The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend
Dr. Dog headline the Wiltern on Friday and the Glass House on Sunday.
Photo by Louis Kwok
Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!
Friday, February 13
Dr. Dog, Hanni El Khatib
“I put on my clothes like a bodyguard/I put the dogs on patrol in my own backyard,” Scott McMicken announces, belying the sunny mood on much of Dr. Dog’s new concert album, Live at a Flamingo Hotel. But the singer-guitarist finds himself wrapped up more in wonder than paranoia when he continues, “I got my eye on the prize, but it looks just like the mystery.” Bassist Toby Leaman chimes in with yearning harmonies, but what really sets most of these tunes apart is the way McMicken and fellow guitarist Frank McElroy light them up with pinwheels of psychedelic guitar. This contrast between down-home folksiness and luminescent, tripped-out guitars on euphoric tracks such as “Heart It Races” sets the Pennsylvania sextet apart from other folk-rock and jam bands. With the hazy “Moonlight” reveries of opener Hanni El Khatib. Also Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Glass House. — Falling James
Since the release almost two years ago of their debut album, Irreverence, L.A.-based French electronic group Dirtyphonics have spent the majority of their time on the road. A trio in the studio but touring and DJing as a twosome, their regular exposure to EDM audiences has put them in good stead on the explosive, multigenre new EP, Write Your Future. Opener “Power Now” featuring Matt Rose is an electrified take on high-speed thrash metal, while closer “Since You’ve Been Gone,” also with Rose and propelled by fluttery trance rhythms, is the opposite. They team up with omnipresent trap artist UZ and rapper Trinidad Jame$ for the grimy hip-hop number “Hustle Hard,” and with 12th Planet and singer Julie Hardy for the bass-heavy “Free Fall.” “Energetic” is the thread running through Write Your Future, and what Dirtyphonics’ DJ set promises to be. — Lily Moayeri
Benefit for Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel
L.A.’s Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel are a psych band on the way up. But after playing San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall with The Fresh & Onlys last month, they discovered their tour car with the windows bashed out and all their equipment gone. Anyone who’s heard their ferociously psychedelic keys-and-organ rock can imagine the damage — or, if you haven’t seen them, just picture a flock of glorious vintage synths and amps flapping away into the night. Happily, local bands including Fever the Ghost, Drinking Flowers and new Sub Pop signee Morgan Delt have joined forces with the Echo, DoLA and Goose Island for this benefit show to help re-equip the Brain Hotel. Says a grateful Mr. E.: “[They’re] angels sent from the great golden gates of rock & roll heaven.” — Chris Ziegler
Sparks perform their classic album Kimono My House with a full orchestra at Ace Hotel on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo by Andy Sturmey
Saturday, February 14
HOUSE OF BLUES SUNSET STRIP
For the past half-decade, Houston-born rapper Riff Raff has built a cult following with savvy marketing and an energetic live show. While you can question the merits of his oversized persona, you can’t dismiss his burgeoning popularity and his gradual improvement as a rapper. The 33-year-old’s debut album, Neon Icon, released on Mad Decent, forced even the most ardent critics to begrudgingly acknowledge that his straightforward rhymes were better than expected. Even though some still refuse to take him seriously, Riff Raff’s party-rap ethos continues to resonate with his rapidly expanding fan base. Maybe the man who has both a branded vending machine and his own marijuana strain is smarter than he appears. — Daniel Kohn
THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
In recent years, Sparks have shrunk themselves down to a duo in concert. But this weekend, singer Russell Mael and his brother, keyboardist-songwriter Ron Mael, are joined by a 38-piece orchestra for a full-length rendition of their madcap 1974 pop masterpiece, Kimono My House, along with a smattering of later hits. The brothers previously performed the album at Royce Hall in 2009, backed by members of Redd Kross and Mother Superior, but they reprised it more lavishly with the Heritage Orchestra in London in December and will unfurl its elaborate arrangements here with the help of conductor Suzie Katayama. Russell’s falsetto vocals and Ron’s dainty piano pirouettes on “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us” were acknowledged inspirations for everyone from Queen to Morrissey, but no one blends whimsy and cleverness quite as wonderfully as the originals. Also Sunday, Feb. 15. — Falling James
MCCABE'S GUITAR SHOP
This veteran guitar great’s 50-year-plus run has not been a whirlwind, exactly –– more like a loping stroll through the best American music there is. A deeply respected and widely influential player, though woefully unheralded outside guitar-geek circles, the former Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna member is back with a satisfying new album, appropriately titled Ain’t in No Hurry (Red House). It’s a choice collection of dusty old blues and folk classics, together with several fine originals, including a lost Woody Guthrie lyric set to music by Kaukonen and multistring collaborator Larry Campbell. Real authentic stuff, the album features special guests including Hot Tuna bassist Jack Casady and mandolin chief Barry Mitterhoff. Also Sunday, Feb. 15; two shows both nights. — John Payne
Sunday, February 15
Colleen Green titled her debut album Milo Goes to Compton as a nod to The Descendents’ Milo Goes to College, and her upcoming release, I Want to Grow Up, appears to be an answer of sorts to The Descendents’ I Don’t Want to Grow Up. Although the local singer is clearly inspired by the South Bay punk group, her own songs don’t necessarily have much in common with The Descendents’ style. Instead, tracks such as “TV” sound more like Dum Dum Girls, La Sera or perhaps a harder version of Best Coast. Girl-group and garage-pop melodies are pummeled by sludgy punk guitars as Green coos about everything from her short attention span to her secret desire to drive a taxi. Throughout it all, Green’s vocals have a sugary serenity that makes even her most offhand observations feel compelling. — Falling James
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