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

See Saturday: Smokey Robinson
See Saturday: Smokey Robinson
Photo courtesy of the artist

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, August 15

The Sonics
THE ROXY
If the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were really about rock & roll, The Sonics would have been one of the very first bands inducted. The ’60s garage rockers from Tacoma managed to inspire not one but two separate musical genres — punk rock and grunge — and such disparate folks as The Cramps, Bruce Springsteen, The Pandoras, The White Stripes, The Fall, L7, Nirvana and The Flaming Lips have either covered their songs or cited them as primary inspirations. Practically every original tune (“The Witch,” “Strychnine,” “Shot Down,” “Psycho”) on their landmark first two albums now is considered a classic, although it took the mainstream rock establishment nearly two decades to appreciate them. On the group’s new split 7-inch single with their acolytes Mudhoney, Gerry Roslie howls “Bad Betty” with a Little Richards swagger, prodded along by Rob Lind’s leering sax and Larry Parypa’s savage guitar. —Falling James

Chick Corea & the Vigil
CATALINA JAZZ CLUB
Most septuagenarians try to stay spry with long walks and crossword puzzles. Chick Corea does it by assembling a band of exciting young virtuosos, recording new originals and touring the world. The new group, The Vigil, has been dubbed “Corea’s elektrokoustic band” for its integration of fusion with other modern jazz elements. That’s a trend among the current generation of players, and some of the best are featured here, including drummer Marcus Gilmore (whose grandfather, Roy Haynes, played drums in Corea’s trio), Cuban bass prodigy Carlitos del Puerto, and guitar supernova Charles Altura, who has exploded from obscurity on the West Coast onto the international scene. Completing the group are Luisito Quintero (percussion) and Tim Garland (woodwinds). The regimen is working, for Corea at age 73 sounds as good as he looks in that suit of armor on his new album cover. —Gary Fukushima

Saturday, August 16

Fall Out Boy, Paramore
VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATRE
It’s a shame that Fall Out Boy’s street cred is crippled by the quartet’s association with the dead-in-the-water emo scene and the tabloid ubiquity of bassist/lyricist (and former Mr. Ashlee Simpson) Pete Wentz. See, FOB at their best check all serious rock-band criteria: irresistible songs; Patrick Stump’s vulnerable, emotive vocals; and killer players in drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman. After hitting pop paydirt with 2007’s fantastically supple and celebratory Infinity on High, follow-up Folie à Deux was a rushed dud. Surviving an immaculately timed hiatus, FOB reunited and returned to form with last year’s Save Rock and Roll, finally able to be just a great band rather than a genre flagship or Wentz’s ego vehicle. Perfect pairing is provided by the Hayley Williams–fronted, anthemic late-aughts radio staple Paramore. —Paul Rogers

Smokey Robinson
GREEK THEATRE
Smokey Robinson is easily one of the Motor City’s most miraculous exports. The soul spearhead’s elegantly expressive pipes and stunningly crafted songs stand as some of the very finest in American music. Just those tunes he co-wrote for others (Mary Wells’ gorgeous “My Guy,” Marvin Gaye’s tender, bruised “Ain’t That Peculiar”) are utterly mind-bending, but Robinson’s own immortal hits — classics such as “Tracks of My Tears,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me” and “I Second That Emotion” — are, of course, all elemental in American life, each displaying his singular mix of a deceptively light melodic touch and psychologically penetrating lyrics. The 74-year-old is still “Going to a Go-Go,” big-time, with a major summer tour and brand-new album, Smokey and Friends, coming out next week. One of the greatest ever soul stars, now is definitely not the time to start taking him for granted. —Jonny Whiteside

Sunday, August 17

Mr. Scruff
THE MAYAN
In May 2014, Mr. Scruff aka Andy Carthy released Friendly Bacteria on the ever-righteous Ninja Tune label. While Earth itself didn’t exactly tremble, night spots ’round the globe shook massively. For this was more sheer excellence from the Manchester, England–based DJ and electronic-music producer, a 20-year veteran of the dance-floor wars, with a deep-rooted and sonically boundless style that has kept him in demand in a genre whose popularity has waxed and waned about a billion times since he first lifted off. Underground, pop, freaky-deaky and more, Scruff works it all, and does it with funky good humor, too (always a big plus). He doesn’t visit these parts often, so grab this chance. This show is part of KCRW’s series theLIFT at the Mayan, and also features resident DJs Jeremy Sole and Wiseacre. —John Payne

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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