72 Hours: Me'Shell Ndegéocello, No Age and more
The once-again weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.
• Me'Shell Ndegéocello @ the El Rey. Ndegéocello has traveled the soul music universe throughout her nearly 20-year career, but her course, even on Album No. 9, remains difficult to track. Such a cheeseball metaphor would sound far more graceful in Ndegéocello's hands, as her latest, "Weather," finds nuance, tension and intellect in the idea that love and lust are as incalculable as, well, the weather. A simple idea, however, is far from effortless in Ndegéocello's precisely minimalist execution, as this is an artist who toys with mood rather than succumbs to one. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $25, not including surcharges and are still available via Ticketmaster at the time of writing.
• Hanni El Khatib @ the Bootleg Bar. The thrift store rock 'n' roll of El Khatib digs up the genre's rebel past and makes no effort to soften its scars. No worry, as "Build.Destroy.Rebuild" is a great, live-life-recklessly anthem, regardless of what era it belongs to. This is bare-boned, alley-scruff stuff, and El Khatib promises it'll be his last local show for a while. The Bootleg Bar, 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles. Tickets are $10.
Friday & Saturday
• The Smell's 14th Anniversary Weekend @ the Smell. Each year the Smell survives seems like something of a victory, so forgive the venue if it's treating Year 14 as if it's a more celebrated number. After all, all-ages venues aren't exactly plentiful, especially those that regularly charge $5 for entry in a community littered with $3-per-square-foot lofts. One can't do wrong either night, with noise artistes No Age headlining Friday and the timeless pop craftsmanship of Best Coast leading the bill Saturday. The Smell this weekend will be especially cramped, hot and you'll think twice about using the restroom, but the city's underground rock scene would be completely lost without it. The Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles. Entry each night is $10.
• Coyol at the Bootleg Bar. John Isaac Watters sings as if he's just completed a marathon. One can practically hear the sweat dripping from his brow as his voice shakes, quivers and cracks as if these piano-enhanced Southwestern ramblers are the most important thing in the world. Celeigh Chapman provides a much needed balance (relief?), her approach calm and direct, even on a barroom rocker such as "Pharmacist." But when she taunts police officers by asking, with a snarl, if they're afraid of a parade, there's no doubt that she means business as well. Bootleg Bar, 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles. Tickets are $8.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Me'Shell Ndegéocello. Credit: Charlie Gross