Fri. March 25 -- Omnivorous abstractionists Onibaba (bassist-leader Daren Burns, windman Vinny Golia, trombonist George McMullen, guitarist Scott Collins, drummer Craig Bunch, video slinger Kio Griffith) crack comprovisational skulls in a benefit for local guitarist Christopher Spilsbury, who lost an eye recently. Also on hand: the incredible Latin-influenced pianist Otmaro Ruiz, and storied drummer Joe LaBarbera (from Bill Evans' last band). In the bar of Taix Restaurant, 1911 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake 90026; 8pm; $20 suggested donation; www.taixfrench.com.
Fri. March 25 -- Nick Mancini sprays the vibraphone with demonic gentility; he's got his trio and friends tonight. At the Blue Whale on the third floor of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $10; validated parking underneath on Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Fri. March 25 -- Terry Bozzio isn't just the 1980 new-wave drummer behind the Tupperware in Missing Persons; he's an incredible technical skinsman (check his Zappa résumé) and a skillful modern composer, here fusionizing in The Bozzio-Machacek-Lunn Trio with guitarist Alex Machacek and bassist Doug Lunn. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $20; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Fri. March 25 -- In addition to writing two of my fave rock bios (Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue), Neil Strauss has sleazed out books on porn and seduction while pounding a mess of celebrity interviews (Britney Spears, Madonna, Stephen Colbert) for the mags. He's talking tonight, and you know he's got some stories. Also with Har Mar Superstar, burlesque queen Rita D'Albert, and some more bands before and after Strauss' 9pm slot. At the Viper Room, 8852 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors around 7:30pm I think; $10; (310) 652-7869; www.viperroom.com.
Fri. March 25 -- "Black Spring" is conceptualist David Cotner's way of thanking all the bands with the word Black in their names, tonight including Black Love, Black Sand Desert, Black Jesus, Black Elephant, with DJ Black Rainbow. At the Smell, through the alley behind 247 S. Main St., downtown 90012; 9pm; $5; (213) 625-4325; www.thesmell.org.
Fri.-Sun. March 25-27 -- Bass superman Christian McBride & Inside Straight (saxist Steve Wilson, drummer Carl Allen, vibesman Warren Wolf and pianist Peter Martin) are proficient at the kind of swinging mainstream jazz the name implies. At Catalina Bar & Grill, 6725 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 90028; 8 & 10pm; $25-$35; (323) 466-2210; www.catalinajazzclub.com.
Sat. March 26 -- Guitarist Leni Stern keeps evolving her African rhythms and syncretistic songwriting to delightful effect, as heard on her current "Sa Belle Belle Ba" (read my review here). What a touching voice; what sensitive fingers -- hope she plays her brand-new "Still Bleeding," a dancingly sad number whose short silences ring like gunshots. Stern's masterful ensemble includes plucker-slapper Brahim Fribgane, rad bassist Mamadou Ba and multi-instrumentalist Tim Keiper. Best bargain of the week. At the Blue Whale on the third floor of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $10; validated parking underneath off Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Sat. March 26 -- The definition of intelligence, taste and creativity, guitarist Jim Hall celebrates his 80th birthday with a world-class band: saxist Greg Osby, bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Joey Baron. A presentation of the Jazz Bakery's Movable Feast at the Musicians Institute, 1655 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood 90028; 9pm; $35, students $20; www.jazzbakery.org.
Sat. March 26 -- Gnarly guitarist Sylvia Juncosa (11:30pm) treads the edge between metal and acid surf; and lookee, arty surf punks Lawndale (10:30pm) are back from the early '80s. In the bar of Taix Restaurant, 1911 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake 90026; free; www.taixfrench.com.
Sat. March 26 -- Friend of the site Patrick Campbell-Lyons, singer-songwriter of the '60s classical-psychedelic group Nirvana U.K. ("Pentecost Hotel"), reads from his vivid and entertaining memoir, "Psychedelic Days." At the Last Bookstore, 400 S. Main St., downtown 90013; 6-8pm; free.
Sun. March 27 -- I ain't much for opera or Philip Glass, but a friend tabbed me for "Akhnaten" last week, and it rocked. Moody lighting, graceful choreography and especially Frieder Weiss' organic video projections held the eye; Glass' writing pitted unusual vocal micro-harmonies against his endlessly repeating four-note arpeggios; the choice of the barrel-chested yet high-voiced Jochen Kowalski to portray the original monotheistic pharaoh made for a striking reversal of the monarch's royal strength and effeminate looks. Memorable. A presentation of Long Beach Opera at the Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach 90802; 2pm; $90-$110; www.longbeachopera.org.
Tues. March 29 -- Chopsmanly instrumental funk with a heavy foot: Bombastic Meatbats, featuring Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, sound-sculpting guitarist Jeff Kollman, and Kevin Chown and Ed Roth on bass and keyboards. At the Baked Potato, 3787 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Studio City 91604; 9:30 & 11:30pm; $25; (818) 980-1615; www.thebakedpotato.com.
Tues. March 29 -- The spieling lyric guitars of Greece's veteran Rotting Christ make an apt match with the charged-up Middle Eastern semimelodic metal of Melechesh and the black metal of Abigail Williams; good to have the murky death bash of Lightning Swords of Death for contrast, plus three more. At the Key Club, 9039 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood 90069; doors 6pm; $23; 15+; www.keyclub.com; (310) 274-5800.
Thurs. March 31 -- Wahid bring together spooky electronic rhythms/textures with ancient Egyptian instruments for high-concept ambient meditation; drummer Chris Wabich has both world exotica and a soul-funky thing goin'. Third Whale pick this week, but no apologies; this little bar has established itself as the most consistent club for forward-thinking modern jazzthetics. At the Blue Whale on the third floor of Weller Court Plaza, south of East First Street between South Los Angeles Street and South San Pedro Street, Little Tokyo 90012; 9pm-midnight; $10; validated parking underneath on Second Street at the sign of the P in a circle; (213) 620-0908; www.bluewhalemusic.com.
Thurs.-Sun. March 31-April 3 -- Roll off the couch for The Heavy Metal Film Festival, plenty of ace entertainment including flicks on Guatemalan heavy-metal marimbas (Thursday); Meshuggah and Immortal (Friday); Exodus and Norwegian black metal plus a panel on "The Story of Anvil" featuring Lips (Saturday); and Saxon with shorts on Kiss and AC/DC (Sunday). At Downtown Independent Cinema, 251 S. Main St., downtown 90012; (213) 617-1033; full schedule here.