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This Week in Live Music: Kraftwerk, London Grammar, and More

London Grammar comes to the Bay Area after stirring up a storm of buzz at SXSW. Photo courtesy of London Grammar

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Monday and Tuesday: Kraftwerk at Fox Theater

If recent performances by legendary electro-crusaders known as Kraftwerk are any indication, this is going to be a trip. Perhaps THE trip of a concert-going lifetime. The LA Times described their Disney Concert Hall show last week in surreal terms: “Concertgoers wore 3-D glasses and nodded their heads in metronomic rhythm to "The Robots," from "The Man Machine" (1978), while a surround-sound set-up spun glistening beats and synthetic swooshes in and around Frank Gehry's grand hall. The skittering, percussive high-hat bounced through the space like precisely programmed android crickets.” Alright then. Let’s. Get. Weird.

Wednesday: Fanfarlo at Great American Music Hall

Hard to believe Fanfarlo is already three albums into what we hope is a long, productive journey. The band has taken another step forward artistically with their latest album Let’s Go Extinct, a whimsical, layered album that’s impressing everyone from Rolling Stone to the kids on the blog streets. Fanfarlo’s ambition was never in question, but now it seems like everything else is clicking, and the result is nuanced fun disguised as indie rock. It reminds me of the islandy aesthetic of the predictably named band Islands, and the theatrical instincts and sensibilities of Patrick Wolf.

Thursday: London Grammar at The Independent

Hannah Reid’s haunting, spell casting voice just isn’t fair. It comes out sounding perfunctory, but pay attention to the lyrics and prepare for darkness. These soul-searching stories exist on a minimalist instrumental plane, much in the same vein as fellow Brit mood-manipulators the xx. It’s incredible how the stakes of life can suddenly seem so high just by pressing play on your Spotify playlist, but that’s what happens when London Grammar gets the nod. No hyperbole.

Friday: DJ Harvey at Public Works

Nobody has ever summed up DJ Harvey like DJ Harvey. He once told CMJ "you can't understand the blues until you've had your heart broken by a woman. And you can't understand my music until you've had group sex on Ecstasy." The experimental Englishman-turned-Cali disco-electro engineer turns dance floors into tricked-out psychedelic spaceships with the flick of a finger. Motion to cryogenically freeze this adopted American treasure, just in case the cloud and all the music on it evaporates someday.

Saturday: The Jezabels at Rickshaw Stop

Florence and the Machine fans, take note: The Jezabels are every bit the transformative anthemic-rock-with-female-vocals outfit that appeals legions to Flo the Machine. The Australian four-piece routinely makes grandiose statements in 4-minute intervals, while lead singer Hayley Mary flexes vocal muscle.

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