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

Jake Bugg -- See Friday
Jake Bugg -- See Friday
Photo courtesy of Mercury Records

Friday, January 24

Wooden Shjips
THE ECHO
Back to Land is the first album that neo-psychedelic combo Wooden Shjips have created outside their beloved San Francisco. The band's move to greener Portland, Ore., had an expanding effect on their music, and most likely on their heads. Guitarist-singer Ripley Johnson and crew strip the sound down to a free-flowing trance-boogie, with organic melodies that spring up from the fertile soil of two-chord riffs, droning fuzz-ax leads, twining organ and Johnson's muffled vocal lines. Compressing the best of the '60s and '70s into one bangin' bongload (e.g., Grateful Dead, Canned Heat and Neil Young's Crazy Horse tastily laced with The Seeds, The Velvets, Hawkwind and Neu!), the album's whole point is getting the job done artfully, directly and persuasively, not unlike the dusty old classic rock stuff that inspired it. - John Payne

Jake Bugg
THE WILTERN
Over the past few years, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Jake Bugg has been making headlines in his native England, and deservedly so. Anyone with the flair to take on boy band One Direction deserves accolades - Bugg publicly called the boy band "terrible" and a Twitter war ensued - but to be endorsed by the notoriously prickly Noel Gallagher? That's next level. With a twang that resembles Bob Dylan and a machine-gun guitar reminiscent of Johnny Cash during his outlaw days, Bugg has the unenviable task of battling the hype while trying to find himself artistically. Not that it's a problem. With two critically acclaimed albums and his brash attitude, Bugg is well on his way to accomplishing what many of his countrymen were unable to: convincing Americans to believe the hype. - Daniel Kohn

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
EL REY THEATRE
New Orleans jazz and funk can often come off like quaint relics of a distant era that should be locked up tight in a glass museum display case or trotted out once a year at Mardi Gras for besotted tourists. But Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, blasts away such nostalgic notions with the searing vibrancy of his work with the band Orleans Avenue. The grandson of singer Jessie Hill and the brother of trumpeter James Andrews, trombonist-trumpeter-singer Shorty is certainly steeped in tradition, but he also brings plenty of modern "Fire & Brimstone" in his hard-rocking and funky originals. When he lets loose on longer rambles, he bursts forth with jazzy and even psychedelic retorts that exude pure molten sunshine. Also at the El Rey on Saturday, Jan. 25. - Falling James

Saturday, January 25

Darkside
THE FONDA THEATRE
Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington open up a Pandora's box of sounds on Darkside's recent full-length debut album, Psychic. Although the Brooklyn duo is one of the rising new forces in the world of electronica, Darkside's moody tracks are pumped up with spacey prog influences and occasional cool-grooving R&B keyboards, which infuse their downtempo passages with a little bit of industrial soul. The sprawling 11-minute album opener, "Golden Arrow," arrives with a hush of eerie synthesizers and muffled percussion, which gives way to underwater echoes and flashes of electronic fuzz before subsiding into ambient bliss. Jaar and Harrington previously flexed their subversive tendencies last year when they remixed Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories under the name DaftSide. - Falling James

See also: Nicolas Jaar: Bleary, Spectral, Alien
 
Ryan Hemsworth
THE ECHO
Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth has been making waves. While he's known for remixing the likes of Grimes, Cat Power and Frank Ocean, the former journalism major's creative blend of electronica and R&B has made him a popular figure on the underground circuit. Origins as a background singer and guitar player served the producer well in laying the foundation for his production style. However, it's his solo material, both 2011's No Plans, which landed on Spin's Top 20 R&B albums of that year, and last year's Guilt Trips, that has caught the attention of music fans abroad. Now comes the hard part. For a producer to convince his audience thathe's more than the guy behind the scenes, a dynamic live show is a necessity. Let's see if Hemsworth is up to the task. - Daniel Kohn

KISS
DODGER STADIUM
The men of KISS seem to have their hands (and tongues) in a little bit of everything these days. The face-painted, platform-shoe fans and erstwhile rock monsters are well known for their expansive back catalog of black-and-white-and-hokey-all-over merch, not to mention cruise and mini-golf packages, but their latest venture finds them a little bit out of their league, you could say. In August, the Starchild, the Demon and company bought into the Arena Football League to launch its newest team, the Los Angeles Kiss, and though they couldn't lure Tebow, their roster is already growing. But it's another sport entirely that brings them to Dodger turf as part of the NHL's Stadium Series, which brings big hockey games to surprising spots. During a game between the L.A. Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, KISS will rock and roll all halftime. - Kelsey Whipple

Sunday, January 26

The Bangles
WHISKY A GO GO
All-female rock trio The Bangles defined the 1980s with such chart-toppers as "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Eternal Flame" and the Prince-penned ballad "Manic Monday." In 1988, at the height of their success, the ladies called it quits. The band resurfaced a decade later in 1998, subsequently recording a fourth album and touring for much of the 2000s. In a June interview with Allen City TV, Vicki Peterson and Susanna Hoffs explained, "We all went into this band thinking that it was a big deal, not just a hobby or weekend band. We are all very committed. We're in it for the long haul." Their latest effort, Sweetheart of the Sun, was released in 2011. - Jacqueline Michael Whatley

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