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

California Wives -- See Saturday
California Wives -- See Saturday

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Friday, July 19

The Burning of Rome, Okapi Sun

LOS GLOBOS

Much like the Roman Empire itself, The Burning of Rome are all over the map, extending their reach far beyond music's usual borders. The San Diego band have a grand, ambitious sound as encompassed in the rolling thunder of "Little Piranhas," a stirring anthem set in a spaghetti Western neverland, and "Ballad of an Onion Sprout," which comes off like T. Rex covering Arcade Fire. The group shift gears yet again on "Cowboys & Cut Cigars," a metallic rocker with hard grunge riffs and such modest lyrical declarations as "I'm bigger than Led Zeppelin." Given The Burning of Rome's aptitude with a dizzying variety of styles, from the eerie goth-cabaret chanson "Norman Bates" to the arty, demented circus waltz "Island," it's not such an idle boast. They're paired tonight with Okapi Sun, another intriguing new band from San Diego, which features alt-rock/garage diva Maren Parusel venturing in a bright and shiny new electropop direction. --Falling James

Young and Wild Weekender

THE OBSERVATORY

L.A.'s truly independent Wild Records is the heart and soul at the center of the most annihilating rock & roll this side of the San Andreas Fault, and if they do a two-day label party down in Orange County, well, guess that means you better book a hotel room in Orange County. With a lineup lit up by fire-starting soulette Gizzelle, the ferocious Omar & the Stringpoppers, the untamable maniac Luis Wildfire and mod-punk-soul-trash smashers like Black Mambas, The Hurricanes and Don Juan y Los Blancos, there is no better occasion for abrasion than the Young and Wild Weekender. If you've been wishing they still made bands like The Sonics, Thee Midniters or Thee Milkshakes, this is where they keep them. It'll be 48 solid hours of in-the-red '50s/'60s/'70s insanity, with booze and BBQ to chase. (Continues Sat., July 20.) --Chris Ziegler

Fanfare Ciocarlia

GRAND PERFORMANCES AT CALIFORNIA PLAZA

Straight outta the village of Zece Prăjini in northeastern Romania comes a Roma (Gypsy) jazz brass band to the 40th power. More than just a happy-happy oompah-oompah crew, Fanfare Ciocarlia bring to life wild scenes of Gypsy parties in hair-raisingly athletic trumpet/tuba/baritone horn/drum assaults on traditional dance tunes from Romania (plus some rad takes on Hollywood and Bollywood), all fired up with devilishly dense polyrhythms from Turkey, Bulgaria and Macedonia. Fanfare Ciocarlia are legendary on their home turf, having been sampled, revered and copied by several DJs, bands and other Gypsy orchestras. The group's breakneck speed, deftly punky thump and distinctively tart and sweet brass blasts can be heard in their cover of "Born to Be Wild" for the film Borat.--John Payne

Saturday, July 20

California Wives

BOOTLEG BAR

California Wives are neither wives nor are they from California. It seems the Chicago-based quintet does have the Golden State (and perhaps California girls?) on its collective mind, however, as the group's debut album, Art History, is full of breezy, Pacific Ocean-perfumed pop. As such, the involuntary side-to-side head bob gets going the second Art History has its bubbly start. From the jangles of "Fisher King" to the exuberant "Purple" to the sparkles of "Los Angeles" and the quirky "Photolights," the Wives oscillate subtly between warm electronics and nostalgic, beach-y hum-alongs. The guitars are by turns shimmering and fuzzy, bringing with them all the good times the Wives sound like they're having. There isn't much of a sonic shift on Art History, but why mess with a good time? --Lily Moayeri

The Dillinger Escape Plan

HOUSE OF BLUES, SUNSET STRIP

The last time Summer Slaughter headliners The Dillinger Escape Plan performed in Los Angeles, they were on the undercard of Revolver magazine's Golden Gods Awards, headlined by Metallica. What ensued during the band's set left the mouths of slack-jawed people in Metallica T-shirts open in astonishment and confusion. Performing songs from their new album, One of Us Is the Killer, Dillinger Escape Plan's set that evening saw lead vocalist Greg Puciato busting himself open and bleeding all over the stage two minutes into their set, leaping 14 feet straight down from the top of a speaker cabinet, blowing fire directly toward the face of the band's drummer, and generally destroying any pieces of the staging he could get his hands on while the band's Faith No More-on-steroids and meth sound tortured the ears of the Metallica fans. It was one of the more boring Dillinger Escape Plan sets we have seen. --Jason Roche

 

Sunday, July 21

In Dying Arms

COBALT CAFE

In Dying Arms' story is one broadly shared by many a deathcore outfit: multiple lineup changes; the struggle to outgrow the underground; already on their second indie label in three years. So it's the Baltimore band's flickers of post-hardcore-ish free thinking that might mark them for survival in such an oversaturated, sonically regimented genre. IDA's instruments mostly evoke angry, malfunctioning machines, sputtering and bludgeoning beneath Orion Stephens' triple-threat utterances (voice-of-the-abyss gurgling, nightmarishly spiteful screeching and contemplative adolescent crooning). Yet among the twin guitars' predictable chugging are welcome melodic, harmonized, proggy and straight-ahead-metal-y glimpses and flinches, which suggest that -- if this sort of singlemindedness were embraced across the whole band -- In Dying Arms might yet escape the, well, arms of a dying scene. --Paul Rogers

Tony Allen with Najite and the Olokun Prophecy

MAYAN THEATRE

Who can truthfully claim they have invented something important? Add to that short list Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, who in the 1970s, with singer Fela Kuti, invented a new genre of music and then coined the term "Afrobeat" to describe it. Combining jazz and James Brown-inspired groove with political undertones echoing the reggae of Bob Marley, Afrobeat became a worldwide sensation, influencing artists including Paul Simon, David Byrne and Brian Eno; the latter called Allen "perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived." For this tribute to the late Fela Kuti, Allen teams up with Kuti's godson, fellow Nigerian percussionist Najite Agindotan, a longtime resident of L.A., who has played with local jazz legends Horace Tapscott and Billy Higgins. Don't miss this rare chance to see an original pioneer of a global music phenomenon. --Gary Fukushima

Pink Martini

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

This merry little jazz-pop orchestra from Portland, Ore., has undergone some strange changes over the past few years. Beloved lead chanteuse China Forbes has been mostly out of sight while recovering from surgery to her vocal cords. Surprisingly, the rest of the group has carried on without her, working with the charismatic bundle of contradictions known as vocalist Storm Large. And while it might seem impossible to imagine Pink Martini without Forbes, Large -- a former contestant on Rock Star: Supernova who us otherwise best known for her bawdy, classic-rock mash-ups with Storm & the Balls -- has convincingly managed to put her own spin on the band's breezy lounge tunes. Interestingly, now that Forbes has finally recovered and is performing again, Pink Martini offers the best of both worlds, touring this summer with Forbes and Large sharing vocal duties. Also Fri.-Sat., July 19-20. --Falling James

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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