The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
Theo JemisonGaslamp Killer -- See Wednesday
Tuesday, September 4
Krzysztof Urbanski conducts "Three Russian Masters"
The classical canon today is both questioned for its relevance and pounced upon eagerly by a new generation of composers, performers and conductors of prodigious technical and scholarly gifts. The young firebrands are bringing deeply informed, interesting new insights to historical works, not to mention crowd-pleasing rock-star charisma. Nothing wrong with that! Such is the case with young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski (now heading the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra) and Russian piano wiz Denis Matsuev. Together these creative firebrands will probe and prod the works of three Russian greats: Prokofiev's thrillingly athletic Piano Concerto No. 1; Stravinsky's Selections from Petrushka, performed as solo piano; and Shostakovich's insinuating stab at Stalin, the gargantuan Symphony No. 10. --John Payne
Wednesday, September 5
Like Woody Allen's Zelig, singer-keyboardist Jillinda Palmer is everywhere. The Texas native has played with, or been a member of, practically every indie-rock band in Echo Park and Silver Lake, including sugary girl-group revivalists The Damselles & The TC4 and whimsical garage-pop rockers Monolators, as well as The Breakups, Hi Ho Silver Oh, The Henry Clay People, SpongeBob & the Hi-Seas, Le Switch, Correatown and many others. Palmer finally comes into her own with her new debut EP, Lazy Sun, and her recent album, Black El Camino. Her endearing vocals soar over a variety of styles, from the languidly dreamy country-pop of the album's title track to the sly and swanky, horn-laden New Orleans jazz of "Song for Kermit," where she could be describing her own music when she declares, "Can't shake this feeling I get from a catchy melody." --Falling James
As resident DJ and co-founder of the crucial Low End Theory club in downtown L.A., Gaslamp Killer has earned respect. And while he's a turntablist/sound theorist/producer of wicked and tasty skills, GK always gives you something exciting to look at, too: Dude is larger than life. He puts a lot of everything into his sound, which his imminent world-music/Cali psych-mutating full-length Breakthrough (on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label) proves with a vengeance. The album includes the heavy-duty likes of Gonjasufi, Dimlite, Daedelus, Samiyam and Computer Jay. Gaslamp Killer also applies electronic darkness to his just-out "Flange Face/Seven Years of Bad Luck" single, a scary new monster movie to further melt your little mind. His music is beautiful: vast in scope and unsettling -- exactly what we need right now. --John Payne
Thursday, September 6
"Why would you live anywhere else?" Bethany Cosentino wonders on the literally sunny title track of Best Coast's new album, The Only Place. "We've got the ocean, got the babes/Got the sun, we've got the waves." And what better place to see the Coast with the most than right here at the pier, overlooking her favorite ocean? Cosentino's unabashed love of all things California has led to much critical snickering and cynicism (perhaps from jealous haters who live in colder climates), but there's no denying that these ebullient pop songs are full of hooks and, refreshingly, nonsarcastic joy. The striking Cosentino naturally gets all the attention as the often-photographed lead singer, but don't overlook the contributions of guitarist Bobb Bruno. With a background in arty and freaky combos like Polar Goldie Cats, he imbues these pure-pop tunes with a bracing inventiveness. --Falling James
Ben Reddell Band
You may recall Ben Reddell from his place on the bass behind L.A.'s Leslie Stevens & The Badgers cq -- he's the tall, mustachioed longhair who seems like he'd have been equally at home playing with Willie Nelson as with Roky Erickson. But Reddell has a guitar and a band of his own, too, and a voice that comes out as weatherbeaten and world-weary as any classic Texan troubadour. (Hey, Guy Clark? Townes Van Zandt? Is there room for one more to share that bottle of the strong stuff?) If you saw the film Heartworn Highways, and if you laughed and then tried not to cry at all the appropriately hilarious and heartbreaking moments, you're primed for Ben Reddell's band. They'll ready the beer if you've got the tears. --Chris Ziegler
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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