The Best Concerts to See in Los Angeles This Weekend

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti -- See Friday
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti -- See Friday
Credit: Timothy Norris

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Friday, May 17

The International Swingers


With New York's Met Gala "punk" event and exhibit dominating the media last week, it's sadly ironic that the innovators and music makers responsible for this in-your-face aesthetic took a backseat to the celebrity aspect. So un-punk. Thankfully, two of the genre's iconic music makers, The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock and Blondie's Clem Burke, will be hard to ignore in L.A. this week, as their supergroup is staging a bona fide music blitz here, beginning tonight at the Viper Room. Matlock, the Pistols' original bass player (as heard on Never Mind the Bollocks) subsequently was replaced by Sid Vicious, but he enjoyed more time with the group while playing on their reunion tours. Burke, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is hands down one of the steadiest and most stylish rock drummers of all time. The pair's talents are complemented by the Swingers' other members, Gary Twinn (Supernaut, Speedtwinn) and James Stevenson (Generation X, Gene Loves Jezebel). This may not be snarling, hot-mess Pistols punk or Blondie-esque beat chic, but the sound definitely references both, as well as '80s New Wave, a little '70s classic rock and modern indie, too. Still, the attitude is all punk, as their latest single, "Gun Control," makes loud and smolderingly clear. Also performing at the Derby Dolls' halftime show on Saturday, May 18, and the Original Farmers Market on Fairfax on Friday, May 24. --Lina Lecaro

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti


Ariel Pink has come a long way from being just a name on a CD-R on the floor of Animal Collective's van. In the past decade, Pink has gone from living in messy apartments and fabricating surreal tracks to, well, living messy and publicly discharging those abstract recordings. His 2012 Mature Themes marks the eighth release under his belt and maintains his Gothic-visionary reputation. Created out of heartbreak over being dumped by longtime girlfriend Geneva Jacuzzi, the album is a bit more alienating in its methodical and convoluted production, laced with puzzling and, at times, nonsensical lyrics. Nevertheless, Pink is entangling. Live, he paces the stage, lazily carrying his lanky body, gesturing arbitrarily and muttering lyrics while his collaborators hold the stage and excellently reproduce the complex countermelodies. You might have to accept that you are just a hint of mad if you can relate to Pink, but everyone enjoys a bit of crazy every now and then. Pink returns to Los Angeles to perform at the First Unitarian Church for the final date of his tour on Friday, June 21. --Britt Witt

Fred Falke, Lifelike


The French take over Hollywood tonight as venerable electronic label and fashion brand Kitsuné brings its Club Night world tour to scenetastic dance spot Lure. It's as tres chic an affair as one might imagine, with long-standing DJ/producer Fred Falke sharing the decks with Paris-based Lifelike. A veteran of the French house scene, Falke also is an in-demand remixer, having lent his slick synth style to productions for artists as varied as Ke$ha, Little Boots, U2, Ladyhawke, Gossip, Grizzly Bear and Katy Perry (his remix of Perry's "Firework" is a sure-fire party anthem). Meanwhile, "Don't Stop," Lifelike's 2012 collaborative dance jam with A-Trak, is all synth-pulse sex appeal. Together, the two most certainly will bring the floor to places both soaring and seductive, and demonstrate that, in some cases, the French really do do it better. --Katie Bain

Saturday, May 18

Semi Precious Weapons


Perhaps still recovering from 14 months spent opening Lady Gaga's 2009-2011 "Monster Ball" world arena tour, and in the calm before the frenzy that will be their imminent third album cycle, Semi Precious Weapons strut back into clubland with this one-off at the 150-capacity Mint. Though fans will need to shell out at least $50 (for a shows-only pass to the two-day OvertureCon) to see it, SPW's shrunken stadium-quality performance should more than justify the hit. It took music-school educations for this quartet to make superficiality so slick and supple, their cultured take on garage/trash rock an unlikely, sweaty mating of noodly accomplishment and head-tossing irreverence. But it's vampy, campy frontman Justin Tranter's cartoonish, norm-baiting persona that elevates these Weapons well above just shredding musos sonically slumming it. --Paul Rogers




Robin Hannibal is leading a double life this year with full-length releases from both his projects, Rhye and Quadron. Hannibal's formidable production skills are put to their best use when they are paired with an exceptional voice, which Coco O., his partner in Quadron, certainly has. Calling Quadron "blue-eyed soul" would be an insult. Both members have an authentic understanding of soul music -- albeit from a Danish perspective. It's the clever doctoring of those sounds with studio enhancements, however -- not to mention Coco's stunning, honeyed tones--that makes their sophomore album, Avalanche, an R&B exemplar. With nods to jazz and the extensive use of orchestration, the two sound smooth and polished on "Neverland," chilling on the moody title track, and in the throes of new love on "Hey Love." --Lily Moayeri

Sunday, May 19

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart


As a kid, one of Larry Goldings' first influences was, interestingly, Billy Joel. On the way to becoming the next Piano Man, he discovered jazz and the organ, got the call for Maceo Parker, and became the favorite keyboardist of everyone from chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux to jazz guitarist John Scofield to James Taylor (Goldings was the "One Man" in the latter's One Man Band). Goldings lives in L.A. but, contra Joel, he won't "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" anytime soon, with a litany of film scores, songwriting credits, even some acting (here's hoping YouTube alter ego Hans Groiner gets a pilot). He is still best known for his organ trio with guitarist Bernstein and drummer Stewart, a group approaching Keith Jarrett's Standards Trio in terms of longevity and preeminence in modern jazz. Also Friday and Saturday, May 17-18. --Gary Fukushima

Only You


Rachel Fannan of Only You has a voice like ... well, she has a voice like a lot of different things, most of which can snap your heart in half on contact. She can breathe fire, she can break glass, she can make the lights in the room flicker and dim, and when the day comes that she's standing on some stadium stage somewhere, she'll surely coax a single star to fall from the sky. Until then, she's the heart and soul of Only You, whose 2012 single "Applying Myself" b/w "Our Love Is Making Me Tired" (on the storied local White Iris label) is overcranked, Vaselines-style guitar distortion when it wants to be loud and cascades of Television-style melody when it wants to be agile, with Fannan's voice spiraling toward infinity on all of it. --Chris Ziegler

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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