The New York singer-songwriter really is so unusual, to paraphrase the name of her 1983 debut album. She is at a time in her life when she could simply coast by, endlessly trotting out early hits like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Time After Time" and "She Bop." While Lauper continues to perform those charmingly effervescent pop tunes in concert, she reinvented herself as an earthy blues mama on last year's Memphis Blues, where she was joined by such luminaries as Ann Peebles and B.B. King. For those lingering few who are under the misguided impression that Lauper is merely a fluffy pop singer, she puts a persuasively soulful spin on bluesy covers like "Rollin' & Tumblin' " and "Just Your Fool." —Falling James
Though he's not a household name, John Acquaviva is one of the most influential figures in dance music. In 1989, he and pal Richie Hawtin founded the seminal techno label Plus 8. Later, he became an early adopter of computer-based DJ technology. He's also one of the people behind Beatport, the download site where DJs and hard-core electronic music fans go to get the latest tunes. Behind the decks, Acquaviva tends to favor a clean, occasionally minimal sound. He won't overwhelm the crowd with distorted bass lines. He will, however, gently work them into a frenzy of arms waving in the air with a set driven by clicks and claps. —Liz Ohanesian
L.A.'s Rob Barber and Mary Pearson make up this deceptively glitchy alterna-disco duo whose ambiguous, wispy female vocals, driving beats and tasteful electronic sounds are just so "contemporary." Yes, that makes them sound nice, if a little boring, but check their new Original Colors. It's an almost peculiarly expansive work combined with some of the best melodies in modern rock. To add more dimensions to the experience, Barber and Pearson create video projections for their stage shows, so please grok it now while the feeling is fresh. This is part of the Smell's Post Present Medium 10th-anniversary celebration, also featuring Abe Vigoda and David Scott Stone. —John Payne
MIKE DOUGHTY at El Rey Theatre; NIPSEY HUSSLE at House of Blues; BOZZIO/MACHACEK/JOHNSON TRIO at the Baked Potato; VINNY GOLIA QUINTET at LACMA; GREG DULLI, MARK LANEGAN at the Echoplex; CONLON CONDUCTS PROKOFIEV & DVORÁK at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Curren$y, Method Man, Big K.R.I.T.
Call it the "Up in Smoke" tour for the new-school toker. Inspired by Dr. Dre and Snoop's legendary '90s jaunt, and sparked by a 2010 SXSW gig and a subsequent minitour last fall, this bud-friendly ball returns for a 35-city cruise, featuring some of hip-hop's most prominent blazers-cum–rhyme masters. True, being a rapper and proclaiming your love for weed is as overplayed as a Full House rerun, but Southern spitters Big K.R.I.T and Curren$y nonetheless lead a new crop of blunt-blowin' MCs clinging to the ganja shtick. If anything, they likely learned their craft from fellow tour member Method Man, who steps away from his perpetual bromance with Redman to mentor some munchie-prone new talent. —Dan Hyman
HOUSE OF BLUES
For the past five years Gallows has been Britain's greatest hardcore punk band, summoning vitriol seldom seen since the genre's turn-of-the-'80s first generation. But then the very focus of the band's uniquely ragged rage, impish ink-stained vocalist Frank Carter, departed the ranks this summer. Gallows wasted no time in naming as his replacement former Alexisonfire screecher Wade MacNeil. Oddly, the arrival of the burly Canadian has made this English band sound more American: still furious but with a denser metalcore maelstrom of guitars and MacNeil leaning forward on his phrasing like a true foot-on-the-monitors frontman. Early indications are Gallows is still a world-class outfit but maybe no longer in a class of one. —Paul Rogers
Backbiter, Motorcycle Black Madonnas, Biblical Proof of UFOs, Saccharine Trust, The Dagons
REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
Has it already been 20 years since local hard-rock trio Backbiter played their first show at the long-gone Los Feliz club the Shamrock? Apparently so, and tonight the punk-infused guitar hero Jonathan Hall, fluidly rumbling bassist Heath Seifert and heavy-hitting drummer Bob Lee celebrate in high style with several of their best and most legendary pals. When he's not ravaging the frets with Backbiter, Hall also backs his singer-wife, Marea Hall, in Motorcycle Black Madonnas, who have more of a fuzz-pop melodicism in contrast to Backbiter's search-and-destroy attack. The latest incarnation of Biblical Proof of UFOs lowers the boom with a classic-rock sound that's recently expanded beyond the group's aggressive post-punk instrumental roots into a spacey Pink Floyd sprawl. South Bay jazz-punk vets Saccharine Trust chop up jaggedly funky riffs, leaving just enough space for Jack Brewer to rant his serpentine Beat poetry. The Dagons, meanwhile, let you know that fall is really here, with their witchy goth-punk chansons. —Falling James