From reformed emo punks My Chemical Romance and veteran art punks The Tubes to pop princess Ariana Grande and hair metal jam band Hookers & Blow, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 12/20

Credit: Timothy Norris

My Chemical Romance (Timothy Norris)

My Chemical Romance 


The news that My Chemical Romance were reuniting was met with fever pitch excitement from the ’00s emo-punk fans that are most likely all grown up and out there in the real world now. So it’s no surprise that this solitary L.A. date sold out fast. Still, it’s an important event for many so it’s worth talking about (and you can probably find a ticket on the secondary market for the price of a small island). Frontman Gerard Way released a solo album in 2014, but of late he’s been far more busy working on his comic books, notably the excellent The Umbrella Academy series that was turned into an equally excellent Netflix series. But rest assured, by the time the band hits the stage at the Shrine, they’ll all be ready. —Brett Callwood

Eric Bellinger 


Is Eric Bellinger the King of R&B? He thinks so. The Compton native has been in the music industry for quite some time, penning hits for artists like Chris Brown, Usher, Justin Beiber and many more. In 2014, he even took home a Grammy win for his work on Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. Fast forward to 2019, he’s focused more than ever on his own artistry, proving he has the voice,  the look, the talents and the personality to hail as one of the greatest to ever do it. With each release, Eric lays his heart on his sleeve. His lyrics are filled with love and romance, two things we appreciate most in his craft. Now, he takes the stage at The Fonda to perform the classics, along with cuts from his most recent album, Saved by the Bellinger. —Shirley Ju

(Courtesy of The Tubes)

The Tubes 


Art rock? Punk? New Wave? Glam-punk? Call The Tubes what you will, but since the release of the 1975 self-titled debut album, they’ve put outta string of excellent records that have straddled genre lines and belittled expectations. That debut included the iconic “White Punks on Dope,” though “Don’t Touch Me There” from the sophomore Young and Rich the following year rivals it when it comes to their best song. That said, their most recent release was Mondo Birthmark in 2009, and that was an album of demos and rarities. The last studio album was 1996’s Genius of America, so we’re about due. No doubt we’ll get all the hits at the Whisky. Jimmy Richardson also plays. —Brett Callwood

sat 12/21 

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert (Hannah Verbeure)

Adam Lambert


Adam Lambert has been touring the world and making a whole bunch of new friends as the de facto singer with Queen. Following the success of the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic, the world was clamoring for Queen in whichever form they could get, and Lambert did a sublime job of filling the giant gap left by the legendary Freddie Mercury. But Lambert is also a successful solo artist who has sold over three million albums and five million singles in the past decade. He has a new album, Velvet: Side B, on the way, no doubt another collection of flamboyant glam-pop gems which will please the thousands of glamberts out there. Lambert is perfect for Queen, but he can more than cut it on his own too. —Brett Callwood

The Joy Formidable 


Welsh alternative rock band The Joy Formidable wowed the masses recently at The Cure’s enormous Pasadena Daydream festival, and now they’re back to offer up a full set of their own. The band formed in 2007 out of the ashes of Tricky Nixon, a band which later evolved into Sidecar Kisses. The Joy Formidable now has four studio albums under their collective belts, the most recent of which is 2018’s AAARTH, named after an exaggerated version of the Welsh word for “bear.” Judging by what we heard at Pasadena Daydream, that material sits comfortably alongside stuff from the The Big Roar debut, plus Wolf’s Law and Hitch. Twen also play. —Brett Callwood

Natalie Gelman (Matt Lingo)

Natalie Gelman 


Folk-pop singer/songwriter Natalie Gelmen says that she has a California heart and an NYC soul, and both coasts come across in her sharp, poignant tunes. Back in August she told us that, “I put a ton of heart into my songs and lyrics and my performances so that’s a big aspect of my music as well… there’s a lot of grit and soul. A lot of people tell me that my music is authentic and honest. I have been through the wringer a bit in my childhood and with my family and I put it all back into the songs. Some of my biggest influences are Jewel, Patty Griffin and Sheryl Crow and that gives you a good idea of what my vibe is.” Sounds perfect. —Brett Callwood

sun 12/22

Ariana Grande 


While you might not want to take Ariana Grande with you on your next visit to a donut shop, there is no denying that the 25-year-old singer possesses a big, powerful voice that belies her tiny physical stature. Unlike her early inspiration Mariah Carey, who also has an awe-inspiring vocal technique but rarely seems to know how to rein it in, Grande is adept at using her talents more persuasively. On Grande’s latest album, Thank U, Next, the singer revels in lust, longing and desire with such seductive idylls as “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored” and “Needy.” In recent years, the former child television star has developed into a more nuanced artist exploring feminist themes, although her inviting 2018 single “God Is a Woman” is a relatively faint echo of The Ringling Sisters’ 1994 riot-grrrl anthem “God Is a Girl.” (This pick originally ran May 2, 2019.) —Falling James

Machine Girl 


This one’s going to be lively. Brooklyn’s Matt Stephensen, aka Machine Girl, has remixed and produced all manner of artists, but he’s more than capable of putting on a wild and frenetic show. The music will be fast and unrelenting, pulling from 2014’s highly rated WLFGRL album, the following year’s Gemini and last year’s The Ugly Art. Expect a wild night, especially considering the fact that Model/Actriz, Dreamcrusher and Hong Kong Fuck You also play, the latter a Mexican noise band that are worth getting in early for. It’s a fair bet that there will be no acoustic sets. —Brett Callwood

mon 12/23

CeCe Winans 


“Best-selling.” “Most-awarded.” That’s a real weird headspace to be in when you want to turn yourself on to some gospel music — but CeCe Winans is ultimately just a lady singing to God, who probably doesn’t really need the praise, but just likes hearing her sing. Hers is a voice that is rich but simple. Direct but not brutal. You can be brutal when you’re singing about The Lord, believe me. Yet Winans is anything but graceless — as seen recently on the CMA Christmas Show, where she sang a bunch of Christmas songs, which you’ll probably hear tonight. And why not? You go tonight and it’ll be like when that Crusader tells Indiana Jones after he drinks from the little cup that turns out to be the Holy Grail: “You have chosen wisely.” —David Cotner

tue 12/24

Randy Emata


There isn’t a lot to choose from on Christmas Eve, but Randy Emata will be crooning at the Federal Bar if you feel the need to get out of the house and avoid the last minute gift wrapping. You’re welcome. —Brett Callwood

wed 12/25

Sarah Lightman 


Similarly, soulful pop singer Sarah Lightman will be performing on the Universal City Walk on Christmas Day, if you want some live music between the feasting. —Brett Callwood

thu 12/26

Hookers & Blow 

Whisky A Go Go

Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed doesn’t like to take a break, apparently. He’d rather play a few shows with his jam/cover band Hookers & Blow, alongside Quiet Riot’s Alex Grossi, Type O Negative’s Johnny Kelly and WASP’s Mike Duda, among whoever else happens to be available. As the name suggests, this isn’t an intricate prog-rock side project, but rather an excuse to musically kick back and indulge in some big dumb fun. Expect a whole set of rock & roll covers (Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” was released as a single), and songs associated with the musicians’ main bands. Sure, Reed isn’t many peoples’ fave Gn’R member, but this is still a cool opportunity to see one of them in an intimate setting. (This pick originally ran December 20, 2018.) —Brett Callwood

Editor’s Note: We originally misstated the title of Adam Lambert’s upcoming album.  It has been corrected.

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