The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
See Friday: Deafheaven
Photo by Randi Summer
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, April 25
EMPIRE POLO CLUB
Country music has always been as much about audience culture as it is about the artist's contribution. Stagecoach is a gloriously accomplished reflection of both. With everything from high-gloss headliners like prefab outlaw Eric Church and thin-skinned snotball Jason Aldean, to the confessional plaints of Hank's granddaughter, Holly Williams, it's 72 hours of manic fan gratification on an Olympian scale. There are some engagingly off-beat stops along the way, like the great veteran country singer John Conlee, our own psych-hillbilly insurgents I See Hawks in L.A., rockabilly empress Wanda Jackson, warp-folk boy-girl mutants Shovels & Rope and unstoppable bluegrass banjo bangers The Seldom Scene. A mad redneck spree to be sure, and another reminder that, as Lux Interior once said, "Los Angeles is the biggest hick town in the world." Also Saturday-Sunday, April 26-27. - Jonny Whiteside
One of our picks for the top metal albums of 2013, Deafheaven's Sunbather was a wedding of beauty and beast. This Bay Area group tempers outbursts of blasting black metal with gorgeous post-rock atmospherics, appealing equally to headbangers and Mogwai fans. The group walks precariously on the tightrope between brutality and lushness. The high-pitched screams of George Clarke are caustic enough to make blood curl; in any other metal band, they would be haunting on their own. But when you factor in the sheer beauty of Kerry McCoy's shoegaze-inspired guitar work, everything becomes just a little more chilling. This juxtaposition is what makes Deafheaven a truly special act in today's scene. Their ability to engulf a listener in total darkness, then pull that listener back into a world where the sun is shining, is absolutely stunning. - Jason Roche
Saturday, April 26
"Is this the end of the beginning?" Ozzy Osbourne slyly asks at the outset of Black Sabbath's latest album, 13. "Rewind the future to the past," he urges as one of guitarist Tony Iommi's famously serpentine and sluggish riffs flicks its tail majestically. "The system has to be recast." It's Sabbath's first full studio album with Osbourne since 1978's underrated Never Say Die and the first with their principal bassist-lyricist, Geezer Butler, since 1994's Cross Purposes. They really shouldn't sound this great, especially after founding drummer Bill Ward left in a disgruntled huff in 2012. Produced by Rick Rubin, 13 has all of Black Sabbath's classic elements - Butler's wary and wickedly profane lyrics, Iommi's momentous, towering riffs and Osbourne's searing keening - wrapped up in a thunderously satisfying presence that sounds more immediate than retro. - Falling James
Desert Daze with Blonde Redhead, The Raveonettes
SUNSET RANCH OASIS
The infamous, psychedelic Desert Daze finally finds itself not dueling with that other big desert festival, plopping down on the following weekend instead. Set against a perfect California backdrop of purple mountains and palm trees, the third annual Desert Daze Music and Art Festival has reduced from an 11-day stretch to a daylong camping jamboree in the desert oasis of Sunset Ranch, in Mecca (really!). The extensive lineup features veterans Autolux, Blonde Redhead, Liars and The Raveonettes headlining, along with more than 20 other acts, including SoCal locals Fever the Ghost and Mystic Braves. You can sign up for a rideshare to the just-south-of-Indio, 163-acre ranch (but sorry, you can't swim in the lake). Taking pride in being unpretentious, Desert Daze is a surefire winner. - Britt Witt
A mere two months after playing a secret show at the Masonic Lodge to celebrate the release of their 10th studio album (12th overall), English Oceans , Patterson Hood and his supporting cast are heading back to Los Angeles. On this collection, he splits songwriting duties with longtime guitarist Mike Cooley. While the group's Southern rock will sound familiar to its fans, the balance and different song styles are a refreshing jolt. For a band that has had as many lineup changes at the Truckers have, they've managed to sustain the interest of diehard fans with exhilarating, sharp live sets that are not only testament to the Truckers' past but also a glimpse of their exciting future. - Daniel Kohn
For several years, Beth Thornley has been one of the best and brightest performers in the local singer-songwriter scene, and her pop potential blossoms further on her new EP, Septagon. "Scrape your hands and knees, and put your heart back on your sleeve," the Alabama native pleads on "Say You Will," pumped up by buoyant piano and euphoric harmonies. Thornley keeps it cool and ethereal on "It Could Be," stretching her yearning entreaties out against a sky of sleek keyboards, and duets with Toad the Wet Sprocket's Glen Phillips on the intimate piano ballad "Last to Fall," on which their twined romantic laments burn soulfully through the haze. Last year, Thornley and her husband-collaborator, Rob Cairns, won an L.A. Weekly Theater Award (for Best Original Music) for their musical, Bad Apples. - Falling James
Sunday, April 27
Maya Jane Coles
THE STANDARD, DOWNTOWN
Local dance-music label Culprit celebrates its fifth anniversary with the return of the popular Culprit Sessions on the Downtown Standard rooftop, still the sexiest place in the city to sip a cocktail and savor some deep house grooves. This weekend's guest headliner is rising U.K. star Maya Jane Coles, a 25-year-old wunderkind whose original tracks and remixes brim with dark melodies and funky echoes of Chicago and Detroit. Her acclaimed debut album, Comfort, released last year, found her branching out into slower tempos and dubbier textures, with guest support from Tricky and Miss Kittin. Already a contributor to the esteemed DJ Kicks series and a Beatport Artist of the Year, Coles probably won't play another L.A. venue this intimate anytime soon, let alone one with skyline views this killer. - Andy Hermann
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
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