If you take in Sufjan Stevens' shows in Los Angeles this weekend expecting some warm-and-fuzzy orchestral pop from a banjo-toting folkie, you've got another thing coming.
In fact, dancing shoes may be in order. Stevens' newest album The Age of Adz is full of insistent rhythms, electronic noise and synthesizers — musical exclamation points for his very personal exhortations about love and death — juxtaposed with orchestration from brass, woodwinds, strings and choirs. Illinois this is not.
Stevens is touring with a 10-piece band that includes two backup singers performing interpretative dance flanked by two projection screens, as well as two horn players, two drummers, a percussionist a guitarist and a bassist. The artist himself has alternated between guitar and keyboards (except to take up a banjo for “Seven Swans”). He's also explained the new album's inspiration (outsider artist Royal Robertson). He's thrown around the F-bomb in “I Want to Be Well.” And he's danced a little.
Stevens performs Saturday and Sunday at the Wiltern Theatre.
Other weekend highlights: Monster Massive — the dance conflagration featuring DJ talent such as ohn Digweed, Carl Cox, Moby, Steve Lawler, Pete Tong, Gareth Emery, Judge Jules, Armand Van Helden, Z-Trip and Felix Da Housecat — goes off Saturday at the Sports Arena and Exposition Park. … Black-dressed post-punkers Interpol visit the Greek Theatre on Saturday behind its fourth album. … Taj Mahal and Vieux Farka Toure bring their respective global takes on the blues to Royce Hall tonight. … Australian rockers the Temper Trap — joined by Manchester dance-rockers Delphic — play the Fox Theater in Pomona tonight and Club Nokia on Saturday. … And on the local tip, 10-piece Jail Weddings celebrate the release of their album Love Is Lawless tonight at the Bootleg Theater.
Also tonight: Wiz Khalifa at the Music Box; Vince Gill at Club Nokia; Widespread Panic at the Greek Theatre; Minus the Bear and Tim Kasher at the Wiltern; Recoil and Conjure One at the El Rey Theatre; Mark Sultan and Kelley Stoltz at Spaceland; Azure Ray and Tim Fite at the Troubadour; Electric Six at the Key Club; Pato Banton at the Canyon Club; Owen Pallett and Woom at the Echoplex; Four Year Strong at the House of Blues; the Ruse at the Viper Room; the Darlings and New Year's Day at the Roxy; Captain Ahab at the Smell; Nostalghia and Aaron Beaumont at the Hotel Cafe; Bizzy Bone at the Glass House; UK Subs at Brixton South Bay; and Cash'd Out at the Cat Club.
Also Saturday: Shakira at Staples Center; the Blasters and Wayne “The Train” Hancock at Brixton South Bay; the Rudy Coby Experiment at the El Rey Theatre; the Octopus Project at the Echoplex; Spencer Day and Lucy Woodward at the Troubadour; Russian Circles at Spaceland; the Fab Faux at the Orpheum; Eliza Rickman and Weather at the Hotel Cafe; Azure Ray and Tim Fite at the Glass House; Rocket at 3 Clubs; White Shit and Demoralize at the Smell; Mishka and Chris Velan at Saint Rocke; Jackshit at McCabe's; Fobia at the House of Blues; Joan Osborne at the Canyon Club; the Nukes at the Roxy; Adam Bones at On the Rox; and Chico Mann at the Mint.
Also Sunday: Bobby Brown at the Gibson Amphitheatre; Joan Osborne at the Roxy; Triptykon at the El Rey; Glenn Campbell at the Grove of Anaheim; Johnny O'Donnell and John Carpenter at Spaceland; Gold Motel, Michael Runion and Family of the Year at the Echo; Two Years Before the Mast at the Bootleg Theater; Shanbehzadeh Ensemble at the Troubadour; the Spazmatics at the Key Club; and Trashcan Sinatras at McCabe's.