The Five Best Concerts in L.A. This Weekend
Friday, December 7
Shirley Manson of Garbage -- See Saturday
The Black Mambas -- along with The Neumans and The Hurricanes -- are L.A. label Wild Records' newest signees. But instead of building into the label's Sun Records-style sound of '56, the Mambas stagger into 1976 with gutter-glam songs and dawn-of-punk velocity and attitude. Like the New York Dolls, you ask? Oh mais oui, as the Dolls' singer David Johansen must have once bellowed, but there's lots of Redd Kross and Real Kids roaring alongside, too. (The Mambas' "Teenage Letter" cover is just a few burst blood vessels away from the Count Bishops' bruising 1975 version.) L.A.'s 1980s glam punk legends The Joneses remain the once and future kings of this sound, but the Mambas are young and hungry. Well, actually, that probably should be "thirsty," at least judging by the way they smash out these shot-of-whiskey hits. --Chris Ziegler
Esa-Pekka Salonen's Lutoslawski Centenary
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor laureate of the L.A. Phil, conceived and conducts this resonantly varied program, which is organized around contrasts and connections. Of primary interest will be the West Coast premiere of Salonen's own Nyx, inspired by that Greek goddess of the night. Scored for a large ensemble, it's an intuitively shaped work of complex emotion and sensual harmony, spilling tonal shadows and light that, like the ambiguous Nyx herself, are shrouded in mystery. Skillful and suitably youthful French pianist David Fray caresses Schumann's swoonily mood-swingish Piano Concerto, written for his great love, Clara; Canadian baritone Gerald Finley tosses and turns Lutoslawski's fascinating symphonic poem Les espaces du sommeil, a musical interpretation of disordered sleep set to surreal text by Robert Desnos, a protégé of André Breton. Tchaikovsky's tone poem Francesca da Rimini is a spectacularly orchestrated "tale of doomed love." --John Payne
Saturday, December 8
The Shag Rats, Frantic Rockers, Hexxers, The Neumans, et al.
R BAR L.A.
Norton Records moguls Billy Miller and Miriam Linna have long (and impressively) devoted themselves to serving rock & roll's originators. As the source of many a rare and exotic 33 1/3 and 45 rpm disc, Norton has provided an invaluable service to low-life rockers around the globe (and they don't just reissue -- they also cut hot and fresh sessions on underworld royals like Andre Williams and Hasil Adkins). But when Hurricane Sandy soaked Brooklyn last month, she swamped Norton's warehouse, badly damaging a trove of precious vinyl. The silver lining: a series of benefit shows all over the nation. Los Angeles' first such affair features fabulously frantic East L.A. garage-R&B kids The Shag Rats, plus Frantic Rockers, The Rip Em Ups, Hexxers, The Neumans and more. These mixed-up musical malefactors are certain to grind out an appropriately demented earful. Act accordingly. --Jonny Whiteside
316 W. Second St., Los Angeles, CA
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