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

Laura Mvula -- See Tuesday
Laura Mvula -- See Tuesday
Photo Courtesy of Laura Mvula

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

Monday, September 16

The Weeknd


No matter what Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, sings about, there's often an air of melancholy gliding by in the distance or welling up in the back of his voice. His vocal undulations often quiver with the urgent pleading of Michael Jackson, but the Canadian singer has so many other things going through his mind that it never feels like an imitation. Sometimes he calls out over coolly remote new-wave soundscapes; other times The Weeknd wraps himself in a coat of sympathetic, mournful harmonies, fending off the loneliness with raw, wailing soul. Even now, on his first full-length album, Kiss Land (the followup to a series of lower-profile mixtapes), he still retains a lost, endearingly fragile quality as a blend and blur of ghostly voices and distant orchestras wind their way around him. He's alone and yet not alone. Aren't we all? Also Tuesday, Sept. 17. --Falling James

Tuesday, September 17

Laura Mvula


Over the past year, Laura Mvula has established herself as one of England's most assured and inventive soul singers, but it wasn't like she came out of nowhere. The Birmingham diva previously sang in a cappella groups and gospel choirs, and you can hear some of the elaborate architecture of gospel music in the arrangements on her full-length debut, Sing to the Moon. But Mvula is too creative to be just a revivalist, and her rueful ballads ("Can't Live With the World") and buoyant pop tunes ("Green Garden") flit easily from jazz and pop to soul and folk. It's like pure, radiant sunlight when her exuberant, soaring voice bursts through the cloudy chorus of "That's Alright." --Falling James

Wednesday, September 18

Tina Raymond


A rule of thumb for yoga students is to not force but to know one's limit, patiently waiting to go just a little further. Drummer Tina Raymond, a certified yoga instructor, knows this, and she's dutifully waited for her career in music to stretch and extend. This patience has finally been rewarded with a full calendar of performance dates. Musicians love her lithe brush and cymbal work, supported by an iron core of time and groove. Sure, she's lovely, but yes, she will kick your ass -- onstage, in the gym or elsewhere. Tonight, Raymond further displays her flexibility by leading two bands, one a hard-swinging trio featuring former NYC pianist Max Haymer and a second threesome featuring new music by pianistic sound-painter Cathlene Pineda. Guests include trumpeter Kris Tiner and saxophonist and Monk Competition finalist Danny Janklow. --Gary Fukushima

Thursday, September 19

The Orb


The rather legendary electronic duo of Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann specialize, for one, in ambient dub mixes that work on headphones to near head-poppin'-off effect. Perhaps even better is to experience the magic in a vast open space, as the masses did at The Orb's recent Glastonbury performance. Better yet is to catch the duo in an intimate concert venue, such as our very own Music Box. That's because The Orb's super-audio-therapy-like thing works a treat when one is squarshed in with a big load of like-minded seekers just like you. Bring open heads 'n' hearts and prepare to emanate a resonant energy up onto the stage, where The Orb will incorporate it into something entirely new again, and yes, they can work with your chic contempt as well, so don't hold back. The point is, The Orb's sound -- both massive, Chic-funk airy and painterly when they re-mutate classik cuts like "Golden Clouds" -- radiates positivity without getting all sappy about it. In 2013, that is the sound of possibility. --John Payne


Cold War Kids


I remember the last show before the whole indie-rock world figured out who Cold War Kids were -- it was in 2006 in some Fresno-adjacent strip-mall storefront where the landlords had to leave the fluorescent lights on, and even then kids knew every word by heart. (And lemme underscore the "heart" part. That front row was one high note away from medical attention.) The next day, Pitchfork, et al., reviews would hit and away they'd go, but Cold War Kids already knew how to use that idiosyncratic, pared-down, post-punk sound to make room for their own messy (in the best way) poetry. And so recent album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (named for a great book, too) isn't so much a return to form as a welcome home, with its anxious, desperate choruses you know before you hear them and sing-along lyrics that are stories as much as they are songs. --Chris Ziegler



Over the past twelve years, Canadian indie pop quintet Stars has touched on most every genre, from feathery electronic music to lush string compositions to melancholic dance rock. Their sixth album, The North, leans on a springier pop foundation while maintaining the sincerity that Stars is hailed for. Singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan expose the intricacies of their writing with a striking vocal partnership that reveals the collaborative nature of the album and the band as a whole. Live, unexpected instrumental turns make for an extraordinarily organic live performance that is even more enthralling than Stars' recordings might suggest. With support from Trails & Ways, this show is perfect for date night. -- Britt Witt

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

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