From Portland indie-pop band Summer Cannibals and mega DJ Carl Cox to glam rockers Kiss and Detroit ’90s faves Sponge, here are 12 of the best shows in L.A. this week…

fri 2/28

Summer Cannibals (Jason Quigley)

Summer Cannibals, Ramonda Hammer


“Tell me what to do, and you’ll see me disappear … I am not your bitch,” singer-guitarist Jessica Boudreaux warns on “Can’t Tell Me No,” the title track of Summer Cannibals’ fourth album, on the Tiny Engines label. Themes of defiance and romantic liberation course through the new record as Boudreaux puts distance between herself and a controlling ex. “I tried to behave/I tried so hard to fucking change, yeah … It just got harder every day,” she muses against shadowy chords that build to a grungy chorus. The Portland, Oregon, band deftly mix together punk and indie-pop styles behind Boudreaux’s determined, confessional lyrics. The bill is even more compelling with L.A.’s Ramonda Hammer, who take lead singer Devin Davis’ affecting melodic entreaties and pulverize them with remorselessly heavy Nirvana-style grunge power. —Falling James

The Little Miss (Jayden Becker)

The Little Miss


“Don’t date a singer-songwriter, or you’ll be humming your own mistakes,” Hayley Johnson ruefully advises as The Little Miss on the aptly titled “Fair Warning,” from her 2017 album, Pollyanna. The San Diego native, now based in Los Angeles, uses her comforting, assured vocals, sly lyrical observations and occasional whistling to craft intelligent new country-folk songs. “Thirty” is a bluesy acoustic plaint, while “A Week Into New Year’s Resolutions” is a more uptempo assessment of failed plans and dashed ambitions. “I want to be the American dream/I want to be apple pie and blue jeans,” Johnson declares forthrightly on “American Dream,” against stark acoustic-guitar strumming. The American landscape provides another backdrop for The Little Miss’ ongoing search for happiness on “Red, White & True.” —Falling James

sat 2/29

Carl Cox (Mars Photography)

Carl Cox

Grand Park

Carl Cox is, simply put, one of the biggest DJs of all time. The English selector remains at the vanguard of dance music and club culture decades into his career, thanks to a relentless work ethic and a keen sense of knowing how to navigate the often divergent waters of accessibility and credibility. Cox’s sets are consistently rooted in the timeless sounds of house and techno music (reference 1997’s F.A.C.T. 2 mix) — and there is really no better place to experience real house and techno than outdoors on a big sound system, which is an opportunity you will have on Saturday when Cox and friends — Nic Fanciulli and Kölsch — take over downtown’s Grand Park. —Matt Miner

sun 3/1

Eleni Mandell


On Eleni Mandell’s 11th album, Wake Up Again (Yep Roc Records), the L.A. singer was inspired by her experiences teaching songwriting classes to women inmates at prisons in Southern California, as part of MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer’s Jail Guitar Doors initiative and with the William James Association. The inmates’ stories of loss and guilt inform Mandell’s own songs, such as “Circumstance.” “I live in grey and blue/That’s the colors they choose/And when the voice says to stop/You have to drop to the ground until they say you can get back up,” she relates coolly as a Beatlesque guitar arpeggio slowly unwinds behind her. Mandell rocks it up a little on “Air” and the enigmatic “What’s Your Handle (Radio Waves),” in contrast to a dreamier interlude like “Empty Locket,” which floats on a gentle nest of harmonies. —Falling James

The Chieftains

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Fifty-seven years. Literally a lifetime. The Chieftains, who tonight say farewell to one life, have spent the sum total of those 57 years becoming the living avatars of traditional Irish music. The band — singer and bodhrán tipper Kevin Conneff, flautist and tin whistler Matt Molloy, and original member Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes and accordion — won six Grammys, traveled the world countless times and dueted with an astronaut in outer space. Maybe tonight is one of those “Alexander wept for there were no more worlds to conquer” moments. Probably not. They’re Irish. Salt of the earth, they are. That they’re retiring from The Business doesn’t mean they’re retiring as artists. Anyone who’s an artist can tell you that the creative urge is incessant and life-long. Think you can stick with something for 57 years? I triple-fucking-dog-dare you to. —David Cotner

mon 3/2

Binx (Oleg TI Photography)


The Mint

South African-born, L.A.-based arty pop artist Binx told us back in August that she makes pop music with African influences. “One of my songs, ‘African Heart,’ I sing in three traditional South African languages. My fashion style is super avant-garde. Anything that is over-the-top, statement and bold, just like my personality!” She can often be seen dressed in full-on bumblebee outfit — a yellow and black striped leotard — so some might think she’s a modern pop Stryper. In all honesty though, Binx is a pop artist that more people need to know about. Fresh, forward-thinking and utterly fascinating. Appropriately enough, she’s performing at The Mint on Hunnypot night, alongside Zana Messia and Oppenhiemer. —Brett Callwood

tue 3/3

Lydia Lunch (Jasmine Hirst)

Lydia Lunch Retrovirus


Retrovirus is the title of a 2013 live album by Lydia Lunch in which she revisits the scene of some of her bloodiest and noisiest crimes and/or greatest hits. It’s also the name of her ongoing group with such simpatico allies as guitarist Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbachers, Cellular Chaos), jazz-noise bassist Tim Dahl (Child Abuse, Pulverize the Sound) and drummer Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore). Lunch’s poetry is brutal, unsentimental, dark and scarifying, and her band construct fittingly aggressive soundscapes that summon nightmares as the only way of exorcising past demons and terrors. Retrovirus dig up such disturbed/disturbing Lunch classics as “Mechanical Flattery” and “Burning Skulls” and juxtapose them with apocalyptic covers, such as a very seedy remake of Pere Ubu’s “Final Solution.” —Falling James

Richard Marx 

The Grammy Museum

To the casual observer, Richard Marx is the soft rock/contemporary adult artist responsible for the smash hit “Right Hear Waiting” ballad from the 1989 album Repeat Offender, and perhaps for “Hazard” from 1991’s Rush Street. In fact, Marx has just released his 12th studio album, Limitless, and it’s filled with typically heartfelt, emotional rock nuggets. Marx is very often misunderstood, but he’s no Michael Bolton. His songs are beautifully crafted, and he’s worked with the likes of Cher, Ringo Starr and Luther Vandross. This intimate set at the Grammy Museum will see his engage in a Q&A, discussing his career from start to now, before a short performance. Similar recent events featuring Lana Del Rey and Sammy Hagar have been superb. —Brett Callwood

wed 3/4

Beach Bunny


Exuberant, poppy melodies burst everywhere from Beach Bunny’s new album, Honeymoon. Even as singer-guitarist Lili Trifilio mulls over bittersweet romantic feelings on “Promises,” guitarist Matt Henkels, drummer Jon Alvarado and bassist Anthony Vaccaro surround her with a driving punk-rock attack. Trifilio’s ambivalence about love on “Cuffing Season” is disguised by euphoric hooks and punk energy, in contrast to the spare and pretty “Racetrack” and the languid pop reverie “April.” “Rearview” is another intimate, vulnerable aside before it culminates in a fuzzy, grungy ending. The sunny power-pop chords of “Ms. California” belie Trifilio’s envious lyrics about a romantic rival. The Chicago band’s catchy hooks tie all these songs of love and confusion into one sweetly charming box of punk-pop candy. Also Friday, March 6. —Falling James

Kiss (KissBoy25/Wikicommons)



What’s left to be said about Kiss, besides the fact that this tour is being billed as their last, so you might not have another chance to see Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and their hired hands again. That said, Simmons has never passed up a chance to make a buck, so don’t be surprised if they “pull a Mötley Crüe” in a couple of years. The fact that they’re doing it without Ace Frehley and Peter Criss leaves a sour taste, but it does leave room for a mega reunion in a few years. We’re told, however, that the stage show on this tour is immense. David Lee Roth opens, another guy with “reunion” never far from his future plans. —Brett Callwood

Credit: Tracy Ketcher

Sponge (Tracy Ketcher)


The Whisky A Go Go

Detroit alt-rockers Sponge may have enjoyed their best days in the ’90s thanks to the Rotting Piñata album, but frontman Vinnie Dombroski has kept them breathing, releasing quality material, since then. They’ve seen a resurgence of late thanks to a heap of praise from Howard Stern, and Dombroski told us last May that they’ve been working on new material. They still love coming to L.A. too. “The folks at the Whisky treat us so good.,” Dombroski said. “They take great care of us and the production rocks. Every time we walk into the building I still think about Morrison standing on that stage or Van Halen, Mötley Crüe. That never gets old.” Venrez and Fatal Dissent also play. —Brett Callwood

thu 3/5

Echosmith (Ariana Velazquez)


The Fonda Theatre

Indie-pop trio Echosmith, consisting of siblings Sydney, Noah and Graham Sierota (though not eldest brother Jamie after he departed the then-quartet in 2016), made headlines when they signed to Warner Bros. in 2012 and released the Talking Dreams album the following year, with the accompanying “Cool Kids” single. There was a long break after that, perhaps partly because of Jamie leaving the group. But the start of this year saw them finally release their sophomore album, Lonely Generation. The recent single, “Follow You,” and the video that goes with it, showcase a mature, dreamy Echosmith that stands a real chance of repeating past successes. Weathers and Jaydan Bartels also play. —Brett Callwood

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