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

Dan Deacon -- See Friday
Dan Deacon -- See Friday

Friday, April 5

Vum, Esben and the Witch

THE BOOTLEG

There's plenty of the spirit of New York synth-punk pioneers Suicide in minimal L.A. synth-wave trio Vum on their new single "I Will Return" -- and is that song title a promise or a threat? This is menacing stuff, built on bare-bones electronic beats, with the kind of waves of noise and echo that deep dub divers like Lee Perry and Keith Hudson used to make their music sound positively alien. Here, Jennifer Pearl sings like the last person alive, while keyboardist Chris Badger and drummer Scott Spaulding work on making both sky and earth shake. Call it music for people who see all too well in the dark. They're opening for Esben and the Witch, who bring a lot more light to this night with Stereolab-ian aplomb and Sonic Youth-ian guitar discord. --Chris Ziegler

Dan Deacon, Japanther

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Dan Deacon's purée of populist psycho scream sound squash is some of the most sophisticated detritus you'll hear this year or, most likely, any other. The Baltimore brainiac's 2012 America record further refines Deacon's schizoid assaults on hip-shakin' dance jams and fist-pumpin' arty rock & roll, even as it ponders weightier themes. Brooklyn veterans Japanther are electric punk rock as performance/installation art, an intellectualized but supremely thrashing noise aggregate whose work was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and the 2011 Venice Biennale. They specialize in unusual performance situations, such as playing atop the Williamsburg Bridge or in the back of a moving truck in SoHo, so they ought to feel right at home among the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum's First Friday event. Also appearing is DJ Anthony Valadez, featuring Kisses. --John Payne

George Clinton, The Bar-Kays

MORONGO CASINO

A gaming casino out in the desert might not be the first place one would go to find the funk, but tonight Parliament-Funkadelic maestro George Clinton transmogrifies Cabazon into the center of the funk universe. It's not like the insidiously danceable music doesn't travel well; Clinton has already taken the funk to outer space and back on his interstellar and overdriven 1975 Parliament opus Mothership Connection. This supple but tight, kinky and freaky form of mind-twisting psychedelic music is highly mutable and adaptable to any climate and environment, much like Clinton himself, who keeps on keepin' on with ever-changing (but always high-level) variations of his P-Funk All-Stars. Supremely groovy Stax Records legends The Bar-Kays have had almost as many incarnations as P-Funk, reconfiguring themselves after a tragic 1967 plane crash (which killed several founding members along with soul great Otis Redding) and going on to work with Isaac Hayes. --Falling James

Saturday, April 6

Clint Mansell

THE ORPHEUM

One of the more tuned-in film composers of recent vintage is Clint Mansell, a longtime Darren Aronofsky collaborator who has plied a singular gift for the near-evanescent sonic touch in his evocative scores for films such as Black Swan, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream and Pi. A former member of British electronic band Pop Will Eat Itself, Mansell has developed a distinctively suggestive scoring style, characterized by minimal melodies and darkly burnished ambience. His music actually plays like a central character in the films, an effect experienced in director Park Chan-wook's recent Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. (The Stoker soundtrack and other Mansell scores are available via the venerable Milan Records label.) Accompanied tonight by a nine-piece band, Mansell performs selections from Stoker and others from his film-score repertoire. --John Payne

The Three O'Clock

THE GLASS HOUSE

Singer-bassist Michael Quercio has always been in and out of time, simultaneously ahead of and yet curiously behind popular trends, which makes this out-of-the-blue reunion of his early-'80s power-pop band The Three O'Clock such a potentially wonderful surprise. Not only was Quercio a central figure in L.A.'s ephemerally magical Paisley Underground, he coined the term, sharing a love of '60s pop with such colleagues as The Bangles and Rain Parade and yet sounding modern enough to score KROQ hits with yearning, exhilarating anthems like "Jet Fighter." Speaking of paisley, The Three O'Clock made a big impression on Prince, who wrote a song for them and signed them to his not-so-coincidentally-titled Paisley Park label. They actually started out in 1981 as The Salvation Army -- with Quercio keening defiantly pretty melodies at a time when the rest of the punks were moving into violent, guttural hardcore -- but had to change to The Three O'Clock when a previously established organization of semi-militant panhandlers objected to the use of its name. --Falling James

Clarence Carter

HOLLYWOOD PARK CASINO

Clarence Carter, one of the last, true fine Deep Southern soul singers still actively working, is a force to be reckoned with. The blind, brilliant, Alabama-born Carter, noted for throbbing late-'60s classic Top 5 R&B hits "Slip Away" and "Too Weak to Fight," has been steaming, nonstop, through American culture for almost 50 years. Despite those significant successes, he has never gained the mainstream acceptance he definitely deserves. Carter also ran a devastatingly effective mid-'80s stealth campaign with jukebox staple "Strokin'," a down-and-dirty grinder way too hot for the airwaves that is still spinning, coast to coast, in your better ghetto lounges and taverns. Billed here with local R&B/funk priestess Sueann Carwell and raunchy, live-wire stand-up gal Hope Flood, this is one rich 'n' tangy soul tsunami. --Jonny Whiteside

Sunday, April 7

L.A. Psych Fest

Bootleg Theater

This all-day event will be the year's best opportunity to help your ears open up their third eyes. There is plenty of variety here, as the 15 bands performing represent equal amounts freakout and chillout. Headliners Acid Mothers Temple expertly weld loud, '70s-style psychedelic rock and drone to take listeners on a trip that would cause acid flashbacks even in straight-edge kids. Lumerians are relative newcomers from the Bay Area but evoke jazzy Krautrock from decades ago as their source of inspiration. L.A. will be well represented by the Americana rock-infused sounds of Jeffertitti's Nile and the thrashy skater-punk of The Shrine. The day will be full of righteous experiences for you to explore. Just be careful to not go all Syd Barrett on us. --Jason Roche

Endless Boogie

THE ECHO

The indestructible Endless Boogie was born out of Beefheart, Can, The Velvet Underground's famous "guitar amp tape" bootleg and every single part of the Stooges, including the freak-outs, the burn-outs, the bum-outs, the blow-outs, the babble-ons and the get-the-fuck-outs. Basically, if it ruined some kid's conception of reality circa 1973, it lives on via E. Boogie, whose newest album, Long Island, is basically breakfast, lunch and dinner for me. My personal ripper, "General Admission," sounds like the collaboration Dicks bellower Gary Floyd and The Stooges' Ron Asheton should have done together, but there are rippers aplenty. In fact, they probably could have called the band Endless Rippers, but that would have kept them from doing the slo-mo riff-outs at which they also excel; so again, I credit them for knowing exactly what they're doing at all times. --Chris Ziegler

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