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

Gavin Turek -- See Friday
Gavin Turek -- See Friday

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

Friday, September 6

Anticon 15th-Anniversary Party featuring Baths, Daedelus, Doseone, et al.


Tip your hat to 15 years of Anticon greatness: The label/collective founded by Oakland's Adam "Doseone" Drucker has championed much of the best in the outsider-rap scene, genre-melting art rock and strange-pop, advanced-guard electronic sound-art and all points in between and beyond. Tonight's anniversary party includes L.A.'s Baths-- producer/artist/channeler of beat-driven orchestral meltdowns disguised as thumping pop ditties, whose Anticon debut, Cerulean, was the dream-glitch trophy taker of 2010. Daedelus is an undisputed big daddy of the L.A. electronic scene, a prodigiously gifted composer/tech wrangler whose innovations in the new-sound artscape transcend all genre tags. Anticon favorites Why?, Serengeti, Odd Nosdam and more add their own provocative POVs to the mix. --John Payne

See also: 15 Weird Years of Anticon Records

Gavin Turek


Following a successful residency at The Bootleg earlier this year, Gavin Turek returns to the venue for the release party for The Break-Up Tape EP. These three new tracks take the broken heart of the break-up and replace it with the inspiration to just dance the pain away. The uninhibited disco vigor of these concept songs is a delicious blast from the past, with the synth ballads showing off Turek's Giorgio Moroder influence and spunky independent woman persona. Synthesizing smart lyrics and a charged stage persona evocative of Tina Turner, Turek is a force impossible not to orbit. She also has collaborations with Com Truise and beat-scene favorite Tokimonsta under her belt. What we're saying here is that you should wear your dancing shoes. --Britt Witt

Saturday, September 7

The Cult


With its third album, 1987's Electric, The Cult buried its goth roots (as Death Cult) and made hard rock grittily relevant again in an era when "metal" meant Bon Jovi and Europe. On its current tour, the band is performing this recently re-released breakthrough record in its entirety, plus a second set culled from its 30-year career. Produced by Rick Rubin, then previously known for his work with Slayer and The Beastie Boys, Electric is a triumph of bare-bones beats, organic tones and AC/DC-esque riffs made sexy by Ian Astbury's escapist, wide-open-spaces wail. Though only half of the quartet that recorded it (co-writers Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy) remains, Electric's songcraft and sense of stylistic purpose, personified by singles "Wild Flower" and "Lil' Devil," retain a mainlined, head-bangin' immediacy seldom heard since. (Also at the House of Blues on Sunday, Sept. 8.) --Paul Rogers

Desert Stars Festival


Summer's starting to wind down around the Southland, but out in the Mojave, it's still intensely and palpably hot. Thus, the good folks at Pappy & Harriet's are celebrating the season with the debut of a new outdoor music gathering. The aptly named Desert Stars Festival rises from the ashes of the Clean Air Clear Stars Festival, which was last held in this Morongo Basin outpost in 2011. The free party kicks off on Friday and culminates today with performers including Sky Parade and Asteroid No. 4, whose very names encapsulate the uniquely freaky experience of hearing music far from the city under a dense, glittery tapestry of starlight. The psychedelic mood is further heightened via offerings from such overtly trippy bands as The Spyrals and The Hallucinations, and the later evening includes diverse wonders like The Strangers Family Band, The Shine Brothers (featuring Black Angels' Nate Ryan) and the dark cabaret styling of Bauhaus bassist David J. (Also Friday, Sept. 6.) --Falling James


Rock the Bells featuring Wu-Tang Clan, Jurassic 5, et al.


Established by Guerilla Union founder Chang Weisberg, the wildly successful Rock the Bells festival has brought some of hip-hop's most storied and respected acts, past and present, to Los Angeles, San Francisco, D.C. and New York audiences for the past decade. Headlining 2013's 10th-anniversary festival are the legendary Wu-Tang Clan and Jurassic 5, as well as illustrious newcomers Kendrick Lamar and Black Hippy, J. Cole, and Harlem's own A$AP Rocky with his A$AP Mob. Confirmed appearances include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Common, KRS-One, Freeway, Dom Kennedy, Juicy J, E-40, Too $hort, Talib Kweli, Slick Rick & Doug E. Fresh and Rakim. Original virtual performances by late rap legends ODB and Eazy-E also are scheduled. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Sunday, September 7

Murder by Death


It's really a pity that Murder by Death never soundtracked the HBO cult gem Deadwood, because the moody quintet would have been perfect for the job -- and not just because their songs sound like bar ballads co-written by Jesse James and Snidely Whiplash. Throughout the Indiana group's 13-year, six-album history, Murder by Death have crafted a theatrical career out of singer Adam Turla's Wild West bark, an insightful lyrical bite and the bittersweet aftertaste of their dark, orchestral melodies. Both sinners and saints come to life in the band's full-bodied, sing-along stories, and recurring topics like alcohol, betrayal, the devil inside and the actual horns-and-hell devil himself have grown more evocative as the band matures. If their most recent album, 2012's Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, is any indication, Murder by Death's good-versus-evil battles long ago transcended black-and-white simplicity, instead delving headfirst into the murky intrigue that exists in the gray area. --Kelsey Whipple

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

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