This weekend: Rx Bandits, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, Muse, Abbot Kinney Festival, Epicenter Festival, Willie Nelson, Rancid, Waved Out II, Helmet

Few would have thought that the Orange County ska-punk kids who a decade ago started playing as the Pharmaceutical Bandits would grow up to be a Coachella band.

But the quartet now known Rx Bandits has, their party in the desert last spring certifying Matt Embree and crew as musical explorers who've persevered despite some bumpy business dealings and lineup changes and who've forged a propulsive, shape-shifting sound that doesn't bury their songs' potent messages.

Their passionate SoCal fan base gets to hear plenty of them this weekend: starting tonight, Rx Bandits do three album shows at the Troubadour, performing, respectively, 2003's The Resignation, 2006's ... And the Battle Begun and 2009's Mandala. And for the lifers in attendance, the band says on its website: "With horns and all, friends."

It's but one highlight on a massive weekend:

Upcoming Events

-- The legendary Willie Nelson headlines the Greek Theatre tonight, with rising country star Ryan Bingham opening.

-- Band of Horses hits the Greek on Saturday behind its new album Infinite Arms, topping a bill that includes the Grandaddy/Earlimart love child Admiral Radley and L.A. psych-pop quintet Darker My Love.

-- The Epicenter Festival at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana offers Bush, Eminem and KISS to main stage on Saturday and Bad Religion, Rise Against and Blink-182 on Sunday.

-- Muse plays back-to-back sold-out shows at Staples Center on Saturday and Sunday.

-- Swedish rockers Dungen top a very eclectic bill Saturday at Aquarium Drunkard's Waved Out II mini-festival at the Echo and Echoplex.

-- It'll be indie heaven at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, with Vampire Weekend, Beach House and the Very Best.

-- And if you need something free and neighborhoody: Sunday's Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice has a music lineup that includes, Voxhaul Broadcast, Dam-Funk, Abe Vigoda and Crystal Antlers.

There's more, including back-to-back shows by Rancid:

Also tonight: Rancid, the Adolescents and Thelonious Monster at the Music Box; Ratatat at the Fox Theater in Pomona; Dirty Projectors at the Wiltern; Gladys Knight and the O'Jays at the Nokia Theatre; Ry Cuming and Justin Young at the Hotel Cafe; Glasser doing a 7 p.m. in-store at Amoeba; Dirt Nasty at the Roxy; Spirit Vine at the 5 Star Bar; Angus Khan at 3 Clubs; Mack 10 at the Key Club; Elefante at the House of Blues; Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and Former Ghosts at the Smell; Beausoleil with Michael Doucet at McCabe's; the Paul Collins Beat at the Redwood Bar; the Absolute at the Mint; Hydroplane at Pehrspace; and Mad Planet at Echo Curio.

Also Saturday: Rancid at the Music Box; X Japan at the Wiltern; Shin at Club Nokia; Jerry Lee Lewis and Reverend Horton Heat at the Fox Theater in Pomona; Thelonious Monster, Speedbuggy and the Ruby Friedman Orchestra at Spaceland; Kisses, Lesands and Hands at the Bootleg Theater; So & So and Nina Storey at the Hotel Cafe; Halloween Swim Team and 609 Watt Kid at Echo Curio; Jon Langford at McCabe's; Hunx and His Punx at the Smell; Quiet Americans at Pehrspace; Murderland at the Redwood Bar; Torches in Trees and the Fay Wrays at Pehrpsace; Glasser at the Mondrian Hotel; Lightning Swords of Death at 3 Clubs; and a Tribute to John Bonham at the Key Club.

Also Sunday: Helmet at Brixton South Bay; Sleepy Sun at the Viper Room; 5 O'Clock Shadowboxers, Strangeloop, Shlohmo and Mount Kimbie at the Downtown Independent; Casxio and Yellow Alex at Cinespace; Will Downing at Club Nokia; Neil Hamburger at Spaceland; Seal and David Foster at the Grammy Museum; the Zac Brown Band at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre; the Spazmatics at the Key Club; the Crystelles at the Redwood Bar; Jon Langford's 5 p.m. in-store at Amoeba; White Hills' 4 p.m. in-store at Vacation Vinyl; and Exhausted Prayer at the Smell.


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