Category: 72 Hours

Live music for your Memorial Day weekend

The Pop & Hiss run-down of the weekend's top shows has returned. Plans can be resumed.

La Sera


•  Lightning in a Bottle Festival  @ Oak Canyon Ranch. This long-running dance event blows up the festival-within-a-festival that is the Do Lab's little bass-thumping pocket of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Over four days in Silverado (the event begins Thursday and runs through Monday), the Lightning in a Bottle Festival collects electronic music, world music, performance art, magic shows and environmental activism in one tidy package. Be prepared to camp, and don't miss Sunday night headliner Bassnectar, which connects the groove-based dots between punk rock and hip-hop. Oak Canyon Ranch, 5305 E. Santiago Canyon, Silverado. A full weekend pass is $240; a two-day pass is $185; and a one-day pass is $100. Tickets and more information

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72 Hours: Wilco, Secret Chiefs 3 and more

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts, including Wilco, Lucinda Williams, the Secret Chiefs 3 and more.

Read a review of Wilco's performance earlier this week at the Pallidium


• Wilco @ the Los Angeles Theatre. At an early, pivitol Wilco show back in 1996, the band played a Fourth of July concert in Chicago's Grant Park with Paul Westerberg. Wilco, of course, was the opening act, and before the band launched into the country-tinged rock of "I Must Be High," Tweedy self-deprecatingly leveled with the audience: "I hope ya'all like . . .," Tweedy said, describing his band with a word unfit for print.

Fifteen years and a few wholesale lineup changes later, Wilco is a much different band, but the attitude, one born out of an anything-goes, punk-rock idealism, is the same. Tweedy's band is one dedicated to constantly exploring the ever-changing limitations of its members, and the new album, "The Whole Love," reflects all the extremes a Wilco live show, of which this is the third and final in L.A. this week, will entail. "Art of Almost" is brazen in its experimental aggression, opening with a mix of digital thunder and Krautrock steadiness, and then exploding a surprisingly funky groove into a full-on guitar assault. Meanwhile, "One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)," unfolds like a daydream, a 12-minute ballad dedicated to subtle tweaks and instrumental precision. The Los Angeles Theatre, 615 S Broadway. The show is sold out, and tickets on the secondary market are selling for around $200. 

• Lucinda Williams @ UCLA's Royce Hall. Though Williams has become puzzlingly easy to take for granted after so many years of sharply rough-and-tumble, confessional songcraft, the singer's 2011 album "Blessed" finds her unique voice sounding as strong as ever with an organ-flecked mix of country-rock and back-of-the-barroom blues. Royce Hall, 340 Royce Drive, Los Angeles (On the campus of UCLA.) The show is sold out. Tickets on the secondary market range from $63 to about $130.

PHOTOS: Weekend Top 10: King of Pop meets Cirque and more

• Secret Chiefs 3 @ the El Rey. Ostensibly led by one of Mike Patton's former cohorts in the reliably unhinged Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3 traffics in a sort of genre-blind musical mystery not often seen these days. For upward of 10 years, Trey Spruance has been delivering a curious hybird that twists up Arabian music, heavy-bassed electronica, Ennio Morricone-informed soundscapes and, for good measure, serrated-edged surf rock.

Joined by such jazz-steeped such as Ches Smith, Shahzad Ismaily, Eyvind Kang and Matt Chamberlain, Spruance's deeply twisted music (sample song title: "The Left Hand of Nothingness") can be tough to describe, but is never less than fascinating, and reliably unlike anything else. With Dengue Fever. El Rey Theater, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $20, not including surcharges.

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72 Hours: Kid Sister, Robyn Hitchcock and more

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.

A rundown of the weekend's top concerts includes Kid Sister at the Avalon and Robyn Hitchcock at McCabes


Kid Sister @ Avalon. It's going to be a late one for those angling to see Chicago's electronic-infused should-be hip-hop star, as Kid Sister won't grace the stage until midnight. Her recent EP, "Kiss & Tell," doesn't hide her club ambitions but shows evidence of Kid Sister going in more of an avant direction. "Mickey" is a schizophrenic rush of rhymes and vocal manipulations, all about celebrating the drinks of the 99%. Meanwhile, "Hide & Seek" and "Cliq Claq" put the emphasis on more spooked, aphrodisiac-like atmospheres. More important, however, is the fact that as an MC, she has never sounded this assured. The Avalon, 1735 Vine St., Los Angeles. Admission is $10 before 10 p.m. and $15 after 11 p.m.

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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

• 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.

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72 Hours: New Year's weekend edition

The should-be-weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.

Wanda Jackson plays New Year's Eve with Best Coast


• Matthew Sweet @ the Echoplex. Long an unashamed devotee of pure power pop buoyed by winning harmonies and gluey hooks, Sweet celebrates the 20th anniversary of his landmark album "Girlfriend" with a full-length performance. Once that drum solo kicks in during Sweet's addictive title track, there will be little doubt that this was an album worth celebrating. Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $20, not including surcharges. — Chris Barton

• Kreayshawn @ The Observatory. Her Internet-driven hit "Gucci Gucci" seemed to generate as many music journalism "think pieces" as it did YouTube views (a young white girl rapping about identity-via-branding is like catnip in rock critic circles). Yet with her major label debut for Columbia on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether the playfully sarcastic, tech-savy youngster has a career or a novelty hit. Get a hint here. The Observatory, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana. Fri. Tickets are $22.50, not including surcharges. — Todd Martens

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72 Hours: Aimee Mann, Garfunkel & Oates and more

The semi-weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.

72 Hours: Aimee Mann, Garfunkel & Oates and more


• Garfunkel & Oates @ Largo. The duo of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci is going to get the novelty song tag, and no doubt the act's Upright Citizen Brigade appearances are more comedy show than concert. Yet when it comes to documenting all the awkward truths of modern relationships, sometimes the surest way to honesty is through absurdity. And that says nothing of the group's recent dip into politics with "Save the Rich". Largo at the Coronet, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd. Tickets are $25, not including surcharges. 

• Jonathan Richman @ the Smell. Perhaps more befitting of a cabaret-type setting than downtown's The Smell, Richman wrings plenty of theatricality from the singer/songwriter approach. Equal parts childlike and self-mocking, Richman borders on letting his own self-aware smarts get in the way of songcraft, yet Richman twists the wry into charm. The Smell, 247 S. Main St., Los Angeles. Tickets are $15.

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72 Hours: High Places, Still Corners among weekend's top gigs

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.

Locals High Places


• High Places @ the Smell. Since relocating to L.A. from Brooklyn a few years back, the duo of Rob Barber and Mary Pearson have remained relatively anonymous on the local scene. Their third album, "Original Colors" should raise the pair's profile. Released on Chicago's Thrill Jockey, this is electro art-rock that transcends the hotel lobby feel of much of the genre. Credit animated, tech-savvy beats and ghostly vocals that layer the digital landscapes with unexpected counter-melodies, be it the ping-pong atmospheres of "Morning Ritual" or the trippy, drifting out of orbit feel of "Sophia." The Smell, 247 S. Main Street. Admission is $8.

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72 Hours: Zelda, the War on Drugs, Robyn among top weekend gigs

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.


This post has been corrected. Please go to the bottom for details.


The Legend of Zelda Symphony @ the Pantages. Perhaps our friends at sister blog Culture Monsterwould shudder at Nintendo's Zelda franchise being discussed as a modern supplier of classical music, but pop-culture fiends are well aware of the cinematic scope of the music used throughout the franchise's 25-year history. It will be brought to life at the Pantageswith a 70-piece orchestra and a choir. Produced by Jason Michael Paul Productions, the Los Angeles date is the worldwide opening for what is planned to be a 2012 tour. Be extra awesome and bring your own 3DS with a copy of the recently-re-released "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" to play along to the live music. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Tickets range from $35.00 to $125.00, not including surcharges.  -- TM

Shellac @ Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. There hasn't been a new Shellac album since 2007, but when this aggressively loud and laconic trio ventures out of Chicago, expect plenty of tension to be wrought out of noise at its most minimalistic. There's sharp edges, obtuse tunes and guitars that churn, grind and essentially sound as if they're trying to cut metal. Producing legend and noted food blogger Steve Albini has fun taunting and toying with bassist Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer, lending a sense of irony to the brutal proceedings. The Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles. The $15 tickets are sold-out, and scalpers have blown up the price to about $90 on the secondary market. -- TM

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72 Hours: Soulful oddball Van Hunt finds beauty in the discarded

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts.

Van Hunt
Songs about or set in Los Angeles aren't a rarity. Yet amid the glamour, the noir and the inner-city grit lies plenty of unexplored territory. Van Hunt spends a significant portion of his independent debut "What Were You Hoping For?" traversing it.

Hunt, whose sound has gradually shifted from R&B elegance to some sort of psychedelic-soul rock 'n' roll freak-out, opens the album with the affectionate ode to his community that is "North Hollywood." Granted, Hunt's idea of beauty may be somewhat twisted. His perspective has been informed by artistic roadblocks and career rejection, as the artist was sent packing from the major label world in 2008. With his career in a holding pattern, Hunt spent his days writing short stories, studying classical piano and strolling the streets of North Hollywood.

"My girlfriend bought me a camera and I just walked around," Hunt said. "A lot of the things I found that I was attracted to were discarded things, like couches, furniture and even people."

It's that eye for the misfits, the down-and-out and the broke that colors Hunt's "North Hollywood." Amid an abrasively funky and heavily distorted guitar stomp, Hunt shows nothing but respect for the "crown jewel of saboteurs," spying evicting landlords, conniving starlets and a community in which he can anonymously disappear.

"It’s kind of stepchild, not just to Hollywood but Studio City and Sherman Oaks," Hunt said. "North Hollywood isn’t particularly small, but it doesn’t carry the same weight as the other places around it. I really like North Hollywood and I like how it grinds. It almost has a blue-collar aesthetic to it. I wasn’t thinking about that till I started writing about it. That’s really what started the whole process for the album."

The journey to completing "What Were You Hoping For?" wasn't exactly a quick one. Hunt was to release his third album, "Popular," in early 2008, but saw it shelved by his label at the time, Blue Note. Compared to his self-titled 2004 debut for Capitol, a modern soul effort that focused on Hunt's voice and the groove, "Popular" was downright aggressive, with Hunt flashing his appreciation for punk rock and smoldering blues. "What Were You Hoping For?" continues the stylistic mix, with Hunt fearlessly incorporating elements of seemingly every record he's ever heard.

Hunt said it's the album he's been consistently trying to make.

"To be honest, the demos on the first record sound a lot like ‘Popular,' and even some of this record," he said. "It was kind of raw and, if I may say so, progressive. Once I was done with writing and demoing the album, that’s when all the problems and rejection came. Some of the label executives saw fit to voice their opinions about certain things. With ‘What You Were Hoping For?’ this is what I have recorded."

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72 Hours: Guineafowl, Megafaun, Tiesto and more

The weekly Pop & Hiss rundown of the weekend's top concerts, without a mention of Nick Lowe's two Largo concerts because they are sold out. 

Megafaun plays Saturday and Sunday


• Guineafowl @ Origami Vinyl. One of many shows over the next few days by this Aussie -- yes,  Sam Yeldham goes by Guineafowl -- signed to locals Dangerbird, but this one has the benefit of being free. Performing as a small collective, Guineafowl  has only an EP to his name, but it contains five reach-for-grandeur pop tunes. It's the sound of a laptop-based artist striving to use the instrument to do everything in his power to disguise the synthetic construct of the tunes. Guitars are peppy, handclaps are never too far away and choruses sound as if they're layered 30 voices deep. Origami Vinyl, 1816 W. Sunset Blvd. The show is free at 6 p.m. -- Todd Martens

CANT @ The Troubadour. Chris Taylor takes a break from his role as bassist/producer of Brooklyn's musical sleepyheads Grizzly Bear to offer something a bit rougher around the edges here with his solo project CANT. These are electronic-based deconstructions, with touches of jazz ("The Edge"), funky slow-jams ("Believe") and all-out spooky abrasiveness ("Dreams Come True"). Nothing is ever as it seems, though. Sweeter moments are kicked askew by demented, stalker-like backing vocals, and the harsher instances put sonic manipulation ahead of menace. The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door. -- TM

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