Hanni El Khatib -- See Thursday
Hanni El Khatib -- See Thursday
Credit: Nick Walker

The Best Concerts to See In L.A. This Week

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

Monday, August 5

The Janks, The Herbert Bail Orchestra


The Herbert Bail Orchestra's lead singer and guitarist Anthony Frattolillo credits his mentor, Juan, a janitor and apparent musical genius from Chile, for his ax-playing skills, and for instilling the need to put true life into his songs' expression. Juan taught the young Frattolillo that his music ought to tell stories that come straight from the heart, and that if he's gonna play it all, he's gotta be really feeling it. Evidenced by his band's recent album The Future's in the Past, Frattolillo learned his lessons well, as he and accordion player/trombonist Andrew Katz deliver their wryly humorous narrative soundscapes with fervid glee and, better yet, painterly detail, aided by an ensemble of violin, trumpet, trombone, banjo, keys, bass and drums. Also tonight: rustic-rock in CinemaScope courtesy L.A.'s Janks. --John Payne

Kiev, The Fling

Orange County's Kiev have been laying low for a moment, but bands deserve a rest once they've brought their music into the fourth dimension! Well, technically, it was the third dimension: At two shows in 2011, Kiev deployed such unprecedented and futuristic CGI 3-D projected visuals -- demanding glasses and everything -- that they blew minds and won awards all at the same time. (Surely Kanye will be asking them how to do this soon.) Now, they're re-emerging with a Bootleg residency to celebrate their new album. Their earlier songs are scrupulously detailed and proggy pop that is fearlessly chasing giants like Radiohead. It's deep and endlessly engaging stuff, even without the post-Tron-a-delic lightshow. They play tonight with Long Beach's able Fling, who have a new album of their own on deck and who deliver an extremely complementary indie-by-way-of-the-'70s-Beach Boys sound. --Chris Ziegler

Tuesday, August 6

Joe La Barbera Quintet


Joe La Barbera first came to prominence as the last drummer for pianist Bill Evans, whose trios remain the gold standard in the world of jazz. La Barbera went on to support leading artists including Tony Bennett and John Scofield, while also developing his own groups and teaching at CalArts. His quintet tonight includes veteran saxophonist Bob Sheppard and Grammy-winning pianist Bill Cunliffe. The CAP (Complete Actors Place) Theater in Sherman Oaks is hosting La Barbera as part of a new Tuesday-night jazz series under the direction of onetime Frank Zappa drummer Sinclair Lott. CAP features a large stage, theatrical lighting and a funky ambience seen in few jazz venues around L.A. Check it out. --Tom Meek

Wednesday, August 7

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers feat. Edie Brickell


While he's one of the funniest men in show business, Steve Martin's music is no joke; but then, the best comedians are deadly serious about their craft. Transcribing riffs from old Earl Scruggs recordings as a teen, Martin made the banjo a lifelong passion, a hobby that has finally morphed into a bona fide musical career. Celebrity notwithstanding, one has to be excellent to earn a Grammy in bluegrass music, a discipline noted for its exclusive perfectionism. Martin's new album, a collaboration with Edie Brickell, has reintroduced her beautifully slippery vocals into exquisite modern bluegrass songs (imagine Bill Monroe singing "When you get to Asheville, send me an email"). Live, Brickell delivers with an elegance befitting her years of maturation from New Bohemian to eloquent songstress. Also on the bill: Madeleine Peyroux and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. --Gary Fukushima

Thursday, August 8

Hanni El Khatib


Remember when L.A.'s Hanni El Khatib was making cut-to-the-bone, rhythm 'n' rock 'n' roll songs with just a guitar, a drummer and a lot of songs exploring disaster and what comes after? Because now that man has transformed into this monster, possibly after being bitten by Stooges guitarist James Williamson in the dead of night, and the result is the full-band-going-berserk album Head in the Dirt. Recorded with The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Head is an experiment in, "How much rippery can we pull off in a single song? That much? Can I use that guitar pedal with the skull and bones on it?" There's cute pop in here, of course -- like "Penny" -- but it's the smashers that make this work. Truly a record by a guy who's here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and who never really had the bubblegum in the first place. --Chris Ziegler

See also: Hanni El Khatib: Hunka Burning Love

Bang Sugar Bang, The Dollyrots, Midway, The Randies


Once upon a time, in a city quite like this one, there was a bunch of cool pop, punk and indie bands who were sick of trying to get shows at expensive pay-to-play clubs, so they started their own little scene, named Kiss or Kill, after a lyric in the X song "We're Desperate." The dozen or so groups often played on the same bills, usually for $5 or less, and their noble efforts to counteract the prevailing mainstream mentality of rock careerism would seem merely quaint except that so many of these bands were disparately remarkable. Bang Sugar Bang idolized X and The Gun Club, yet their homages had a hard-rocking Runaways-style power, while The Dollyrots and The Randies evolved from Muffs-inspired pop-punks into memorable performers in their own right. Everybody was living happily ever after -- until the blue meanies in what's left of the band Kiss got heavy and threatening, claiming that the term Kiss or Kill might cut into their market share. That was the end of this cheery DIY confab, or would have been, except that everything's been marvelously documented in a new film about the scene, In Heaven There Is No Beer. For one evening, at least, ongoing and reunited Kiss or Kill bands, including Midway, Get Set Go and Silver Needles, will rock & roll all night and party anyway. --Falling James

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

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