72 Hours: As the Arcade Fire keep fans guessing, a look at the weekend's top gigs
A quick look at some of the weekend's best shows -- no Grammy parties included.
The Arcade Fire @ ???????. Any Arcade Fire show would be in high demand, but a surprise gig at a small(-ish) venue raises the stakes. Also, there's no telling when exactly the band will be back in Los Angeles, as its next gig in the area will be headlining the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which has already sold out (a late summer/early fall date at the Hollywood Bowl should be considered something of a high possibility at this point). So this is what we know: The gig is Friday night, tickets will go on sale Friday at noon at three separate locations, and the venue is said to be on the intimate side without a proper bar. Our guesses? Downtown's Palace or Los Angeles theaters, or the Hollywood American Legion Hall, but those are just guesses. The show is being promoted by FYF Fest, and monitor these Twitter accounts for tickets. Two ticket max, and to eliminate scalping, you will have to give the name of those attending at the point of purchase. Just plan to not get in. -- Todd Martens
The Smith Westerns @ the Echo. Here's what a little hype does: The Smith Westerns' $10 gig at the Echo has long been sold out, and is going for around $40 on the secondary markets. Yet in this case it's deserved, and perhaps even a little puzzling why the act wasn't booked at a slightly bigger venue. Nevertheless, the Chicago quartet's second album -- and first for Fat Possum -- is a girl-obsessed 10-track effort of symphonic pop tragedies. With harmonies to swoon over, classic rock guitar work, heavily layered arrangements and soft vocals that fall somewhere between heartache and yearning, the Smith Westerns key into timeless power-pop traditions. For displaced Chicagoans who miss the best work of Material Issue and the Smoking Popes, the Smith Westerns are something of a dream come true. The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $10, but the show is sold out. --TM
The Decemberists @ the Wiltern. The Portland, Ore., orchestral pop act is coming to Los Angeles with its most direct and stripped-down effort to date with "The King Is Dead." It's also quickly becoming the act's most successful, having sold 142,00 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, in three weeks. The band's 2009 effort, "The Hazards of Love," topped off at about 160,000. Though seemingly a more simple effort, the rootsy sound of "The King Is Dead" suits the band well, as songs unfold with more patience and subtlety than before. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd. The show is sold out, and tickets are going for more than $100 on secondary markets. --TM
Theo Bleckmann with Strings @ The Edye at the Broad Stage. In a show titled "From Berlin to Las Vegas," the eclectic and tough-to-pigeonhole vocalist offers an otherworldly mix of cabaret, pop standards and his own acrobatic take on jazz-adjacent vocals. The Edye at the Broad Stage, 1310 11th St., Santa Monica. Tickets are $22. --Chris Barton
Ana Tijoux at the Bootleg Theater. As one of South America’s best-regarded young MCs, male or female, the prodigiously loquacious Tijoux is seldom at a loss for words. Formerly the frontwoman for the socially clued-in hip-hop outfit Makiza, she has developed a growing following with her jazz-inflected, unusually melodic rapping and witty, politically savvy lyrics. The Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. Tickets are $12. --Reed Johnson
The Grammy Awards on CBS at 8 p.m. Music's biggest night, complete with Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Dr. Dre, Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga and Jim Henson's Muppets. As to which of the above those of us at Pop & Hiss are most excited about, well, it wouldn't be right to play favorites. Nevertheless, Pop & Hiss will be offering live coverage. The Grammy Awards are on network television, so it's free, but you will have to decide the value of 3.5 hours of your life. --TM
Photo: The Arcade Fire. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.