The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
Veronica Vasicka will DJ at her Cititrax label's showcase at Complex on Saturday.
Courtesy of the artist
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, January 16
If there was one saving grace when founding Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton died of a heart attack in 2009, it was that it gave Iggy Pop a chance to reincarnate the mid-’70s lineup of the band, Iggy & the Stooges, featuring incendiary lead guitarist James Williamson. After the death last year of Ron’s brother, Stooges drummer Scott Asheton, future reunions of the group are in doubt, but the formerly reclusive Williamson has already bounced back with Re-Licked, a solo album of remakes of later Stooges material. Interestingly, instead of focusing on Raw Power, his landmark 1973 album with the band, Williamson chose to re-record rarities such as “Open Up and Bleed” and “Wet My Bed” with well-known singers, including tonight’s guests, Jello Biafra, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Bellrays soul-punk powerhouse Lisa Kekaula. — Falling James
Long Beach’s The Humpers tore their way through most of the 1990s with their own revved-up version of punk rock (and more than a little pub rock) in the style of smash-and-grab greats such as The New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers, L.A.’s underrated Joneses and early Cock Sparrer — which means lots of slashing, Thunders-style guitar and lyrics bristling with that up-from-the-gutter sarcasm. Albums such as 1993’s Positively Sick on 4th Street (with a cover photo of one of the rare Long Beach landmarks that hasn’t been torn down or gutted for live/work lofts) should have made them as huge, but as the L.A. Times reported in a headline way back when, “The Humpers’ Authenticity Hampers Its Success.” That’s the ’90s for ya! Also Saturday, Jan. 17, at Alex’s Bar. — Chris Ziegler
Chad Wackerman Group
THE BAKED POTATO
Chad Wackerman comes from a highly musical family — his brother Brooks is the drum backbone of Bad Religion. The Long Beach native is best known for his extended period as the drummer for Frank Zappa, from 1981 through 1988, along with more than a decade backing English guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Wackerman’s own music is often as complex as Zappa’s, beginning with 1991’s Forty Reasons through his last release, Dreams, Nightmares and Improvisations, in 2012. Much like fellow Zappa drummer and frequent percussion-duo cohort Terry Bozzio, Wackerman’s emphasis is on musicality behind the drumkit. Tonight’s show at the Baked Potato in Studio City features bassist Doug Lunn and highly regarded guitarist Mike Miller, who has spent much of the past year touring the world with Boz Scaggs. — Tom Meek
Julian Lage (left) and Nels Cline perform at Largo on Saturday.
Photo by Justin Camerer
Saturday, January 17
Nels Cline & Julian Lage
LARGO AT THE CORONET
Jazz isn’t dead; it’s just being radically rethought in guitar visionaries Cline and Lage’s excellent new collaborative album, Room (Mack Avenue). Featuring composed pieces by both players, the album is a bracingly exploratory set that showcases each man’s singular gift for spontaneous creation in frameworks that skewedly refer to the tone and vernacular of jazz. Not merely a technically great guitarist, Cline is famed as an artist whose genre-defying attitude creates music of exhilarating surprise, and whose supreme skills bring out the best in the artists he plays with. On Room, he challenges his own rules by playing without effects pedals or other filtering devices, while the normally more structured Lage makes great leaps in the free-improv realm. Expect fascinating flights of co-creative fancy. — John Payne
He was born into a black family with an absentee father, in a mostly white neighborhood in Bakersfield. As a boy, he endured a burning cross on his lawn and bottles of urine hurled through his windows. He sang only in church, until he honored his mother’s last wish for him on her deathbed and began his vocal career at age 40. Four years later, Gregory Porter has a Grammy and international fame, recently bringing the house down at London’s Royal Albert Hall. He’s a jazz singer but, as in the manner of Al Jarreau, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, Lou Rawls and George Benson, his soul roots are gloriously self-evident. Blue Note Records has its new champion, one who sounds classic and current at the same time. — Gary Fukushima
Cititrax Showcase with AN-i, Veronica Vasicka, Beau Wanzer and Silent Servant
As the mind behind the Minimal Wave label, Veronica Vasicka has rekindled interest in the stark sounds of experimental-leaning synth outfits of the 1980s and brought previously hard-to-find gems to electronic-music lovers. Her offshoot label, Cititrax, pushes those influences into the present day with a crop of artists who stay on the electronic edge without dropping the dance beat. Headlining this showcase, co-presented by Highland Park record store Mount Analog, is AN-i, whose most recent 12-inch for Cititrax, “Gutz,” inhabits that beautiful space where industrial and techno meet, sounding like a factory in a science fiction flick. AN-i will be performing live. Vasicka herself will be on the decks, so expect some tunes you don’t know. Joining her in the DJ booth are Beau Wanzer, whose recent contribution to the Juno Plus podcast series hits a fantastic, noisy groove, and local techno producer Silent Servant. — Liz Ohanesian
Sunday, January 18
Despite not releasing any new material in almost 30 years, the impact that Dead Kennedys have had on hardcore punk is unmistakable. While faces have come and gone — most notably frontman Jello Biafra, swapped out for a number of singers before Ron “Skip” Greer ultimately settled in — the San Francisco–based outfit has continued to tour intermittently since 2001. The group’s combination of biting left-wing politics and juvenile sarcasm has endured over the years, allowing the DKs to continue playing their formative material and helping to usher in an era of punk nostalgia that continues to this day. — Daniel Kohn
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