The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Week
Krzysztof Urbanski conducts "Three Russian Masters"
The classical canon today is both questioned for its relevance and pounced upon eagerly by a new generation of composers, performers and conductors of prodigious technical and scholarly gifts. The young firebrands are bringing deeply informed, interesting new insights to historical works, not to mention crowd-pleasing rock-star charisma. Nothing wrong with that! Such is the case with young Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbanski (now heading the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra) and Russian piano wiz Denis Matsuev. Together these creative firebrands will probe and prod the works of three Russian greats: Prokofiev's thrillingly athletic Piano Concerto No. 1; Stravinsky's Selections from Petrushka, performed as solo piano; and Shostakovich's insinuating stab at Stalin, the gargantuan Symphony No. 10. --John Payne
Wednesday, September 5
Like Woody Allen's Zelig, singer-keyboardist Jillinda Palmer is everywhere. The Texas native has played with, or been a member of, practically every indie-rock band in Echo Park and Silver Lake, including sugary girl-group revivalists The Damselles & The TC4 and whimsical garage-pop rockers Monolators, as well as The Breakups, Hi Ho Silver Oh, The Henry Clay People, SpongeBob & the Hi-Seas, Le Switch, Correatown and many others. Palmer finally comes into her own with her new debut EP, Lazy Sun, and her recent album, Black El Camino. Her endearing vocals soar over a variety of styles, from the languidly dreamy country-pop of the album's title track to the sly and swanky, horn-laden New Orleans jazz of "Song for Kermit," where she could be describing her own music when she declares, "Can't shake this feeling I get from a catchy melody." --Falling James
As resident DJ and co-founder of the crucial Low End Theory club in downtown L.A., Gaslamp Killer has earned respect. And while he's a turntablist/sound theorist/producer of wicked and tasty skills, GK always gives you something exciting to look at, too: Dude is larger than life. He puts a lot of everything into his sound, which his imminent world-music/Cali psych-mutating full-length Breakthrough (on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label) proves with a vengeance. The album includes the heavy-duty likes of Gonjasufi, Dimlite, Daedelus, Samiyam and Computer Jay. Gaslamp Killer also applies electronic darkness to his just-out "Flange Face/Seven Years of Bad Luck" single, a scary new monster movie to further melt your little mind. His music is beautiful: vast in scope and unsettling -- exactly what we need right now. --John Payne
2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA