The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week
Photo by Tina KorhonenSee Tuesday: Rodrigo y Gabriela
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Monday, May 5
The Bad Plus
In 1913, Igor Stravinsky premiered his riot-inducing masterpiece, The Rite of Spring. A hundred and one years later, bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and drummer Dave King, aka The Bad Plus, have put their signature stamp on the formidable pièce de résistance, eliciting catcalls from the peanut gallery. Why excoriate three guys for not sounding like a 100-piece orchestra, especially when their arrangement is so meticulously researched and executed to make the feat possible in the first place? As with their other adaptations (Nirvana, Ligeti, Aphex Twin, etc.), they somehow pull it off with simultaneous historical accuracy and ironic mutilation. It's what makes this trio one of the most significant and visionary jazz groups in a generation. Check it out: The mob awaits, and L.A. knows something about riots. Also Tuesday., May 6. - Gary Fukushima
Tuesday, May 6
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The title of Rodrigo y Gabriela's new release, 9 Dead Alive, serves a dual purpose, reflecting the intimacy of tracks that sound as if they were performed "in your living room," as guitarist Gabriela Quintero says, and also honoring the spirits of influential figures such as Harriet Tubman and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Quintero and her musical partner, Rodrigo Sanchez, insist that 9 Dead Alive is a more rock-influenced set of acoustic instrumentals, although the album's first single, "The Soundmaker," evokes the Mexican duo's traditional Spanish inspirations. Whether they're busking on the streets of Dublin, where they were discovered by Damien Rice, or making music for big-budget films, the pair always stirs up exotic whirlwinds of intricate interplay. Also at the Palladium, Wednesday, May 7. - Falling James
HOUSE OF BLUES
Death metal's answer to Powerslave-era Iron Maiden, the Egyptology-obsessed Nile explore their narrow niche with exquisite passion and punishing precision. Over eight albums and two decades, this perpetually morphing South Carolina crew has consistently thrived through furious dexterity, radically de-tuned doominess, and the sheer purity of vision of the only constant member, guitarist Karl Sanders. The epitome of a Southern gent offstage, the embodiment of late Slayer ax-man Jeff Hanneman on, Sanders has steered his ever-changing cast of cohorts steadfastly onward, apparently oblivious to their genre's fleeting fads and sub-strains. Pyramid-heavy, lyrically exotic and almost impossibly instrumentally detailed, Nile continues to conjure unnaturally long life from death. - Paul Rogers
Wednesday, May 7
Acid Mothers Temple
Acid Mothers Temple continue waving their freak flag ever higher on last year's In Search of the Lost Divine Arc and upcoming album Astrorgasm From the Inner Space. The Japanese psychedelic rockers have always been led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto through a seemingly endless series of side projects and permutations, from their mid-1990s beginning, when they were influenced by the spacey, minimalist collages of Krautrock, to their more recent opuses, which sound like a dozen Jimi Hendrix albums crushed by a trash compactor. Makoto's unfurling melodies and streaking contrails of guitar are amped up further by his bandmates' surges of synthesizer and trippy noises of unknown origin, culminating in a crescendo of head-spinning, psychedelic madness. - Falling James
Thursday, May 8
Atomic Bomb: Who Is
William Onyeabor was a brilliant funk musician from Nigeria in the 1970s, whose life and music has only become more intriguing since he dropped out of the public eye in the mid-1980s. Luaka Bop eventually found the reclusive singer to get his permission to release last year's compilation, World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? But the man remains uninterested in fame or revealing much of what he's been up to for the past few decades. Instead, it's left to David Byrne and a cast of heavies that includes Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and Bloc Party's Kele Okereke to reinvent Onyeabor's synth-heavy, slinky melodies tonight. Augmenting the big names is a very rare appearance by the Lijadu Sisters, harmonizing Nigerian twins who emerged from a lengthy retirement for this tour. - Falling James
The Nels Cline Singers
LARGO AT THE CORONET
Nels Cline is an artist whose inspired anti-genre-purist attitude creates music of sheer joyful surprise, and whose own mad skills always bring out the best in the artists he plays with. Such is the case on the all-instrumental Nels Cline Singers' new Macroscope (Mack Avenue), on which the Wilco guitarist shares the stage with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola, two fiery jazz/not-jazz modernists whose hair-trigger interplay with Cline shines in exploded-view warps across Brazilian bossa, loungey bebop, psychedelic rock and garage-band screech. The pleasure's in the way this band hits the music from unexpected slants and, when discovering a fissure of sound to dive into, the expert way they yank themselves out of it again. The album also features keyboards and electronics by Cibo Matto's Yuka C. Honda, who joins the lineup for tonight's performance. - John Payne
Sun Trash, the toxic, all-star rock & roll confection from stalwart underworld demons Sean Wheeler, Sexual Chocolate (aka Damian Edwards) and Lightnin' Woodcock, first erupted briefly in the late 2000s but has again recently burst from remission, like some ghastly virus. Break out the ear protection, kiddies, because, thanks to the addition of ex - Queens of the Stone Age Nick Oliveri and the legendary, 70-something psych-biker-outlaw overlord Simon Stokes, the combo is now inflicting significantly more damage. Born way, way out in the parched, low-desert sands, theirs is an irresistibly dark and disordered sound, fraught with gallows humor and a wild, offbeat brand of heavy-gauge Gila monster chomp and rumbling tumbleweed grooves. - Jonny Whiteside
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
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