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The Top 10 Memorial Day Weekend Concerts in L.A.

Fleetwood Mac -- See Saturday
Fleetwood Mac -- See Saturday

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Friday, May 24

Boris

ECHOPLEX

Japanese experimental rockers Boris have spent their entire 15-year career making sure that their fans are unable to predict what will come next from the band. One album could consist of thrashing heavy rockers (2011's Heavy Rocks), the next could consist of dreamy, atmospheric, shoegaze-laden pop. (Check Attention Please, also released in 2011.) Psychedelics are pretty much the only constant in each incarnation of Boris' musical output. The group will be doing two nights in a row at the Echoplex. The first evening (Thursday, May 23) will be an "all-time classics" set. For us, though, the real draw on Boris' trip back to L.A. is the second night, during which the band will focus on the heavy doom and drone-metal that first brought them attention by performing their 70-minute 2000 slow-builder, Flood. It will be a patience-testing set at times, but we're in it for the long haul. --Jason Roche

See also: How Boris Fucks With Their Fans -- In A Good Way

Lupillo Rivera

NOKIA THEATER

Talk about larger than life. Chicano singing star Lupillo Rivera, who rose from the absolutely nowheresville Long Beach barrio to conquer the highly charged realm of traditional Mexican corridos (managing it all with an admirable swagger and a set of powerhouse pipes), has survived both a devastating car accident and mysterious volleys of gunfire, yet he's never faltered. Along the way, his sister Jenni rose to an equal measure of fame, only to perish in that ghastly 2012 Monterrey plane crash. (Last month, Lupillo purchased several acres of land at the crash site to build a home for her children and erect a museum). It's all part of a wild, tragic, tuneful legacy that was begun by the Riveras' father, Pedro, himself an indie record man who spearheaded the narcocorrido genre and gave Lupillo his first crack behind the mic when a singer failed to make a session. But all that soap-opera tumult aside, Rivera remains a riveting stylist, one who imbues every song with an impressive sweep of expressive, emotional information, invariably put over with impressive polish and passion. --Jonny Whiteside

The Detroit Cobras

THE DOWN & OUT

Not since The Rolling Stones got their start in the early '60s has a mere cover band made as big an impact as The Detroit Cobras have. Of course, the Stones eventually went on to write their own songs, but the Cobras have zealously stuck to reinterpreting both certified soul classics and R&B obscurities. Guitarist Mary Ramirez doles out her riffs with punky, garage-rock raw power, keeping the Cobras' remakes from sounding nostalgic or wimpy. But what really makes The Detroit Cobras unique is lead singer Rachel Nagy, who belts it out with a fiery intensity like a grown-up-all-wrong hybrid of Little Eva and Dusty Springfield. When she's not purring like a hellcat, Nagy boozes it up and dispenses salty, sagely sarcastic advice like a modern-day Janis Joplin. Also at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana on Sunday, May 26. --Falling James

Saturday, May 25

Subhumans

THE VEX

In the early days of punk rock, two different bands with the same name emerged. Making things more confusing, both groups were fiercely radical, with ultra-leftist politics and lyrics, and both were massively influential in the punk underground in their own strikingly different ways. The Canadian version of Subhumans actually started a year or two earlier, in the late 1970s, but their British counterparts, who are invading town tonight, were no less subversive. Whereas a member of the Canadian Subhumans was part of a radical ecological group that bombed a munitions factory in Ontario, the British Subhumans, led by singer Dick Lucas, channeled their anarchist-punk activism into less violent approaches, decrying the endless futility of war on such albums as 1983's The Day the Country Died and 2007's Internal Riot. Lucas also is part of the more recent ska-punk band Citizen Fish, but he's at his most intense with Subhumans. --Falling James

 

Gilles Peterson

theLIFT at Club 333

DJ and culture curator Gilles Peterson has what the pros call a "real sweet gig": Go strolling around the world, pry undiscovered and awesome records out of attics, dollar bins and possibly shipwrecks, then play them for audiences and stand back and smile at the fireworks as minds across the world explode. (Foodies, this is our Anthony Bourdain.) Peterson's Digs America compilations on Luv n' Haight were the ones that clued me in on a whole stack of 45s I'll probably never find -- like Dee Edwards' fuzz-soul or Darondo's heartbroke funk. I'm sure everything else on Peterson's resume, from his old-school pirate radio sessions to his BBC 6 show to his Brownswood Recordings, has done the same for a lot of other people. This rare and welcome L.A. appearance will leave both record scholars and discriminating dancers delirious. --Chris Ziegler

Fleetwood Mac

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

Given their jam-packed treasure box of pop-rock smasheroos, it'd be hard for the reunited Fleetwood Mac to disappoint their legions of fans, now wouldn't it? The core unit of drummer-founder Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, guitarist-singer Lindsay Buckingham and vocalist Stevie Nicks will focus on the group's midperiod to later material, including all that Rumours stuff and most likely a few items from the famously "experimental" album Tusk. Longtime vocalist-keyboardist Christine McVie opted to retire from active service a while back, and her gracefully cool harmonizing will be missed. But Nicks will coo and haunt and twirl, and the Mick & John rhythm section (one of the greatest ever -- pay attention) will effortlessly lope and thump while that wildman Lindsay Buckingham will ... well, he'll be playing the role of Lindsay Buckingham, yowling genius of pure pop craft. And lest we forget, respect and R.I.P. to the late Bob Welch, the ex-F. Mac'er who contributed so much to the success of the band. --John Payne

See also: Big, Big Love: Mac daddy Lindsey Buckingham on painting, Pet Sounds and Tusk

Sunday, May 26

The Damned, 45 Grave

EL REY THEATRE

As their overly obscure Live Shepperton 1980 album ably demonstrates, The Damned were one of first-generation Brit punk's most compelling concert draws. Raucous and irreverent yet musically deft, they were capable of everything from confrontational, violence-inciting chants to meandering instrumental adventures. Though that was a long time and many members ago, half of the band's classic lineup (vampiric frontman Dave Vanian and clownish guitarist Captain Sensible) and, more importantly, its spirit and sonic suppleness remain. Whether delivering the bass-driven adolescent thrust of 1979's "Love Song" or later kitschy goth-pop like "Grimly Fiendish," The Damned are still distinguished by Vanian's haunting croon and Sensible's sometimes silly yet deceptively accomplished six-string salvoes. The surf-rinsed horror stories from storied local dark-punkers 45 Grave, all told in Dinah Cancer's menacing deadpan, should make an entirely apt appetizer. --Paul Rogers

Christian Scott

BLUE WHALE

New Orleans-based trumpeter Christian Scott has been charting his own path since being "discovered" by major label Concord Jazz in 2005. Scott's bent trumpet is reminiscent of the late great Dizzy Gillespie's but is of his own custom design. Scott also has been one of the few young jazz musicians consistently noted for his fashion choices, even making it into international editions of Vogue. Scott was an Edison Award winner in 2010 and 2012 and a Grammy nominee in 2006. In recent years he has been part of the highly regarded Ninety Miles project, which brings together American jazz and Cuban music. Tonight's show marks the end of what's certain to be a standing-room-only, three-night weekend run at Little Tokyo's Blue Whale. Also Friday-Saturday, May 24-25. --Tom Meek

 

Monday, May 27

Gothic Tropic

BARDOT

Echo Park-based trio Gothic Tropic join Chris Douridas' distinguished School Night to showcase their quirky psych-pop. Currently recording the full-length follow-up to their 2011 Awesome Problems EP, the group's instinctive, down-to-earth mindset carries into their music, establishing a pleasantly unpretentious vibe. The synthesis of surf punk and an ambient punchline, Gothic Tropic's enthusiasm is best captured live. Their often barefoot sets bring a fierceness that is merely suggested on an EP. Deliberate, electric guitar plucks overlay distorted yet poised vocals that sound like the love child of Bethany Cosentino and Zooey Deschanel. Frequent collaborators with fellow locals HOTT MT and past openers for artists including Florence & the Machine and Foxygen, Gothic Tropic will have you hooked faster than you can Google "Krautrock." --Britt Witt

See also: Gothic Tropic Don't Know What the Hell They Are, but It's Clearly Compelling

Troy Walker

VIVA CANTINA

Troy Walker is one of the Los Angeles music underworld's most gleefully infernal practitioners. This rafter-rattling, big-voiced, outrageous, gender-bending entertainer first flipped wigs along the Sunset Strip some 50 years ago, when his fans included Gregory Peck, Ethel Merman and Elvis Presley. This mad, rad showstopper still delivers enough voltage to jolt you into the next dimension. Combining foul-mouthed satirical spontaneity with an excruciatingly perfected balladeer style, Walker's schizophonic mix of country, soul, standards and rock & roll make for an invariably dizzying and thrilling earful. Sorta of like a demented mixture of Roy Orbison, Frankie Laine and Kay Starr, he is a one-of-a-kind sensation: Openly, outrageously queer, he nonetheless became an in-demand regular fixture at country music shrine the Palomino in the mid-'70s -- that's how good he is. The ability to win over the hearts and minds of movie stars and drunken rednecks alike is rare indeed, and, decades later, Walker remains a peerless local treasure. --Jonny Whiteside

See also: LadyBoy: Happiness is a thing called Troy Walker

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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