The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Ludacris -- See Sunday
Friday, December 28
Fishbone, Quinto Sol
Fishbone have gone through a lot of changes since emerging from South Central L.A. in 1979, but the group can always be counted on for a funky good time. Lead singer/saxist Angelo Moore, bassist Norwood Fisher and crew have evolved from a ska-reggae combo into a wildly expansive outfit that hurls punk, funk, soul and hard rock into the mix. Pumped up by a brassy, sassy horn section, Fishbone keeps things lively and surreally ebullient, even when examining such heavy issues as war and racism; Moore sees no reason why saving the world can't also be a party. The band's Laurence Fishburne-narrated documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, recently was released on DVD, and they were still in righteously freaky form on their 2011 EP, Crazy Glue. The East L.A. reggae collective Quinto Sol sets the mood with their uplifting reggae grooves. --Falling James
Legend has it that The Growlers' new record, Hung at Heart (out in January on the esteemed Everloving label), was at one point in danger of being sanded smooth by star producer Dan Auerbach of the world-famous white-blues combo Black Keys. But the collaboration didn't work out. Whew! That was close! The Long Beach hobo-rock surfadelicists are truest and realest when they're twanging out an echoed-out, warped cheapness, a sound they've developed all on their own. Why that crappy sound is so powerful is a mystery, but it is, and it's a core element in Growler greatness and the seemingly infinite catalog of excellent songs the band's writing team of Brooks Nielsen and Matt Taylor is capable of creating. Hung is twang all around, sinister/jokey rock tuneage soaked in reverbed guitars, Doors-y organs and a singer nasally warbling about women, tallboys, beach rats and baloney -- and the pursuit of happiness on the endless road to who knows where. --John Payne
Saturday, December 29
For 12 years now, DJ Miles Tackett (aka Music Man Miles) has brought the funk and, yes, raw soul to this fair city, pumping it out pure and unfiltered through the analog warmth of good old vinyl from the 1960s and '70s. After starting out at Star Shoes, he's been hosting his Funky Sole dance party at the Echo every week, joined for the past three years by simpatico cohort DJ Clifton (aka Soft Touch). Two weeks ago, they celebrated in high style at the Vanguard, with Tackett's Breakestra breaking it down live alongside such luminaries as Syl Johnson, the Beatnuts, Connie Price & the Keystones, Aloe Blacc and Buyepongo. Tonight, the party continues with former Ozomatli/Jurassic 5 turntablist Cut Chemist, a longtime Funky Sole mainstay, who'll sculpt an all-vinyl set on his spinning wheels of steel.
Sunday, December 30
Main mouth Beyoncé Knowles so dominated mega-selling Texan R&B trio Destiny's Child that, as she writhed toward mononymous ubiquity in the early aughts, her bandmates seemed threatened with obscurity. But not Kelly Rowland, who grew up with Knowles in Houston and survived Destiny's Child's commercial explosion and Y2K switch-up (in which original members LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett departed). Rowland was actually the first Child to go it alone. Her 2002 debut, Simply Deep, spawned globally chart-topping Nelly duet "Dilemma," one year before Beyoncé's solo bow, Dangerously in Love. In '09 Rowland teamed with DJ David Guetta for another worldwide floor-filler, "When Love Takes Over," and her versatile, suggestively cooed vibrato and knee-weakening onstage glamour continue to remind that Destiny's Child wasn't all Knowles after all. --Paul Rogers
Ludacris (nee Chris Bridges) made the transition from Atlanta-based urban radio jockey to hip-hop heavyweight in the early 2000s, shortly after the release of his game-changing debut, Back for the First Time. The Billboard-charting tracks "What's Your Fantasy" and "Southern Hospitality" received heavy urban-radio rotation and quickly became hallmarks of rap's Dirty South movement. The three-time Grammy Award winner continued to churn out a flock of chart-topping singles during the 2000s. To date, he's sold more than 20 million albums just in the United States. More than a musical force, Bridges has successfully enjoyed careers as a SAG Award-winning actor, restaurateur and philanthropist. His highly anticipated 2013 release Ludaversal includes production by Pharrell Williams and David Guetta. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley
For details about these shows and more live music happening in the city this week, check out our Concert Calendar.
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