Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From Chief Keef to a posthumous tour by Roy Orbison (or at least his music), one of the greatest Scottish punk bands and The Scientists' first U.S. tour, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week.

fri 9/28

Drowning Pool


Seventeen years ago, in the middle of a nu-metal revolution within the boundaries of heavy music, Dallas band Drowning Pool unleashed an anthem called “Bodies” from their debut album, Sinner, which had far more to do with the thrash bands of the previous decades than the downtuned bass of Korn. Six albums later, and Drowning Pool are on their fourth vocalist (Soil's Ryan McCombs was in there for a while). Jasen Moreno is the most recent, and he fronted the band on the most recent album — 2016's Hellelujah. Leadoff single “By the Blood” was a typically raucous anthem that wound up being played during the World Series of Fighting 25 show. That's not the first time Drowning Pool have provided the soundtrack to dudes kicking the shit out of each other, and it probably won't be the last. —Brett Callwood

Cold Waves


Following the Cold Waves Festival's expansion into Los Angeles last year (it was born in Chicago), this year sees the industrial-electronic rock festival grow to a third city, New York. L.A. is the final stop, with shows from Wednesday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 29. Rhys Fulber's presence is all over the event, with solo sets on Wednesday and Thursday, and a set from his band Front Line Assembly on Saturday. Skinny Puppy's ohGr headlines Thursday, while local alternative trip-hop group Omniflux play that same night. Dark synth-pop band The Black Queen, featuring members of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Nine Inch Nails, headline Friday, while German industrial metal band Die Krupps and D.C. industrial rock band Chemlab play Saturday. —Brett Callwood

sat 9/29

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band


It's hard to believe that Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band are now hurtling into their fourth decade as a going concern — but Starr, durable, affable and reliable in this life as a cultural landmark, shows absolutely no sign of stopping tonight, or any other night. His band is filled to overflowing with some of the finest and most influential players working in the pop idiom today, including Los Lobotomys drummer Gregg Bissonette, Men at Work harmonicist Colin Hay and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather. It would be inescapably remiss, however, to ignore the fact that so deific is Ringo Starr as a musical phenomenon that tonight you will witness his most underrated power: that of fathers and sons experiencing significant amounts of peaceful harmony and loving bonding because of the most peaceful and lovable Beatle of them all. —David Cotner

The Real McKenzies


One of the world's greatest Scottish punk bands isn't really from Scotland. Instead, The Real McKenzies hail from Vancouver, Canada, but they've been mixing bagpipes with distorted guitars since 1992, long before Celtic punk became a trend. Frontman Paul McKenzie is the only remaining founding member, but The Real McKenzies' sound — a mix of original songs and punked-up versions of traditional tunes — has remained the same throughout the many lineup changes. McKenzie howls into an approaching storm on such raving ditties as “Due West” and “Fuck the Real McKenzies” (“Fuck Flogging Molly, let's tear off all their clothes,” he urges) on the group's latest album, Two Devils Will Talk. It's a fine, raging collection, but it doesn't match the band's best recording, 1998's Clash of the Tartans, which paired hardcore blasts like “Thistle Boy” with the unexpectedly poignant grandeur of the seafaring ode “Mainland.” —Falling James

Lucy Arnell


“Headed for a breakdown/What's your plan, mystery teacher?” Lucy Arnell wonders in the restrained intro to “Do It Again,” from her second album, Anyways Any. The local singer answers her own question with a surge of fuzzy chords and grungy dynamics that lift the song from an introspective intimacy into an anthemic resonance. There are hints of singer-songwriter gentleness here and there, as well as on the New York native's 2015 debut recording, The Whole Sky Turned Red With the Rainbow, but Arnell generally prefers to rock out loudly rather than wallow in delicacy or self-pity. “Steal my shadow,” she urges enigmatically amid the driving guitars of “SMS,” alternating between softer, confessional asides in which she names the chords she's playing and more psychedelic, thundering passages. —Falling James

sun 9/30

Chelsea Williams


“When I fall, it's like a love song,” Chelsea Williams sings on “Lonely Girl,” from her album Boomerang. “I'm gonna make this count, but I know how the story folds.” You can hear the loneliness with each strum of her guitar, which blends folk simplicity, pop yearning and countrified heartache into a timelessly evocative form of Americana. Williams is that rare singer who got her start busking on the streets at the likes of the Third Street Promenade and somehow ended up with a record deal. Her songs on Boomerang range from the string-laden grandeur of “Angeles Crest” and the girl-group melodrama of “Anything Worth Saving” to the Fleetwood Mac–style pop of “Fool's Gold” and the torch ballad “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” Tonight, she opens for Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin. —Falling James

Jesse Jo Stark; Credit: Dana Trippe

Jesse Jo Stark; Credit: Dana Trippe

mon 10/1

Jesse Jo Stark


Chanteuse Jesse Jo Stark calls her music “horrific hillbilly,” but she does so with a tongue firmly planted in her cheek. More specifically, she's influenced by punk rock, country and the blues, resulting in a sound that is sultry, raw and honest. Imagine if Lana Del Rey was free of major-label constraints. Or if The Cramps' Poison Ivy went the Americana route. Frankly, the joy of Jesse Jo Stark is that her sound is so tough to pin down, but it's undeniably beautiful. Recent single “Rot Away” asks a hypothetical lover to dive into a relationship and “rot away with me.” This show with The Vaccines should be a killer, with Stark promising a sexy evening featuring lots of guitar, hip and big hair. —Brett Callwood

Graham Coxon


Despite the on-again-off-again nature of Blur and Graham Coxon's tumultuous relationship with frontman Damon Albarn, the guitarist has managed to maintain not just an active and prolific solo career but a mighty impressive one. The lo-fi nature of the songs combined with the chirpy melodies associated with his main band pushed 1998's solo debut, The Sky Is Too High, into the public consciousness, and that trend continued with 2000's The Golden D. Coxon is now eight albums in, and 2012's A+E saw him take a more pop-rock approach, but the sound is still clearly his own. It's about time we got a new full-length, although he wrote the score for the Netflix show The End of the Fucking World (based on the indie comic book of the same name), and that soundtrack was released this year. What we'll get from him at the Lodge Room is anyone's guess. —Brett Callwood

tue 10/2

Roy Orbison in Concert: The Hologram Tour


Yeah, this shit's getting out of hand. These hologram tributes were all very nice when we were talking about them adding an element to a show — Tupac suddenly appearing with Snoop at Coachella was fun. The guys from X Japan paying tribute to their deceased bandmates for a song or two. But now we have Roy Orbison's hologram going out on tour and, in fact, booking a residency at Andy Williams' Moon River Theatre in Missouri? What the hell do we do when Orbison first appears onstage? Applaud him? The technology is incredible, there's no doubt about that. And the instrumentation is apparently live. But isn't there a danger that we're redefining what a live concert experience is, at its most fundamental level? Hey, we're sure that it will look great. It'll certainly sound great. And if nothing else, a Roy Orbison 2018 tour shirt will be a fun novelty item. So knock yourself out. —Brett Callwood

The Scientists; Credit: Courtesy the artists

The Scientists; Credit: Courtesy the artists

The Scientists


Apart from a one-off show at All Tomorrow's Parties in Monticello, New York, in 2010, The Scientists have never toured the United States, but the legendary Australian band are finally about to land on this continent on a trip that includes two nights at Zebulon. Lead singer Kim Salmon has fronted varying incarnations of The Scientists since forming the group in Perth in 1978, and for this tour he's bringing the classic mid-1980s lineup with guitarist Tony Thewlis, bassist Boris Sujdovic and drummer Leanne Cowie. “I turned off my TV, the world goes dead,” Salmon howls on The Scientists' new version of “Brain Dead” on In the Red Records. Such quintessential tracks combine Cramps-style primitivism with post-punk rhythms and psychedelic guitars for a strangely seedy and urgent sound that has in turn influenced such musicians as Mudhoney, Jon Spencer, Nirvana and The White Stripes. Also Wednesday, Oct. 3. —Falling James

The B-52s; Credit: Pieter M. van Hattem

The B-52s; Credit: Pieter M. van Hattem

wed 10/3

Boy George & Culture Club, The B-52s


After fitful reunions over the decades, Boy George and the original lineup of Culture Club got back together and started touring again a few years ago. And while the group are largely focused on reviving such '80s hits as “Karma Chameleon” and “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” they're about to release a comeback album, Life, with a title song in which the ever-mellifluous Boy George puts on his best soulful croon. The B-52s also would appear to be a largely nostalgic band, but their 2008 album, Funplex, was an underrated collection of memorable songs like “Juliet of the Spirits,” “Love in the Year 3000” and the sarcastic and zippy title track. The Athens, Georgia, group's triumvirate of singers are as charismatic as ever, with Fred Schneider barking out lyrical non sequiturs against the dreamy, otherworldly harmonies of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. —Falling James

thu 10/4

Chief Keef


Chief Keef is still one of the hottest rappers to come out of Chicago. Exploding onto the scene with his own drill sound while in high school, he was pushed into the mainstream light in 2012 by Kanye West's remix of “I Don't Like.” The hit record went on to land a spot in the Billboard Top 10 as Keef released his debut album, Finally Rich, at the end of that year. While he faced much legal trouble, including weapon possession charges, multiple house arrests and even a ban from his city, Keith Farrelle Cozart continued to unleash projects on his own Glo Gang imprint. Fast-forward to 2018, and Chief Keef recently released Mansion Musick, flexing his diverse talents while staying true to his roots. —Shirley Ju

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