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

Magma make a rare L.A. appearance at the Echoplex on Monday
Magma make a rare L.A. appearance at the Echoplex on Monday
Courtesy of Seventh Records

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, April 6

System of a Down
THE FORUM
It matters little that System of a Down hasn’t released new music in a decade, when the Glendale foursome’s existing five albums — having not been usurped or even credibly mimicked in their carnivalesque prog-thrash exotica since — still sound so disconcertingly fresh. Perhaps the most open-minded mainstream metal band ever (wantonly exploring everything from disco grooves to genre-incongruous instruments such as ouds and sitars), it’s not System’s churning, down-tuned riffs that set it apart but rather the aching, oddly intervaled (to rock & roll ears) vocal harmonizing between guitarist Daron Malakian and frontman Serj Tankian, and the latter’s irreverent, sometimes downright Dadaist lyrics. The Forum is the opening (and only stateside) stop on the Armenian-American outfit’s Wake Up the Souls tour, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. — Paul Rogers

Magma
THE ECHOPLEX
The cliché about France has long been that it’s incapable of producing Great Rock Music, a condition owing to the French language itself, which is too soft, too nuanced, to make the proper impact in a forceful rock way. Ironically, though, in 1969 France gave birth to a group called Magma, one of the heaviest bands the rock world has ever known, and simultaneously not a rock band at all. Led by superdrummer Christian Vander, a feral cross between Elvin Jones, Billy Cobham and Rashied Ali, the band developed a signature sound roughly intersecting progressive jazz, Bartók and heavy metal, related texturally to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Red-era King Crimson, via chanting, guttural vocals and repetitive motifs pumped out on multiple acoustic and electric pianos and horns, atop militaristically hefty bass and Vander’s spectacular drums. — John Payne

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Tuesday, April 7

Matt & Kim
AMOEBA MUSIC
Brooklyn indie dance group Matt and Kim are going for a more intimate setting before heading to the Fonda later this month to celebrate the release of their latest album, New Glow. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino have been at it since 2004 but really caught everyone’s attention in 2009 with their stripped-down (literally — the pair got naked in Times Square) video for “Lessons Learned.” Their DIY attitude holds up their excitable, beat-driven songs, which are only made better when you’re watching Kim party on the drums next to Matt’s dancing. You can bet they’ll play new single “Get It,” and if you’re lucky, Kim may get up and do her famous booty dance. Anyone who buys New Glow at this event also get a signed poster. — Britt Witt

Earl Sweatshirt headlines the House of Blues on Wednesday
Earl Sweatshirt headlines the House of Blues on Wednesday
Photo by Brick Stowall

Wednesday, April 8

Ariana Grande
THE FORUM
The 5-foot-tall Florida native with the powerful, Mariah Carey–like voice graduated from television actress to pop-music fixture with the success of 2013’s Yours Truly, an impressive first effort produced by music legend Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Her latest release, My Everything, spawned the hits “Love Me Harder” with The Weeknd and “Problem” with Iggy Azalea. Her noticeably sexier image has garnered criticism from some, most notably Bette Midler, who addressed Grande in a 2014 interview with The Telegraph, saying, “You don’t have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead.” Image notwithstanding, Grande’s talent is apparent and undeniable. Grande time and again delivers high-quality live performances that make simultaneous singing and dancing seem effortless. — Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Remy Banks
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
While the novelty of his youth may be fading, now–21-year-old rapper Earl Sweatshirt boasts a six-year-deep discography and a dedicated fan base. Touring to promote his recent release, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, the notoriously angst-ridden Odd Future member channels both MF Doom and doom metal on his mature follow-up to Doris. A refreshing step forward from Earl’s festival-approved set list of the last two years, I Don’t Like Shit blends classic, lyric-heavy, backpack hip-hop with syrupy, droning beats approved by the SoundCloud generation. He’ll be joined by Internet rap’s motley crew of Cutthroat Boyz’s Vince Staples and Remy Banks of World’s Fair. — Lina Abascal

Thursday, April 9

Kimya Dawson, Open Mike Eagle, Pablo Das
THE SMELL
You won’t find a more earnestly uplifting folk singer than Pablo Das, who came out of New York’s anti-folk scene in the mid-’90s and is now a Buddhist teacher who strums punky, stubbornly positive anthems such as “Live a Life You Love.” He often tours with The Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson, whose songs have a sweetly endearing directness. But even over the childlike piano melodies of “All I Could Do,” Dawson drops lyrical bombs about self-destructive behavior and junkie roommates, summoning forth unexpected feelings in just a few disarming phrases. Project Blowed soothsayer Open Mike Eagle also has a way with words on his bleakly optimistic recent album, Dark Comedy, on which he lays down a hypnotic litany of wistful observations on such bittersweet tracks as “Very Much Money (Ice King Dream)” and the coolly eerie “A History of Modern Dance.” — Falling James


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