) or Rihanna (smoldering sexbot). Yet with her force-of-nature singing/dancing/fashionista allures, Mrs. Jay-Z Carter has little need for such defining trifles -- the withering magnetism of her vocals and physical presence are sufficient to subdue arenas at will (this is her third visit to the gaping Staples in five months), with or without her now Cirque du Soleil-worthy stage production. Married to a voice both viscerally commanding and clinically controlled, Beyoncé's strutting, scantily clad feminism -- which owes more to Tina Turner than to any of her peers -- has itself become a megastar, to the point of almost upstaging her songs. The ultimate performer in her ultimate incarnation. --Paul Rogers

See also: Why This Song Sucks: Beyonce's "Party (Remix)" Featuring J. Cole

Bright Light Bright Light


"Disco with tears" is what Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, is known for creating. The synth-pop prince follows his sparkling debut album, Make Me Believe in Hope, with the EP In Your Care. While the EP doesn't quite stanch the flow of tears, it does explore both a darker feeling and a cheerier mood. "Same Dream" channels the shaking rhythms of Inner City's "Good Life" while the minimalism of "Movement in the Dark" traverses the shadowy underside of the night. The title track's pattering beats and spare synth lines leave room for the somewhat homesick lyrics. In contrast, "An Open Heart" is almost defiant in its optimism and high-energy Euro-dance movements. A live solo piano version of "In Your Care" features just Thomas and the key plinks, which is all you really need. --Lily Moayeri


Wednesday, December 4

Kaki King


Unlike most guitarists, Kaki King doesn't just strum and pluck her guitar. She taps on its frets, drums her hands on its sides, plays fingerstyle, loops some parts, runs a slide along a lap steel and otherwise wheedles inexplicably mysterious sounds with unusual conjurations. The Atlanta native has busked in New York subways, composed film soundtracks (Into the Wild) and collaborated with John McEntire, The Mountain Goats and Malcolm Burn. About halfway into her career as an astonishing jazz-prog guitarist, King, like Garbo, finally spoke -- or, more accurately, sang -- revealing an endearing indie-pop vocal dimension on her 2006 album, ...Until We Felt Red. Her latest album, Glow, is another all-instrumental affair, her serpentine guitar melodies intricately woven within string arrangements by New York quartet Ethel. --Falling James

See also: Kaki King on Timbaland, Playing Solo and Being Frightened by the Cure

Thursday, December 5



Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner was born into a musical family and was a teenage boy-band member yet the bass virtuoso credits his finely honed chops to the works of the globally acclaimed multigenre bassists he grew up listening to. In an interview with NPR, the spirited eccentric explained, "I would listen to all kinds of stuff. ... I learned by listening to Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke." The highly sought-after sideman played with such music heavyweights as Suicidal Tendencies, Snoop Dogg and Erykah Badu before embarking on a solo career with respected L.A. indie label BrainFeeder. In June, Thundercat released his second solo effort, Apocalypse. The album explores such topics as coping with loss, memorable drug trips and love. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley

See also: A Jazz Renaissance Is Happening In Los Angeles

Jonathan Richman


It could be interesting to see what effect the recent death of Lou Reed might have on one of his first acolytes. Singer-guitarist Jonathan Richman was heavily influenced by The Velvet Underground, especially on the debut album by his early-'70s band, The Modern Lovers. Songs like "Hospital" and "Astral Plane" had much of the Velvets' fuzzy, seedily transcendent allure, although Richman couldn't resist putting his own sardonic, Bostonized spin on Reed's dark humor with tunes like "Pablo Picasso." Over the ensuing decades, though, Richman has moved away from the stark intensity of "Hospital" and reveled in a more emotionally sunny, kid-friendly brand of folk-pop. There's a critical tendency to dismiss all of Richman's later work as lightweight, but recent albums such as Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild and O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth are suffused with a stirring and often-trilingual romantic passion. Also Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8. --Falling James

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

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