From classical pianist Yuja Wang and former New Order/Joy Division man Peter Hook to Colorado folkie Judy Collins and queen of pop Madonna, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 11/8

Yuja Wang (Norbert Kniat)

Yuja Wang 


In many ways, Yuja Wang is the Jimi Hendrix of classical pianists. It’s not just that the Chinese pianist is fast — she is among the most dazzling speed demons on the planet — it’s that she also plays with a nuanced touch that’s unrivaled by other pianists. Like Hendrix, Wang is unafraid of upending tradition, in her case by pushing tempos and arrangements far beyond the limits of space and time obeyed by more staid recitalists. With L.A. Phil, she reprises composer John Adams’ Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes? (which she and the orchestra premiered back in March), a propulsive, arty, curiously compelling and at times even bluesy concerto that she imbues with alternating moments of strangeness and beauty. The avant-garde work is a febrile contrast to the more traditional pieces by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff she’s ravaged in the past, and conductor Gustavo Dudamel bookends it with Ginastera’s Variaciones concertantes and Stravinsky’s ever-startling The Rite of Spring. —Falling James

sat 11/9

Peter Hook (Jody Hartley)

Peter Hook & the Light 


New Order are still touring without Peter Hook, and while that Manchester post-punk/electropop group still deliver live (as they did at the Music Tastes Good festival in Long Beach a couple of years ago), something about it just feels wrong. But no matter, Hook has something special in store for this show with the Light at the Wiltern — he’s performing New Order’s 1989 album Technique and 1993’s Republic in their entirety. And holy shit, that’s not all — there will be an opening set of Joy Division tunes. I mean, c’mon — that’s almost too much stellar music for one gig. Essentially, he’s opening up for himself then, but who better for the job? —Brett Callwood



Garage-punk crew Radkey, they say, do whatever the fuck they want. They also say that they grew up in a “shitty little pink house in St. Joseph, Missouri” and were homeschooled. The three brothers just spent their days listening to their dad’s records and dreaming of rocking out on stage. Now, they rock out on stage night after night with their rich combination of punk, funk, soul and hard rock. They’ve wowed Cheap Trick fans while touring with the power-pop titans, and they’ll wow you too. For this Alex’s Bar show, they’re ably supported by The Line, Tijuana Knife Fight and Rats in the Louvre. That’s a stunning night of eclectic punk in Long Beach. —Brett Callwood

The Sweet 


Yeah, there are barely any original members left in the Sweet. In fact, this is one of those cases where there are two versions in existence. Bassist Steve Priest’s Sweet tours the U.S. and Canada, while guitarist Andy Scott’s Sweet plays Europe. So we get the former and, while purists may scoff at the credentials, Priest has assembled a band that does the classics justice. Essentially, this is an evening at the Whisky where you get to hear tunes such as “Ballroom Blitz,” “Little Willy,” “Fox on the Run” and “Blockbuster,” one after the other. It’s British glitter — just have a good time and don’t take it all too seriously. The Swansons and Henry Gayle also play. —Brett Callwood

sun 11/10

Evidence (Stephen Vanasco)

Brother Ali & Evidence 


“I am not beautiful, I am an elegant beast … I will pillage your heart with language so lavishly violent,” Brother Ali both warns and promises on “Pen to Paper,” from his 2017 opus, All the Beauty in This Whole Life. The album was a major statement of purpose, as the albino Minneapolis rapper plunged into both the personal and the political as he surveyed the state of the world while also bringing it home with rueful contemplations of suicides in his family. Ali’s upcoming release, Secrets & Escapes, will likely take on a completely different and more spontaneous vibe as the rapper digs into his various collaborations with Dilated Peoples’ Evidence. “Anytime they made something that reminded them of what they’ve become known for, they threw it away and started something new,” according to Ali’s Facebook page. —Falling James

Judy Collins (Brad Trent)

Judy Collins 


One of the great American songbirds, Colorado folkie Judy Collins is up there with Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez in the premier league of female singer/songwriters. Her 1961 debut album A Maid of Constant Sorrow is a delicate and heart-wrenching piece of work, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that all of the songs on are traditional folk numbers. She’s collaborated with former lover Stephen Stills as recently as 2017 with the Everybody Knows album, and this year’s Winter Stories, which is about the season of winter rather than explicitly Christmas, is beautiful. Unlike some of her peers, Collins has always managed to appeal to new audiences while retaining an air of authenticity. She’s a treasure. —Brett Callwood

mon 11/11

Liz Phair 


“There’s so many ways to fuck up a life/I try to be original,” Liz Phair declares on her breezy new single, “Good Side,” from an upcoming album, a welcome sign of life since her most recent full-length release, Funstyle, came out in 2010. The singer-guitarist also has a new book, Horror Stories: A Memoir (Random House), a series of finely detailed and evocative autobiographical glimpses of her life, which she’ll discuss during the first portion each night of her weekly residency at Largo this month, followed by a set of music. “Come walk down some dark and mysterious paths with me,” Phair writes in the book’s prologue. “Once your eyes adjust, you’ll see that monsters are only mirrors.  There is music in the creaking trees. Deep beneath our workaday world, we are all dreaming.” Also Monday, November 18 and 25. —Falling James

tue 11/12

Alessia Cara 


Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara broke out onto the music scene with her 2015 single “Here,” which took the world by storm. Going on to sell over three million copies, she followed it up with her five-track EP titled Pink Walls then her debut effort KNOW-IT-ALL. Currently signed to Def Jam Recordings, real name Alessia Caracciolo boasts 3.5 million followers on Instagram alone. In 2017, she was deemed the most streamed female artist. Regardless, it’s her talents and ability to create relatable, pop-friendly anthems for audiences to sing along to. —Shirley Ju

wed 11/13

Cat Power 


Growth is an intensely tricky proposition — for any individual adult human being, let alone an individual adult human being that’s an artist. So it is with yet another turn of the kaleidoscope that we view Cat Power in performance this evening. It’s an experience that promises, at the very least, songs from Wanderer, her latest release on Domino Records — and, at most, a short sharp shard of artistic expression that qualifies as a kind of release in itself. Much like a tree grows rings through a long process of being and becoming — changes that come with womanhood and motherhood — so too does Chan Marshall reveal her core; her heart. The heart is like a seed from which good things grow — not the least of which are the rawness and the truth you’ll bear witness to ere this night is out.—David Cotner


Madonna (Mathew Tucciarone)



Madonna begins the first of 10 nights at the relatively intimate Wiltern instead of the sports arenas she usually plays. In a bold move, she’s primarily performing songs from her recent album, Madame X, a disparate collection of moods and styles ranging from electronica, house and hip-hop to Latin pop and traditional fado melancholia sung in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish). While not always cohesive, the eclectic settings — many of which were inspired by her sojourn in Lisbon — give Madonna intriguing spaces to contrast romantic passion with larger social issues such as gun control. “Everybody knows the damn truth/Our nation lied, we lost respect,” she sings on “God Control,” one of the record’s most ambitious tracks, which segues from funereal choral reverence into deceptively fizzy dance-pop and spacey rap. Through November 25. —Falling James

thu 11/14

Dead Soft, Ramonda Hammer 


Tranquil, pretty moments never last long on Ramonda Hammer’s latest album, I Never Wanted Company. “All death/It’s got me thinking that I’m next,” Devin Davis confides on the opening song, “You’re Invited,” a morbid romantic anthem that begins with delicate tendrils of melodies that are soon buried under a wave of heavy grunge chords. With such titles as “Who’s the Narcissist?” and “Hoax,” Davis deals with disillusionment by juxtaposing muted, restrained intros with loud, dramatic and liberating surges of Nirvana-style choruses. She gains even more power with the sympathetic crush of surging volume laid down by lead guitarist Justin Geter, bassist Andy Hengl and drummer Mark Edwards. Ramonda Hammer are billed with Dead Soft, a trio from Vancouver, British Columbia, whose new record, Big Blue, alternates between glowing, spectral idylls like “The Static” and fuzzy bursts of grungy, droning punk, such as “Tulips.” —Falling James

The Meteors (GothEric)

The Meteors 


Many credit English band The Meteors as being the first true psychobilly band — they were shunned by rockabilly crowds early on for their wildly colored hair and punk ’tude, but few could have predicted that P. Paul French’s band would all but invent a whole new sub genre that would later incorporate the likes of Nekromantix and the Koffin Kats. Now, there’s no shortage of festivals and events that they can perform at which just goes to show — if you don’t like the way things are, do something new. In the live environment, they are phenomenal though it’s about time we got some new studio material after 2016’s The Power of 3. The Bastards open for them at this Sunset Strip gig. —Brett Callwood

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