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Los Angeles Concerts

The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend

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Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 3:30 AM

click to enlarge Marissa Nadler -- See Saturday
  • Marissa Nadler -- See Saturday
Friday, December 21

"Christmas 101" with Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Van Dyke Parks, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Fisher

UCLA ROYCE HALL

Rufus and Martha Wainwright's late mother, Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle, created the annual "Christmas 101" holiday event, which features carols from around the world performed in French and English by the Wainwrights, their glittering friends and a stageful of grandchildren, nieces and nephews. This year's shows include guests Van Dyke Parks, Emmylou Harris and actress Carrie Fisher. Big-hearted, deep-pocketed types can shell out a bit more for their tix ($101, to be exact) and gain entry to the post-show reception with food, drink and fun with the evening's stars; 100 percent of these gala tickets will benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation, which McGarrigle formed to raise funds for sarcoma research before her death from the disease in January 2010. --John Payne

As Blood Runs Black

WHISKY A GO GO

Though they celebrate a decade as a band next year, these Angeleno deathcore stalwarts sound as youthful and on-point as ever, in spite of (or perhaps thanks to) a ludicrous number of personnel changes. Now a relatively stable quintet built around founding drummer Hector "Lech" De Santiago (no one has quit or been booted in a couple of years), As Blood Runs Black have the chance to create a distinct sonic niche within a suffocatingly congested genre. Last year's sophomore full-length, Instinct, augers well, with detailed, dexterous and disciplined song structures and instrumental performances propelled out of the studio and into the streets by Sonik Garcia's bruising bellow and mocking, possessed screech. Ten years in, this band might just be getting started. --Paul Rogers

Saturday, December 22

Marissa Nadler, Guy Blakeslee

BOOTLEG THEATER

Boston folk-pop chanteuse Marissa Nadler spins entrancing webs of sound with little more than a soft acoustic backing, some subtle sound effects and her fragile, ethereal voice. "You said you need a wrecking ball to break the cement 'round the heart/A company of mad machines would take the walls, crumble them apart," she murmurs on her sixth album, The Sister. Nadler's airy-eerie vocals glide coolly over the patient ticking of her acoustic guitar, slowly melting said concrete and filling the hollow space with a spectral glow that evokes the starkly intimate delivery of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. "Your Heart Is a Twisted Vine" is similarly mesmerizing, with Nadler's romantic entreaties wrapped engagingly in a cocoon of cottony guitars. There's something curiously timeless and innocently childlike about the way her sweetly pure singing unlocks the door to such boundless pastoral reveries. Meanwhile, the Entrance Band's Guy Blakeslee waves his freak flag high in his folk-rock guise. --Falling James

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