See Friday: Freddie Gibbs (with Madlib)
See Friday: Freddie Gibbs (with Madlib)
Photo by Timothy Norris

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

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

Friday, March 28

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
Ever since the late 1980s, when he led the seriously influential alt-rock band Pavement, the guitar has always been the thing for Stephen Malkmus. On his latest album with The Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags, Malkmus and his trio do indeed wig out with songs such as "Planetary Motion," whose clipped chords and poppy bounce give way to '70s guitar heroics, and the aptly titled "Surreal Teenagers," where the singer stares out into a teenage wasteland before shrouding himself in surging waves of fuzz. With its sunny horns and yacht-rock delivery, "Chartjunk" sounds like a cross between Chicago and Steely Dan, although Malkmus contrasts its AM-radio euphoria with sarcastic lyrics like "You're just connected bones." During "The Janitor Revealed," he inverts the weary resignation of Ray Davies' old song "Get Back in the Line" with a more assertive response: "Pardon me while I jump the queue/I've got much better things to do." - Falling James

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Freddie Gibbs, Madlib
When Freddie Gibbs and Madlib put their heads together, worlds collide and sparks fly upward. Gibbs is a Chi-town dude rapping from a place of hunger, grit and grime. DJ/producer/MC Madlib is a psychedelic man, an inventor of musical languages where few things are unfractured or undeconstructed; his work on classic tracks by J Dilla, MF Doom, his own Quasimoto persona and a zillion other things speaks for itself. The MadGibbs duo recently released their debut full-length, Piñata, in Gibbs' words "a gangster blaxploitation film on wax," on which the deceptively self-aware and charismatic Gibbs spits poison about his harshly hardcore life. The deft way he flows around Madlib's exploded funk/soul/prog beats is where the fine art comes in. Also: Bong Leach rapper-producer Joey Fatts. - John Payne

See Also: MadGibbs: When Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Get Together, Chaos EnsuesSaturday, March 29

Neil Young
Neil Young isn't the first person to lament that digital technology makes recordings sound tinny and dehydrated, but he's the first one with the clout and imagination to do something about it. At South by Southwest, he debuted the PonoPlayer, a portable playback device, which attempts to restore much of the tonal warmth and sonic range that's been severely lacking in low-quality digital players. For a guy who nearly died of a brain aneurysm in 2005, Young has been stubbornly prolific in the past decade, releasing such quintessential albums as Chrome Dreams II and the experimental Le Noise, sparking radiantly sizzling guitar interplay in reunions with Buffalo Springfield and Crazy Horse, and unveiling set-list surprises at solo acoustic shows like this four-night stand. Also Sunday, March 30, & Tuesday-Wednesday, April 1-2. - Falling James

Sick Fest with The Abigails, Los Craters, The Cigarette Bums, et al.
If there's a rock & roll underground still surviving in Silver Lake, Sick City Records is at the heart of it. It's the small but ferocious label operating out of Franky's, the record store - slash - barber shop that'll do something nice for your ears and your hair, and it's presenting its first Sick Fest at the just as rock & roll Redwood with a bunch of bubbling-under L.A.-area bands. Headlining are The Abigails, who match Cramps-y menace with Lee Hazlewood-style Americana, and there's able support from the power-poppy Pocket Rockets, paisley-underground revivalists Los Craters, revved-up wild-asses The Cigarette Bums, jangle-punkers Thee Commons and many more. Free and starts at 6 p.m., so get ready for an eight-hour shift at the fun factory. - Chris Ziegler

Sunday, March 30

Denny Laine, Debbi Peterson and John Wicks
If there's anybody besides Paul McCartney who has the right to perform Band on the Run in its entirety, it's former Wings guitarist Denny Laine, who'll do so tonight in a set that was postponed earlier this year. Of course, Laine is more than just one of McCartney's former sidemen: Not only was he in the early version of The Moody Blues but he sang one of that group's most memorable tunes, "Go Now" (a song he often reprised onstage with Wings). Adding considerably to the bill's appeal is a power-pop fan's dream pairing of The Bangles' Debbi Peterson with The Records' John Wicks. Peterson sometimes gets overshadowed in The Bangles by her sister, Vicki Peterson, and Susanna Hoffs, but she has a distinctively cool, moody voice and exchanges ruefully groovy harmonies with Wicks, who's best known for the eternally jangling pop gem "Starry Eyes." - Falling James

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

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