"L.A. proved too much for the man," sang Gladys Knight, "So he's leavin' the life he's come to know, He said he's goin' back to find [Ooh, said the Pips] what's left of his world, The world he left behind, Not so long ago." Well, "the man" was kind of a wuss, right? You don't have to take that midnight train to Georgia if you got the L.A. blues: the week is basically over (who works after a Thursday? Peasants!) so you should get out and enjoy the Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend. Most of them are cheap, so no excuses, people: get out and experience what the city has to offer:
5. Daniel Lanois' Black Dub at El Rey
When he's not busy producing the major-league likes of U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and many others, guitarist/pedal-steel wiz Daniel Lanois keeps himself occupied with solo and band projects that highlight the restless polytalent's considerable musical chops. His Black Dub proposes an experimental bar band whose slack 'n' swampy rock & roll features Lanois' very personal brand of bluesy guitar sling spruced up with the soulicious vocals of Trixie (daughter of the late Chris Whitley's daughter). Lanois' longtime bandmates Daryl "Da Bird" Johnson on bass and Brian Blade on deeply funky drums hold down a really hefty back line. This is a high-stepping, good-tymey vibe, and a spacey one, too. [John Payne]
WHAT: Daniel Lanois' Black Dub
WHEN: Fri., January 28, 8:00pm
WHERE: El Rey
4. Ween at the Wiltern
[See "BOOGIE-OOGIE-OOGIE: TOP 10 FUN FACTS ABOUT WEEN" here.]
WHEN: Sat., January 29, 8:30pm
WHERE: The Wiltern
3. Deerhoof at the Echoplex
It makes perfect sense that Deerhoof would take on as lofty a task as defeating evil on its new album, Deerhoof vs. Evil. The San Francisco four-piece has long been a vanguard act, pushing forward the cause of experimental, guitar-based music with a manic intensity and sometimes even cutesy mien. The latter is primarily due to the vocal performances of Satomi Matsuzaki, who chimes, squeals and coos in a mix of English and her native Japanese over the clanging, shambolic and often trebly art rock of her bandmates. Of course, a band so devoted to innovation is bound to evolve markedly through the years, and each of Deerhoof's 11 albums is a dis-tinct trip unto itself. The new one actually focuses more on low-end, which imbues the songs with a winning continuity and, on occasion, bona fide groove. Also, rather than blast willy-nilly, the guitars are used a bit more sparingly, finding their place in a mix that includes some lovely atmosphere and surprising melodies. [Chris Martins]
WHEN: Sat. Jan. 29
WHERE: The Echoplex
2. Tanya Morgan at The Roxy
Tanya Morgan is not a country singer, but don't ask what the name means. Just take Donwill, Ilyas and Von Pea's word that they chose the unusual moniker because they weren't trying to be a typical rap group. After exchanging music over Okayplayer's message boards in the early 2000s, Brooklyn-born Von Pea and Cincinnati emcees Donwill and Ilyas formed the group, naming it after a fictitious woman because they assumed it would just be a casual side project. Instead, their 2006 debut LP, Moonlighting, was lauded by The Roots' drummer Questlove as one of the top 10 albums of the year. A successful, classy sophomore release later, the group has not only gained enough attention to be sick of questions regarding their misleading name, but also to be mentioned alongside lyrically com-plex rappers like Little Brother and Lupe Fiasco. Rapper Big Pooh, one of the three members of now-defunct, near-deified North Caro-lina group Little Brother, also is on the bill. With his hand in projects on both coasts, Pooh's spreading LB's gift of good words over smooth soul samples across the nation. If you like your hip-hop show both jazzy and a jam, this one's for you. [Rebecca Haithcoat]
WHEN: Sun, Jan 30
WHERE: The Roxy
1. Space 15Twenty Record Fair
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Hell yeah, we say, to the upcoming Record Fair at Space 15Twenty! Unlike the record swap meet, wherein you might dig all day and get a mere handful of choice items, the funky concrete patio adjacent to Umami Burger in Hollywood will have more than 30 vendors offering specially curated selections of vinyl and cassettes, brought to you by some of L.A.'s finest DJs, crate-diggers, artists, musicians and labels. The event is presented by B-Music/Finders Keepers, a U.K.-to-L.A. label known for a particularly worldly mix of psych, jazz and folk, as well as some pretty amazing reissues culled from treasures from around the world. Bring cash, and be prepared to spend it because there surely will be plenty you won't want to miss. [The Page Two team]
WHAT: Space 15Twenty Record Fair, presented by B-Music/Finders Keepers Records
WHEN: Sunday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
WHERE: In the courtyard of Space 15Twenty, 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (across Sunset from Amoeba and next to where the Hollywood Farmers Market should always be).