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

Willis Earl Beal plays the Echo on Tuesday
Willis Earl Beal plays the Echo on Tuesday
Courtesy of XL Recordings

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, April 20

Problem
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
The rapper originally known as Jason Martin was born in Germany, but he was raised in Compton, and his worldview is largely inspired by life in L.A., where he got his start by hustling the streets. As he boasts on the autobiographical “Understand Me,” he’s mainly interested in partying and chasing hoes — but for all his bravado about money and drugs, Problem also makes incisive observations about race relations and ghetto life in tracks such as “Watch ’Em Die.” His music slinks with a hypnotic insistence, and he’s such a striking presence that he’s been invited to collaborate with Snoop Dogg, E-40, Wiz Khalifa and even John Legend. As Problem modestly declares, “Every time you see me, I be on.” — Falling James

Tuesday, April 21

Upcoming Events

Nosaj Thing, Clark
EL REY THEATRE
"Don’t Mind Me,” the latest track from Nosaj Thing, opens with a warped melody, vocals pitched up to chipmunk weirdness, and little noises reminiscent of dust riding on a record groove. It is everything that’s secretly cool about vinyl, trapped in one dreamlike track. Nosaj Thing’s talent lies in taking elements that shouldn’t work and twisting them into unconventionally beautiful productions. The local producer heads home for a tour stop with co-headliner Clark, whose self-titled full-length dropped via Warp Records last month. Clark’s eclecticism is his strength; he can mash together seemingly disparate ideas with such grace and energy that one track will feel like an entire night on the dance floor. D Tiberio and DJ Mapi round out this lineup of forward-minded electronic artists. — Liz Ohanesian

Willis Earl Beal
THE ECHO
You can never tell where Willis Earl Beal might be going next. On early album Acousmatic Sorcery, he came off as stark and raw as Son House. On his newest, Noctunes (available from Pomona-based label Electric Soul), he’s singing softly and soulfully over a barely-there, Vangelis-style synthscape. In between, he signed to a sublabel of powerhouse XL Recordings, left that sublabel, appeared in a film and decamped to Washington state, the latest move in a life that has seen Beal zig-zag from the Army to the hospital to the streets to even the tryouts for The X Factor. Obviously, then, this is a man in pursuit of something, and willing to go wherever he needs to go to find it. — Chris Ziegler

Wednesday, April 22

Faith No More
THE WILTERN
With the knuckle-dragging nu-metal mutant it inadvertently helped birth reduced to an embarrassing memory, Faith No More’s genre-blending brilliance is once again ripe for appreciation. Though lazily lumped in with L.A.’s Red Hot Chili Peppers in their early-’90s commercial heyday, these recently reunited San Franciscans were always a postpunk (rather than funk-rock) band at heart, and they return to their gritty, throbbing beginnings with “Motherfucker” and “Superman,” teaser singles from the quintet’s first new album in 18 years, Sol Invictus (due in May). Crucially, FNM frontman Mike Patton’s ludicrously versatile voice — which has influenced the mega-selling likes of Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Incubus’ Brandon Boyd — remains as intriguing as ever, continuing to massage the band’s ominous, uncompromising instrumental heft into memorable sing-along material. Also Thursday and Friday, April 23-24. — Paul Rogers

Thursday, April 23

Rumer
MASONIC LODGE AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER
“People can stab you in the back, right out of the blue,” Rumer confides on the song “You Just Don’t Know People.” But her voice is so lulling, the warning feels more comforting than strident. The British singer coos with an easygoing melodicism that often evokes Karen Carpenter, but Rumer also exudes a jazzily soulful dexterity that’s all her own. Identity is a recurring theme in her songs, as the Pakistan native was raised by British parents but didn’t find out until later in life that her real father was a Pakistani cook. She reportedly has bipolar disorder, but Rumer somehow manages to take the mystery and confusion of her early life, coupled with the pressures of the British pop industry, and turn them into gloriously satisfying and romantic ballads. — Falling James


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