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

Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird
Andrew Lainez

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

Friday, December 20

Andrew Bird

CATHEDRAL SANCTUARY at 
IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN

On the heels of releasing his I Want to See Pulaski at Night EP, Andrew Bird celebrates Winter Solstice with two "Gezelligheid" performances. The Dutch term loosely translates as "extra extra cozy" and defines Bird's intentions to warm up his audience as winter envelops us. This intimate show no doubt will incorporate Bird's violin instrumentals and Victrola horns, along with his trademark whistling and layered looping. In anticipation of "Gezelligheid," Bird notes, "What I hope to do with these shows is adapt my music completely to the atmosphere of the space and the season." While his songs are inspired by topics as varied as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and children's show theme songs, Bird's messages are simple and clear: love, comfort, devotion and companionship. Along with tracks from his most recent releases, Break It Yourself and Hands of Glory, Bird is sure to incorporate some of his signature covers, including Townes Van Zandt's, "If I Needed You." The show also features special guest guitarist Tift Merritt. Also Dec. 19. --Britt Witt

Rachel Goodrich & the Grrls, Rough Church

TAIX

"Go, go/Better leave quick/before you set yourself on fire," Rachel Goodrich warns amid the lurking guitars of "Fire," a moody, slowly burning incantation from her 2011 self-titled album. "I can see smoke from a mile away." The Miami singer-guitarist certainly is farsighted, but her music isn't usually so ominous. Goodrich and her band of Grrls stir up much more merriment with jolly, jazzy, retro-pop tunes like "Light Bulb" and the ukulele-based love song "If You're Mine." Rough Church is fronted by Greg Franco, former leader of Ferdinand and a frequent collaborator with New Zealand post-punk legends The Clean. He's an underrated songwriter who imbues tunes like "Librarian Warlord," "Beth Orton" and the violin-laced "Brave Girls" with more witty lyrics and memorable hooks than all of the recent Pixies comeback songs combined. --Falling James

Merry Minstrel Musical Circus

TROUBADOUR

A Christmas fixture in the making, the Merry Minstrel Musical Circus lands at the Troub for its sophomore edition, having debuted at co-host Jonathan Wilson's Fivestar Studios in Echo Park last year. This all-star "jamathon," which is co-organized by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, benefits L.A.'s Tazzy Animal Rescue Fund and historic Manual Arts High School. While none of this year's special guests had been announced by press time, the inaugural MMMC boasted performances by the likes of legendary singer-songwriter Jackson Browne; founding Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench; lauded ELO leader, Traveling Wilburys member and A-list producer Jeff Lynne; and bushy-bearded Grateful Dead/Furthur mainstay Bob Weir. --Paul Rogers

Suicidal Tendencies, Terror, Sprung Monkey, Trash Talk,
The Inspector

THE FONDA THEATRE

This is one real big, gnarly hardcore blowout to fry your face on a Friday night, end of story. Slam thy skullz to local heroes (indeed icons) Suicidal Tendencies, the veteran punk-noise puds whose latest record, called 13, heralds their 30th year in the hawdkoah biz. The album was produced by the dude who handles the likes of Rush and Dream Theater, so it's damn slick, but then again it does tear major holes in the brain due to frontman Mike Muir's trustworthy vocal belligerence. Along with nu-skool badboys Trash Talk, Sprung Monkey and The Inspector, witness tonight a next-gen shade of the hardcore experience in the ultra-raw Terror, whose tuff new Live By the Code record even comes with an illustrated "Codes of Hardcore" booklet that passes on the 'core wisdom to all ye upcoming angry pinheads: "Know the Past, Live for Today." --John Payne

See also: Top 20 Hardcore Albums in History: 20-11

Saturday, December 21

Stevie Wonder

NOKIA THEATER

These days, outside of a few one-off festival stops and a handful of tour dates each year, it's highly unlikely you'll see Stevie Wonder performing live. That is, unless, you live in Los Angeles. For the 18th year in a row, Wonder will play his House Full of Toys benefit concert. This year, there's even a bonus twist to the event, as Wonder will be playing his iconic Songs in the Keys of Life in its entirety. The 1976 classic features favorites including "Sir Duke," "As" and "Isn't She Lovely." Wonder likely will play reworked versions of some of these songs, but hearing this legend play his hits is always worthwhile, especially when he's raising money for a good cause. --Daniel Kohn

See also: Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You" -- Why This Song Sucks

 

Flosstradamus

THE WILTERN                       

The guys behind Flosstradamus say it like they play it. In one particularly on-the-nose interview published on acclaimmag.com earlier this year, the Chicago-based DJ duo described their sound thus: "We ... fuck with sounds that sound good to us." Elegant? Not so much. Fitting? Totally. In the seven years that Josh Young (better known as J2K -- and the real-life brother of rapper Kid Sister) and Curt Cameruci (Autobot) have been filling dance floors, their aggressive but playful electronic trap music has featured enough divergent sounds to allow them to take on guest artists like Danny Brown, Matt & Kim and Bloc Party without losing a beat. And man, those beats: Chopped, twisted and rendered endlessly danceable, Flosstradamus' best tracks make any listen feel like a frenzied, particularly grimy house party. --Kelsey Whipple

Jeff Lorber Fusion

THE BAKED POTATO

Philadelphia-born keyboardist Jeff Lorber is seen by some as the "father of fusion music." While Lorber wasn't around for fusion's original jazz-rock explorations of the late 1960s, he was one of the first musicians to revive the genre a decade later. After an extended period mostly in the smooth-jazz realm, Lorber's last three records have again featured the style that first brought him attention three decades ago with intricate compositions and challenging ensemble playing. On this gig he's joined by three heavyweights: Chick Corea Elektric Band alumni saxman Eric Marienthal and drummer Gary Novak, along with former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, who also co-produced their newly Grammy-nominated Pop Instrumental Album of the Year candidate, Hacienda. --Tom Meek

Sunday, December 22

Mos Def

YOST THEATER

"Evacuate your sleep/It's dangerous to dream," Mos Def once opined on his bold statement of purpose, "Mathematics." But the former Dante Smith, also known as Yasiin Bey, has never stopped dreaming, even as he decries the poverty and racial inequities in America's big cities. The actor-rapper finds redemption in being articulate and never giving up: "The body of my text possesses extra strength/Power-lifting powerless up ... My ink so hot, it burns through the journal." A mind this busy is capable of many expressions beyond righteous rebellion, such as the wide range of settings on his trippy 2009 album, The Ecstatic, where Mos Def charts the passages of life "from cradle to grave." Expect more ecstatic rap-ture tonight as he sums up the past year and turns his flashlight toward the future. --Falling James

See also: Here's Why Mos Def Is So Amazing

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