REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Hasn't it been said that someday dogs will inherit the Earth? If so, perhaps the Dogs will finally have their day. It's not like the hard-punkin' trio are latecomers to the rock & roll party. They formed in Lansing, Mich., in 1969 and, after relocating to L.A. in the mid-'70s, instigated the early Hollywood punk scene with incendiary songs like “Younger Point of View” and “Slash Your Face.” But the Dogs were just as much a Motor City hard-rock band in the tradition of their heroes, the Stooges and the MC5. Don't be surprised tonight if singer Loren Molinare, bassist Mary Kay and drummer Tony Matteucci do a tribute to MC5 bassist Michael Davis, who died last month. Otherwise, expect plenty of the old classics like “Fed Up” and “L.A. Times” alongside such typically cranked-up new tunes as “Punk Rock Holiday” and a cover of the Pagans' “Her Name Was Jane,” from the Dogs' latest album, Hypersensitive. —Falling James
Stew & the Negro Problem
The thing about Stew & the Negro Problem that rankles is how, again, this quintessentially (i.e., idiosyncratically) L.A. band had to go to bleedin' New York to get their big-time cred, once the initial buzz about 'em wore off in Tinseltown. But Stew's exodus to New York, with partner Heidi Rodewald, paid off, what with their play Passing Strange winning a Tony Award and Spike Lee filming it for Great Performances. They've now got a new batch of tunes out, called Making It, documenting the couple's giddy highs, ruminative lows and confusing in-betweens in their time spent together out in the real world. Interlaced with Stew's wicked lyrical ironies, the album's a strangely moving blend of moody bluesy bar-band stuff, breezing-banging rock & roll, quasi-jazzy meanderings and the duo's trademark artfully quirky orchestrations. Tonight they'll premiere a specially commissioned song-cycle about West Los Angeles titled “Westside of Your Mind.” —John Payne
Guns N' Roses
Hot damn tamale. Looks like Axl Rose has finally come back down to Earth and is aiming to give us-what-spawned-'em a few up-close and personal shots (hopefully) of what are unquestionably some of the most kicking modern metal songs ever created. Although their last local show was generally panned as a slow-motion train wreck, this three-night “L.A. Takeover” roars into town on a tide of gushing reviews from a similar East Coast miniblitz, an unexpected assessment that's sure to raise the hopes of every headbanger from Bakersfield to Banning. With a set list that features GNR songs fans actually want to hear and an apparent viciously renewed vigor, the prospect of hearing some uncut, head-on hard rock — as opposed to the painfully sludgy Spinal Tap shtick the band has more often than not perpetrated around here — is downright dizzying (no pun intended). Also Sun. at the Wiltern and Mon. at House of Blues. —Jonny Whiteside
THE VELVET TEEN at Satellite; BELA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES at the Orpheum; NELLIE MCKAY at Catalina; SCOTT AMENDOLA TRIO at Blue Whale; VANAPRASTA at Bootleg Bar; JOE BAG ORGAN QUARTET at Vibrato.
Though this Inglewood MC has been releasing smart, stylish mixtapes since 2007, he has yet to headline his own show in Los Angeles. Of course, that might have something to do with his age: The mature-minded rapper is only 18. Though Veggies started out as a member of Odd Future (Tyler, the Creator appears on each of his releases), he amicably went his own way when the raucous crew's star began to rise, partly in order to focus on his studies. It paid off. Not only did the dude graduate with a 3.5 but he also maintained an identity of his own — a mix of streetwise practicality and scholarly poise that well suits his even-keeled delivery and makes him a peer to college-circuit VIPs like Mac Miller, Dom Kennedy and Kendrick Lamar, all of whom appear on his soul-spackled 2011 LP, Sleeping in Class. —Chris Martins
The Mynabirds, Big Harp
“Get your war paint on,” the Mynabirds' Laura Burhenn declares on “Generals,” the title track of her upcoming album. Based on the early evidence, the provocative, Omaha-based singer is moving away from the alt-pop introspection of previous albums, such as 2010's What We Lose in the Fire, We Gain in the Flood, toward a more purposefully confrontational and political persona. Of course, musicians brag about starting revolutions all the time — seldom do they actually get their hands dirty or do more than preach to their already converted fans. However, Burhenn (who got her start in the Washington, D.C., project Georgie James) has such a persuasively soulful delivery that it's not impossible to imagine her inspiring and rounding up her own army. The Mynabirds' Saddle Creek labelmates Big Harp say “Goodbye Crazy City” with stubbornly rural and rootsy folk-country rambles. —Falling James
Trey Anastasio and Los Angeles Philharmonic
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
Trey Anastasio, the noodly-prone ax slinger for jam gods Phish, is a natural-born risk taker. One minute dude's unleashing feature film–length guitar expeditions, the next he's flying solo with a 1920s-style big band as his backup. So while it might seem a bit odd that he's performing with the L.A. Philharmonic for this one-off gig, it's not altogether shocking, especially considering the guitarist currently also is working alongside composer Amanda Green on the musical Hands on a Hard Body. This L.A. performance — for which Anastasio joins conductor Scott Dunn in leading orchestral adaptations of both Phish tunes and those from his solo catalog — promises to be equal parts quirky and mind-blowing, a sentiment hardly foreign to any and all of the guitarist's highly varied endeavors. —Dan Hyman
COLD (aka CHOLOS ON ACID) at Cobalt Café; LAIDBACK LUKE, ZEDD, CONGOROCK at Hollywood Palladium; CROCODILES, BLEEDING RAINBOW, DUNES at the Echoplex; PUNCH BROTHERS at El Rey Theatre; LUCKY DRAGONS at the Smell; LUIS AND THE WILDFIRES at Viva Cantina; SARA LEIB at Blue Whale.
Just as she divides her time between Hamburg and Nigeria, and her lyrics between English and Igbo, German-Nigerian singer Nneka seems torn between love for her oil-rich African homeland and despair at the corruption that condemns much of it to poverty. But 15 tracks of hand-wringing would not much of an album (or career) make, so Nneka tastefully juggles genres — including R&B, reggae, hip-hop and Afropop — and vocal styles to sweeten the pot on last year's Soul Is Heavy. Equally happy rapping or sliding into an earthy, soulful croon, she's Lauryn Hill's logical successor, only with a vision that's as much panoramic as personal. Nneka might have fared better in the Live Aid–era '80s, when compassion briefly went mainstream, but her untimely arrival only makes her message more vital. —Paul Rogers
Even if Slow Club singer-guitarist Charles Watson and singer-percussionist Rebecca Taylor don't get around to playing a lick of music tonight, they will still find ways to charm the audience. Watson will act as the straight man while Taylor tells jokes and cajoles the crowd to buy her a drink (although she was so sheepish when someone at their Spaceland gig in 2010 finally handed her a vodka that she apologized, calling it the “skankiest” thing she's ever done in her life). Many of the songs on Slow Club's most recent album, Paradise, capture that same sense of exuberance and joy, but for all of the Sheffield duo's carefree chemistry onstage, both Watson and Taylor take turns crooning incredibly sad and moving ballads like the intimate acoustic idyll “Hackney Marsh” and the beautifully delicate and elegiac “Gold Mountain.” Seldom has sadness been so much fun. —Falling James
Lagwagon, Cobra Skull
EL REY THEATRE
In hindsight, Lagwagon were very aptly named. While other melody-loving '90s punks rushed madly to the freshly tapped keg of major-label success, the guys from Goleta dragged ass, uninterested in what would soon be a useless font of dissipating foam. They were never meant to be a Green Day or an Offspring; Lagwagon were better than that. Sure, they too traded in careening rhythms, sudden harmonies and squalling guitars, but even as far back as their 1992 debut, Duh, Lagwagon sounded more mature, sturdier, more together. While singer Joey Cape displayed a sense of humor, he never played the clown. Their politics were sharp, not shocking; the emotion plain, not maudlin. It's not surprising, then, that the group recently found the impetus to hit the road behind a box set compiling their five pre-millennial LPs — slow and steady wins the race. —Chris Martins
Billy Childs, Kronos Quartet, Bill Frisell
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
The L.A. Phil presents an unusual triple bill tonight with three standout acts. Guitarist Bill Frisell's Beautiful Dreamers open the evening as a trio, including violinist Edvynd Kang and drummer Rudy Royston, with a set expected to mix jazz and Americana. Next up is the San Francisco–based Kronos Quartet, who have set the musical bar for decades as the most consistently adventurous string quartet in modern music, winning a Grammy in 2004. Kronos will play a new composition written by the evening's final performer, multiple Grammy–winning pianist and composer Billy Childs, whose quartet includes Steve Wilson, Scott Colley and Brian Blade. Childs has plenty of experience composing for his own chamber ensemble, so a collaboration with Kronos should be a natural fit. —Tom Meek
TAKEN BY TREES at Bootleg Bar; GRITO ROCK L.A. at the Airliner.
EL REY THEATRE
This Berlin-based electro dude had a big 2011, landing his song “Goodbye” in the season finale of Breaking Bad and having iTunes name The Devil's Walk the best electronic album of the year. Now Apparat (aka Sascha Ring) is headed to the United States for what his label says are his first live shows here since 2007. He hits L.A. following a couple of dates in Mexico (where he created portions of The Devil's Walk) and just ahead of his trip to Austin for South by Southwest (where he'll play a KCRW showcase alongside Kimbra and Band of Skulls). Judging by clips on YouTube, the four-piece Apparat live band should appeal to folks who really dug that Sigur Rós concert film from last fall. You know who you are. —Mikael Wood
Like all great hardcore crews, Canada's Counterparts are much more than just four chords and an overflow of anger issues. While lozenge-craving frontman Brendan Murphy is no contented camper, he vocalizes his discontent through (mostly) discernible lyrics, and his bandmates' instruments spasm and sputter in imaginative, attention-holding ways. The drums have an almost athletic discipline and dexterity; the bass dares to undulate away from the root notes; and the quintet's twin guitars converse and convulse with an occasional sense of metalcore curiosity. Any message hits home harder when artfully articulated, Counterparts' ferociously crafted call to arms included. —Paul Rogers
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, TEDDY THOMPSON at the Orpheum; VOXHAUL BROADCAST at the Satellite; DAVID ANGEL SEPTET at Typhoon.
Johnny Rotten loved the Raincoats and said they were the only band that didn't make him barf. Kurt Cobain loved the Raincoats and devoted Incesticide's liners to their immortal glory. And as just some random human trying to think and be alive, let me tell you that I love the Raincoats, too! What a band. It started in London in 1977 with guitar, bass, drums, violin, sax and keys, as founders Gina Birch and Ana da Silva traded lead vocals and proved that post-punk means taking punk and making it into every better thing it could be. Now they're back together, and never will I forget when I saw them, Gina holding her bass in her fists and shouting, “I'm a city girl! I'm a warrior!” as everyone in a packed Echoplex lost their minds or cried or probably both. Make sure to tell me the name of the band you start after you see them. —Chris Ziegler
Willie Nelson & Family
WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL
The fact that Willie Nelson recently penned the tune “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” serves as proof that some things in life remain comfortingly constant, like Nelson's laid-back, warbly voice, his wry sense of humor and his penchant for pot. That said, this show likely will be a more buttoned-up affair, as it's Nelson's first time headlining Disney Hall. He'll be joined by members of his family, including son Lukas Nelson, whose band, Promise of the Real, opens the show. There's no telling what surprises the 78-year-old country crooner has up his sleeve, but it's a safe bet he'll pull out some standards from his most recent album, Remember Me, Vol. 1, and a classic or two like the ramblin'-man anthem “On the Road Again.” —Laura Ferreiro
DENNIS DREITH ENSEMBLE at Vitello's; DOUG MACDONALD at Typhoon; PETER SMITH at the Tar Pit.
The Pretty Reckless
HOUSE OF BLUES
It's always amusing, and often quite embarrassingly cringe-inducing, when some television star decides to start a band. Surely, the Pretty Reckless, a New York quartet fronted by Gossip Girl bad girl Taylor Momsen, must be a spectacular mess, right? Well, actually, the Pretty Reckless are pretty good on their 2011 debut, Light Me Up. In songs like the druggy “My Medicine” and “Just Tonight,” the still-teenage actor seems determined to prove she's more than just a sweet young thing. Buttressed by the heavy guitars of Ben Phillips, Momsen comes off as a fiery singer and legitimate hard rocker instead of as a vapid, light-pop wannabe. At times, the arrangements and Kato Khandwala's production feel generic, but the album's best moments — such as the defiant title track, the acoustic ballad “You” and the spacey parts of “Miss Nothing” — are guiltless pleasures. On “Factory Girl” (not the Rolling Stones song), she convincingly reimagines herself as Edie Sedgwick in tawdry modern Hollywood. —Falling James
MY HOLLOW DRUM at Low End Theory; ISLANDS at Bootleg; THE FLYTRAPS at Los Globos.
Lou Barlow is currently at work on upcoming albums by both Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, but that hasn't stopped the L.A.-based indie-rock veteran from digging through his considerable archives. Tonight Barlow does the in-store thing at Echo Park's Origami Vinyl in support of a new, deluxe reissue of Weed Forestin', the home-recordings collection he originally released in 1987 under the name Sentridoh. Encountered more than two decades after its humble creation, the music on Weed Forestin' feels pretty hit-or-miss; you kind of want more from “Jealous of Jesus,” for instance. But there are definitely suggestions of the weird beauty that would later surface throughout Barlow's insanely prolific career. In some ways I prefer the “Brand New Love” captured here to the one on Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock. —Mikael Wood
Eleven years ago, five incredible musicians combined into Kneebody. By uniting, they became a greater being, one with potential to shape and transform the world of music. The group attracted fans, but their fame eventually separated them to opposite ends of the country. Still, the parting was amicable and temporal, and their reunions are regular and vital to the development of this beautiful body. Occasionally, the group includes outsiders, first vocalist Theo Bleckmann, then rapper Busdriver, now electronic DJ wizard Daedelus. Kneebody and Daedelus hooked up in the premiere of a work commissioned by Chamber Music America, composed by saxophonist and lead parent Ben Wendel. Also Fri. and Sat. —Gary Fukushima
US, FROM OUTSIDE at Cobalt Café; BOSTICH & FUSSIBLE at Troubadour; DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS at House of Blues; JERRY VIVINO BAND at the Baked Potato.