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The Best Concerts to See in L.A. This Weekend

Scout Niblett -- See Friday
Scout Niblett -- See Friday
Photo courtesy of Drag City

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Friday, August 30

Danzig, Doyle, Cherie Currie

GIBSON AMPHITHEATRE

If there's anyone who has a right to strip-mine his own past, it's Glenn Danzig. Although there's a group of ex-sidemen and stand-ins currently touring under the name The Misfits, the early-'80s New Jersey punk band is most often associated with G.D., who not only was the lead singer but also wrote all of their songs. Joined tonight by Misfits guitarist Doyle, Danzig will reprise many of The Misfits' gory, ancient ditties, but he's also celebrating the 25th anniversary of his eponymous metal group. Even at this stage in the game, one hopes that the singer will find a satisfying middle ground between the Damned-style derivations of The Misfits and the often-bombastic, Morrisonian bellowing of Danzig. Adding allure to the bill is a rare large-venue appearance by former Runaways singer Cherie Currie. Although her solo career has been spotty and anything but prolific, Currie deserves credit for smashing rock's glass ceiling in the 1970s, when women musicians were rarely taken seriously on classic-rock radio. --Falling James

See also: Glenn Danzig's Amazing Art Collection

Popdefect

THE ECHO

Silver Lake is still a musical neighborhood, but in many ways the party moved elsewhere more than 10 years ago when rising rents and gentrification transformed the formerly bohemian, ethnically diverse enclave into an upscale and homogenous inland version of Brentwood. The quintessential Silver Lake band of the good ol' days was Popdefect, who got their start in Seattle in the early '80s but became ubiquitous fixtures at local dives and backyard parties throughout the '90s. They even starred in their own film, Live With This: Adrift in America -- one of rock's best road movies. Singer-guitarist Al Anderson was like a less careerist (but no less drunken) version of Paul Westerberg, crooning smart, cynical lyrics over a punchy combination of pop, alt-rock, garage and punk, which was powered by the unusually energetic (and just as drunken) rhythm section of drummer Nick Scott (who now plays with Swords of Fatima) and bassist Charlie Hutchinson. Tonight, the nearly mythical trio becomes real one more time at this one-off reunion. --Falling James

Scout Niblett

HUMAN RESOURCES

Emma Niblett seems to have legitimate beefs -- with the boring status quo, with mates she wants and can't have and, worst of all, with those pesky mental demons plaguing her vulnerable self. The evidence is in the lyrics for Niblett (who performs under the name Scout), and she is thus prone to explosion. There's palpable tension when she sings sometimes and howls more often, slashes/chip-chops her guitar as she disrupts lyrical trains that are already rather cryptic -- except when they're face-slashingly direct. She slices herself further open on her recent album It's Up to Emma, on which the tough-hided Niblett gleans new insights about all of this self-loathing and fear stuff. She's drily witty, too; take for example the wonderfully petty resentments of "Gun," a tale of romantic rejection and its consequences: "I think I'm going to buy me a gun/A nice little silver one." Watch out for this one. --John Payne

Don't Knock the Rock Festival

CINEFAMILY

Let's recap some of the reasons you're so happy you live in Los Angeles -- convenient tar pits, an endless supply of quality used vinyl and, of course, the Don't Knock the Rock film festival, which convenes every year to present lovingly hand-picked documentaries on every aspect of music. Co-founder Allison Anders has an expert eye and expert ear, too, and DKTR's roster of biopics, fandom, nerdery and spirit-of-rock & roll features always includes something you'll never see anywhere else. (Or possibly ever again!) It kicks off tonight with an eight-years-in-the-making doc on culty-beyond-cult figure Lawrence Hayward of Felt and a bio on similarly adored Australian visionary Rowland S. Howard. Screenings continue over the weekend with the Stones Throw story Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, a profile on Memphis wildman Jerry McGill and much more. (Through Sept. 2.) --Chris Ziegler

Saturday, August 31

John Williams and Julie Andrews

HOLLYWOOD BOWL

The music of John Williams is ubiquitous, but who's complaining? Over a span of several decades, the sheer stylistic variety of his film scores has amazed and awed audiences. While many of us grew up with Williams' epic works for blockbusters including Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the Harry Potter films, this is the same man who created those kicky scores for Gidget Goes to Rome and Valley of the Dolls! Let's not forget, too, that Williams' theme music graced the 1984, 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games and the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Tonight, Williams leads the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in renditions of several of his works for film. He is joined by the one and only Julie Andrews, who narrates a tribute to another giant of the film-scoring world, Henry Mancini, along with his daughter, singer Monica Mancini. (Also Friday, Aug. 30.) --John Payne

 

Mike Watt, Betty Blowtorch, The Gears, et al.

POOR KIDS MANSION

An enduring figure in the L.A. punk-rock scene, Laura "Feline" Edwards lived up to her name with a fierce drive to keep raw and raunchy rock & roll alive via her promotion company, Laura Feline Productions. Edwards died a couple of weeks ago, and this tribute show promises an homage that is properly loud, celebratory and filled with the legendary music figures Edwards championed over the years. Minuteman/part-time Stooge Mike Watt amps up the house party-style happening as headliner, and the reunited, remaining members of Hollywood hell-raisers Betty Blowtorch fire up the festivities with a tribute to their longtime friend. Also on the bill: The Gears, Kat Arthur & Her Hellkats, Saccharine Trust, Sylvia Juncosa, Gypz, Jenna Syde & the Watchers and Ames Flames. All proceeds go to Edwards' family. Doors open at 3 p.m.; all ages; $10. --Lina Lecaro

Paul Van Dyk

AVALON

Back before EDM became the inescapable abbreviation we know and love (to hate, sometimes), German super-DJ Paul Van Dyk (real name: Matthias Paul) became one of the first artists to earn a Grammy nomination making it, thanks to his 2005 nomination in the then-new Best Dance/Electronica Album Grammy category. In the 15 years since the release of his aptly named debut LP, 45 RPM, 41-year-old Van Dyk (who grew up on the east side of the Berlin Wall) has spent much of his time touring the world, bringing his sophisticated blend of relentless beats and catchy choruses to both enormous live audiences and popular video game soundtracks. And he's made scores of remixes, which reimagine hits from names as big as Britney's. During live sets, PvD (as fans call him) still cuts through the smoke and lasers with agility and flair, reaching deep into his back catalog and translating everything he touches into a mesmerizing dance party. --Kelsey Whipple

Sunday, September 1

Punk Rock BBQ

LIQUID KITTY

With an irresistibly low-rent siren call -- free admission, six bands, cheap booze, free hot dogs! -- that would seem to beckon every graying punk rocker in L.A. County, Liquid Kitty's biannual Punk Rock BBQs are long-standing contenders in the compulsory-attendance category. This Labor Day edition positively bristles with offbeat appeal. Between Mike Watt & the Missingmen's chronically penetrating knack for spontaneously creative p-funk combustion, Lawndale's marvelously eccentric instrumental juxtapositions, the walloping midlife-crisis punk classics of Ingrates, the always banging old-school charms of Alley Cats (one of Los Angeles' earliest and least appreciated Class of '77 originators), not to mention the garage- and pop-laced punk kicks of The Mormons and People Talk, this is one formidable gaggle of local wildlife. Starts at 1 p.m., kiddies. --Jonny Whiteside

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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