Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From rockabilly with a twist of cumbia to extreme metal from across the pond, local singer-songwriter Jen Awad and Seattle garage band Acid Tongue, here are the 11 best music shows in L.A. this week!

fri 1/4

T.S.O.L., Go Betty Go, Egrets on Ergot


Here are three bands that are taking what's known as punk rock in completely different directions. Necrophilia-celebrating contrarians T.S.O.L. have always had a darkly alluring, Damned-style sense of goth-y menace slammed headlong into super-heavy and cheerily defiant SoCal power, and they're distinguished further by singer Jack Grisham's arch wit. L.A. quartet Go Betty Go also pack a powerful punk punch via guitarist Betty Cisneros, bassist Michelle Rangel and drummer Aixa Vilar, but Nicolette Vilar's yearning vocals imbue the anthems on their Reboot album with a more euphoric pop-punk urgency. Egrets on Ergot share with T.S.O.L. a dark worldview and sinister punk drive, but singer-saxist Atom Brooks' rants about “Plantation Pudding” and “Occult Matters” are taken into even stranger, starker and scarier post-punk spaces. Plus, Youth Brigade and Tartar Control. —Falling James

Moonlight Trio


The first weekend of 2019 kicks off with a killer rockabilly/psychobilly bill in Long Beach. The Moonlight Trio are a Mexican-American, umm, trio that claim to play something called “cumbiabilly” — that's rockabilly with a traditional Mexican twist. They cite The Rocketz as an influence, which is great because The Rocketz also are performing on this bill. The L.A. powerhouse outfit have honed their sound, blending swamp rock with the rockabilly. As they state on social media, “They tour relentlessly and love the road. This high-energy, revved-up punk-rockabilly band is coming to your town soon!” As if that isn't enough, local hard-hitting psychobilly troupe The Henchmen and San Gabriel Valley rockabilly-ska band Gamblers Mark also play. —Brett Callwood

sat 1/5

The Strawberry Moons, The Blackerbys, The Magnet Hearts


The Blackerbys are an L.A. band who combine head-banging punk swagger with shout-along choruses that land somewhere in the same galaxy as The Zeros' punk/power-pop classics. “Beat Beat Beat” and “Little Sister” churn with hard-chugging riffs and mindlessly catchy hooks. San Diego quintet The Strawberry Moons have a more '60s-based pop-psychedelic approach as Aimee Jacobs and Will A. Lerner exchange vocals over a gently trippy interplay of guitars and electric keyboards. “I've got my cat eyes on you,” she purrs over thick, fuzzy guitar on the loopy love song “When We Are Animals” before he drawls a reply: “I ain't nobody's friend here, but I could see being friends with you.” As The Magnet Hearts, Backbiter's Jonathan Hall and Heath Seifert take psychedelia into harder places in combination with keyboardist Danny McGough and drummer John Collinson. —Falling James

Missing Persons, Gene Loves Jezebel


You've got to hand it to L.A. '80s pop-rockers Missing Persons. Despite the fact that they haven't been “cool” in decades (if indeed they ever truly were), the band continue to play out relentlessly. And fair play, they still sound great. Dale Bozzio has a wonderful voice (she worked with Zappa alongside her ex-husband Terry Bozzio, after all), and 2014's Missing in Action album is surprisingly good. They're on an '80s triple bill with Gene Loves Jezebel and Trans-X. It's the Michael Aston version of GLJ — brothers Michael and Jay remain estranged, and the courts decided that Michael can have the States and Jay gets the U.K./Europe. By all accounts, both are passable. Canadian synth-pop group Trans-X are best known for the “Living on Video” single and should up the fun. —Brett Callwood

Carcass; Credit: Gene Smirnov

Carcass; Credit: Gene Smirnov



It's been 20 years since Carcass drummer Ken Owen had a brain hemorrhage and had to retire from drumming for the British extreme-metal band he founded with guitarist Bill Steer in 1985. He represents the mortality — and morbidity — that has been the lifeblood of Carcass, ever since their brilliant, landmark 1988 album, Reek of Putrefaction. They're still chugging along on the forcefulness of their 2013 Surgical Steel album, playing the most extreme metal since osmium and raising a whole new generation of fans who probably will grow up to become very hip pathologists. Remember Ken Owen when you think that the artists that are Carcass will be around forever, because they most certainly shall not. Also: Excel, Final Conflict, Iron Reagan, Lowlife. —David Cotner

sun 1/6

Jad Fair


Back in the musical wilderness of the mid-1970s, Jad Fair and his brother David Fair formed Half Japanese, a sort of anti-band whose cute, cuddly and arty chansons anticipated and inspired indie and lo-fi rock. Jad's longtime disinterest in “normal” guitar tunings gives his songs a smeary strangeness when paired with his often childlike, low-key vocals and daft subject matter. In addition to his solo work and ongoing releases as Half Japanese, Jad Fair has collaborated on a dizzying variety of music with such diverse yet simpatico minds as Teenage Fanclub, Daniel Johnston, Isobel Campbell, Fred Frith, Nao, Jason Willett and The Pastels. One of his latest cracked concoctions is For Everyone, a project with David Fair and Adult Swim puppeteer-vocalist David Liebe Hart. —Falling James

mon 1/7

Jen Awad


Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jen Awad has a Monday night residency at the Echo throughout January, so be sure to catch at least one of her shows. Awad is a captivating performer — authentically glam, blending the soulful blues of Albert King with the riot-girrrl snarl of Hole, the glitter of Marc Bolan and T-Rex, and the driving, dark rockabilly-punk of The Misfits. Awad is a rare talent, and this series of shows should help expose her to a wider audience. At this first date, theatrical grimy, glamorous pop star in the making Fiona Grey also plays, as do glitter band Blame Candy, garage-soul singer Veronica Bianqui and Tangerine. That's a killer lineup of eclectic talent, and a great way for Awad to get started at the Echo. —Brett Callwood

The Cherry Bluestorms; Credit: Michael Kurtz

The Cherry Bluestorms; Credit: Michael Kurtz

tue 1/8

The Cherry Bluestorms


When they do perform around town, The Cherry Bluestorms play the dive-iest of dives, but they have already amassed an impressive, well-crafted body of work that transcends their mundane surroundings. Whirligig! might be just the L.A. band's third full-length album over the past decade, but it's loaded with power-pop gems that are highlighted by Deborah Gee's serenely beguiling vocals and former Dickies guitarist Glen Laughlin's artful licks. The duo have enough confidence to pull off a sparkling, supercharged remake of The Beatles' “She Said She Said” and invoke the spirit of The Move with their original homage “Roy Wood” (“He has a beard of stars, and his head is all at sea,” they croon dreamily). Other tracks, such as “Heel to Toe,” take '60s influences into harder, more modern territory as Gee warns, “You're ready-made for the chemical arcade.” —Falling James

wed 1/9

Acid Tongue


That name might suggest something harsh and heavy — maybe a Wax Trax! Industrial disco band. But no, this Seattle garage band are inspired by the soul, folk and psychedelic music of days gone by. According to their press blurb, they incorporate “imagery of the afterlife, dream states and drifter culture.” Their 2016 debut album, Babies, was recorded during the election madness and offered a glimpse back at rosier days. Portland, Oregon, stalwart Danny Dodge also is on the bill, an artist who made his name as frontman with both the No Tomorrow Boys and The Criminal Guitars and who recently released his debut solo album, Baby, Let Me Be Your Mess. The OC Hurricanes and Dixie also play. —Brett Callwood

thu 1/10

Lael Neale


Lael Neale is a local singer-guitarist who specializes in languid, heartfelt balladry. The original songs and romantic lamentations on her debut album, I'll Be Your Man, are laced with the aching affectations of country and folk, but Neale's rocking moments sometimes evoke the hazy, more atmospheric side of Neil Young & Crazy Horse. “I'll Be Your Man in the Morning” is a reverential hymn that moves at a glacial pace as her vocals drift slowly in the wind, whereas “Born in the Summer” is a stormier anthem in which Neale twines her vocals dreamily within heavy braids of guitar. Tonight she opens for Maxim Ludwig on a bill that also includes Superet and Zander Schloss (ex–Circle Jerks, The Weirdos). —Falling James



Conventional wisdom says the Bay Area is the birthplace of thrash metal while Florida is the home of death metal. That said, San Fran's Possessed formed in 1983 and, thanks to Jeff Becerra's ungodly guttural vocals, are considered one of the godfathers of what became known as death metal. So to hell (literally) with conventional wisdom. Between the Seven Churches debut album in 1985 and Beyond the Gates the following year, they shaped the genre, having an undeniable impact on the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Deicide, Morbid Angel and the rest. The band split in '87 and again in '93, but they've been back since 2007 and a new album (only their third) is expected next year. Letum Ascensus, Subliminal, Vile Decent, Delusional Fate, Masked Jackal and Chamuco also play. The following night, Possessed are back at the Whisky with Dark as Death, Grave Danger, Luna 13, Syn Absence, Corrupt, Disciples of Death and Letum. —Brett Callwood

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