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Friday, November 7
THE BELASCO THEATER
The undisputed lords of revenge-of-the-nerds rock for more than 20 years, L.A.’s Weezer still never get the girl, and mainman Rivers Cuomo remains perpetually the teenage dork who awoke, blinking, to find himself fronting a band before thousands of adoring fans. But it’s not the quartet’s cartoonish goofing that’s shifted close to 18 million albums but rather a seemingly telepathic grasp of poignant melody, nostalgic harmony, and adroit arrangement that’s equal parts Cheap Trick, The Pixies and the best of OC punk-lite. Released last month, their latest full-length, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, is a celebratory return to Weezer’s turn-of-the-millennium form, evoking The Beach Boys (“Lonely Girl”); predictably, The Cars (whose Ric Ocasek produced the album); and, more surprisingly, 10cc (“I’ve Had It Up to Here”). — Paul Rogers
Pegi Young & the Survivors
When Neil Young recently released an environmental anthem, “Who’s Gonna Stand Up? (and Save the Earth),” some observers couldn’t resist joking, “Who’s going to stand up and save Pegi Young?” — a reference to Young’s longtime wife and musical partner, who was seemingly cast aside when Neil filed for divorce in July. But the truth is, Pegi Young doesn’t need any pity and has already bounced back with her fourth solo album, Lonely in a Crowded Room. Although she’s backed in the Survivors by a couple of her husband’s occasional bandmates — bassist Rick Rosas and keyboardist Spooner Oldham — Pegi doesn’t sound much like Neil, digging instead into Stax-y soul and kicking up a more authentically Western blend of swing and honky-tonk on her ruefully witty cover of Oldham’s “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers.” — Falling James
The Downtown Festival with YACHT, Connan Mockasin
THE REGENT THEATER
Those anxious to get a peak inside the newly renovated Regent Theater in downtown L.A. finally have their chance. L.A. pop duo YACHT and oddball New Zealander Connan Mockasin are headlining the new music venue for two nights as part of the Downtown Festival. Producer/remixer Jerome LOL joins YACHT on Friday along with house producer Sage Caswell and sweet indie-pop trio Beginners. Connan Mockasin reigns on Saturday, sharing the stage with the beautiful arrangements of Lydia Ainsworth, local punk up-and-comers Corners and whimsical psych-rockers Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel. With two-day passes at a cool $25, even your wallet doesn’t want you to pass this up. Also Saturday, Nov. 8. — Britt Witt
Saturday, November 8
Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival
L.A. MEMORIAL COLISEUM
Established two years ago by Odd Future founder and figurehead Tyler, The Creator, the excitement-filled Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival is one of this fall’s not-to-miss musical events. The daylong extravaganza will feature a spacious skate park, rides, food trucks and an all-star cast of live performances. Headlining the festivities are Grammy-winner super-producer (and Tyler’s idol) Pharrell Williams, OFWGKTA affiliate Mac Miller, and polarizing rap figure Rick Ross. Rapper/food enthusiast Action Bronson is also set to perform, as are L.A.’s own Murs, Alchemist and many others, including Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples, The Internet, Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, Jasper, Left Brain, Domo Genesis, Mike G, Taco, and DJ Billy Jole. If this year’s carnival is anything like its predecessors, then a surprise performance by a musical icon will also occur. The fun gets underway at 2 p.m.; early entry is highly encouraged. — Jacqueline Michael Whatley
Saturday, November 8 (continued)
“Now I will empty them out, all the rooms in your house,” Mirah coos about a devastating romantic breakup, on her new album, Changing Light. “Flew all those words from my mouth just like birds taking south.” Backed by a low electronic hum and a distant suggestion of tom-toms, the Brooklyn songwriter unwinds gentle music that’s as spare and haunting as her lyrics. The only light that enters these sadly emptying rooms is from Mirah herself, whose vocals are artfully curled with a melodic Kate Bush–style richness that contrasts with the minimalist backing. Joined by Mary Timony and members of Tune-Yards and Deerhoof, Mirah flits airily from such ethereal tone poems as “Oxen Hope” and “Gold Rush” to indie rockers like “I Am the Garden” and the pastoral acoustic ramble of “Fleetfoot Ghost.” — Falling James
EL REY THEATRE
It has been 18 months since the German duo Digitalism — who spent a lot of time in Los Angeles this year — performed live here. Popping up around town on a number of occasions, including a monthlong weekly DJ residency at the Overpass, the pair’s music releases have been sporadic. This year saw the surfacing of the Youngblood Hawke–sung, MGMT-inspired “Wolves,” and a strong contender for the year’s best robot dance party theme song, “Second Chances,” sung by the duo’s own Jens Moelle. Digitalism’s smoke-and-mirrors live show is accompanied by frenzy-inducing visuals reflected off of a curtain while Moelle and partner Ismail Tufekci twist knobs and manipulate sounds with custom-made controllers for all they are worth. — Lily Moayeri
Sunday, November 9
Dangerhouse Records Nite
Tonight’s a great chance to catch some influential early West Coast punk bands, several of which were barely documented beyond a few stray singles and compilation cuts on Dangerhouse Records. The Weirdos — with the Denney brothers’ zipped-up and mismatched fashion juxtapositions, cranking out thunderous anthems like “We Got the Neutron Bomb” — are the L.A. equivalent to The Damned, although they’re playing here without founding songwriter Cliff Roman. Led by Penelope Houston’s fiery, clarion-call vocals, The Avengers are subversive troublemakers who just happen to have an ear for powerful, rabble-rousing choruses. Street survivor Randy Stodola combines Beat poetics with savage Peter Gunn riffs in his revamped Alley Cats, while infamous producer Geza X (Dead Kennedys, Germs) makes a rare appearance, sitting in with demented jazz-punk provocateurs the Deadbeats. Even rarer, Rhino-39 revive their insidiously catchy teenage pop-punk ditties for the first time in three decades. — Falling James
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La Hell Gang
La Hell Gang come blasting out of a repurposed monastery near Santiago, Chile, where they record their albums, help run their own label, and put out some of the most potent psychedelic rock in the Americas. Now, finally and thankfully, they’re on their first full U.S. tour. Their 2009 debut Just What Is Real — with a photo of the words “HELL GANG” carved bloodily into guitarist KB’s chest as an album cover — was raw, haunted and poisonously lysergic, sounding like Ron Asheton taking over guitar for early Spacemen 3. But while other bands on their label BYM (for Blow Your Mind, naturally) got traction stateside, La Hell Gang seemed to fade away … until an unexpected resurrection this year, with a new album on Mexican Summer that’s deeper, darker and (yes) a little more hellish. It’s a must–mind blow for all devotees of the heavy.
— Chris Ziegler