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

Saul Williams plays the Roxy on Monday
Saul Williams plays the Roxy on Monday
Photo by Geordie Wood

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, April 27

Saul Williams
THE ROXY
Saul Williams belies the notion that poetry is supposed to be pretty and escapist. Instead, the New York performer uses the bold, fearless power of spoken word to pump up his musical collaborations on such albums as 2003’s politically defiant Not in My Name, on which he remade the Pledge of Allegiance into an anti-racist, anti-war prayer for social justice. Williams got even deeper and heavier on 2007’s The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust!, an ominously propulsive collaboration with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, which found the poet blowing up U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and finding new relevance in the sonic rubble. Williams doesn’t appear to be mellowing out on his upcoming fifth album, Martyr Loser Kingdom. On the advance track “These Mthrfckrs,” he rails against the government, the banking industry, war and environmental destruction in a fiery call to arms. — Falling James

Tuesday, April 28

John Reilly & Friends
LARGO AT THE CORONET
We all know John C. Reilly as that likable actor in a million movies, from Boogie Nights to Chicago to the title role in the almighty Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Reilly’s also a musical multitalent adept at the fine old art of singing and playing American roots songs, spirituals and country standards. Fresh off a performance at the venerable Newport Folk Festival, Reilly keeps the flame burning for the old-tyme stuff in these shows with his buds Becky Stark of The Living Sisters and Lavender Diamond, a melodic force of nature and joyfully ethereal soul, and crystal-voiced singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau. Tonight they’re joined in close harmony by multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, who brings his own quirky character to the Friends’ trad country, folk originals and moldy oldies. — John Payne

Mastodon headline the Palladium on Wednesday
Mastodon headline the Palladium on Wednesday
Courtesy of Reprise Records

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 29

Mastodon, Clutch
HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM
Hard rockers who prefer their bands to be burly and bearded rejoiced when this show was announced. On 2014’s Once More ’Round the Sun, Mastodon continued to evolve their massive, psychedelic-tinged sludge-metal into a wicked brew with some prog-rock touches boiling over. Throughout their 15-year existence, the Atlanta quartet have weaved ambitious, metallic tales that range from a retelling of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to a mountain-climbing journey in search of crystal skulls. In the end, however, Mastodon’s sound still appeals more to fans of Motörhead than of Rush. D.C. rockers Clutch make a perfect touring mate for them, having built a 20-year career out of weaving their own heady lyrics about science fiction and conspiracy theories around some of the heaviest and catchiest blues-rock to be found, most recently on 2013’s Earth Rocker. — Jason Roche

The Orb
EL REY THEATRE
With “Little Fluffy Clouds,” released in 1990 and based on a sample of a Rickie Lee Jones interview, The Orb gave the nascent rave scene a sense of imagery. To this day, electronic dance music seems to go hand-in-hand with big, star-filled desert skies, sunset-colored lights and the dreamy ecstasy that goes along with cloud-watching. In the 25 years that followed, Alex Paterson and his host of collaborators, most notably Thomas Fehlmann, have been champions of the chill-out room. The recently released box set, History of the Future Part 2, compiles years of predawn jams packed with quirky samples, minimal-minded beats and ambient moments that keep the mood going when your head still wants to party but your feet just can’t hang. — Liz Ohanesian

Thursday, April 30

Sleater-Kinney
HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM
The three members of Sleater-Kinney all kept busy after the group broke up in 2006. Drummer Janet Weiss was in demand with such groups as Quasi, Wild Flag and Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. Guitarist Carrie Brownstein also played with Weiss in Wild Flag but gained far more attention for co-creating and co-starring in the TV series Portlandia. Lead singer Corin Tucker had another child and released two solo albums, which were relatively personal and inward-looking compared with Sleater-Kinney’s more inspirational and occasionally political anthems. Tucker’s soulfully fierce vocals distinguish Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love, the group’s first new release in 10 years. As Weiss and Brownstein kick up a postpunk racket of jagged guitars and punk-funk rhythms, Tucker belies such lyrics as “I made a ritual of emptiness” by filling the spaces with her passionately energetic singing. Also Friday, May 1. — Falling James


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