The Best Concerts to See in Los Angeles This Week
Credit: Timothy NorrisPrince (performing at Coachella 2008) -- See Tuesday
For any show in town see our regularly-updated concert calendar.
Monday, May 6
The California Feetwarmers
The California Feetwarmers are an astonishingly fine, old-timey New Orleans jazz aggregation. This recently minted blend of two groups, the Balkan beatniks of Petrojvic Blasting Company and local Latin rhythm wranglers Capt. Jeff's Musical Chumbuckets, may be an unusual elemental mix, but their resolutely arcane interests converge for a magnificent harmony. Driven by sheer skill and passion, not detached fetishism and fixation, this gang dispenses glorious music. It's traditional jazz done properly and most definitely along the lines of New Orleans clarinet titan Sidney Bechet's artistic code: "Treat it Gentle." The Feetwarmers' sound is warm and open, with plenty of space and grace between the notes, making for a richly languorous and viper-mad experiment in groove that's as engaging an earful as you'll encounter anywhere this side of the Ninth Ward. --Jonny Whiteside
Eddy the Chief Clearwater
Savage musical prowess, an eye-popping wardrobe, a powerhouse vocal style characterized both by bombastic audacity and soulful subtlety -- these are the calling cards of hard-charging 78-year-old Chicago bluesman Eddy "the Chief" Clearwater. The venerable guitarslinger began grinding it out in Chi-Town joints in the early '50s, and after Chuck Berry came to town, Clearwater developed his banging self-described "rock-a-blues" sound. It's a commanding, aggressive enhancement of the Chicago tradition, and Clearwater wrings every drop of funky satisfaction from his characteristically wild barrage of shuffles, rockers and ravers. Intense, joyful stuff. Also Sun., May 5 at the Topanga Blues Festival. --Jonny Whiteside
Tuesday, May 7
Prince Rogers Nelson has come a long way since he was pelted with trash by clueless classic-rock fans while opening as a relatively unknown performer for The Rolling Stones at the Coliseum in 1981. Don't be surprised if some of those same yahoos are lining up right now to score precious tickets to Prince's four sets at this 1,700-seat theater. It's always been foolish to write off the Minneapolis singer-guitarist or to attempt to neatly summarize his musically restless experimentation over the years. Just when you think you have Prince pigeonholed, he'll turn around and go off in a completely unexpected direction. A good case in point is his current tour, where he's backed by the all-femme group 3rd Eye Girl. Eschewing the shiny funk-pop of his early days, Prince is letting his freak flag fly high with ultra-heavy rock grooves and rampantly wild Hendrix-y guitar solos. Far from being anonymous backup musicians, guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen and drummer Hannah Ford seem to really push Prince and challenge him to rock much harder than ever. Also Wed., May 8. --Falling James
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile is what you might call a natural -- put a guitar in his upturned palms and the songs just bloom. Within his ever-growing discography on Matador, he has everything from never-ending motorik hell rides (like his immortal "Freak Train," with the even more immortal lyric "I ain't never been so insulted in my whole life ... SHIT!") and lo-fi Bert Jansch city folk to Neil Young-meets-Vernon Ray ruraldelic jam-outs. Vile's warped, classic rock-ified anthems show just what would have happened if Bruce Springsteen had signed with landmark indie label SST. While Vile can break a heart just like breaking a string when he plays solo, he and his band, the Violators, are full-blast shredders most noble. Behold the joy and revelation that follow when serious guitar scholars try to stretch song after song into infinity. --Chris Ziegler
Wednesday, May 8
Akron/Family's blenderized funbeams of "rock & roll" are real Daniel Boone stuff, as in exploratory by nature and full of danger. What they do is inhale all music, melt it down and regurgitate it back out into the universe in altered states, so that it kinda feels like rock. But then again, maybe it's not, and maybe it doesn't matter what you call it, because best of all, it doesn't sound like a pastiche of neat stuff they learned about on the Internet. Chaos theory figures in there somehow, too, and let's go ahead and use the shopworn term "mash-up," too. The thing is, this band is going to hodgepodge free jazz improv, droning industrial noise and arty, serious music, but it won't be straying far from sweetly melodicized "pop" all the while. Akron/Family rethink the essential implications of music itself on their new, sublimely confusing album, Sub Verses. --John Payne
Thursday, May 9
"I'm a stupid whore and a frigid bitch," Kate Nash declares on her latest album, Girl Talk. "Now you can make up your mind and tell me which is which." Anyone who thinks the English singer is a mindless pop diva obviously hasn't been paying attention to Nash's changes over the past six years. She still coos giddy, romantic pop tunes like "O My God!," but she also uses her sharp wit to defy expectations on such thoughtfully dreamy broadsides as "Sister" and "I'm a Feminist, You're Still a Whore." She belies the song title "Conventional Girl" with sharp lyrics, somehow making a sentiment like "I'm sick of being the bitch that you think I am" sound catchy and poppy, as a surge of punk guitars and girl-group harmonies wash over her. Also at the Troubadour, Friday, May 10. --Falling James
See also: Kate Nash: Whipping Girl
Pierce the Veil
Perhaps the poppy zenith of the post-hardcore genre to date, Pierce the Veil are what fellow San Diegans Blink-182 might have sounded like had they formed 15 years later. The quartet's third full-length, last year's shockingly consistent Collide With the Sky, reveled in some noodly guitars and metalcore-ish rhythmic motifs and changes of pace but was essentially about Vic Fuentes' seemingly helium-fueled, adolescent timbre. His voice sounds way less Auto-Tuned than on 2010's Selfish Machines as it navigates mighty, arena-ready hooks. That's not to say that these cheeky chappies have lost their penchant for prog-lite or moments of Latin flair, but overall, Collide is a classic case of come for the trendy traits, stay for the super-solid songwriting. --Paul Rogers
For any show in town see our regularly-updated concert calendar.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.