Nightlands -- See Saturday
Nightlands -- See Saturday

The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend

Friday, March 8



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Nickodemus' multicultural Turntables on the Hudson compilations and New York City-based events have brought together flavorfully funky house and Latin-based sounds from around the world. The DJ then took the series global with his creation of the ongoing monthly party Turntables on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain. Bringing back unreleased material from that event, Nickodemus tastefully captures a genuinely international sound on the first compilation installment. The peppery rhythms of the "Captain Planet Remix" of Los Chicharrons' "Ma Do Nar" are grounded in earthy chants, while Nickodemus' rumbling "Los Tarantos (Sujinho Remix)" slithers with a snake-charming melody line. Moody house is served courtesy of Rick Wade with "Harlem Funk (YOF F.U.N.K. Mix)." No matter where the groove is culled from, Nickodemus holds it all together with a thread of zesty funk. This is all to say that you should plan to do a lot of dancing at this Friday-night record-release fiesta, which features a set by Nickodemus along with Subsuelo resident DJs Canyon Cody and Gozar. --Lily Moayeri

California Lions, Boats


California Lions have such a breezy and cheerful manner, they make Best Coast sound like Einstürzende Neubauten in comparison. "It's so peaceful, like an old friend shaking your hand," singers Daniel Perkins and Carina Downing coo on the hardly disastrous "Mexican Shipwreck," where they could just as easily be describing their pleasantly escapist indie-pop songs. Like Best Coast, most of California Lions' tunes are not merely sunny -- they literally name-drop the sun and the beach in tracks like "Big Sur Sun" and such site-specific idylls as "Santa Barbara" and the girl group-style gem "Palisades." Even the slide-driven jangle "Darby Crash" is sweetly poignant, without evoking any of the fiery poeticism of its titular subject. Boats set sail from Winnipeg with similarly jaunty, indie-pop melodies on their new album, A Fairway Full of Miners, which is crammed with clever (if overly cute) lyrics from the busy brain of singer Mat Klachefsky. --Falling James

Rachelle Ferrell

Catalina Jazz Club

Known around the globe for her dexterous, six-octave vocal range and unique, midperformance facial expressions, Rachelle Ferrell spent much of the '80s and early '90s lacing background vocals for the likes of George Duke and Patti LaBelle. While her 1990 debut, First Instrument, acquired a generous amount of buzz, it was the 1994 ballad "Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This," featuring Will Downing, that proved to be her breakout moment in the United States. Over the course of her lengthy career, Ferrell has collaborated with an array of jazz and R&B legends, including (but are not limited to) Wayne Shorter, Stanley Clarke and Terence Blanchard. Also March 7, 9 & 10. --Jacqueline Michael Whatley

Ben Wendel/Dan Tepfer


To strive as an artist is to envy. Classical pianists envy better classical pianists; jazz pianists envy their better counterparts. Classical pianists envy jazz pianists, and vice versa. When pianist Dan Tepfer records Bach's Goldberg Variations to perfection, improvises exquisitely on them, and then tours the world with saxophone legend Lee Konitz, there is enough envy to fill a concert hall with jealous musicians. Tepfer finds a kindred spirit in saxophonist Ben Wendel: Both have moms who were opera singers, both have formidable classical chops (Wendel as a bassoonist), and both have the talent and careers that most jazz artists only dream of. So go ahead, hate them because they are beautiful (musicians, that is). Their new album,Small Constructions, drops March 12, and you'll probably hate that, too. --Gary Fukushima

Saturday, March 9

Efterklang, Nightlands


Nightlands is the solo project from War on Drugs bassist David Hartley. Unlike that group's conventional song structures, Nightlands is about deconstruction. On Nightlands' second album, Oak Island, Hartley turns from the cut-and-paste collage style of his debut, Forget the Mantra, to dreamy, sonic experiments. Despite its looseness, there is a pop sensibility at the core of this music. For every psychedelic, Pink Floyd-style interlude on Oak Island, there is an easy-listening element: a yacht-rock horn or a layered vocal that tethers the song. Nightlands plays with Copenhagen's Efterklang, a group that offers frozen slabs of wintery wonder world cloaked in sustained, airy drones and tiny electronic crackles like the crunch of twigs beneath snow boots. The evocative atmosphere that pervades their recent Piramida (inspired by an expedition to the ghost town of Pyramiden on the island of Spitsbergen a few miles away from the North Pole), is the result of picturesque orchestrations twined with the delicate sounds of field recordings and signal processors. Superbly evoking the call of the midnight sun, Efterklang's parallel-world pop presents this or any year's best soundtrack for a Northern adventure daydream. --John Payne and Lily Moayeri

The Horde & the Harem


With a name like The Horde & the Harem, you might expect something wild, loud and salacious -- maybe a punk-rock burlesque show. You would be wrong. As with so many indie rockers, this Seattle band sound nothing like their name. Instead of being bawdy and brassy, singer Ryan Barber and gang purvey humble, low-key folk-pop tunes with a touch of retro '60s romanticism. The craziest they get is when they put on costumes and dress up a song like "Chasing Crows" with trumpets and glam-pop embellishments. When Barber and keyboardist Hanna Stevens twine their voices together amid the piano rolls of "Gold Rush," they come off like an intelligently homespun version of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Also Friday, March 8, at Redwood Bar & Grill. --Falling James

Sunday, March 10

An Evening of Space Ritual Featuring Nik Turner


Nik Turner is the sax player, flutist, sometime singer and co-founder of legendary space-rock band Hawkwind. The group took music to a truly extraterrestrial level in the mid-'70s, and its echoed-to-infinity live album, Space Ritual, remains a mind-melting classic even today. (You can hear Turner honking mightily on songs like "Time We Left This World Today" and "Orgone Accumulator.") After the various personal and legal crises that followed Turner's eventual final split from Hawkwind, he orchestrated his own Hawkwindian outfit (named after Space Ritual) and committed to the same kind of screaming, sci-fi insanity. Tonight, he'll play Hawkwind's Space Ritual album in full at the Echoplex. As the song warns, be prepared for sonic attack! --Chris Ziegler



In the early 1980s, as metal bands like Venom and Metallica were hijacking punk's pummeling pace to birth the thrash genre, Houston's Dirty Rotten Imbeciles were arriving at a "crossover" sound from the opposite direction. Borderline obsessed with uniting long-haired and short-haired fans of aggressive guitar music (their 1987 third album was even titled Crossover), D.R.I. increasingly infused their street-level, pit-provoking hardcore with metal's fizzy riffing, technical dexterity and dramatic dynamics. But with song titles like "Soup Kitchen" and "Capitalist Suck," the quartet railed against Reaganism and preached a beer-fueled good time rather than embracing the escapist, often violent imagery of many a thrash act. The group is getting back up to speed after founding guitarist Spike Cassidy's recent battle with cancer, and the scene still holds a place for D.R.I.'s thoughtful party ethos. --Paul Rogers

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