The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
See Saturday: Jenny Lewis
Photo by Autumn de Wilde
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, August 8
Eminem & Rihanna ?Monster Tour
Two of music’s more polarizing figures, Eminem and Rihanna, team up once again for their national, six-date Monster Tour. The Bajan singer stirred things up in July after flashing the crowd at the closing of Brazil’s World Cup games. Eminem was this year’s most Grammy-nominated artist yet left the ceremony with wins in only minor categories. In an interview with Shade 45’s Sway, Eminem remarked on his and Rih’s musical chemistry, explaining that their Billboard Hot 100 hit “The Monster” was a “last-minute” endeavor. Tonight’s show is the second of two nights at the Rose Bowl, the tour’s first stop. The tour features official merchandise design by London-based lifestyle company Trapstar and will conclude Aug. 23 at Detroit’s Comerica Park. ?—Jacqueline Michael Whatley
On the heels of their newest release, Spoon are hitting the ground running with an international tour. They Want My Soul is the Austin-based quartet’s eighth studio album, marking an indomitable run for their minimal yet hooky indie rock. Led by singer-guitarist Britt Daniel, Spoon are reinvigorated after their longest break to date, with a power-charged energy you can hear on the album and most certainly can expect in their live performance. With chord changes reminiscent of “The Underdog” and pulsing melodies dating back to “Mountain of Sound,” Spoon’s return has a little bit of something for every fan. Their galvanizing rhythms will raise spirits (though hopefully only the audience’s) on the lawn of Hollywood Forever Cemetery. —Britt Witt
Listen, the fourth studio album from The Kooks, is a brave — and overdue — change in musical direction. Produced by the British group’s vocalist and principal songwriter, Luke Pritchard, alongside up-and-coming hip-hop producer Inflo, Listen takes its cues from soul, funk, R&B and time spent on the road with Foster the People. A gospel choir ushers in album opener “Around Town,” which crashes against the funky grinds of “Bad Habit.” Expansive keys and Chic-like guitars emphasize the romantic sentiments of “Westside,” while “Are We Electric” is a slinky, neo-disco number. Not throwback in the least, Listen is in touch with the roots of its influences, running the gamut of styles and playing out like a ’70s musical variety show. The Kooks play two shows at the Roxy tonight, at 7:30 and 10 p.m. —Lily Moayeri
Jay Leonhart and Josh Nelson
UPSTAIRS AT VITELLO’S
New York-based Jay Leonhart has been called “the world’s wittiest bassist.” While navigating a career that has included performing with artists as far-ranging as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Sting, Leonhart also has been composing music and poetry for several decades. Beginning with 1983’s Salamander Pie, Jay has recorded 15 albums with songs dedicated to everything from Wonder Bras to Leonard Bernstein to how the poet Robert Frost made a living (could he go down to the country store and sell a poem, saying, “Here’s a nice one I wrote about the snow”?). Leonhart’s usual one-man show takes on a partner tonight in the form of pianist Josh Nelson, whose deft touch and musical attentiveness should make for a unique evening. —Tom Meek
Jenny Lewis, La Sera
“No matter how hard I try to be just one of the guys, there’s a little something inside that won’t let me,” Jenny Lewis confides on “Just One of the Guys,” from her new album, The Voyager. In the video, Lewis directs such actor friends as Anne Hath-away, Kristen Stewart, Brie Larson and Tennessee Thomas in a cute bit of faux-macho gender reversal. “No matter how hard I try to have an open mind, there’s a little cop inside that prevents me,” Lewis continues, although it’s hard to believe her, as she’s always been free-spirited and musically expansive, whether she’s fronting Rilo Kiley, co-starring in Jenny and Johnny or going solo. She draws upon her many incarnations on the new album, alternating between dreamy balladry, anthemic glitter rock and jangling guitar pop. She’s well matched with La Sera’s sweetly groovy pop reveries. —Falling James
When Those Darlins started out in Nashville in 2006, they had a more rootsy, alt-country style, but since then they’ve toughened up their sound considerably. New songs such as “In the Wilderness” are pumped up with an ominously foreboding, harder-rocking attack, as lead singer Jessi Zazu chants her feral, back-to-nature declarations. “Used to be an optimist/It got too dangerous,” she declares elsewhere on Those Darlins’ new album, Blur the Line, while fuzzy guitars streak overhead like angry jets. Traces remain of the group’s earlier countrified approach on such rustic ballads as “Oh God,” where Zazu belies the grim, prosaic details of life on the road (“every ashtray of a night”) with her adorably charming vocals. She slows it down again on the folksy title track, blurring the lines further between loneliness and redemption. —Falling James
Sunday, August 10
The long and winding road brings Paul McCartney back to this old ballpark, although Dodger Stadium was just a few years old the last time he played here, with The Beatles in 1966. He’s always had great groups, from the Fab Four to Wings, and his longtime, mostly L.A.-based backup band — simpatico guitarists Brian Ray and Rusty Anderson, keyboardist Paul Wickens and phenomenal drummer-singer Abe Laboriel Jr. — rocks hard and true enough to keep Macca’s recent tours from coming off as merely sentimental. In fact, his band is so deft, they can pull off in concert the complicated studio arrangements that The Beatles never imagined they could perform live. With a brace of catchy new tunes including “Queenie Eye” and the affecting John Lennon homage “Here Today,” McCartney doesn’t have to live exclusively in the past. —Falling James
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
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