From “flavor of the month” Lizzo and singer-violinist-banjoist Rhiannon Giddens to anarcho-punks the Subhumans and alien metal band GWAR, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 10/18



Lizzo is having the year of her life. The singer, songwriter and rapper exploded onto the scene with lead singles “Juice” and “Tempo,” which catapulted her name into the mainstream light. While the songs hail from her studio album third studio album Cuz I Love You, it was actually “Truth Hurts” off the deluxe album that turned into a viral phenomenon. Currently, real name Melissa Jefferson celebrates her sixth week charting the Billboard Hot 100, on track to beat out Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” for longest running female rap song at #1 (just two more weeks). But beyond the accolades, it’s Lizzo’s fierce, unwavering, confidence putting on for all the females in the world and letting them know with hard work, your dreams can come true too. —Shirley Ju

Rhiannon Giddens (Getty Images for the Americana Music Association)

Rhiannon Giddens


Rhiannon Giddens is best known as the singer-violinist-banjoist of Carolina Chocolate Drops, but she crafts some enchanting spells on her new solo album, There Is No Other, a collaboration with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. As with Carolina Chocolate Drops, the new album is richly layered with strains of blues, roots, folk and gospel, but it never feels like a formal, retro exercise. Instead, such tracks as “Black Swan” are rooted in Giddens’ stark banjo plucking, but they are also imbued with an air of eeriness. Her voice unfurls majestically on “I’m on My Way” as she wraps tendrils of violin melodies around herself in a most intoxicating manner. “The Wayfaring Stranger,” a yearning traditional folk ballad, rests alongside more exotic tunes, including the febrile whirl of “Pizzica di San Vito.” —Falling James

sat 10/19

Credit: Dan Regan

Billie Eilish (Dan Regan)

We Can Survive


For the seventh year, the We Can Survive extravaganza takes place at the Hollywood Bowl — an event which sees a host of artists come together to continue the fight against breast cancer. This year, the stars couldn’t get much bigger and brighter. Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish alone command the attention of hundreds of thousands of adoring fans, so if the aim is to raise awareness, that should go a long way. Elsewhere, electronic icon Marshmello, the very current Lizzo, the Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello and Becky G will aim to carry the fight forward. It’ll be a great show, but of course it’s not about that. This is all about saving lives, and the cause couldn’t be worthier. —Brett Callwood


Suzanne Santo; Credit: Marina Chavez

Suzanne Santo (Marina Chavez)

Suzanne Santo


Suzanne Santo beguiled audiences as one half of the L.A. duo Honeyhoney, mixing indie pop with country and folk. She expands her range further on her captivating 2017 solo album, Ruby Red. Santo wends her way through “Ghost in My Bed,” in which her world-weary, Stevie Nicks–style vocals are threaded with the singer’s artful violin flourishes. The record ranges from the poignant acoustic-folk intimacy of “Handshake” and the funereal bluesy stomp “The Wrong Man” to the breezily engaging if rueful country rock of “Regrets” and the rootsy tornado twists of the simmering rocker “Love Fucked Up.” “I started out at the end of the road, realized I had a good ways to go/I had no supplies, no lover to hold,” Santo rails amid the surging chords of “Blood on Your Knees,” an anthem that parallels her journey as a solo musician. —Falling James

sun 10/20

Stereolab (Steve Double)



If ever there were a band that was greater than the sum of their parts, it’s Stereolab. From precise motorik beats to lush French harmonies to discomfiting noises straight from the depths of the Broken Flag label, it’s a whole new era for the band — one that’s been gently percolating, in a way, since Stereolab’s harmonious cornerstone Mary Hansen died in a cycling accident 17 years ago. Entering their 30th year as a going concern, the band — now a quintet with founders and lifers Tim Gane, Andy Ramsay and Lætitia Sadier, along with new hires Xavier Muñoz Guimera on bass and Joe Watson on keys — sees seven of their albums (the ones Americans caught when Stereolab was on Elektra) now reissued on the redoubtable Warp label. Also tonight: the dulcet scree and hi-frequency wallow of Wand. —David Cotner

45 Grave's Dinah Cancer performing in Long Beach in 2007; Credit: Morven/Wikimedia Commons

45 Grave (Morven/Wikimedia Commons)

45 Grave


Even among the early punk rock bands, 45 Grave stood out most scarily. Their songs had all the requisite punk ferocity, but a track like “Black Cross” also drifted into bizarre, previously uncharted musical territory. The song’s initial stop-and-start hardcore chords and lead wraith Dinah Cancer’s chilling wails were already intense, but soon the music plunged into a dark and twisting rabbit hole, with strange time signatures and psychedelic wallowing infused with mystical bell chimes. While the original lineup of 45 Grave —with brilliantly mad and inventive guitarist Paul Cutler, somberly foreboding bass/doom-bringer Rob Ritter and manic Germs drummer Don Bolles — were an uncanny combination of influences and an awesome force of anti-nature, Ms. Cancer has managed to conjure much of the same morbid dread and exhilarating punk fury with newer musicians. Plus, goth-punk collective Kommunity FK. —Falling James

mon 10/21

ASHRR (Jennica Abrams)



Things are happening fast for L.A.-based darkwave/post-rock band ASHRR. Having only formed at the beginning of 2018, the debut album, Oscillator, dropped in May and they’ve just released a new single, a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Cities of Dust.” Meanwhile, the buzz has been increasing at a rate that is getting impossible to ignore. This beautifully stylized, melodic and super-dark band is here to stay. They’re playing with local rock three-piece Teleskopes at the Moroccan, and that seems like a bill that will work perfectly well. Both seem to have influences in the Bowie, Eno and Byrne realm. Also on the bill are Mind Monogram and Landroid. —Brett Callwood

tue 10/22



Formed in 1980 out of the ashes of The Mental and The Stupid Humans, British anarcho-punks the Subhumans are one of those bands that casual punk observers will see plastered all over those homemade denim vests alongside Exploited and Discharge patches, but that not everyone can name a song by. Which is a shame, because the Subhumans have some belters. Frontman Dick Lucas has a particularly gnarly gutter punk edge about him, and his delivery on anti-capitalist rants such as “Mickey Mouse is Dead” and “Reason for Existence” is something to behold. Live, the band is still a force of nature — they still have an important message to convey, and they do it with serious ferocity. Neighborhood Brats, Smut and Fissure also play. —Brett Callwood

Caravan Palace


Led by the charismatic vocalist Zoé Colotis, Caravan Palace stir up a merry blend of jazzy swing and pop chansons that can set dance floors spinning. But in a distinct contrast to most retro swing combos, the Parisian group power their tunes with surges of electronica, taking safely vintage jazz into a brave new century of musical possibilities. “Every day is a miracle,” Colotis declares on the opening track of the band’s latest album, Chronologic. Hip-hop and dance-music arrangements pump up such tracks as “Plume” and “About You,” a duet with Charles X. Robust synthesizers and fizzy dance beats bump up against relatively downtempo, reggae-inflected interludes like “Leena.” The record is more modern sounding than Caravan Palace’s previous releases, although the positively charming “Fargo” evokes a more traditional jazz style. —Falling James

wed 10/23

Municipal Waste; Credit: Nicholas Pell

Municipal Waste (Nicholas Pell)

Municipal Waste, Napalm Death 


Richmond, Virginia band Municipal Waste, though they’ve been around since 2001, are a glorious throwback to the mid-’80s thrash/hardcore crossover days that saw the likes of Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death, Suicidal Tendencies, Nuclear Assault and more blurring the lines between punk and metal. These guys have that same skater-metal vibe, and on the song “Born to Party” they inform us that “Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up.” Fair enough. They’re playing with English grindcore pioneers Napalm Death, a band that don’t need to tell you that they’re gonna fuck you up — it’s just part of the deal. Napalm is less about partying and more about making the world a better place through the destruction of Nazis, sexism, etc. It all adds up to a night of wonderful carnage. —Brett Callwood

thu 10/24

GWAR; Credit: Photo by Shawn Stanley

GWAR (Shawn Stanley)



At this point, if you don’t know what you’re going to get from a GWAR show, you shouldn’t be anywhere near a GWAR show. But in case you’ve been living under a space rock, these metal goons will be decked out in full prosthetics as alien space fiends, and will bleed all over everyone within range. They lost their singer, Dave “Oderus Urungus” Brockie in 2014 but, as they say on their own website, “Death cannot kill GWAR. Nothing Can. GWAR lives motherfuckers!” Also on this bill are socially conscious thrashers Sacred Reich, and they alone are worth the ticket price. The Phoenix band’s most recent album, Awakening, is a banger. Also playing, Against the Grain and Toxic Holocaust. —Brett Callwood

Plague Vendor


As befits their name, Plague Vendor manufacture a sound that’s unpredictable and unsettling on their second album, By Night (Epitaph Records). “I’m causing commotion in an old-fashioned way/I vouch for the night and the liquors too,” singer Brandon Blaine offers enigmatically on “Night Sweats,” a relatively straightforward if dark indie-rock anthem. But things get stranger as the Whittier quartet churn up a compulsively seedy groove on “New Comedown.” Hard-rock bursts such as “Prism” contrast with more punk-based blasts like “White Wall.” Plague Vendor shift gears yet again on more glittery alt-rock digressions such as “In My Pocket” and “Let Me Get High/Low.” Opening sets from No Parents and Spirit Mother provide further jolts of rabid energy. —Falling James

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