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

Los Lobos headline the Regent on Cinco de Mayo this Tuesday
Los Lobos headline the Regent on Cinco de Mayo this Tuesday
Photo by Drew Reynolds

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Monday, May 4

Kamasi Washington
THE REGENT THEATER
The good folks at ArtDontSleep have put together yet another amazing lineup, this time featuring innovative Los Angeles jazz giant and bandleader Kamasi Washington. Washington, his band and special guests Dwight Trible, Terrace Martin, Battlecat, arranger/conductor Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and others will perform his new, eagerly awaited album The Epic in its entirety. Slated for a May 5 release on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, the three-volume set features a 20-person choir and 32-piece orchestra. Los Angeles may be most familiar with Washington and his band through their tenures at such venues as Hotel Cafe, the World Stage and Piano Bar, and annual festivals such as Central Avenue Jazz, where they have incorporated experimental elements into their music and tested the boundaries of what qualifies as jazz. Tonight’s show also features a DJ set by Low End Theory’s Daddy Kev. — Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Tuesday, May 5

Upcoming Events

Los Lobos, Phil & Dave Alvin
THE REGENT THEATER
Los Lobos are an L.A. institution, rising through the Slash Records roster and exploding after they soundtracked the immortal Ritchie Valens biopic La Bamba (but let’s not forget their cameos in Sesame Street and The Simpsons, too). Their 2010 album, Tin Can Trust — recorded with local notable Manny Nieto, who has left his mark on many a loud and wild local band — has just been reissued on lavish 180-gram vinyl, which you can consider the proper enshrinement for musicians of their stature. They’ll be joined by Phil and Dave Alvin, immortal roots-rockers (not just an expression, since Phil weathered a scary near-death surgery experience a few years back) performing with the mighty Guilty Ones. It’s all part of a generous Cinco de Mayo benefit for Los Angeles PBS station KLCS. Consider it one institution going to bat for another. — Chris Ziegler

Wednesday, May 6

Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Trollfest
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
Ostensibly at opposite ends of the musical spectrum, folk and heavy metal nonetheless can make oddly compelling bedfellows — especially when laced with rollicking Viking imagery. Topping this triple bill of Scandinavian folk-metal, Finland’s Ensiferum spice battering beats and overdriven guitars with rustic pipes, plucked strings and sore-throated tales of Norse lore and legend to spawn a stylistically far-fetched guilty pleasure. Shirtless and kilted (save for keyboardist Emmi Silvennoinen, absent for this tour), the hirsute quintet’s latest album, February’s One Man Army, epically evokes battlefield heroism and gang-vocal fireside camaraderie. Looking like Lynyrd Skynyrd gone Renaissance Faire, fellow Finns Kor-piklaani are metalized folk rather than vice versa, embroidering party-hearty lyrics with down-home violin and accordion. Beer-dripping Norwegians Trollfest belie a buffoonish veneer with deft romps through countless genres. — Paul Rogers

Esperanza Spalding performs at the El Rey on Thursday
Esperanza Spalding performs at the El Rey on Thursday
Photo by Holly Andres

Thursday, May 7

Shlohmo
FONDA THEATRE
DJ, producer and a founder of the elusive WeDidIt crew, Shlohmo brings his North American live tour to the Fonda Theatre. The Los Angeles native released Dark Red in early April, a moody LP showing his progression from the melancholy tone of his previous Bad Vibes, which was reminiscent of his friends and collaborators Ryan Hemsworth and How to Dress Well. If Shlohmo’s previous releases with Jeremih are the party, then Dark Red is the 4 a.m. afterparty. Expect the trippy minimalism WeDidIt is known for, the macabre tones of Dark Red and the goosebump-inducing intensity of Shlohmo’s live electronic performance. — Lina Abascal

Esperanza Spalding
EL REY THEATRE
Esperanza Spalding can do many different things, and on her current tour of California she’s appearing with several configurations of her various bands. Two weeks ago at Disney Hall, the versatile bassist-singer performed with her classically tinged group, Chamber Music Society, as well as the jazzier Radio Music Society. Tonight she’s launching what she calls Emily’s D+Evolution Tour. And who, exactly, is Emily? “I don’t know yet, all the way,” Spalding admits on her website. Inspired by the Ginger Baker documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, the bassist sees the still-evolving Emily as the leader of a jazzy power trio who’s putting on “sort of” a play with elements of surrealist poetry. Whatever her latest project ends up sounding like, Spalding likely will power it with her intuitively agile bass lines and soulfully playful vocals. — Falling James


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