The Best Five Concerts in L.A. This Week
Adam Lambert -- See Thursday
Monday, July 16
By day, Paul Prado is one of the brevity-obsessed comic geniuses at L.A.'s own 5 Second Films. He's their in-house Method actor -- a guy who takes what he does so seriously, he'll shave his head clean for a five-second spoof of Citizen Kane. He can occupy a character like nobody's business, so it should come as no surprise that Prado by night takes on an entirely different guise. Donning a full-body bear suit and usually ending up bare-chested, a more primal Prado unspools raw rhymes and coos Auto-Tuned come-ons as Animal Raps. Taking cues from indie-hop diarists like Sage Francis and Atmosphere, he makes songs that drip with emotion and swagger with personal empowerment -- they just happen to be animal-themed (see "Beautiful Bear" and "Jump Like a Rabbit"). Is it gimmickry? Perhaps, but Prado is talented and driven enough to pull it off. --Chris Martins
Tuesday, July 17
What a difference a year makes. Last spring, this Miami rapper-producer was posting hypnotic tracks on a barely viewed YouTube page that sounded cranked out of a broken Jack-in-the-box or a twinkling merry-go-round from The Twilight Zone. They were creepy and haunting, the work of a '90s baby influenced in equal parts by the Cartoon Network and grimy lo-fi rap. We found him lurking there, but before long, Syd the Kid was spinning his 2011 anthem "Suck a Dick" at Odd Future shows, and blogs quickly picked up the scent. Now, Purrp has collaborated with his hero from Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J, has produced for Wiz Khalifa and is headlining shows. He has managed both to cozy up to and already cut ties with the rap darling du jour, A$AP Rocky, but not before gathering a sizable following for his own crew, the Raider Klan. (In case you're wondering, we're Team Purrp.) Backed tonight by the hardcore punks from Sacramento, Trash Talk, who will be the first act not from Odd Future to release an album on the notoriously insular collective's imprint. --Rebecca Haithcoat
Forget for a moment that Frank Ocean's recent gentle-step out of the closet is a big deal in the notoriously queer-unfriendly rap/R&B universe; let's focus on the fact that he's the most interestingly idiosyncratic and eerily talented R&B singer-songwriter to emerge since D'Angelo's Brown Sugar blew minds back in 1995. Though Ocean is affiliated with Odd Future, he eschews the puerile for the poignant and the ADHD-addled energy for intense focus. The resulting songs are gorgeously crafted, with music that pulls liberally from across the pop spectrum (he sampled Coldplay, MGMT, the Eagles and Eyes Wide Shut for last year's Nostalgia, ULTRA. mixtape), and lyrics lovingly seeded with intimate narrative detail. And, of course, there's that voice: yearning but warm, adept but never showy, making Ocean's sound an endlessly inviting proposition -- as showcased on his new album Channel Orange -- with promise to spare. --Chris Martins
Wednesday, July 18
Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra
Life isn't a cabaret for Amanda Palmer so much as it's an ongoing, sprawling, endless carnival. From her early work with the Dresden Dolls to her upcoming album with her latest collaborators, the Grand Theft Orchestra, the madcap singer-pianist always dressed up her carny pop songs with plenty of extracurricular theatrics, garish makeup and stilt-walking sideshow performers. The circus elements are not so much distractions as they are amplifications and virtual re-enactments of the sometimes messy psychodramas that lie within Palmer's lyrics. If new songs like "Do It With a Rockstar" and the orchestra's covers of overplayed songs by Radiohead and Nirvana seem initially less quirky and inventive than her freaky Dresden Doll period, keep listening, because eventually the weirder and stranger elements of her persona will seep through the cracks. --Falling James
Thursday, July 19
Due to various international commitments (including a brief European stint fronting Queen), this bedazzled American Idol refugee hasn't yet launched a full U.S. tour in support of his excellent new studio album, Trespassing. So Glamberts should be sure to hit this one-off O.C. Fair gig, which is likely to contain all the glitter-ball fabulousness you'll require this summer. Even the non-devoted may enjoy: Where Lambert's post-Idol bow, For Your Entertainment, felt as half-baked as it probably was, Trespassing delivers tunes as forceful as the singer's glam-god look. "Kickin' In" is a sassed-out disco-rock gem, while "Shady" brandishes a sweet guest spot by Nile Rodgers of Chic. If the man behind "Le Freak" is on board, we are, too. --Mikael Wood
See also: Adam Lambert: Now 50% More Fabulous
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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