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

Trixie Whitley
Trixie Whitley

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

Friday, May 31

Trixie Whitley

TROUBADOUR

Upcoming Events

As the daughter of country rock & blues musician Chris Whitley and the vocalist for Daniel Lanois' Black Dub project, Trixie Whitley pairs a youthful yet worldly outlook with big-lunged capabilities. Her debut solo album, Fourth Corner, showcases thick and rich vocal acrobatics, and features Whitley changing musical styles as often as she changes keys. Whether it's torch-song blues on "Never Enough" or rock-tinged blues on "Irene" (which is perfectly punctured by trip hop breakbeats), there is an inventive edge to Whitley's take on each genre. "Morelia" and "Oh, the Joy" set her voice to an R&B channel, with only hollow guitar strumming, classic organs and strings accompanying the crowd-pleasing ballads. No matter the style, Whitley maintains an inherently retro element that's guided by the supple voice that holds her music together. --Lily Moayeri

Tijuana Panthers

CENTER FOR THE ARTS, EAGLE ROCK

If "beach punk" is a thing now, Long Beach's Tijuana Panthers are something like ... "old-school beach punk." The group is a modern match for the Posh Boy bands of the late '70s who pulled California punk closer to pop music than any artist before had. But the Panthers' brand-new LP, Semi-Sweet, finds the group exercising the rest of their record collections, as songs like "Father Figure" and "Above Your Means" pull in as much from off-center art-rockers like The Clean or The Urinals as they do from the Panthers' forebears ... or, forefelines? Semi-Sweet was almost released as The Best of the Tijuana Panthers; although humbler impulses prevailed, you can understand where the idea came from -- it's an album that sounds like it was sorted from a hundred unheard hits. The indefatigable and excellent Wounded Lion and Dirt Dress both open. --Chris Ziegler

See also: FYF Preview: Drinking Tequila With Tijuana Panthers

Earth Wake

HOUSE OF BLUES VOODOO LOUNGE

Sometimes, a voice hits you in that just-right place where you want to sing along and cry and smile and cheer all at once. That's the effect of the vocal stylings of Dylan James Byrne, a product of the SoCal earth/crunch crowd and a bona fide rock star in the making. Or maybe already made. With Earth Wake, Byrne plays alongside his sister Chloe and multi-instrumentalist Branden Stroup on a cheery barrage of good-vibe folk-funk jams that often break down into improvised beatboxing interludes and crowd sing-alongs. The vibe is loose and groovy, and the musicianship is not just well-rehearsed but positively inspired. Lyrical content, meanwhile, is earnest and uplifting without ever devolving into preachy schmaltz. There's no smoke and mirrors with this old-soul trio, just earnest folk pop that is the epitome of charming. --Katie Bain

Saturday, June 1

Kat Arthur & Her Hellkats, Pearl Harbour, The She Riffs, Alice Bag

REDWOOD BAR & GRILL

Tonight's jam-packed bill features several fiery divas who got their start in the late-'70s West Coast punk scene, but the really exciting thing is that they're coming up with vital new music instead of just coasting on past glories. Kat Arthur is best known as the leader of the hard-rocking soul-punks Legal Weapon, but with the Hellkats she opens up her mighty pipes to belt out the blues with backing by Steve Reed's mighty and muscular bass lines. Pearl Harbour used to tour and collaborate with The Clash, but that was then, and this is definitely now. Backed by an especially tight and powerful band, Ms. Harbour continues to write hard, rootsy new tunes like "Beg for It," where she puts a misbehaving lover in his place with stylishly sassy aplomb. The She Riffs feature former members of such beloved Arizona garage-punk bands as The Peeps and Hell on Heels, and they've recently been collaborating with Bags chanteuse Alice Bag, who actually puts a poppy spin to smart tunes like "Size 16." Plus, Michael Van London & the Big Bad Pony and No Small Children. --Falling James

Shannon & the Clams

THE ECHO

Shannon Shaw loves the passionate teen melodramas of '60s girl groups, and with her Oakland band the Clams she lovingly re-creates that spirit and innocence in tear-stained odes like "Heartbreak." But Shaw is no strict revivalist, preferring to trash things up with fuzzy guitars and punk energy on lust-ridden anthems like "Hunk Hunt." With its crude reverb production, a song called "I Wanna Go Home" (not the Holly & the Italians tune) sounds curiously out of time while avoiding the kitschy adornments and hip, distancing irony of the modern era. On such hazy anthems as "When You're On," Shaw comes off like a garage-rock combination of Leslie Gore and Mama Cass, cooing endearingly while buried in a sea of scratchy guitar echoes. She further sharpens the contrast between sweetness and distortion on the Clams' latest album, Dreams in the Rat House. --Falling James

 

Sunday, June 2

Björk

HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM

This city needs more magic, so Björk rides into town after a long spell to sprinkle our minds with her candy-cane reveries and shape-shifting soundscapes. On her most recent album, 2011's Biophilia, the Icelandic songstress attempts to integrate Apple apps into her music, although her ambitious plans to make a 3-D version of the record with filmmaker Michel Gondry apparently are up in the air. As for the music itself, Björk wends her way through a typically elaborate landscape, where natural starkness collides with robotic technology on tracks like "Mutual Core." And yet she's at her most disarming when her childlike wonder and open-hearted joy are laid bare in simpler arrangements, such as the austere intimacy of "Solstice." Given her past spectacular stage shows and costumes, the singer likely will attempt to engage at least two of the five senses at these shows. Also Wed., June 5, and Sat., June 8. --Falling James

Adult.

THE ECHO

The Detroit wife-and-husband duo Adult. create an adventurously arty form of synth-punk and electronica. On their latest album, these scientific explorers are fascinated by The Way Things Fall, as singer Nicola Kuperus finds herself in a colorful bounce house of fizzy beats and electronic sounds manufactured by her husband, Adam Lee Miller. Adult. are at their most compelling when they move away from the more typically perky synth-pop and lyrics of tracks like "Heartbreak" into darker and stranger tunes, like the icily shadowy, nearly gothic strains of "A Day Like Forever" and the brief, mechanized clatter-trap experimentation of the album-closing "Rise & Fall." As usual, Kuperus also designed the pair's album cover, where two models -- dressed in a weirdly formal combination of secretarial clothes and orange Caltrans safety helmets -- lean into each other, with one woman tipping over her chair and resting her head oddly in the other model's lap. --Falling James

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

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