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

See Sunday: Cat Power (with the Pixies, Gogol Bordello)EXPAND
See Sunday: Cat Power (with the Pixies, Gogol Bordello)
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, September 26

Wu-Tang Clan, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch
THE FORUM
Despite recent claims by various media outlets of a Wu-Tang “reunion,” Method Man clarified in a September interview with the Daily Beast that the iconic rap posse had “never broken up” and are preparing to release a new album, A Better Tomorrow, in November. The album will feature all surviving group members, including recently reconciled Raekwon and RZA. Tonight’s show features some of hip-hop’s finest from the East and West Coasts. Los Angeles rap legend Ras Kass and celebrated Inglewood rapper Casey Veggies are set to perform, as is Pharoahe Monch and Brooklyn’s outspoken “conscious” emcee Talib Kweli — one of the few entertainers to take a public stand against racialized police violence in the wake of Ferguson, Missouri. If you are a hip-hop head, this show is not to be missed. —Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Way Over Yonder with ?Jackson Browne, Local Natives, Lucinda Williams
SANTA MONICA PIER
Way Over Yonder is a West Coast spinoff of the venerable Newport Folk Festival, and its two-day lineup represents something of a cross-section of modern performers whose music can be very loosely labeled as folk. The festival spotlights familiar faces such as Lucinda Williams and Jackson Browne, but Friday night’s bill is, refreshingly, headlined by the soaring, star-flecked indie rock of Local Natives and also features the inventively soulful reveries of Moses Sumney, a former L.A. Weekly music-writing intern and one of the few people of color at this traditionally white-bread gathering. Friday’s Carousel Stage is headlined by the bluesy San Diego duo Little Hurricane, who come off as alternately mannered and seductive. Saturday culminates with Browne, but the real highlights might be the thunderously restless anthems of Heartless Bastards, the eerily prismatic psychedelic folk of Linda Perhacs and the down-home, countrified melodicism of Leslie Stevens. Also Saturday, Sept. 27. —Falling James

Upcoming Events

Saturday, September 27

Big Star’s Third and ?#1 Record
WILSHIRE EBELL THEATRE
Big Star’s #1 Record inspired a thousand literate young bands, but Big Star’s Third can’t ever be copied by anyone — it’s less an artifact than an avatar of Alex Chilton, the Big Star co-founder who documented disaster and what comes after on this darkest of dark-night-of-the-soul records. In 1974, contributing rhythm guitarist Steve Cropper reportedly called the barely released Third “scary, evil shit,” but 40 years since reveal that Third is as beautiful as it is terrible, and more beautiful for the terror Chilton built in. Original drummer and surviving member Jody Stephens will propel a rotating series of guest musicians and an orchestral ensemble through this terrifically rare performance of both albums in their entirety as a benefit for the Autism Think Tank. As the Big Star song says so simply: Thank you, friends. —Chris Ziegler

Bob Mould
THE ROXY
Even among early-’80s punk and hardcore bands, the fuzzed-out crunch of Hüsker Dü was an awesome force of purifying volume and distortion, with singer-guitarist Bob Mould and singer-drummer Grant Hart trying to shout out their thoughtful lyrics above a wall of noise. Although Hart’s recent music has been tragically overlooked, Mould has righteously gone on to become a respected elder statesman of punk. On his latest solo album, Beauty & Ruin, Mould recalls his old band with fast tracks such as “Little Glass Pill” and “Kid With Crooked Face,” albeit at a more respectable volume. “I Don’t Know You Anymore” evokes the jangling side of Hüsker Dü, while the acoustic-laced “Let the Beauty Be” is more aligned with Mould’s solo work. Also Sunday, Sept. 28. —Falling James

  Sunday, August 28

George Fest
FONDA THEATRE
The Only Beatle That Matters? Them’s fightin’ words, but fans will argue that George Harrison was the coolest of them all. Great songwriter, vastly underrated guitarist, spiritual man and all-around excellent bloke, George would’ve grudgingly approved of this star-spangled concert in his honor. The event’s proceeds go to the Jameson Neighborhood Fund to benefit the commendable Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which provides financial assistance to musicians struggling to pay the bills while facing illness and disability. Celebrants include Brian Wilson, Norah Jones, George’s lad Dhani Harrison, Ann Wilson of Heart, Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, Britt Daniel of Spoon, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Nick Valensi of The Strokes, Butch Walker, Cold War Kids, Brian Bell of Weezer, Big Black Delta, Jamestown Revival, Gingger Shankar and many more. —John Payne

Pixies, Gogol Bordello, ?Cat Power
HOLLYWOOD BOWL
This would have been a great bill about five years ago, when Kim Deal was still playing in the Pixies, but tonight’s lineup still retains considerable mystery and thrills. Even pushed along by their fluidly propulsive new bassist, Paz Lenchantin, the Pixies sound sort of hollow and bombastic on turgid new songs such as “Silver Snail” and “Bagboy,” and the oldies just feel empty without Deal, but bandleader Frank Black is still an intriguing songsmith. Gogol Bordello likely will steal the show with their frenetic whirlwind of gypsy folk tradition and New York street punk, and not just because they feature exotic dancers riding precariously over the audience atop gigantic drums. Cat Power’s power comes from within, through powerful balladry that slowly builds tension and exorcises heartbreak with her soulfully passionate delivery. —Falling James

Angel City Jazz Festival
BARNSDALL ART PARK
Creative improvisers of music in Los Angeles are familiar with the name Rocco Somazzi. The Swiss-born impresario got his start programming adventurous music at various clubs in L.A., then stepped it up in 2006 with the inaugural Angel City Jazz Fest at Barnsdall Park, a hidden oasis just south of Los Feliz. The festival returns this year to Barnsdall for the finale of what has become an annual two-week celebration of art and music throughout the city. Somazzi, now assisted by Cryptogramophone founder Jeff Gauthier and the Jazz Bakery, continues to shine the spotlight on innovative musicians who are otherwise rarely accorded their due. Featured performers include Josh Nelson, Aruán Ortiz, Craig Taborn, Taylor Ho Bynum, and a tribute to saxophone legend Arthur Blythe. A second stage will showcase fine artists from Orenda Records, the fledgling label primed to extend Somazzi’s vision outward and upward. —Gary Fukushima

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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