The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Week
Nicole Atkins plays the Bootleg on Tuesday.
Photo by Jennifer Tzar
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Monday, February 9
Father John Misty
Are we living in a post- or post-post-irony age? Correct answer wins a free copy of Father John Misty’s new album I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop) — just kidding, buy the damn thing and support the artist. Such a cringy title suggests Father John’s got some deeply sardonic attitudes about love, life, pain and happiness — or, perhaps a tad more avant-garde, flagrantly heartfelt feelings for all of the above. This gloriously tuneful follow-up to the singer-songwriter’s (and ex–Fleet Foxes drummer’s) critically hailed Fear Fun (Sub Pop, 2012) takes all sides into consideration, and the results are sweetly life-affirming. And that’s no joke. Opening set by The Entrance Band’s Guy Blakeslee. — John Payne
Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band
As a fiery drummer whose textural, hyper-dynamic approach redefined jazz drumming for a new generation, Brian Blade’s made-for-the-stage name became well known when he was a sideman to saxophonist Joshua Redman and pop sensation Seal. The Brian Blade Fellowship debuted in 1998 to much fanfare and cemented Blade as one of the great visionaries of his generation. Their latest album, Landmarks, is only their fourth album in 14 years and first since 2008, thanks in part to Blade’s busy schedule as a high-profile drummer for Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Daniel Lanois (he keeps a drum kit at Lanois’ home) and all the world’s best jazz artists. The Fellowship Band, as it’s now called, is still defined by the spacious playing of keyboardist Jon Cowherd, and emphatically punctuated by the unmistakable rhythmic presence of the bandleader. — Gary Fukushima
Tuesday, February 10
“Seagulls know what we conspire,” Nicole Atkins purrs enigmatically amid the side-winding bass and noir-ish guitars of “Who Killed the Moonlight.” While the track shares much of the shadowy mystery of the Bauhaus ballad “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight,” the songs apparently are otherwise unrelated, with Atkins’ radiant voice arching romantically over a haunting nightscape. Since her 2007 debut album, Neptune City, the New Jersey native has crafted bewitching dream-pop anthems, although she rocked it up a little harder on her 2011 follow-up, Mondo Amore. On her latest album, Slow Phaser, Atkins adds a newly glittery dance-pop veneer over songs such as “Girl, You Look Amazing,” even as her majestic, soothing vocals sometimes recall Chrissie Hynde’s. — Falling James
Corners headline the Echoplex on Tuesday.
Courtesy of the Planetary Group
Corners, Adult Books, Death Valley Girls, Girl Tears
L.A.’s Corners do desolate post-punk with heavy synthesizers and probably even heavier sentiment. If the title Maxed Out on Distractions doesn’t get the message across, their desperately anxious live sets will. Naturally, there are plenty of British and continental influences at work here, which helps Corners sound like a band whose childhoods took place during wartime. Fans of Clan of Xymox, Xmal Deutschland, the eerier moments of Wire and of course Joy Division will recognize this vocabulary immediately. (And audiophiles will revel in the kind of impeccable recording that happens when most of the band members double as studio engineers.) With support from three excellent locals: Wipers vibers Adult Books and their ferocious “Telepathic Love” cover, faster-louder punkers Girl Tears and Destroy All Monsters–via–Bikini Kill–ers Death Valley Girls. — Chris Ziegler
Wednesday, February 11
This packed bill (six support acts!) looks like a long night, but since the acts are cut from the same cosmic cloak, we expect some groovy, trippy prep for The Warlocks. The seasoned psych band will be worth the wait, too. Led by singer-guitarist Bobby Hecksher, they’re L.A. faves known for being unpredictable onstage, with a sound that’s rapturous, noisy and atmospheric all at once. Warlocks songs either melt or explode into one another like rhythmic spells, and if you know their catalog (from the early releases on Bomp to more recent efforts, such as Skull Worship) it’s cool to hear a familiar track emerge live. But don’t expect anything to necessarily sound like the records. Their riff-ravaging intensity means experimental mojo rules their sets. And unlike some droney jam music, it’s not a drag, it’s a joy. — Lina Lecaro
Thursday, February 12
Babes in Toyland
Sometimes a band can be too far ahead of its time for its own good. In the late 1980s, Minneapolis trio Babes in Toyland helped to invent what’s now known as grunge, with Kat Bjelland’s poison-dipped lyrics working as a shockingly caustic antidote to the macho, hair-metal mindset of the era. Bjelland’s combination of thunderous riffs, baleful attitude and baby-doll dresses was a major musical and fashion influence on Hole, who went on to greater mainstream success with a watered-down approximation of such Babes in Toyland classics as “Bruise Violet.” Although Bjelland and drummer Lori Barbero kept BIT going until 2001, they lost much of their momentum when bassist Maureen Herman departed the band in 1996. Newly reunited with Herman, Babes in Toyland have so far booked only a couple shows in the United States. Also at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown, Tuesday, Feb. 10. — Falling James
The Sloths, who began life as teen rockers on the Sunset Strip circa 1966, represent an unlikely anomaly in Los Angeles’ time-space–big beat continuum. Broken up by 1967, their sole surviving 45, “Makin’ Love,” took on a life of its own. After one copy sold for more than $6,500 a few years ago, it ignited a spark leading to the band’s resurrection. They ain’t doing it for the dough; today, every performance by The Sloths is a reliably electrifying display of tore-up R&B with a roaring, psych-pop twist. With a brand-new album (finally!) coming out on Burger Records, The Sloths never skimp: “We’re not gonna roll up in wheelchairs and do this half-assed,” vocalist Tommy McLoughlin says. “We’re gonna go the full route and knock ourselves out.” — Jonny Whiteside
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