The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
Photo by Dan MonickSee Friday: We Are Scientists
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, May 9
Armin Van Buuren
For nearly 20 years, Armin Van Buuren has been at the forefront of the electronic dance movement. He has brought trance and progressive house into the mainstream and is one of the most recognizable names and faces in the genre. The 37-year-old has been named the No. 1 DJ in the world by genre bible DJ Magazine five times, including four years in a row from 2007 to 2010 and again in 2012. Touring behind his latest collection, Intense, Van Buuren's new show will see the DJ at his most theatrical, with acrobats, dancers and, yes, pyro. Van Buuren is one of the few DJs who has built up enough capital with his rabid fan base that he'll be able to spin for more than five hours. - Daniel Kohn
We Are Scientists
Formed in 2000 during the last indie-rock boom, We Are Scientists captured the indie-rock sound and, 14 years later, have not let it down. While the release in March of their fifth album, TV en Français, could have been the perfect opportunity to reinvent themselves, the trio stuck to their guns. Though by no means anything new, the album is consistent, infectious and just plain fun. Alongside older songs geared toward getting you on the dance floor, the new collection of melodic and guitar-heavy tracks makes for the perfect setup for a live experience. Add WAS's cheeky stage presence and great sense of humor, and you've got the recipe for a night to remember. U.K. garage-pop trio PAWS open. - Britt Witt
Saturday, May 10
Wango Tango with Maroon 5, Shakira, Tiësto
KIIS-FM stopped short of calling superstar Dutch DJ Tiësto the headliner of its 16th annual Wango Tango festival - he's merely "closing the show." However the venerable Top 40 station wants to spin it, clearly it has chosen to turn the otherwise safer-than-safe pop festival into an EDM dance party. Yes, Maroon 5 are back - for the third straight year - and yes, someone at KIIS still thinks we should care about OneRepublic. But look further down the bill and you'll find super-producer Calvin Harris, the man behind Rihanna's "We Found Love"; electro/dubstep upstart Zedd of "Clarity" fame; and New York duo The Chainsmokers, whose tongue-in-cheek club hit "Selfie" has been everywhere this year. Throw in Shakira's hip shaking and Kid Ink's EDM-flavored club rap, and this year's Wango Tango is basically a rave with a Paramore set in the middle of it. - Andy Hermann
Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, Failure
Tool mastermind Maynard James Keenan considers his 50th birthday to be "equal parts daunting and relieving," so he's celebrating in cathartic fashion in front of a select few thousand friends and fans this weekend. Two of his bands - A Perfect Circle and Puscifer - are performing, along with a rare appearance by Failure, who recently reunited after breaking up in 1997. Failure retains its trademark power, mixing sludgy grunge anthems with occasional spacey electronic passages. The current incarnation of A Perfect Circle still pairs Keenan with founding guitarist Billy Howerdel, but they're augmented these days by ex - Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, who imbues the group's introspective moods and ponderous riffs with glimmers of light, in a distinct contrast to Keenan's more madcap sonic expulsions with Puscifer. Also Sunday, May 11. - Falling James
L.A. Psych Fest
Under a big, wide, weird umbrella resides a new generation of "psychedelic" bands to blow your little mind. Though a lot of tonight's Psych Fest acts are only somewhat connected to that genre's more overtly trippy sound and style, all are guaranteed to warp your soul in universe-shape-changing ways. The lineup includes Sub Pop's Rose Windows and their massive mélange of Sabbath rifferini, American folk-roots rock, Indian/Persian and Eastern European music; L.A.'s own Jeffertitti's Nile, thrashing hallucinogenically in head-skewing ways; Japan's Kikagaku Moyo; Argentina's Seis Cuerdas; and a special performance by Gamelan X, who reinterpret from a West Coast perspective the music of Bali in flowering walls of tuned percussion. Also DJs Matt Correia and Sister Calypso, an art gallery, live video art and, yes, giant puppets. - John Payne
THE FONDA THEATRE
Mississippi-born Cassandra Wilson first came to prominence as a member of New York's M-Base, led by saxophonist Steve Coleman; she subsequently became a member of Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid's Black Rock Coalition. While at her roots she's a jazz singer, Wilson draws heavily from blues, folk and pop traditions, stretching her repertoire to include such diverse artists as The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Hank Williams, Wynton Marsalis and Jimi Hendrix. Her resonant contralto is one of the genuinely unique voices of today, combining with her musical sensibilities to win her Grammy Awards in 1996 and 2009. - Tom Meek
Anticon label co-founder Yoni Wolf is the kind of guy who always keeps his music moving. Since the late 1990s, he has created and mutated an almost bottomless discography (under a variety of names, probably the best known being Why?) where hip-hop, electronica, pop, folk, experimental music and more all swim happily together. Now he's put together an almost-out mixtape called Old Dope, to preview the music for this tour with fellow Anticon-ian Serengeti - and it turns out to be a rediscovery of that discography, where he revives songs from the olden days (like 2003's "Bad Entropy") in drastically, happily different new ways. So this won't be a greatest-hits situation - instead, let's put it somewhere between a celebration and a reincarnation. - Chris Ziegler
Sunday, May 11
Gawd only knows why this Oxnard outfit chose such a sunny, escapist name for its claustrophobic, cruelly mechanical deathcore. Bermuda's vision is bleak, urban and decayed, evoking blackened cityscapes, where the machines (depicted by fiercely disciplined and detuned stop-start guitars atop nail-gun kick drums) have turned on their lonely, horrified makers (voiced by Corey's Bennett's truly worrying, trapped-soul retching). New album The Wandering forcibly opens listeners' ears to grisly, tortured tales artfully made all the more agonizing by windows of arpeggiated, twinkly guitar and boyish clean vocals offering momentary respites from the torment. Suffering themselves and wanting all others to likewise suffer, Bermuda have nothing nice to say but just keep on talking. - Paul Rogers
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.