The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week
See Wednesday: Aerosmith
Photo courtesy of the artist
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Monday, July 28
Some bands wear their influences on their sleeves, but L.A.’s Washing Machines helpfully put them in their song titles: “Sonic Fuck” ain’t so far from Sonic Youth, and “Vaseline” ain’t so far from one of The Vaselines’ sarcasto-pop tracks. (Alt. title: “Urinal Vaseline,” just to rep for local noiseniks The Urinals, whose spirit is also at work here.) The opener of their recent EP is “Big Cyst,” but if that’s a band, it’s beyond the search-engine capabilities of this writer — but those tore-up vocal hooks are adeptly Cobainian, and the topic is just one medical emergency away from Nirvana’s “Aneurysm.” (Plus there’s the album Washing Machine by Sonic Youth.) Anyway, they obviously love what they love and they do it with gusto. If you wanna start a label called Sub SST Pop, here’s your first signing. —Chris Ziegler
Tuesday, July 29
Boston, Cheap Trick
More than three-quarters of Boston’s 31 million album sales are for their 1976 eponymous debut and its ’78 follow-up, Don’t Look Back. So gargantuan were these creations that the band, built around founding guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Tom Scholz, remains an arena-filling radio staple, despite releasing only four full-lengths since. Boston’s secret is essentially simple songs performed and recorded with staggering attention to detail. For all of Scholz’s love of virtuoso musicality and complex, harmony-saturated production, at the heart of his compositions are bar-rock and garage-pop sensibilities (Nirvana’s grunge template “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is unashamedly built upon the main riff of Boston’s signature single, “More Than a Feeling”). Equally enduring and perhaps even more influential on contemporary acts, from Smashing Pumpkins to Kings of Leon, are ultimate power-poppers Cheap Trick. —Paul Rogers
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson ?Large Ensemble
Violaist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson has developed a reputation for being one of L.A.’s most adventurous young composers, finding himself involved in film and television projects on larger and larger scales. His own music is just as challenging, as he often creates large ensembles that perform chamber, jazz and Latin hybrid works. Tonight’s show at Blue Whale features a live laptop, five vocalists, a DJ and no fewer than 11 instrumentalists drawn from the area’s finest young talent, including Dennis Hamm, Sara Gazarek, Katisse Buckingham and Walter Smith III. Atwood-Ferguson’s shows always offer a unique musical experience, and tonight’s effort at Little Tokyo’s Blue Whale will be no different. —Tom Meek
Wednesday, July 30
When Aerosmith released “Seasons of Wither” in 1974, the power ballad was distinguished by its elegantly chilling arpeggios and singer Steven Tyler’s bittersweet evocation of a Massachusetts winter and the end of a love affair. But Aerosmith’s own season of wither has been going on for decades now. The Boston group’s last fully consistent album, Draw the Line, was released all the way back in 1977, and although they’ve occasionally cobbled together such plasticized and overwrought pop hits as “Love in an Elevator” and “Jaded” since then, very little of their recent output comes close to their late-’70s heyday. On the other hand, Aerosmith remains an awesome force onstage, with Joe Perry’s florid flurries of lead guitar rampaging gloriously around Brad Whitford’s formidably interlocking riffs. Former Guns N’ Roses ax-man Slash’s style is heavily influenced by Perry’s solos, contrasting dazzling speed with stinging eloquence. —Falling James
Thursday, July 31
DEEP with Marques Wyatt, ?Doc Martin and Raul Campos
For the last five years, KCRW has been making Los Angeles’ cool summer evenings even cooler with its Summer Nights series in various outdoor spaces throughout the city. As part of that series, City of Angels native son Marques Wyatt shepherds summer 2014’s final Made in L.A. evening at the Hammer Museum under the banner of his long-running club night, DEEP. A perfect match for Made in L.A.’s ethos of “niche music that is quintessentially L.A.,” Wyatt has been throwing events in Los Angeles since the late 1980s. The original West Coast house-music torchbearer, Wyatt hosts two other DJs with deep roots in the sound: Doc Martin and KCRW’s Raul Campos. Gear up for an evening of rounded 4/4 beats, soulful rhythms and moody grooves guaranteed to keep you at a happy, steady shuffle in the museum’s gracious courtyard. —Lily Moayeri
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