The Best Los Angeles Concerts of 2011
5. Bon Iver
In 2009, Justin Vernon and his band, Bon Iver, received glowing reviews for their beautiful performance at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, playing at dawn as the first rays of sunlight reached across the L.A. skyline. So when the band finally returned to play the Shrine this September, expectations were pretty high. They delivered.
Capitalizing off this year's Bon Iver, Vernon was able to take the act's live presence to new heights with the addition of nine vocalists, a horn section, and two drummers. With a virtual orchestra in tow, the Wisconsin native demonstrated the subtle arrangements that make his wistful and tender songwriting so poignant. Our critic Molly Bergen said, "It felt like Dorothy stepping into the Land of Oz in all of its Technicolor glory."
4. Odd Future
Phallic-shaped bubble guns, violent mosh pits, and a dude puking blood into a sink. When Golf Wang returned to Los Angeles this September, their legion of young and intoxicated fans were ready to greet them. While the performers may have been tamer than in previous performances, the crowd was anything but - unleashing a wave of pent-up, adolescent aggression that generated multiple ambulance calls to the historic Hollywood theater. Too bad, but it's part of what made the show so fascinating. OFWGKTA isn't just a rap collective, it's a scene, and everyone at the Palladium got a glimpse of it.
3. Iggy and the Stooges, Le Bucherettes
"A Stooges show is unlike any other," wrote Henry Rollins after their recent performance. "It's like the chase scene in an action film. It's like watching a boxing match that goes the distance. It is not just another night out -- it is a chapter of your life." Indeed, a Stooges show is not to be missed -- and not this one in particular At age 64, Iggy can still bring it as strongly as ever.
Also intriguing was the guest billing of up-and-coming noise rock trio Le Butcherettes. Showcasing the theatrics and blood-stained clothing of frontwoman Teri Gender Bender, the in-your-face group had no trouble in pumping up an older crowd, providing a well-received segue into Iggy's performance.
2. Thom Yorke at Low End Theory
Folks in the long line in front of the Airliner asked each other: Were the rumors true? Was Thom Yorke really going to be at Low End Theory? Originally, Yorke had planned to back out, but after Flying Lotus texted a picture of the line to the Radiohead frontman he changed his tune. "Fuck it, I'm coming," responded Yorke.
It was his first public appearance since King of Limbs was released in February. Who knew that the elusive musician could also bring down the house as a DJ? For an hour, Yorke transformed the club into his own funky dance party, incorporating an eclectic selection of music that ranged from Modeskeletor to Busta Rhymes. And to cap it off, Yorke even flashed some of his famed dance moves.
The Troubadour, May 11th
For twenty-one nights, Prince had Los Angeles music fans in a frenzy. The reason was his "21 Nite Stand" tour -- a month long residency at the Forum in Inglewood during which fans could see the icon for as little as $10 a ticket. But even twenty-one shows didn't stop him from setting up a series of additional, secret performances around town. Easily the most talked-about of these was the Purple Genius' second night at the Troubadour in WeHo. For those lucky enough to be inside the intimate space, Prince delivered an epic performance that included extended funk jams and three encores, and lasted until the wee hours. Oh yeah, and there was even a guitar vs. sax battle.
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