The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
Spirit Vine -- See Wednesday
Monday, November 26
Everyone Dies in Utah
Post-hardcore bands don't dwell in some dark kingdom where only battering-ram beats, gurgled vocals and de-tuned guitars are tolerated. While plenty brutal, many of these acts also are influenced by the dance-music genres dominant amongst their peers. The Texas sextet Everyone Dies in Utah cradles airy arms-aloft melodies, escapist harmonies and nightclub-evoking electronica amidst desolate riffs and raw-throated wrath -- summoning irreverent Dayglo undertones all-too-welcome in what can be an overly grim genre. With such song titles as "Bed, Bath and Beyoncé" and "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish," they're willfully flippant, but Danny Martinez's bestial screech and the band's repeated rhythmic muggings still are unsettling in their premeditated ultraviolence. --Paul Rogers
Tuesday, November 27
Bela Fleck and The Marcus Roberts Trio
Banjoist Bela Fleck has almost singlehandedly redefined what was previously an instrument confined to bluegrass and Dixieland music, garnering a total of 13 Grammys along the way. Born and raised in New York, Fleck has performed over the last three decades in jazz, rock, classical, folk and other musical genres while gaining recognition as the finest banjo player in the world, most often at the helm of his own band, The Flecktones. Tonight Fleck begins a four-night run at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood in yet another unusual musical combination: joined by a trio led by blind pianist Marcus Roberts, who burst upon the jazz world as a member of the Wynton Marsalis groups of the 1980s. The pair are touring in support of a new album, Across the Imaginary Divide. --Tom Meek
Wednesday, November 28
The Echo Park tribe Spirit Vine are obsessed with "wine, weed, witches, warlocks ... wombs, windows" and other weird words that start with the letter w. Their music is suitable witchy and bewitching, as keyboardist Jaquelinne Cingolani belts it out in a mournfully moody yet powerful voice, while guitarist Gabe Pacheco cuts up little chunks of glowing ice cubes that hiss and spark when they brush up against Cingolani's keening vocals. Like The Duke Spirit, Spirit Vine construct songs that aren't short and bubblegum-cute. Instead, tangled and serpentine guitar lines unwind slowly while Cingolani chants hard and heavy incantations like "Cold Living." But the band also has a coolly melodic side on such pretty tunes as "Pluto Why," which nonetheless rockets into the ether, leaving behind a trail of psychedelic sparks. --Falling James
Thursday, November 29
Famous collaborative jazz bands are rare, with only a handful of notable examples: Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, The Bad Plus. As in those groups, Kneebody's members have become as well-known as their occasional cause célèbre. Saxist Ben Wendel and trumpeter Shane Endsley have stellar New York jazz careers, Adam Benjamin plays keys with Dave Douglas, and bassist Kaveh Rastegar has played with Cee-Lo Green and Bruno Mars. Drummer Nate Wood is also a star on bass and guitar and as a singer-songwriter. (He even has his own fan site.) Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk are cool, but what if they joined forces in the same movie? Kneebody could be the Jazz Avengers, if only that name wasn't taken by some group in Wichita. --Gary Fukushima
The fast-rising, hard-charging, 20-something, North Carolina born-and-bred singer Nikki Hill has more than earned her evocative "Southern Fireball" moniker. This African-American rock & roll sister trades in resolutely old-school soul and R&B, and she does so with stunning measures of heat, grace and impressively flawless vocal technique. Hill's vivid atmospherics, innate dynamicism and declarative delivery make for some thrillingly memorable song stylings. No mere fetishistic '50s throwback, she's facing an uphill battle out of the brain-dead ducktail-and-fat-cuff rockabilly ghetto. But Hill definitely has the pipes and the power to transcend that hell and reach Olympian heights. Just try to keep up with her. --Jonny Whiteside
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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