The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
Bootsy Collins -- See Thursday
Monday, December 17
The Moonbeams' upcoming single might be titled "Life's a Circus," but the song is more mournful and foreboding than cheery or escapist. Lead singer Beck Black howls her bloody imprecations with a solemn, sullen intensity as drummer Adam Alt and guitarist Nick Maybury rattle together a post-punk racket that evokes the dark allure of The Doors mixed with Siouxsie & the Banshees. When she's not rolling around on the stage like Iggy Pop's little sister, Black conjures even more unholy dread from her keyboards, pumping out compulsively heavy bass lines with her left hand while delicately stirring up airier figures with her right. New Moonbeams songs like "Mindfuck" and "Marilyn Monroe" range from propulsive, electronic-based New Wave to hard glam-rock glitter. Former Elimidate survivor Black may look like an adorable pixie in her glamorous, flapper-style frocks, but once she opens her mouth, she surprises with an inexpressibly sad and ageless low voice that comes out of nowhere like a forgotten ghost. --Falling James
Wednesday, December 19
The Watkins Family Christmas Gathering
You never know who might show up at Sean and Sara Watkins' regular appearances at Largo. Past guests have included singer-mandolinist Chris Thile, the duo's former partner in the beloved alt-bluegrass band Nickel Creek, as well as such unexpected luminaries as Fiona Apple, Jackson Browne, Nikka Costa and even that rarest and most reclusive of all Monkees, Michael Nesmith. While it's likely that a horde of similarly stellar names will join the siblings at tonight's holiday show, don't let your celebrity stargazing get in the way of appreciating the Watkins' own music. Sara Watkins is an especially eloquent fiddler and charming singer with an inviting new country-pop album, Sun Midnight Sun, while her older brother, Sean, is a deft guitarist whose humble manner belies the astonishingly intricately patterns he wrings from his ax. And both of them can sing like a dream. --Falling James
Thursday, December 20
Known for his bass-playing virtuosity and blindingly sequined stage garb, Bootsy Collins is undeniably one of funk's foremost living legends. The Cincinnati native established The Pacesetters in 1968, which functioned as the robust accompaniment to soul icon James Brown. Collins soon joined the innovative funk outfit Parliament/Funkadelic, co-writing notorious party anthem "Tear the Roof off the Sucker." He formed Bootsy's Rubber Band in 1976, later penning the oft-sampled "I'd Rather Be with You." His 2011 release The Funk Capital of the World features appearances by Bobby Womack, George Clinton and Samuel L. Jackson, among others. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley
For over a year now, L.A. institution Farmer Dave (Beachwood Sparks, sideman to the stars, solo soul believer, purveyor of famous special-recipe Hot Nuts) and his friends at Club Pacific have been bringing the old, the weird, and the beautiful to a resurrected basement speakeasy just minutes from the beach, connecting surf to psych to simple and welcome good times -- or was that good vibes? -- with all-star guests from L.A.'s most cosmic undergrounds. Tonight, he and his Club Pacific band go back to the olden days with an all-Kinks cover set, which is guaranteed to include every good song you want played with all the vigor and reverence you'd expect. A lovely way to spend possibly your last night on the planet. And if there is still a planet come Dec. 22, they should start planning an all-Love version of this next! --Chris Ziegler
Power of the Riff with Sunn O))), High on Fire, Corrosion of Conformity, Black Breath, et al.
What is the mystical healing power of the Riff? Where is it taking us? What will we find when we get there? These questions are important, since the world is ending and all. And thus this event, curated by Southern Lord label bossman/Sunn O))) guitarist Greg Anderson and his bud Sam James Velde, clarifies matters somewhat by deliberately smashing together the ultra-heaviest of death/grind/doom/dungcore metal and other hardcore, punk and rock stylists. All day and all ages, with a record swap meet hosted by local and pop-up stores, the event includes DJ sets between performances and a gourmet food-truck court. Full sets by High on Fire, Sunn O))), Corrosion of Conformity, Black Breath, Dead in the Dirt, Loincloth and Void Ov Voices. --John Payne
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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