From Fat Wrech punks Bad Cop/Bad Cop and the enchanting joys of Desert Daze to R&B queen Lauryn Hill and Nepalese rockers Albatross, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.
Bad Cop / Bad Cop
San Pedro band Bad Cop / Bad Cop, signed to Fat Mike’s Fat Wreck Chords, have been kicking serious ass since dropping the Not Sorry debut album in 2015. That was followed by Warriors two years later, an uncompromising album packed with justifiably angry punk rock tunes. There are elements of Social Distortion’s Americana-tinged songwriting in there, plus Beach Boys/Ramones melody and harmony. Regardless, it’s fiery and furious, and absolutely fucking thrilling. They’re touring with the Bar Stool Preachers, a lively ska-punk crew from Brighton, England, so that should make for an exciting night. And t here’s more — melodic local hard rockers Bella Novela and DIY punks Upper/downer also play. —Brett Callwood
Desert Daze returns for the second time to Lake Perris, where the first day of last year’s festival was plagued by traffic jams and truncated by an intense lightning storm. While the manmade lake in Riverside County isn’t as enchanting as the festival’s previous settings in Joshua Tree and other places, it should — weather permitting — be a suitable backdrop this time around. Several of this year’s headliners (The Flaming Lips, Ween and Wu-Tang Clan) will perform full versions of ancient ’90s albums (The Soft Bulletin, Chocolate and Cheese and Enter the Wu-Tang, respectively). What makes this edition special, though, is an apparent farewell set by art-rock prankster-robots Devo, along with appearances by psychedelic rockers Frankie & the Witch Fingers, dream-spinners Winter, indie-pop chanteuse Sasami, heavy garage-psych combo The Paranoyds and stoner-rock bludgeoners Dead Meadow. W.I.T.C.H. and guitar hero Mdou Moctar jolt with modern African sounds. Also Saturday -Sunday, October 12-13. —Falling James
BREN EVENTS CENTER
Really, the only thing that needs to be said when Bob Dylan is performing is, “HEY — Bob Dylan is performing.” Because there can’t be anybody left who needs telling who Bob Dylan is, and those likely to attend his show likely already know that his voice isn’t the same as it was when he recorded albums such as The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin’, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde — albums that genuinely, sans hyperbole, changed the shape of modern music. He sounds different, but different isn’t necessarily bad. If you haven’t seen a Bob Dylan show yet, take this chance to tick it off your bucket list. Because it’s fucking Bob Dylan. —Brett Callwood
WHISKY A GO GO
Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach has been out on tour, performing that band’s self-titled debut album in its entirety. In fact, original drummer Rob Affuso has been joining him on some dates, so fingers crossed he pops up at one of these two Whisky shows (Friday and Saturday) at least. It’s all annoyed the current incarnation of Skid Row, with Snake Sabo and Rachel Bolan consistently adamant that they won’t work with live-wire Bach again. Apparently, he can be a bit annoying when he’s in your face for hours everyday on a cramped bus. We’ve no doubt that’s true but suck it up, buttercups. The rock world wants it. For now, these shows will have to do. Kobra and Lotus also play. —Brett Callwood
Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez is the voice behind La Santa Cecilia, the charming local band that segues from cumbia, tangos and other traditional Latin-music styles into various strains of jazz, cabaret and pop. She is occasionally billed separately as La Marisoul, as she was at the Yoko Ono tribute at Disney Hall in March, when she turned in one of the most captivating performances on a star-studded lineup. At the Soraya, she’s backed by members of La Santa Cecilia, California Feetwarmers and Los Texmaniacs for “Un Homenaje to Mexican-American Music From Lalo Guerrero to Today.” In addition to covering songs by Chicano-music visionary Guerrero, La Marisoul intends to put her captivating spin on tunes by Los Lobos and other Mexican-American songwriters. Plus, Deuto Dos Rosas. —Falling James
THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
“I know you’re gonna hate this song,” Roger Daltrey says, bellowing Pete Townshend’s lyrics to a new tune, “All This Music Must Fade,” from The Who’s upcoming, blankly titled album, Who. “It’s not new, not diverse … It’s just simple verse,” Daltrey/Townshend say, perhaps a bit defensively. And while the track is too self-conscious to really explode and take off without restraint like a classic Who song would, it is energetic, and an encouraging sign that Townshend and Daltrey are moving away from their longtime state of nostalgic complacency. “Ball and Chain,” a remake of Townshend’s solo obscurity “Guantanamo” (described as “that pretty piece of Cuba resolved to cause men pain”), is another hint that they’re starting to engage with the modern world again. However, The Who’s current tour includes a hired-gun orchestra for the first half of the set, recalling Townshend’s half-assed attempt to perform Quadrophenia with schlocky string arrangements at the Greek Theatre in 2017. —Falling James
There’s a genuine mystique and allure about British alt-rock band Ride. Formed in Oxford in ’88, they put out four beloved albums through the ’90s, from Nowhere at the start of the decade to Tarantula in ’96. The debut is a record that the likes of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have heralded as a “masterpiece” and they’re right — it’s a dreamy slice of hypnotic shoegaze indie rock. The following Going Blank Again and Carnival of Light were similarly brilliant. After Tarantula though, the band split, with frontman and guitarist Andy Bell joining Oasis as bassist for ten years. Still, Ride sporadically got back together and, in 2017, released Weather Diaries to generally good reviews. This year’s This is Not a Safe Place is similarly great, and the set in L.A. will hopefully mix the old with the new. —Brett Callwood
Mention The Waterboys to most people and they’ll immediately think of 1985 smash hit single “The Whole of the Moon” (rereleased in ’91). And fair enough — that’s a great song. But there’s so much more to this Scottish-Irish folk rock band. Mainman Mike Scott formed the group in ’83, and there are now 13 Waterboys albums available, the latest being this year’s Where the Action Is. But honestly, you could grab any one of them and find yourself besotted with the gorgeous melodies, anthemic choruses and Scott’s world-weary voice. Frankly, there are few better folk rock songs ever written than 1988’s “Fisherman’s Blues” from the album with the same name. They also play the Observatory on Sunday, and these local shows will offer a rare chance to catch Scott and his Waterboys live. —Brett Callwood
Nick Cave has created an air of impenetrable mystery as he’s wrestled with various demons and devils in his solo work and music with The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds (who just released Ghosteen, a two-disc assemblage of shimmering sounds and funereal/reverential spoken-word meditations). But the Australian soothsayer disarms himself on his current solo tour, billed as “Conversations With Nick Cave: An Evening of Talk & Music.” There will indeed be music: Accompanying himself on piano, Cave is breaking down some of his trademark songs (“Stagger Lee,” “The Mercy Seat,” “Jubilee Street”) alongside unexpected covers of anthems, hymns and ditties by his peers and influences (Daniel Johnston, T. Rex, Jimmy Webb and Leonard Cohen). But, curiouser and curiouser, he’s demystifying himself by letting the audience ask him questions, which can range from deep and fascinating to trivial and absurd. —Falling James
Lauryn Hill, H.E.R.
THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
This is what happens when the former queen of the soul and the new queen of soul link up. You may have heard Lauryn Hill through being the only female member of The Fugees, with her vocals shining through on “Ready Or Not.” But it’s actually her solo album (actually the only album she has) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, that catapulted her to the forefront of R&B. Flipping the switch to H.E.R., it’s her smooth, buttery vocals that have earned her not one, but two GRAMMY wins: Best R&B Album (H.E.R.) and Best R&B Performance (“Best Part” with Daniel Caesar). The Bay Area native originally came up with an elusiveness that drew fans in even more. When you sing that good and you withhold revealing your true identity, audiences are intrigued even more. —Shirley Ju
Nothing says “heavy” like a giant bird hung around your neck as a metaphor for guilt and remorse. Albatross — the biggest rock band in Nepal — embraces you with heaviness in a different vein. Now entering their 21st year as a going concern, the band — singer Shirish Dali, guitarist Sunny Manandhar, bassist Avaya Bajracharya, and percussionist Kismat Das Shrestha — takes from their influences of metal and grunge a kind of energy that is informed and transformed by a dynamic that’s stronger than most, if only because the mountains that they’ve climbed to get to this point are decidedly higher. But dig they must — and dig you shall, because tonight you’ll also experience the passions of the expatriate Nepali community, one that has clasped Albatross tightly to their collective bosom with a love as thick as their air back home is thin. —David Cotner
Chris Pureka, Laura Gibson
“To the west, to the west, I need anchors … I need strong hands, to pull me up over the mountains, before I love you again,” Chris Pureka confides on “Holy,” from 2016’s Back in the Ring. Anchors are a recurring lyrical theme, as the Portland, Oregon, singer-songwriter tries to ground herself and those she loves across a series of mostly low-key, intimate folk-pop songs. On “Bell Jar,” she declares, “Well I held you like an anchor, but I want to hold you like an ocean.” Meanwhile, on the title track, Pureka observes, “Years, come down, cut like an anchor through the mud and stone, just dragging behind.” She lets loose more fully on the shadowy, intriguing and harder-rocking passage “Silent Movie.” Plus, Oregon songstress Laura Gibson, who cracks open stillness, spilling secrets. —Falling James
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