The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
See Friday: Kings of Leon
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, March 21
"This is no time for confessing," St. Vincent declares on her new, self-titled album. "I want all of your mind." The creatively restless singer once known as Annie Clark reveals many sides of her own busy brain on tracks such as "Digital Witness," where she slinks along to a funky Prince mélange of synthesizers before segueing into a more traditionally dreamy chorus hook. A former member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band, St. Vincent has collaborated with the disparate likes of Bon Iver and The Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer and recorded the 2012 album Love This Giant with simpatico spirit David Byrne. In any context, she always adds a poetically enigmatic touch, as when she coos, "Here's my report from the edge. ... I'm saying phenomenal lies on the cosmic eternity party line." - Falling James
Kings of Leon
In 2006, Kings of Leon were invited by Bob Dylan to open his show at the Forum, but even then it was clear that they were already headed for big things on their own. With their latest album, Mechanical Bull, the Nashville band of brothers (and one cousin) prove that it's still possible to make intelligent use of guitars in non-retro ways. Amid a swarm of jangling rhythm guitars and Matthew Followill's glimmering lead, singer Caleb Followill announces, "Down in the Delta, I'm ringing bells ... I've got a secret picking at my brain." Even as Caleb sees that "flags are flying across the plains," the rest of the group echoes his euphoric wanderlust with a surging, accompanying crash of Nathan's drums and Jared's bass. - Falling James
Red Bull Music Academy Panamérika Presents ?Ana Tijoux
Ana Tijoux has been around for a long minute, but it was her birth year song, "1977," which brought her mainstream recognition as the soundtrack to a tense desert scene on Breaking Bad. Like all her albums, the French-Chilean MC's latest, Vengo, gives a snapshot of her life - in this case, as a new mother. Vengo infuses Tijoux's flavorful Spanish-language flow with her native Andean rhythms and a proliferation of horns. Tijoux's spitting chants trip over each other on the rapid-fire title track, contrasting with the charangos strumming seductively through "Oro Negro," while her multilingual duet with the throaty Shadia Mansour on the spirited "Somos Sur" is taken directly from a bustling Middle Eastern marketplace. With "global bass dance and visual arts collective" Subsuelo and Kumbia Queers, six women from Mexico and Argentina who describe their style as "1,000 percent Tropi Punk," a mix of Afro-Cuban and Latin American cumbia influences, infused with queerness and punk spirit. - Lily Moayeri
The Space Lady
San Francisco's Space Lady is an accordion-playing alien abductee who lived in a cave and spent about 40 years on street corners delivering a unique mix of well-chosen covers (by The Sweet and The Electric Prunes) and true originals, with a sound that's as close to "outsider art" gold as there could ever be. In 2014, she's really getting going, abandoning retirement to do her first-ever live tour on the strength of a greatest-hits compilation just entering its second pressing. Her sci-fi (and lo-fi) Casio space-pop songs fit perfectly between that loneliest of lonelies, Sibylle Baier (whose rare and desolate '70s masterpiece Colour Green just hit vinyl again), and mad synthesizer scientists Silver Apples. This will be a one-of-a-kind show from a one-of-a-kind lady. - Chris Ziegler
Saturday, March 22
THE CHURCH ON YORK
L.A.'s clipping. are the po-mo hip-hop outfit that grew out of the ambitiously outré Deathbomb Arc scene. Their self-released 2013 debut, midcity, somehow fit locals including synthesizer experimentalist Ezra Buchla (of the energetically avant-garde band The Mae Shi) and extra-underground beat monster Baseck into one unexpectedly powerful album. clipping. songs are like radio hits from a slightly more damaged world, and on their Sub Pop debut, CLPPNG - which is bristling with guest verses from the likes of Gangsta Boo and L.A. mainstay King Tee - they supercharge their sound with ... well, heavier everything. Death Grips comparisons have followed these guys since ever, but there's something different at play here - these are bangers that blow up when you least expect them. - Chris Ziegler
Hiromi: The Trio Project
Still-young piano sensation Hiromi Uehara frequently draws comparisons to an anime schoolgirl superheroine, but her ever-growing body of impressive work has linked her of late to larger heroes, such as LeBron James. Her muscular technique and king-size pianistic vocabulary, coupled with a torrent of energetic charisma, make her a true jazz virtuoso and a crowd-pleasing all-star. You certainly feel as if you've been dunked on after one of her show-stopping pieces; afterward, you can only get up off the court and applaud her dominance. Hiromi's teammates on her Trio Project are fusion veterans, bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, both of whom have played with enough heavies to handle the fast break by this Japanese mamba. - Gary Fukushima
Sunday, March 23
Max Bangwell Benefit with James Harman, The Blasters
Max Bangwell, the get-around blues drummer who has enjoyed bandstand alliances with everyone from Robert Lockwood Jr. to Muddy Waters to Willie Dixon, is fighting like a lion - and when your opponent is stage four lung cancer, well, baby, you need to kick some serious ass. The knock-down, tore-up bill of performers who are convening to raise funds for his battle is appropriately formidable, with contributions from deep blues swami James Harman, the always audacious Blasters, the soulin' trio of Rick Holstrom with Jeff Turmes and Steven Hodges (who currently serve as Mavis Staples' band), boss guitar slinger Kid Ramos and just about any other local blues head you could name. It's gonna be a mighty, fast-moving matinee (2 to 7 p.m.) and one mother of a party, so get down there early and dig in for the duration. - Jonny Whiteside
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
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