Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From Jon Spencer's blues-garage sound to O.G. punk folkie Billy Bragg to veterans Mazzy Star, Teenage Fanclub, Bob Seger and Peter Murphy, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week!
No Small Children
THE HI HAT
No Small Children have the perfect response to religious zealots who want to brainwash them. They simply turn up the guitar and drown out sanctimonious fools with a crush of good ol' punk-rock noise and the kind of airy, carefree “la, la, la” vocals they probably picked up on the playground from the kids they teach. “God on God/disguised in song … lies and lies/just close our eyes,” singer-guitarist Lisa Pimental rails on the L.A. trio's 2017 single “I Don't Believe What You Say.” By day, Pimental, her bassist-sister Joanie Pimental and drummer Nicola Berlinsky are teachers at a school in North Hollywood but when they perform as No Small Children, they reveal a youthful exuberance and musical brattiness that belie their position as stern authority figures. —Falling James
Tiffany Haddish has positioned herself to be one of the funniest figures of our time. From the big screen to the stage, the Los Angeles–bred actress, singer and comedian is ready to take her jokes to the big stage, embarking on her #SheReady Tour. Haddish's big break came with her performance in the chick flick Girls Trip, when she stole the spotlight from Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith. More recently, she starred in Night School alongside Kevin Hart, while making history as the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live. Microsoft Theater ain't ready! —Shirley Ju
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
A week after glam-metal titans KISS performed their final L.A. shows, Detroit's blue-collar hero Bob Seger will play the Los Angeles date of his own farewell tour. In Michigan, Seger commands a Springsteen level of adoration and, while he's never really generated the same fervor elsewhere, he's still beloved enough to play a venue as big as the Forum. It might well be a case of “don't know what you've got till it's gone.” Seger is and has always been a passionate performer, and we thought he'd be there to jam out tunes such as “Travelin' Man,” “Beautiful Loser” and “Turn the Page” forever. After this gig (if he's serious about the whole “final tour” thing), we'll have to settle for spinning Live Bullet. —Brett Callwood
Jon Spencer has a rubbery, yowling voice that he has bent, wrapped and warped around a series of sludgy, noisy blues-garage combos: Pussy Galore, Boss Hog and The Blues Explosion. Now the New York trash-rock kingpin returns to town with a new band that includes drummer M. Sord, synthesizer player Sam Coomes (Quasi) and junkyard percussionist Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Chrome Cranks) to unleash the fuzzy anthems from their new In the Red Records release, Spencer Sings the Hits. It's not clear exactly where in this galaxy such abrupt and angular anti-pop collisions as “Beetle Boots” and “Time 2 Be Bad” are considered hits, but Spencer and company juice up these and other songs with a dirty, sleazy, artily funky approach that mixes Cramps-style primitivism with Captain Beefheart weirdness. —Falling James
Walter Lure's L.A.M.F.
The 1977 album L.A.M.F. by Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers is one of the all-time great rock & roll records. It's easily the best post–New York Dolls album that involved a Doll, and it rivals that band's two full-lengthers. Thunders, clearly in the full grip of his addiction, was churning out throwaway riffs and bubble-gum rock & roll melodies with wild abandon, tirelessly backed by Jerry Nolan (another Doll), Billy Rath and Walter Lure. Of course, Thunders is no longer with us. His demons took him long ago, and Nolan's gone, too. So it's up to Lure to keep this music alive. His band, which also features Mick Rossi from Slaughter & the Dogs, is called L.A.M.F., so we know what to expect. Cheap Tissue, Maniac and Mono Delux also play. —Brett Callwood
Starting in the late '70s, English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg found ways to blend punk rock with folk, influenced as much (more, in fact) by Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie as by The Clash. While other Brits were desperately aping an American accent in order to achieve some sort of radio success, Bragg was allowing his Cockney twang to fly free, and actually become a vital ingredient in his sound. Perennially a left-wing activist, Bragg has always used his gift for good and, while he remains a cult figure, he certainly has enough of a fan base that his message can make a difference. Bridges Not Walls, released at the end of 2017, is his most recent album, and it contains the song “Full English Brexit.” You can't keep a good man down. —Brett Callwood
Louisiana alt-dance-pop group Royal Teeth are getting frustrated. They've just released their second album, having been with three labels in six years. Clearly, this isn't a band that will sit back and settle. “I decided that if we are going down, then we are going down swinging,” singer Gary Larsen says on the band's website, and that just about sums them up. “This line of work can be difficult,” he continues. “It requires you to be vulnerable and put yourself out there to be judged by others. It's hard to get used to. We are using this album as a platform to face our fears, and to focus on the love we find through the music we create and those who connect along the way.” Feel free to connect with them at the School Night series, which also features Clara Mae and Trishes. —Brett Callwood
Coeur de Pirate
EL REY THEATRE
Béatrice Martin coos gently engaging French-language pop chansons as Coeur de Pirate on her latest album, En cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé (which translates as “In case of storm, this garden will be closed”). As such, her music is generally breezily romantic. Even with the occasional darker interlude, such as “Combustible” and “Malade,” the record is filled with mostly sugary reveries like “Amour d'un soir” and fizzy dance-pop tunes such as “Prémonition.” Still, the Canadian singer is more intriguing when she allows a little ambiguity into her sunny outlook, as on more intimate and confessional tracks such as “De honte et de pardon” and the ethereally cycling idyll “Somnambule.” Things pick up a little when the Quebec rapper Loud enlivens the electro-pop ditty “Dans la nuit.” —Falling James
Combining the fragile intimacy of low-key Velvet Underground ballads such as “Sunday Morning” and “Pale Blue Eyes” with more mainstream classic-rock influences, Mazzy Star have carved out their own distinct corner in the dream-pop universe. While bands like Cowboy Junkies first paved the way with the quieter-is-better ethos, Mazzy Star remain special in large part because of the charismatic vocal delivery of Hope Sandoval. The laid-back balladry on the group's most recent release, last year's Still EP, is occasionally languidly enchanting, although it lacks the intriguingly dark and glassy-eyed mystery of Sandoval's first band, Going Home, an early-'80s folk duo with Sylvia Gomez. Despite their ongoing popularity, Mazzy Star rarely perform locally. It will be interesting to see how the group sound following the 2017 death of original drummer Keith Mitchell. Also Wed., Feb. 27. —Falling James
The year that grunge broke — 1991 — the Scottish indie band Teenage Fanclub released their finest album, Bandwagonesque. While the record contained subtle hints of grunge progenitors Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., for the most part it mined the gold of power-pop legends Big Star and Badfinger. Famously, the editors of Spin enshrined Bandwagonesque as their album of the year, passing over Nevermind, Ten and Gish. Three decades later, Bandwagonesque remains one of the great records of that era. The Fannie's most recent full-length, Here, appeared on Merge in 2016. Original member Gerard Love departed the group in 2018; co-founders Norman Blake and Raymond McKinley now tour as a five-piece. —Matt Miner
BIGFOOT LODGE EAST
Strumming and singing under the nom de plume Leggy Peggy, Hannah Carr finishes her monthlong residency at this small bar in Atwater with another free set. Her original songs draw upon the extensive legacy of blues and roots music, but one hesitates to call her approach retro, as her strutting, swinging riffs are enlivened by heartfelt lyrics and driven more by passionate immediacy than by nostalgic mimicry. Carr alternates between intimate and evocative folk tracks such as “Pacific Northwest” and more uptempo, smoky, electric-blues variations like “Black & White.” Whether she's performing solo or with a full band, Carr stands out from the horde of faux-blues revivalists because of her endearing sincerity and memorable songwriting. —Falling James
It's been 11 years since Bauhaus last performed together, having released the Go Away White album to mixed reviews that same year. Frontman Peter Murphy isn't one to spend a lot of time looking backward — indeed, his solo albums, from Should the World Fail to Fall Apart in 1986 to Lion in 2014, have seen his stock rise as a dark rock singer-songwriter in the Nick Cave camp, as opposed to the dated goth performer that some view him as. For that reason, it was a bit of a curveball when the announcement came through that Murphy and Bauhaus guitarist David J would be touring to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band. They'll be playing debut album In the Flat Field from start to finish, before encoring with crowd faves and perhaps a few deep cuts. Not to be missed. —Brett Callwood
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