The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
Photo Courtesy of DeckstarThem Jeans -- See Friday
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Friday, August 16
Leave it to James Murphy to dig up the Herb Alpert deep cuts, and to kick off a mix with a song that sounds like something Daft Punk has in a secret bunker but which is really from the swinging bandleader who made Whipped Cream and Other Delights, a classic LP available at every thrift store in the U.S.A. Now that Murphy has triumphantly concluded the LCD Soundsystem era, he's developing into one of those worldly-wise guys who makes magic behind the scenes --producing, designing sound systems, drinking coffee, etc. He's still at center stage when he DJs, however, playing all the records that prove he'll never lose his sonic-connoisseur edge. Behold as he mixes Alpert, Woolfy, Laid Back and other, better stuff we can't even think of at this Club Called Rhonda-presented Rhondavous event. --Chris Ziegler
Echo Park Rising 2013 Kickoff Party With Them Jeans, et al.
Them Jeans knows not just the sounds of summer but also the sounds that work all year around, all across the globe. The multitasking DJ, producer, remixer, podcast presenter, promoter, graphic designer and foodie also curates and promotes Dim Mak Tuesdays and has managed to sustain that night's trendiness and fun factor for a lot longer than weeklies have a right to. Them Jeans' aptly titled Summer 2013 Mix (available on his Soundcloud page) keeps the atmosphere balmy and the sunshine mood going well into months ending with "-ber." A blend of shuffling house rhythms, soulful vocal inflections, funky vibes and feel-good energy, the tidy mix features Daft Punk, Disclosure, Boys Noize, Simian Mobile Disco and Fleetwood Mac getting along like the best of friends, thus making it the perfect soundtrack to tonight's community-centric event at the Echoplex. --Lily Moayeri
Saturday, August 17
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, The Original Lakeside, Confunkshun, Slave, JoJo
While the magnificent, mutated overlord George Clinton and his groove-mongering, untamed Parliament-Funkadelic shock troupe shall forever top the celestial order of funk deities, there's still a wild horde of bass string-bending acolytes who just won't quit, and this whiz-bang Funk Fest has snared quite an impressive gaggle of them. You get the syncopated sizzle of underappreciated Oregon funk paragons Slave and the sinuous, strutting vocals of Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie, the original lead singer for the Rick James, er, mentored, Mary Jane Girls and a gal who definitely puts the Real Badass back into R&B. Expect plenty of lowdown California-style funk razzle-dazzle from both the bangin' Bay Area veterans Confunkshun and Buckeye state-bred, Hollywood-informed Lakeside, whose extravagantly ebullient "Fantastic Voyage" was a No. 1 R&B hit in 1980. Semper Funkdelis. --Jonny Whiteside
Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age find themselves at an interesting crossroads on their sixth album, Like Clockwork. Even as drummer Joey Castillo was leaving the band midway through the sessions (and was replaced on much of the recording by Dave Grohl), former bassist Nick Oliveri returned, albeit briefly, to sing backup vocals on a couple of songs. In addition to the overly ubiquitous Grohl, guest stars include frequent collaborator Mark Lanegan, Trent Reznor and even Elton John, who reportedly told bandleader Josh Homme that the Queens should collaborate with "an actual queen." Meanwhile, QOTSA's heavy, grungy, hard rock continues to unfold in unexpectedly psychedelic and even glam-pop directions on elegantly swirling tunes like "Fairweather Friend." --Falling James
The annual H²0 Festival brings together pop, hip-hop and Latin musicians in a semi-bucolic outdoor setting downtown. This year's edition is headlined by Miami rapper Pitbull, whose most recent album, despite being titled Global Warming, is more of a collection of escapist party anthems than anything especially socially conscious. Veteran hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest mix a little more depth into their spacey and jazzy slices of New York street life, such as "Can I Kick It?," which updates Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" for a different, more modern era. Atlanta rapper Big Boi also is on hand, reminding us all once again that he was just as crucial a part of blurrily intense OutKast classics like "Bombs Over Baghdad" as André 3000. The fest also includes the delightful local band La Santa Cecilia, who imaginatively blend traditional cumbia with refreshing twists of rock, folk and even new wave. --Falling James
Sound with Aaron Dilloway, Jason Lescalleet, John Wiese
L.A.'s most valuable source for genuinely alternative music is called the Society for the Activation of Social Space Through Art and Sound (SASSAS). Its long-running sound series offers inventively curated events featuring artists working in the outer realms of the sonic experience, including tonight's batch of groundbreaking (and soon to be not so obscure) experimental/noise practitioners. In their first L.A. performance together will be the critically hailed electro-acoustic duo Aaron Dilloway and Jason Lescalleet. Dilloway is a tape/electronic composer-improviser and founding member of Wolf Eyes; Lescalleet specializes in contemporary composition, minimal electronics and uh, straight-up noise. Opening is L.A.-based John Wiese, founding member of the "concrète grindcore" combo Sissy Spacek. The event takes place at a new space called 356 S. Mission Road, located at ... you get the picture. --John Payne
Sunday, August 18
I See Hawks in L.A.
To say that I See Hawks in L.A. traipse down a going-their-own-way path through that old folky Americana and classic California country-rock thing doesn't quite begin to describe the sheer scope of this band's wiiiide-open vision. The short version is, they're adding much-needed musical and lyrical complexity to the old forms, blending and stretching both emotional and sonic terrain to thrillingly new and unfamiliar points beyond. Hear it for yourself to best effect yet on the band's new Mystery Drug, another wickedly surreal blast of psychedelicized country and rock and poetic honky-tonk chops courtesy of band founders Rob Waller and Paul and Anthony Lacques (sensational instrumentalists all), along with a cred-heavy bunch of guest players who've plied their wares with the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris and Hazel & Alice. --John Payne
Johnny Ramone Tribute
These annual tributes to the late Johnny Ramone have taken on a curiously persistent life of their own since the Ramones guitarist died from cancer in 2004. You could say that his gruff energy has been reincarnated into new forms, like a flower sprouting from a grave, except that: (1) unlike his pal Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny isn't actually buried at Hollywood Forever (although his lifelike statue presides forebodingly over the cemetery), and (2) such hippie-ish sentiments likely would be met with a withering stare from Johnny, not to mention a purifying and deafening blast of distortion from one of his iconic power chords. No, the longtime B-movie and horror fan Johnny Ramone probably would prefer to compare the ongoing popularity of these tribute gatherings with something more along the lines of zombies rising from the dead. Each year features surprise guests and a screening of one of Ramone's favorite flicks, and this year's ninth edition could be one of the most special yet, with host John Waters irreverently presiding over a screening of his own Cry-Baby. Waters will be joined by one of the film's stars, Traci Lords, along with such guests as the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, who'll judge a Ramones look-alike contest. --Falling James
That's not your cellphone, it's the polyphonic, ringtone-like chimes of A Long Way to Fall, the fourth album from Ulrich Schnauss. What sets this German producer apart from similarly intelligent dance-music cohorts is the warm elegance of his compositions, which softens the angular edges of his minimalist style. Echoing synthesizers provide delicate string arrangements, which Schnauss keeps free of vocals. These tracks don't need them. "Lush" and "dreamy" are the defining adjectives of electro-shoegaze tracks "Her and the Sea" and "Like a Ghost in Your Own Life." Schnauss speeds up the BPMs on "Ten Years" and "The Weight of Darkening Skies," venturing into drum & bass-lite territory. Tempo changes escalate to a frenzied pitch on album closer "A Ritual in Time and Death." Sparse though the elements may be, Schnauss keeps your attention. --Lily Moayeri
Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar
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