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

See Saturday: Uh Huh Her
See Saturday: Uh Huh Her
Photo by Brad Thomas Ackley

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, June 6

Ink-n-Iron Kustom Culture Festival
THE QUEEN MARY
The year's edition of Ink-n-Iron is crowded with more great punk, rockabilly and country performers than the Illustrated Man has tattoos. Friday is more of a country affair, headlined by the Bakersfield bard, Merle Haggard, whose working-class tales of heartache and hard living continue to resonate with so much world-weary wisdom, and Oklahoma fireball Wanda Jackson, who has worked with both Elvises (Presley and Costello) and single-handedly paved the way for female rockabilly singer-guitarists in the 1950s. Saturday is crowned by punk originators the Buzzcocks, whose recent tales of desperately unrequited passion are almost as fuzzily catchy as the hits from their late-'70s heyday, and The Damned, who still strike some sparks even without founding members Rat Scabies and Brian James. Don't be surprised if The Detroit Cobras steal the show with their sodden, soul-garage intensity. Sunday's lineup is faster and more furious, with Suicidal Tendencies and the brutal throttling of New York hardcore veterans Sick of It All. Also Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8. - Falling James

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, ?De Lux, Tobacco
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Unknown Mortal Orchestra have their own simultaneously faithful and idiosyncratic version of Anglophiliac psychedelia, like S.F. Sorrow or Syd Barrett squeezed through a MacBook microphone into a future world where lo-fi and sci-fi are practically the same thing. Which is to say: UMO sound new and old at the same time, a testament to founder Ruban Nielson's vision and scholarship. Most recent album II was better than the gently middling ratings it got, probably because it revealed itself so slowly. But the strong stuff sometimes takes a second to kick in, doesn't it? With L.A. disco punks De Lux, whose record collections must include all of James Murphy's secret favorites, and digital maniac Tobacco, whose albums are soundtracks to films no one quite has the guts to make yet. - Chris Ziegler

Meshuggah
THE WILTERN
It says much for Meshuggah's sonic single-mindedness that, over a quarter-century career, they have been consistently classified as "extreme" or "progressive" metal - neither mellowing into "meh"-tal nor standing stylistically still long enough for the mainstream to catch up. For all their storied technical prowess and software-based songwriting and recording, the Swedish quintet's sound is squeezably visceral: disquieting grooves and ominously oblique riffs tethered taut to humanity by Jens Kidman's perpetually livid, peeled-raw roar. Never pandering to expectation with self-conscious aural wackiness, Me-shuggah's latest opus, 2012's Koloss, is in fact less experimental than many of its predecessors but digs deep into both the band's and listeners' psyches with (mostly) slower grooves and obsessively precise execution. Never easy listening; always hard to ignore. ? - Paul Rogers

Partch: BOO Intrusions
REDCAT
Composer/hobo/inventor Harry Partch (1901-1974) was a defiantly anti-establishment outsider whose chief contribution to the contemporary canon was his lifelong pursuit of challenging ways in which to smash the rigid formalities of the Western 12-tone musical scale. His own 43-tone scale shaped the framework for a multitude of pieces composed for beautifully odd instruments, which he designed and built in order to perform his works' intricate tonal wonders. John Schneider's Partch ensemble performs on re-creations of these wonderfully strange percussive and stringed contraptions, graced with names such as Cloud Chamber Bowls, Blow Boy, the Harmonic Canon, Boo, the Marimba Eroica and Spoils of War. Tonight's program includes Barstow: Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions, San Francisco: A Setting of the Cries of Two Newsboys on a Street Corner and The Letter, with narration from Partch's hobo chum Pablo. Also Saturday, June 7. - John Payne

Emma-Lee
HOTEL CAFÉ
There are tribute songs, and then there are stalker songs; Toronto singer-songwriter Emma-Lee's "What Would Tom Petty Do" lies somewhere in between. An unabashed attempt to get her hero's attention, "Tom Petty" easily could have come off as crass, but Emma-Lee has enough charm and (more importantly) songwriting chops to turn her musical mash note into a witty, countrified romp. There's more where that came from on her 2012 album, Backseat Heroine, which earned an Independent Music Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album - a somewhat misleading category, as Emma-Lee's gritty folk-rock has more in common with Neil Young than with Celine Dion. Might Petty himself drop by to see his Canadian super-fan in action? At Hotel Café, a favorite hang for L.A. singer-songwriters at all levels of fame, anything is possible. - Andy Hermann

Saturday, June 7

Make Music Pasadena
Downtown Pasadena
Not a lot of things in life come for free, and even when they do, there's usually a catch. But Make Music Pasadena changes the rules for a daylong celebration of music for all ages at the simple cost of $0. Special headliner Sylvan Esso will be joined by indie rockers Surfer Blood, Malaysian R&B artist Yuna, Israeli Ethio-soul singer Ester Rada and locals including Saint Motel, Moses Sumney and The Janks. With more than 30 stages, 12 hours of music and a lineup of 150 bands and growing, there's something for everyone to celebrate all genres of music. Take the Gold Line for the ultimate Angeleno experience and make an MMP donation to nab some rad perks, such as signed CDs, backstage passes and more. - Britt Witt

Uh Huh Her
THE TROUBADOUR
Even though it's named after a song by PJ Harvey, local duo Uh Huh Her isn't as arty and edgy as the British singer. Instead, lead singer/guitarist Camila Grey (ex-Mellowdrone) and keyboardist Leisha Hailey (The Murmurs, and an actor on The L Word) purvey a more soothingly dreamy brand of electro-pop, where Grey's gentle vocals blend into the mellow drone, so to speak, of Hailey's bass and keyboards. On their third album, Future Souls, Grey coos softly amid the slinky dance-pop chords of "Nuthin Without Your Love" as Hailey summons forth empathetic harmonies and funky rhythms, while tracks such as "Strange Design" are more austere and ethereal. Grey's former Mellowdrone colleague, Jonathan Bates, helps to fill out the new album's sound. Also Sunday, June 8. ? - Falling James

Sunday, June 8

Rebuild! Philippines: ?A Benefit Concert featuring ?Apl.de.ap, will.i.am and Taboo ?of the Black Eyed Peas
GREEK THEATRE
Nearly eight months after a devastating typhoon ravaged the Philippines, Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas and his foundation are putting together one of the most unusual fundraising events on the concert calendar. Unlike other musicians fronting charities, Apl.de.ap has already pinpointed where the funds will be dispersed, which should give fans more confidence that their money will help those who need it. The rapper is calling upon not only fellow Black Eye Peas will.i.am and Taboo but also a slew of other famous friends to help raise awareness for the efforts to rebuild the country. Among a slew of other performers, comedians and DJs lending their names to help rebuild the Southeast Asian country: Talib Kweli; superstar producer Chad Hugo's latest project, Yardnoise; and dance crew Jabbawockeez. - Daniel Kohn

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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