The Best Concerts To See in L.A. This Week: Nov 19-22
Rachel Yamagata -- See Tuesday
Monday, November 19
Surely there was a moment - a time when it suddenly became not only socially acceptable, but also kind of, well, cool to admit you were a Rush fan. Years on, the Canadian prog-rock titan trio unspooled a whirly-gig of serpentine guitar, synths and sequencers, often serving as the bedrock for wild sci-fi nerdboy narratives. But then, much like Hall and Oates, Rush went from being the band no one admitted they dug to a cult crush only the cool kids really understood. (What's more, now they're even up for admission into the Rock Hall of Fame). Clockwork Angels, their latest album and their current tour's namesake, is as Rush-y as ever: a bloated concept record delving into a dude's Steampunk journey full of pirates and exotic carnivals. Laugh, we do not. It's just Rush being Rush. -Dan Hyman
Tuesday, November 20
Like so many songwriters, Rachael Yamagata describes the ups and downs of romance as a boxing match on her recent EP, Heavyweight. She uses all of her powers of persuasion to soothe an angry lover, couching her entreaties in gentle piano and a wash of orchestrated strings. "There is not a thing here left to break," the Virginia-born singer-pianist advises. "You can take you anger out on me ... I will love you through all your mistakes." Yamagata is quietly disarming, winning by a technical knockout -- not with blind rage but by carefully framing her exposed feelings in stately and sympathetic pop structures. It is that ability to create something out of nothing that has led to Yamagata's endearing collaborations with everyone from Toots & the Maytals and Ryan Adams to Bright Eyes and the Muppets. -- Falling James
Young vocalist Natasha Agrama comes from a fertile musical bloodline: Her father is legendary jazz bassist Stanley Clarke (Return To Forever). Over the past couple years, Agrama has been cutting her teeth at L.A. clubs like 2nd Street Jazz and a Sunday brunch at Elderberries in Hollywood. Tonight she takes a major step up, fronting a solid young group at Little Tokyo's popular Blue Whale, backed by Nick Mancini on vibes, Louis Cole on drums, and Santa Monica piano wiz kid Austin Peralta. The evening's bassist is a "special mystery guest" - and a quick check of Dad's tour schedule suggests he's likely in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. You figure it out. - Tom Meek
Wednesday, November 21
DJ Quik featuring Suga Free, Too Short, and Tha Dogg Pound
A colossal constituent of West Coast hip hop, the multi-talented DJ Quik achieved unlikely prevalence in 1991 with his memorable debut Quik Is the Name. A self- taught deejay, rapper, producer and engineer, the Compton native generated a bevy of such decade-defining hits as "Tonite," "Hand in Hand," "Pitch In On a Party," and "Down, Down, Down" - all of which continue to receive heavy rotation in today's national urban radio format. His signature synth-laden production style can be heard on an array of classic hip-hop albums, including Tupac's All Eyez On Me and Jay-Z's The Black Album. Tonight's show features fellow West Coast rap legends and long-time collaborators Suga Free, Too $hort, and Tha Dogg Pound. - Jacqueline Michael Whatley
See also: Top 20 L.A. Rap Albums
Deftones, Scars on Broadway
Authors of alt-metal's high-water mark, 2000's White Pony, Sacramento's Deftones promptly lost focus on their namesake follow-up. But, perhaps galvanized by bassist Chi Cheng's catastrophic '08 car accident (Cheng remains in a partially conscious state, his role temporarily filled by Quicksand's Sergio Vega), the band rediscovered its nuanced sonic alchemy with Diamond Eyes two years ago and on newbie Koi No Yokan. Like all of Deftones' most resonant work, these records suggest rather than spell out. Vocalist Chino Moreno almost sleep-mutters his way through their mellower moments, but convulses into disarmingly lucid (if oft lyrically unintelligible) emotional bloodletting when a riff demands it. Scars on Broadway, the solo expression of System of a Down guitarist Daron Malakian, echoes that band's impish exotica, only with more massaged dynamics and wafts of Beatles-like melody. -- Paul Rogers
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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