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

Shannon & the Clams play the Echo on Tuesday
Shannon & the Clams play the Echo on Tuesday
Photo by Kaliisa Conlon

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, March 30

Brian Fest
THE FONDA THEATRE
One can never celebrate the music of Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson enough, and tonight’s benefit for the Jameson Neighborhood Fund offers another chance to marvel over his mini surf-pop symphonies through the perspective of his acolytes. This lineup includes many unexpected performers, in addition to musicians often associated with Wilson, such as longtime bandmate Al Jardine and Wilson Phillips, which features two of his daughters. The surprise inclusions range from multi-instrumentalist Gingger Shankar and Heart’s Ann Wilson to Boz Scaggs and The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd. The sunny garage-pop reveries of Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino make her an obvious choice to pay homage to Wilson, but it will be fascinating to hear how feverish ghost-hunter Karen Elson, psych-tropicalia bard Devendra Banhart and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers reinterpret those classic melodies. — Falling James

Tuesday, March 31

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Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield
WILSHIRE EBELL THEATRE
The Avett Brothers’ Seth Avett and Ohio folk-country balladeer Jessica Lea Mayfield are already compelling musicians, so the thought of them twining their voices together in harmony is even more intriguing. But their current tour as a duo is made even more unusual because they’re setting aside most of their own songs in order to pay homage to the late local troubadour Elliott Smith. They have a new album, Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith, but its plain title barely hints at the woeful, beautiful laments and aching yearning their voices call up together. Smith’s songs retain an emotional intensity, which the duo admits can sometimes still be overwhelming, but Mayfield and Avett revive his sad anthems and reinvigorate them with a clear-eyed, gentle intimacy. — Falling James

Shannon & the Clams
THE ECHO
The much-loved-locally Shannon and the Clams are garage rock, sure, but garage rock like The Pandoras as produced by Joe Meek — or maybe Shadow Morton — with plenty of emphasis on the sweet stuff, too. (Though check out stomper “The Rat House,” off 2013’s Dreams in the Rat House, if you wanna hear a feral one.) Their signature moments are the ones where Shannon gets to sing heartbroke and ferocious at the same time, and although they’ve surely studied the same cream-of-the-creeps 45s that gave The Cramps their best cover songs, the Clams can hit you right in the gut in a way that the best fuzztone in the world could never quite manage. They just finished a new album, so get ready for a few selections from the private reserve at this show. — Chris Ziegler

Wednesday, April 1

North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne Present N.M.O.
THE TROUBADOUR
Late last year, when North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne announced they had collaborated on an album, fans of both artists rejoiced. Released in February, Freedom and Dreams is exactly what you’d expect when these veteran musicians team up. Cut in just four days, the 11-song effort’s laid-back vibe showcases a strong chemistry between the musicians. But don’t let the loose atmosphere fool you; Freedom and Dreams has the hallmarks, even at this early stage of 2015, of being a contender for one of the year’s best blues albums. Each artist will play an individual set before they join forces for a blend of Southern-infused rock, blues and New Orleans soul. — Daniel Kohn

Testament headline a night of metal at the House of Blues on Thursday
Testament headline a night of metal at the House of Blues on Thursday
Photo by Stephanie Cabral

Thursday, April 2

Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Still Ahead
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
Jazz visionary Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans’ collaborations on Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead circa 1957-60 were deeply probing things that explored expansive new “jazz” orchestrations and drew from both European classical structures and world music. At the time, many jazz purists scoffed at this post-bebop cool as being nothing more than prettified mood music, though the classical world was quite receptive to Davis and Evans’ ideas, aspects of which Debussy and Bartók had explored long before. The two greats’ original arrangements from these three now-classic albums, plus selections from Quiet Nights, will be performed by a group of eminently qualified musicians, led by Terence Blanchard and Sean Jones on trumpets and flugelhorns, and ex–Weather Report master drummer Peter Erskine. Vince Mendoza conducts the Still Ahead Orchestra. — John Payne

Testament, Exodus
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
Metallica may have formed in Los Angeles, but it was the burgeoning activity of the Bay Area thrash scene that lured them to relocate and truly find their footing in the early ’80s. Testament and Exodus are two of the most enduring acts from that scene. While neither band reached the commercial heights of Metallica and Megadeth, both have displayed remarkable endurance and consistency, continuing to release expertly executed thrash records that hold up well next to their early genre milestones. Testament’s most recent album, 2012’s Dark Roots of Earth, shows a band that has firmly rediscovered its groove after health issues sidelined vocalist Chuck Billy at the beginning of the millennium. Exodus was re-energized on 2014’s Blood In, Blood Out by the return of on-again, off-again vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, whose snarls are still as angry as ever. — Jason Roche

Gui Boratto
SOUND NIGHTCLUB
Brazilian techno producer Gui Boratto is a master of imbuing electronic music with an almost tactile sense of color and texture — which is perhaps not surprising, given that he was an architect and graphic designer before making the switch to music in 2005. His latest full-length collection, last year's Abaporu, builds upon the swirling soundcapes of his classic debut Chromophobia and its even more dazzling follow-up, Take My Breath Away, layering boldly melodic piano and synth lines atop hypnotic beats aimed at seducing the dance floor, rather than pummeling it into submission. Check the swaggering "Joker" and the aptly titled "Get the Party Started" for examples of Boratto's expertly crafted tech-house at its most playful and potent. — Andy Hermann


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