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

See Thursday: Haim
See Thursday: Haim
Photo by Bella Howard

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, August 4

The Interrupters
THE ROXY
As ska devolves further from its Jamaican roots in the late 1950s, the genre these days often replaces soul and imagination with jock-rock conformity, transforming ska’s madly insidious rhythms and uplifting messages into mere background music for frat parties. Of course, the Two-Tone revival in Britain in the early ’80s helped reinvigorate the genre and give it new life, but so much modern ska is merely escapist and shallow. The Interrupters don’t add anything new to the style, but singer Aimee Allen imbues her band with just enough personality and hooks to justify the whole affair. If tracks such as “A Friend Like Me” don’t really evoke Jamaica’s diversity and violent contradictions, they’re at least mindlessly catchy, with suburban-punk guitars and Allen’s gruff, Joan Jett–like phrasing. —Falling James

Tuesday, August 5

Dayramir Gonzalez y Habana EnTRANCE
BLUE WHALE
The three most popular exports out of Cuba are cigars, baseball players and musicians. Cuban versions of those things have this in common: They are rare, of the finest quality, and can take a while to make it to the United States. Pianist Dayramir Gonzalez has been a star in Cuba from age 16, when master percussionist Oscar Valdés (from the legendary Cuban group Irakere) chose the young prodigy for his new band. Nearly 15 years later, Gonzalez has achieved success away from his homeland, performing at Carnegie Hall in 2012 and in venues across Europe, the Caribbean and North America. His refined yet bravado-infused pianism naturally extends the brilliant legacy of Cuban jazz pianists from Bebo Valdés to Chucho Valdés to Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Gonzalez brings to Blue Whale an American version of his award-winning Latin jazz group, Habana EnTRANCE.?—Gary Fukushima

Wednesday, August 6

Christopher Owens
HOLLYWOOD FOREVER
Now that his breakout band Girls is over and behind him, frontman Christopher Owens is finding and refining an ambitious new personal sound. On upcoming solo album A New Testament — a title bristling with meaning, given Owens’ history growing up in a traveling Christian commune — he has U-turned his songwriting and headed back to that sweet spot in the 1970s, when the rockers went a little bit country and the country folks got fuzz pedals. The Testament songs released so far match Owens’ Elvis Costello–style voice and wit to good ol’ Gene Clark–style hope and desolation — and sometimes both at once. He’s even got a Muscle Shoals–esque gospel chorus when the subject matter warrants. So consider this a promise of good things to come — just as that album title suggests. —Chris Ziegler

Israel Vibration, Roots Radics
ECHOPLEX
Thanks to our astonishing local reggae resource Dub Club, this visit by Israel Vibration and Roots Radics is yet another world-class musical showdown. Long-running vocal trio Israel Vibration met in a Kingston medical rehabilitation facility and rose, starting way back in 1970, from a punishing life as polio-stricken ghetto youth to become a crucial link in the evolution of Jamaican vocal groups. With hard-hitting, hardcore Rastafarian–messaged songs like “Why Worry” and “Bad Intention,” Israel Vibration ably spanned the gap between the old-school likes of Mighty Diamonds and such comrades as Culture and Black Uhuru. Tonight, with accompaniment from the superb, veteran hard-dub studio players Roots Radics, it’ll be an evening of defiant, weaponized spirituality and high-impact musical perfection. —Jonny Whiteside

Thursday, August 7

Haim
THE WILTERN
If nothing else, Haim at least inspire some pretty choice critical gasbaggery: Spin calls their debut album, Days Are Gone, “ruthlessly proficient,” while Rolling Stone has determined it to be a “kind of microtriumph.” L.A. Weekly rates its own ruthlessly proficient critical skills three thumbs way up when we loudly proclaim that Haim do indeed fulfill the promise of their rather imposingly engorged hype. Valley girls Este, Danielle and Alana Haim’s self-penned, smoovely synth-y, dance/R&B/new-wave rock fodder is a savory, quirky blend of all the old-school stuff we like best, and they throw in some majorly huge ax solos, besides. Haim’s live show is where it’s really at, though, because the girls do choreographed dance steps and switch among instruments, all while warbling in sweet, three-part harmony. File under Fun Stuff. Also Friday, Aug. 8. —John Payne

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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