This Week's Best Concerts: Ceremony, Laura Jane Grace, Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey brings her Endless Summer tour to the Hollywood Bowl on Monday
Lana Del Rey brings her Endless Summer tour to the Hollywood Bowl on Monday
Photo by Neil Krug

Be sure to check out our constantly updated concert calendar!

[Update: The Quintron & Miss Pussycat show has moved. See below for updated location.]

Monday, May 18

Lana Del Rey, Courtney Love
HOLLYWOOD BOWL
Dust off your flower crowns — Lana Del Rey is heading to the iconic Hollywood Bowl. Since the release of her third LP, Ultraviolence, last June, the ’60s-inspired crooner has been planning the Endless Summer tour, featuring Courtney Love, the once mighty frontwoman of Hole, who is in the midst of one of her many comebacks. The two pair perfectly, glamorizing the dysfunction of fame in their sultry songs. After landing the No. 1 album around the world, singing at the Kardashian-West wedding, and dominating film scores, the once plain-Jane Lizzy Grant has proven that her more alluring Lana Del Rey persona is here to stay. — Lina Abascal

Wolf Alice, Gateway Drugs
THE ROXY
"I have a tricky love affair … with the place where I grew up,” Ellie Rowsell confesses on “Giant Peach,” from Wolf Alice’s upcoming album, My Love Is Cool. “What the hell keeps me here? ... The rules don’t seem so clear, and changing feels like fear,” she sings. But her wistful ambivalence is soon washed away by surging guitars, which elevate Rowsell’s mixed feelings and turn them into an anthemic statement. The London band has similarly evolved from its early folk roots into a sleekly powerful rock machine. “Scrap the blues, if the blues don’t work,” Rowsell coos over thunderously distorted waves of guitar. Local quartet Gateway Drugs feature Gabriel, Liv and Noa Niles — the children of ex–Knack bassist Prescott Niles — but their fuzzed-out guitars, exhilarating tempos and propulsive bass carry more heaviness and shrouded mystery than The Knack ever did. — Falling James

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, May 19

The Skints
THE MINT
As a British band delving into reggae and dub, The Skints aren’t creating anything terribly original, but they have enough personality to stand out from other revivalists. Much of the London quartet’s charm comes from singer-keyboardist-saxophonist Marcia Richards, whose vocals alternate between rapid-fire patois and a languidly enchanting melodicism. Instead of going for a commercial ska sound, drummer Jamie Kyriakides, guitarist Joshua Waters Rudge and bassist Jonathan Doyle layer Richards’ lilting vocals with a deep and soupy mix of dub psychedelia and dancehall grooves interspersed with traces of hip-hop and punk rock. With guest vocals by Tippa Irie and Horseman, the new video for “This Town” smartly encapsulates The Skints’ blend of influences, but it’s ultimately Richards’ singing that soothes amid the mélange of tangled voices. Also opening for Fortunate Youth at Saint Rocke on Friday, May 15. — Falling James

Wednesday, May 20

It Came From Nashville
GENGHIS COHEN
For the last 15 years or so, one of the great wild cards in Los Angeles country music has been It Came From Nashville, a musical revue featuring a loose tribe of offbeat, beholden-to-none, Southern-born renegades, all of whom are as uniformly talented as they are unpredictable. The cast includes high-impact country cat Austin Hanks, a tight cohort of Billy Gibbons, who often sits in at Hanks’ weekly Piano Bar gig on Sundays; brooding outlaw country scion Waylon Payne, offspring of longtime Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne and chart-topping ’70s rebel Sammi Smith; and the untamed Alabama country-rock provocateur Tonya Watts, former Playboy cover girl and Pam Anderson body double who ditched film and TV work to become a fine singer-songwriter in her own right. With ICFM, you never know what’ll happen, but you do know that it won’t suck. — Jonny Whiteside

Duff McKagan will present and sign copies of his new book How to Be a Man at Book Soup on Thursday
Duff McKagan will present and sign copies of his new book How to Be a Man at Book Soup on Thursday
Courtesy of Da Capo Press

Thursday, May 21

Quintron & Miss Pussycat
JEWEL'S CATCH ONE 605 E. 4TH STREET
Let’s salute Quintron and Miss Pussycat, American treasures and some of the few people out there still riding down that same lost highway where Lux Interior picked up Poison Ivy hitchhiking. This is true art — including an album recorded in the New Orleans Museum of Art! — made by people who are total originals. Instead of Cramps-y, swampy, garage-y guitar, Quintron and Miss P are dedicated to the power of the organ and the hypnotic capabilities of rhythm, whether fast, slow or simply relentless. (Behold Quintron’s Neu!-gone-primordial track “Death in Space,” off last year’s Spellcaster II.) Usually, though “usual” is a weak word here, Mr. Quintron sings and makes the music (and often the musical instruments), and Miss P sings and presents a zoo-full of wild puppets. There’s truly nothing no one else like them. — Chris Ziegler

Duff McKagan Book Signing
BOOK SOUP
As bassist for Guns N’ Roses from 1985 to 1997, Duff McKagan wasn’t immune to the self-destructive temptations of rock superstardom — facts he candidly recounted in his 2011 autobiography, It’s So Easy: and other lies. His new book, How to Be a Man (and other illusions), focuses more on the lessons learned during his post-GNR years, when he got sober, became a family man, and reclaimed his rock-star status as a member of Velvet Revolver. With chapter titles like “Stay Humble” and “Don’t Burn Any Bridges,” How to Be a Man promises to offer a more level-headed perspective on life as a professional musician but not without a few cheeky nods to McKagan’s past excesses, like the pro rocker tip, “Don’t smoke crack on a leased private jet — the smell gets into everything.” — Andy Hermann

See also: Duff McKagan Recalls the Bitter Dispute Over the Guns N' Roses Pinball Machine (Book Excerpt)

Friday, May 22

Girlschool
WHISKY A GO-GO
It’s been more than 10 years since Girlschool last graced this town with their pulverizing hard-rock anthems, but they’re finally back, and with most of the classic, original lineup intact. Deft and dazzling lead guitarist Jackie Chambers is the “new” member, having joined the British group back in 2000 after replacing the absolutely brilliant guitar demon Kelly Johnson, who became too ill to perform regularly and ultimately succumbed to spinal cancer in 2007. Led by co–lead singers Kim McAuliffe and bassist Enid Williams and powered by relentless drummer Denise Dufort, the reconfigured lineup sounds thoroughly re-energized on their most recent album, 2011’s Hit and Run: Revisited, a surprisingly engrossing remake of the band’s near-perfect 1981 album of the same name. Often associated with their longtime pals and collaborators Motörhead, Girlschool blend the raw fury of punk with the crushing precision of pure metal. — Falling James

Laura Jane Grace
MASONIC LODGE AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER
A modern folk hero with Hitchcockian bird tattoos and old-school punk DNA, Laura Jane Grace is Bob Dylan for a generation birthed on the Warped Tour and Social D. Her diary entries are filled with just that (social distortion): rebellious words that saved her life during a her transition to a woman in 2012. Two years later, her band Against Me! released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, 29 minutes of catchy folk-punk battle songs that violently separated gender from sexuality. Under the moody lights of the Masonic Lodge, LJG will take the stage for a solo performance of songs from Transgender Dysphoria and the stories behind them, with guest appearances (no word if homegirl Miley Cyrus will show, but witch-folk musician Globelamp might). It’s going to be a VH1 Storytellers–style assault on the rotting castle walls of old-guard gender politics. — Art Tavana

The Rezillos, Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds
THE ROXY
The Rezillos formed in 1976, but the Scottish punk-pop band didn’t make their live debut in L.A. until 2002 and have only been back a couple times since. They just released their second studio album, Zero, a mere 37 years after their zippy 1978 debut, Can’t Stand The Rezillos. As ever, the band dynamic contrasts the winsomely groovy mod-pop melodies of Fay Fife with the tougher, punk-rockabilly snarling of co–lead singer Eugene Reynolds. Fife’s girl-group harmonies sail above Jim Brady’s buzzsaw guitars on “Sorry About Tomorrow,” while Reynolds laments that he’s “Nearly Human” until he finds himself crushed by Brady’s slithering riffs on “Spike Heel Assasin.” Shape-shifting guitarist Kid Congo has backed such charismatic figures as Nick Cave, Lux Interior and Jeffrey Lee Pierce, but with the Pink Monkey Birds he croon-talks sotto voce over a spidery web of rusty guitars. — Falling James

Ceremony darkens the Echoplex with their hardcore and post-punk sounds this Saturday
Ceremony darkens the Echoplex with their hardcore and post-punk sounds this Saturday
Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Saturday, May 23

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival
RANCHO SANTA SUSANA COMMUNITY PARK
Normally sleepy Simi Valley comes to life this weekend with the spicy sounds of zydeco, Cajun music and the blues, much of it straight outta the swamps of Louisiana. Saturday’s festivities feature The Magnolia Sisters, their infectious Cajun shuffles led by the accordion-pumping Ann Savoy, who worked with Linda Ronstadt on one of that singer’s final studio recordings, the ever-enchanting and underrated Adieu False Heart. Other Saturday performers include Canned Heat, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers. Early Sunday afternoon, the legendary Guitar Shorty cranks up his blues explorations, which still retain their piercing ferocity many years after the former David Kearney influenced his onetime brother-in-law, Jimi Hendrix. Sunday also includes the sassily assured blues diva Candye Kane, Spencer Davis, Big Brother and the Holding Company and a return by The Magnolia Sisters. Also Sunday, May 24. — Falling James

Ceremony, Negative Approach
THE ECHOPLEX
Ceremony are nominally a hardcore punk band, but on their latest album, The L-Shaped Man, the Bay Area quintet concoct a more shadowy sound that’s often as solemn and formally elegant as their name. Ross Farrar intones tracks such as “Your Life in France” with an Ian Curtis–style foreboding as bassist Justin Davis and guitarist Anthony Anzaldo construct towering post-punk riffs. A brief ray of light cuts through the gloom of “The Separation” until the shadows enfold Farrar again and he wonders, “Can you measure the loss?” Farrar’s loss is measured in judiciously restrained chords and hypnotically pulsing grooves that signal a newly expanded sonic horizon for the band. The Detroit quartet Negative Approach still retain their fast and frantic early-’80s hardcore sound, even after lead shouter John Brannon (Laughing Hyenas) re-formed the group in 2006 with two new members. — Libby Molyneaux

Fredo Santana
LOS GLOBOS
You may know him as Chief Keef’s cousin, the tattooed face of Glory Boyz Entertainment or the guy referred to as “a scary sight” in the lyrics of Keef’s 2012 hit “I Don’t Like.” This Saturday, rapper Fredo Santana is bringing a taste of the streets of Chiraq (or Chicago) to Los Globos. Known for comparing himself to Freddy Krueger and having an eerie, morbid presence at live performances, Santana raps over beats by buzzing producers such as Young Chop and Mike Will on tracks from his many mixtapes. He’s also played a villain in Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” video. Prepare to be spooked, and like it, by the bad guy of GBE. — Lina Abascal

Sunday, May 24

Magic Wands, Drinking Flowers
THE SATELLITE
You’ll probably recognize Magic Wands’ “Black Magic” from that 2013 Victoria’s Secret commercial, or their cover of The xx’s “Warrior” — this witchy synth duo has made a strong impression. Now signed to legendary indie label Cleopatra Records, they’ve promised a follow-up to their 2012 debut Aloha Moon later this year. Their psychedelic pop elements are in line with the likes of The Horrors, Bang Gang and even Metric, while their live performance is a spacey journey, smoke-laden and colorful. Local Lolipop Records apocalyptic psych-rockers Drinking Flowers will share the stage to bring the reverb-soaked guitars and “Melt Your Mind.” The evening, aptly dubbed “Dream Escape,” also will feature tarot readings, as well as the bands Beat Hotel and the U.K.’s Joe Levi and the Black Raspberries. — Britt Witt


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