Tinariwen -- See Sunday
Tinariwen -- See Sunday
Credit: Marie Planeille

The Best Concerts to See in Los Angeles This Weekend

Friday, April 20

The Call

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The Call couldn't have imagined its rousing song "Let the Day Begin" would be the rally cry for not one (Al Gore) but two (Tom Vilsack) presidential campaigns. The Northern California group, who came into their own in the 1980s, haven't had a release since 2000's live album, Live Under the Red Moon, and hasn't performed together since then. Re-forming with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's Robert Levon Been, son of the band's late founder, Michael Been, The Call's two shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles will be captured for a live CD and DVD. From the avant garde "The Walls Come Down" to the taut strains of "Everywhere I Go" and the new-wave power ballad "I Don't Wanna," a sense of urgency underscores The Call's sound. --Lily Moayeri

...And We Are Them


As so-called post-hardcore music flits in and out of fashion, it's the bands whose hearts are truly in it that stay the course. Thoughtful local foursome ... And We Are Them are knees-raw devotees, embellishing Quicksand's strangulated guitars and massive dynamic shifts with Thrice's sense of epic optimism and the more ragged, eccentric edges of Glassjaw and (of course) At the Drive-In. Last year's EP The Swindle is intelligent, earnest stuff, and even when Chris Matalone's lyrics are hard to make out among twinkling, tangled guitars and loitering bass, there's an aura of something terribly important, possibly life-changing, at hand. Yet however rollicking its rhythms, surges, swells and troughs, ... And We Are Them never abandon imagination-capturing concepts and solid, singable hooks. --Paul Rogers

Saturday, April 21

Kaleidoscope (U.K.)


U.K. psychedelic band Kaleidoscope were giants in their field -- gentle paisley giants in an endless field of flowers, if you'd like to really get specific. (A quick note, too: They're not to be confused with California's own psych band Kaleidoscope, who defied all odds by using the same name and being just as good!) The two albums the U.K.'s Kaleidoscope released at the end of the '60s cracked open the deliriously disorienting sound of Barrett-era Pink Floyd with classic songs like "Dive Into Yesterday" and "Flight From Ashiya," which match limitlessly ambitious songwriting with truly cosmic perspective. You can hear the echoes of this band in everyone from Robyn Hitchcock to Tame Impala, or you can go see them at this first-ever L.A. show and let the echoes dissolve you in person. (Also playing Sunday, April 21, at Del Monte Speakeasy.) --Chris Ziegler

Johnny Thunders Memorial Show with Walter Lure & the Waldos, The Zeros, Prima Donna, et al.


Even decades later, the loss of Johnny Thunders still rankles as one of rock & roll's worst casualties, but the clan assembled for the fourth annual Thunders memorial meltdown will assuredly pay appropriately lurid homage to that vastly influential rocker. Chief among these are former Thunders/Heartbreakers six-string linchpin Walter Lure, one of the all-time greatest rock & roll/proto-punk live-wire wise asses, and his magnificently trashy Waldos, who feature fellow NYC Underworld survivor Joey Pinter, a guitarist capable of flabbergasting slash-and-burn pyrotechnics. And you get The Zeros, class of '77 punk rock's all-time finest glam-tinged boulevard brats, whose obsession with the likes of Thunders, The Seeds and Standells produced a catalog of original songs that stands unrivaled. In a word, LAMF: Like a Mutha Fucka, kiddies! --Jonny Whiteside

The Desert Daze Music & Arts Festival


If you're going to make the trek out to the middle of nowhere, you want to know that there's a pot of gold waiting for you at journey's end. The Desert Daze fest is one such worthy destination, a humble haven of peace and, better yet, a really inspiring vibe set amid the mountains and palm trees of the little town of Mecca (a short drive southeast of Indio and not too far from the Salton Sea). It's a perfect setting for this mind-opening music/arts experience featuring Mali's supreme guitar nomads, Tinariwen; L.A.'s premier psych/rock/blues unit, The Entrance Band; and other sagely selected sonic seekers such as Warpaint, Lumerians, Golden Animals, Chelsea Wolfe, Fool's Gold, Mini Mansions, Night Beats, Dahga Bloom, Feeding People, Cosmonauts and JJUUJJUU. This all-ages event features food trucks, pop-up shops and a full bar as well as space to put up a tent, so bring your camping gear. --John Payne

Sunday, April 21

The Telescopes


The Telescopes were up there with My Bloody Valentine, Loop and Spacemen 3 when it came to taking shoegaze psychedelia into the stratosphere -- waaaaay up there where the sky turns into space and where it takes overdub after guitar overdub just to keep the human mind alive. On their first two LPs, they traced an inspiring spiral between blown-apart noise rock and blissed-out dreamscapes, and although "The Perfect Needle" is probably their best-known track, songs like "Flying" and "High on Fire" found a sound that might have gone a tiny step beyond perfect. They toured as an experimental noise duo a few years back -- confusing some fans, delighting others-- but now they've got a brand-new single and are playing out as a full and beautiful band. (Also playing Friday, April 19, at Alex's Bar in Long Beach.) --Chris Ziegler



The best place to get acquainted with Tinariwen is their 2009 album, Imidiwan: Companions. Not only does the CD feature some of the Malian group's most distinctively engrossing and hypnotic songs, it comes with a bonus DVD that documents the nomadic musicians' fascinating and literally wide-ranging backstory. As a child, bandleader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib fashioned his own guitar out of bicycle parts and a tin can, attempting to combine traditional African styles with the uplifting sounds of Western rockers like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. In 1980, he and fellow Malian musician-soldiers moved to one of Muammar Gaddafi's refugee camps in Libya, where they became part of an army -- and formed a new band named Tinariwen, whose crudely recorded cassettes soon were traded widely throughout Africa. Disillusioned with Gaddafi, Tinariwen returned to Mali in the late '80s, where they fought against the government before eventually renouncing war and concentrating on music full-time. Of all the great musicians coming out of Mali lately, Tinariwen stand boldly apart with their curiously beguiling weave of shimmering, shape-shifting guitars. --Falling James

See also: Tinariwen Unleashes a Saharan Dance Party

Lurrie Bell


As that most critical of American music idioms, the blues, continues its slow downward spiral into a morass of irrelevance, Chicago guitar-slinger Lurrie Bell serves as both a significant force and a natural-born tradition bearer. Son of the late, great Windy City harp swami Carey Bell, Lurrie's formidable blues party style always runs feverish, brawling and lively. With his striking new disc, an all-gospel set titled The Devil Ain't Got No Music, Bell has crashed into even more fertile, soul-stirring territory. The man frequently performs as a headliner on major European blues festivals, so this chance to dig in with him at a proper low-down joint is something to relish. Also at Maui Sugar Mill on Monday, April 22. --Jonny Whiteside

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