The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Ellen von Unwerth
Friday, August 10
Bomba Estéreo draw upon traditional styles of music like cumbia and champeta, but the Colombian quintet is too musically restless to be strict revivalists. Instead, band leader Simón Mejía pumps up their folkloric influences with hip-hop grooves and thumping electronics, ending up with a dense thicket of sound, which the group describes as "electro tropical." Liliana Saumet nimbly spits out dizzyingly fast wordplay in raps like "Fuego," but she also shows a more tuneful persona in such tracks as "Aguasala," from the band's 2008 album, Estalla (which was rereleased in the United States in 2009 with a new title, Blow Up). Mejía unveils more sonic sorcery on Bomba Estéreo's 2011 EP, Ponte Bomb, which features several juiced-up remixes of "Fuego" and other songs, further revealing the different ways he can manipulate the shape of fire. --Falling James
The city of Cleveland cracked open last year and out came Gap Dream, which is a guy named Gabe with a computer and a guitar and a set of songs just glowing with psychedelic brilliance. Maybe you remember the last guy who outta-nowhered with something this good -- they call him King Tuff, and turns out he's a big fan of Gap Dream. So are big things waiting for Gabe in the future? Probably, but there are deep and heavy things going on right now, with music that floats forth from the same haze that harbored Spacemen 3 -- especially when they were taking drugs to make music to take drugs to -- and Brian Jonestown Massacre and the 13th Floor Elevators and anybody who ever wished they could lower an amp down a cistern just to hear it reverb-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b. Yes, there should be a few more b's in there, but you can guess how this sounds already. --Chris Ziegler
Saturday, August 11
Power of the Riff
Now in its third year, Southern Lord's Power of the Riff festival continues to serve a buffet of heavy music for L.A. to gorge on. If angry, hardcore punk is what you are craving, Keith Morris and the OFF! Crew have you covered. If you prefer your brand of heavy caked with blood and guts, goregrind pioneers Repulsion have your back. If you want something that will compel you to punch every motherfucker in the pit, pissed-off powerviolence greats Despise You likely will be out there punching you back. If hazy, metallic, Pink Floyd-ish jams are what you need to get through the day, local boys Ancestors will do you proud. And at the end of the day, when you are stuffed with different breeds of heavy fighting it out in your stomach, the low-end rumble of drone legends Sunn O))) will assist you in the emptying of your bowels. --Jason Roche
Red Hot Chili Peppers
On Aug. 14, Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to release the first in a series of nine (!) 7-inch singles containing outtakes from last year's I'm With You. Given the album's relatively lukewarm reception, it's an unexpected strategy: "Didn't bother to check out our best? Well, here's the rest!" That said, we're kind of eager to hear the outtakes: To our ears, I'm With You sounded leaner and funkier than the Chili Peppers have since Californication; perhaps those qualities are in even greater supply in the stuff not meant for the radio. The funk should definitely flow during the band's two-night stand at Staples Center, where they'll be joined by percussionist Mauro Refosco, who also plays in Thom Yorke's body-rocking Atoms for Peace. With Thundercat. Also Sunday, with Off! --Mikael Wood
Sunday, August 12
If you've seen alt-country diva Neko Case perform during the past decade, you've probably also heard her longtime backup singer Kelly Hogan, who keeps the audience (and Case) cracking up with her fearlessly irreverent onstage patter. Case is an amazing singer, but so is Hogan, with a rich, soulful voice that alternates between powerful belting and melodically crystalline intimacy. The Atlanta native isn't exactly new at this, having fronted cabaret-jazz-punk outfit the Jody Grind before releasing several underrated solo albums. After years of making everyone else sound good, Hogan finally steps back into the spotlight with her Anti- Records debut, I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, where she's backed by all-stars like Booker T. Jones while crooning tunes written especially for her (and that velvety voice) by such stellar pals as Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Vic Chesnutt and The Mekons' Jon Langford. --Falling James
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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