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

See Saturday: Best Coast at Burger a-Go-Go!
See Saturday: Best Coast at Burger a-Go-Go!
Photo courtesy of Wichita Recordings

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, August 1

Arcade Fire
THE FORUM
These days when you think Arcade Fire, it’s all mirrors and Reflektors. But Arcade Fire wasn’t always confetti and dancing. Thirteen years after forming, the Canadian art rockers are pioneers of 21st-century indie music, traversing themes of organized religion, coming of age, hope, nostalgia and death. Their sound is known for being lush and dramatic, celebrating true musicianship in complex instrumentals with everything from harps to xylophones and even a hurdy-gurdy. Their enthusiastic nature, led by husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, empowers their audience, both live and recorded, with an unforgettable experience. While this tour glitters with their most recent release, longtime fans will be graced with a mix of older songs, some even dating back to the band’s first EP, reworked and revitalized with dance-paced tem and pos. Also Saturday, August 2. —Britt Witt

Echo and the Bunnymen
ORPHEUM THEATRE 
Though dancey and dirty-rockin’ with equal aplomb, exquisitely melodic and highly seductive onstage, Echo the Bunnymen never quite enjoyed the success of fellow ’80s new-wave counterparts Duran Duran or Depeche Mode. Still, their fan base is nearly as passionate. Influential to everyone from Radiohead to Coldplay to Courtney Love, leader Ian McCulloch and company always put out lush and intense music you could drown in, romantic but somehow dangerous, making other Britboy pinups of the era seem too safe by comparison. With their latest, Meteorites, they may seem wiser and a little less wistful, but the pensive feel is still there, not to mention the lush, signature Echo sound. The new stuff will fit in nicely alongside gems such as “The Cutter,” “Killing Moon,” “Lips Like Sugar” and “Never Stop.” And here’s hoping they never do. —Lina Lecaro

Saturday, August 2

Jay Z and Beyoncé
ROSE BOWL
As the reigning first couple of hip-hop and a symbol of coolness and swagger, the Carters bring their rolling extravaganza into Los Angeles as a carefully if not perfectly polished machine. The tour comes a little more than a year after Jay Z played the same stadium with Justin Timberlake, while Beyoncé sold out two headlining nights at Staples Center. So far, the reviews have pegged this as the show of the summer, with the performance being properly choreographed and honed as the weeks have worn on. Both of their perfectionist personas will be on display, leaving little doubt why they’ve become the best known power couple in music history. Also Saturday, August 3. —Daniel Kohn

HARD Summer
WHITTIER NARROWS RECREATIONAL AREA
HARD Summer moves out of downtown L.A. to Whittier Narrows Recreational Area for its seventh go-around. With 100 acres of space, the two-day event is more than triple the size of its previous location at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Even so, the 100-artist happening is sold out. Bringing the party on the first day are Diplo’s and Skrillex’s superstar Jack U project, the entire A$AP Mob crew, the body-rocking Jack Beats and the crafted selections of Alix Perez. The second day makes Sunday fun day with a Brit-heavy roll call including the eminently popular Disclosure, über-producers Chase & Status, tech goddess Maya Jane Coles, house masters Gorgon City and the band born to be onstage, Rudimental, with their fiery live show. If you missed out on tickets, check out the multigenre HARD Summer 2014 Mixtape series. ?—Lily Moayeri
 
Burger a-Go-Go! with Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls, Bleached
OBSERVATORY
Burger Records, the prolific, Fullerton-based label and store, continues to release so many CDs, LPs and even cassettes (!) that this daylong festival can barely contain the numerous garage, punk, indie and power-pop bands on its roster. The bill is headlined by Best Coast, with their summer-centric, effusively sunny pop songs, and the contrastingly shadowy, black-shrouded reveries of Dum Dum Girls. Highlights range from the ’60s girl-group yearning of Shannon & the Clams and the colorfully slinky, new-wave explorations of Raw Geronimo to the hazily ethereal melodies of Colleen Green and the lo-fi pop Valentines sweetly cooed by Summer Twins. Local punk-pop trio The Muffs balance their crushing waves of fuzz chords with Kim Shattuck’s Beatles-esque melodies and sardonic, Ray Davies–style lyrics on Whoop Dee Doo, their first album in a decade. —Falling James

The Psycho Sisters
McCABE’S GUITAR SHOP
Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson virtually grew up in public with their first bands, The Cowsills and The Bangles, respectively. But when they put their heads together as The Psycho Sisters, they reveal much more rocking and countrified range than they usually get to demonstrate in their better-known pop groups. The pair has been playing together since the early ’90s in such New Orleans combos as The Continental Drifters and The Psycho Sisters. As musical (if not literal) sisters, Cowsill and Peterson have only put out a rare single or two in all this time, but they’ve finally released their debut full-length album, Up on the Chair, Beatrice. The album moves from such unusual tunes as “Heather Says,” which stitches together the duo’s haunting, baroque-pop harmonies with lyrical violins, to older favorites such as the evocatively rustic “Timberline.” —Falling James

Sunday, August 3

Cambodian Music Festival
FORD AMPHITHEATRE
Cambodian culture continues to flourish despite the genocidal campaign by the Khmer Rouge government against its own people in the 1970s. That dark era overshadowed a long, rich tradition of music and dance in the Southeast Asian country, and this afternoon’s festival reveals some of the vibrant variety of styles currently emerging from Cambodia. The lineup ranges from traditional-minded groups to more adventurous rock explorers, including Bochan, Indradevi, Khmer Kid, Laura Mam and The Cambodian Space Project. Headliners Dengue Fever are a fascinating collision of cultures: Lead singer Chhom Nimol is influenced by Cambodian pop from the 1960s, but when her birdlike melodies are combined with the alt-rock styles of guitarist Zac Holtzman (ex-Dieselhed) and his organist brother, Ethan Holtzman, the effect is madly enchanting and distinctly unusual. —Falling James
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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