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

See Tuesday: Bonnie McKee

Photo by Jennie WarrenSee Tuesday: Bonnie McKee

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, May 12

Thee Nodes
REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Thee Nodes actually get around to making something resembling music, but you might not notice that at first while being overwhelmed by the Montreal punk outfit's stage presentation. The male drummer wears little more than a bikini (if even that), while the singer's head often is wrapped up in bandages like the Invisible Man. "Shut up! Don't touch me," the singer urges before throwing himself into the crowd, where he's tossed about like a mannequin as his head literally unravels. Your head will figuratively do the same, as you try to reconcile the guitarist's blasts of noise and the nameless drummer's hardcore tempos with the nonsensical, guttural howls that originate somewhere within that messy wrap of bandages. Song titles like "Commodify Me" and "Living Like a Corpse" hint at the group's endearing worldview. - Falling James
 
Tuesday, May 13

Bonnie McKee
THE ROXY
Bonnie McKee is a bundle of contradictions. When she released her 2004 debut album, Trouble, the Seattle-raised singer was firmly stuck in the world of sugary, mainstream pop, but she also revealed hints of cleverness in songs such as "Sensitive Subject Matter" and "Confessions of a Teenage Girl." Her own career hasn't crossed over into massive popularity, but McKee has co-penned numerous hits for Katy Perry ("Roar," "California Gurls," "Teenage Dream"), Britney Spears, Ke$ha and Carly Rae Jepsen. As her compositions rise ever higher in the charts, much of McKee's early wit and intelligence has been airbrushed away in favor of glossier production and more predictable lyrics and hooks. On her bubbly recent video for "American Girl," celebrity pals including Taio Cruz, Adam Lambert, Kelly Osbourne, Jepsen and Perry return past favors with guest appearances. - Falling James

Wednesday, May 14

Giant Drag
SILVERLAKE LOUNGE
"Still got your trash in my car," Annie Hardy coos sweetly, "minus that old garbage heart. Take no offense when I say that I prefer it that way." The song, from last year's Waking Up Is Hard to Do, perfectly encapsulates the local band's range and potential. "Garbage Heart" starts out charmingly, with Hardy's girl-group melody wending its way delicately through gauzy, cloudy chords before the tune suddenly downshifts into a thunderously stormy hail of distorted guitars. It's that precious contrast between melodicism and grungy drive that has made Giant Drag one of this city's most thrilling alt-rock groups. The band has been lying low recently, so it's refreshing and energizing to see Hardy - Giant Drag's one constant member - toss out the trash and rearm herself with a new lineup and sense of purpose. - Falling James

Thursday, May 15

Big Scary, Say Hi
THE ECHO
Big Scary's second album contrarily asserts itself as art by its very title, Not Art. Where the duo's debut, Vacation, was of the navel-gazing variety, Not Art uses a hip-hop approach to production. Ironically, "Why Hip-Hop Sucks in '13" is a piano-led number, which highlights Joanna Syme's vocals, but the syncopated beats of "Luck Now" refocus on the hip-hop aspect. "Invest" handily brings hip-hop sensibilities to Big Scary's moody pop. The best bits are in classic Big Scary style: the Jeff Buckley - informed "Lay Me Down," which works like a potent downer, while the Verve-informed "Belgian Blues" does the opposite. The irreverent Say Hi also performs, introducing songs from his not-yet-released album, Endless Wonder. - Lily Moayeri

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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