From pioneering punk poet Patti Smith and Brit Electro-rockers Scant Regard to punk activists Pussy Riot and power metal hero Thor, here are 12 of the best shows in L.A. this week…

fri 3/6

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Patti Smith (Lina Lecaro)

Patti Smith & Her Band


“I was dreaming in my dreaming … I awakened to the cry/that the people have the power to redeem the work of fools,” Patti Smith declared in “People Have the Power,” which was co-written by her late husband, MC5 guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, and appeared on her 1988 album, Dream of Life. The uplifting exhortation is a fitting anthem for L.A. Philharmonic’s “Power to the People!” festival, which begins on Thursday, March 5, when co-curators Herbie Hancock and Gustavo Dudamel kick out the jams with L.A. Phil in musical tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. and Angela Davis. Smith’s rhapsodic words and prayer-like lyrics should take on extra resonance inside Disney Hall. The singer’s winter setlists have included covers of The Beatles (“Mother Nature’s Son”), Neil Young (“After the Gold Rush”) and Lou Reed (“Perfect Day”). —Falling James

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TSOL (John Gilhooley)



Featuring original members Ron Emory (guitar), Mike Roche (bass) and Jack Grisham (vocals), T.S.O.L. continue with their unique combination of savage intensity and fulsome power leavened with morbid humor, which stands out even more in an era when so much punk rock is now fangless. In a 2018 feature, Grisham told us that, “I would be a fucking excellent anarchist or storefront preacher. However, I don’t think any man should be in charge of any other man. The trouble is, you can’t really step away from ingrained values.” Grisham kinda gets his wish every night, preaching to his gathered and ever-loyal congregation. To celebrate their 40th anniversary, they play the Viper on Friday with CH3, Killjoy, and The Night Times, and again on Saturday with Decry, Downtown Brown, Dee Skusting & the Rodents, and The Wraith. —Brett Callwood

sat 3/7

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Scant Regard (Thomas Triton)

Scant Regard


Guitarist Will Crewdson has most recently been seen in these parts performing in Adam Ant’s band, while until last year he was also a member of British ska pioneers The Selecter. Back in the U.K., he’s arguably best known for co-founding Rachel Stamp — the glam-punk outfit that caused a stir in the last ’90s and early 2000s thanks to a couple of excellent, independently released albums that forced their way into the national rock press. Stamp have recently played some reunion shows across the Atlantic, but it’s with his surfy electro-rock solo project Scant Regard that Crewdson plays at the Redwood. Sleaze-punks Glitter Trash also bless this bill, as do Velvet Starlings. —Brett Callwood

St. Motel, Kolars


Kolars are an often enchanting local duo in which Rob Kolar sings and plays guitar while Lauren Brown manipulates a drum set while simultaneously tap dancing atop a large bass drum. The pair’s unusual presentation onstage wouldn’t matter if Kolar didn’t also write memorable songs, which can range from the glittery pop-rock stomp of “Turn It Up” and “One More Thrill” to more shadowy interludes like “Beyond the World of Man.” “Turn Out the Lights” pulses with a new-wave allure as Kolar urges, “I’m shameless in this expression … Let’s release all this tension.” Headliners St. Motel play the shiny, poppy tunes from their recent EP, The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Pt. 1. The L.A. group don’t really break any new ground, although “Diane Mozart” is relatively enigmatic compared to the EP’s more lightweight indie-rock tracks. —Falling James

sun 3/8

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Buddy Guy (Courtesy of the artist)

Buddy Guy


Many modern musicians treat the blues as some sterile relic taken from a museum exhibit or, even worse, water down its passion as a background soundtrack for frat-boy partying in a soulless sports bar. But there’s a new generation of artists — such as the powerful stylist Gary Clark Jr., the astonishing young blues-guitar phenom Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and the insightful local blues-punk iconoclast Sunny War — who pump up the ancient genre with newfound passion and non-clichéd expressions. But the blues doesn’t get any wilder or more satisfying than when it’s delivered by Buddy Guy. The Louisiana native and longtime Chicago-blues stalwart can rip it up in numerous ways on guitar, segueing from a coolly blue late-night groove into a ferocious and fiery hard-rock attack. As a guitarist, Guy is unrivaled, and his singing is just as soulfully evocative. Also at the Coach House, Thursday, March 12. —Falling James

mon 3/9

Eugene Chadbourne, Wendy Eisenberg


It really doesn’t matter what Eugene Chadbourne plays. He could be covering The Beatles or Thelonious Monk, or transmogrifying rockabilly as Shockabilly or crossing over genre boundaries in inventing/exploring radical new music. The Colorado native tends to turn things inside out, whether he’s deconstructing a simple folk tune or wandering to the edges of the galaxy with a wild-eyed psychedelic bent. It all gets processed through his unusual playing on guitar, banjo and even on an electric rake he devised. In some ways, Wendy Eisenberg might be even more daring on guitar. On her 2018 album, Its Shape Is Your Touch, she unravels knotty, tangled and curiously strange flurries on acoustic guitar, finding beauty in unexpected places lurking just inside seemingly offhand, casually plucked asides. —Falling James

tue 3/10

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Cult of Luna (Silvia Grav)

Cult of Luna


It’s always been a bit of a musical oddity that Sweden can be counted on for some of the most successful pop music the world has produced, and also some of the most brutally inventive metal. Think Candlemass, Amon Amarth, In Flames, Opeth, Ghost — the list goes on and on. Since ’98, Cult of Luna have been right at the top of that prestigious group. Taking a post-metal, atmospheric approach to extreme metal on the 2001 self-titled debut album right up to last year’s A Dawn to Fear (released through L.A.’s Metal Blade Records), they’ve long been one of the most interesting metal bands on the Scandinavian landscape. It’s fitting that they’re supported by contemporary gothic rock artist Emma Ruth Rundle, as well as locals Intronaut. —Brett Callwood

wed 3/11

Liz Pappademas


When Liz Pappademas made her debut in the local music scene in the early 2000s, she stood out from the horde of rock-star wannabes through the sheer force of her songwriting. Such early releases as 11 Songs and Television City, an elaborate concept album about love and disappointment on a fictional TV game show, revealed rampant wit and poetic insights mixed with memorable and affecting melodies. The L.A. vocalist mysteriously dropped out of sight for several years, but she makes a grand return from the shadows with her new album, Rock Record. Pappademas’ haunting singing infuses the aptly titled “Restless,” a dreamy-breezy confession that sets up the majestic “Practice Makes Perfect,” which is lit up with contrails of Neil Young–style electric guitar. Other songs range from the countrified elegy “Real Life Bender” and the solemnly moving piano ballad “They Ask About You” to the stately rock grandeur of “Find My Way to You.” —Falling James

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Blackwater Holylight (James Rexroad)

Blackwater Holylight 


This Portland quintet uses ingredients from the psychedelic-doom cookbook and applies small doses of quirky indie-rock sensibility to concoct a hypnotic music brew. The group proves to be masters of merging those influences into a bewitchingly palatable sound on their second record, 2019’s Veils of Winter. Bassist Allison “Sunny” Faris lays down rumbling thick bass sounds to keep everything louder than loud, while the duo of Laura Hopkins and Mikayla Mayhew provide melodic shoe-gaze guitar that would please those who have records from the glory days of Sub Pop alongside vintage Man’s Ruin releases in their collections. Faris and Hopkins add to the enrapturing aura with perfectly-coordinated harmonized vocals, while keyboardist Sarah McKenna adds an extra dose of psychedelics. —Jason Roche

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Soul Asylum (J. Anderson)

Soul Asylum 


There are still a lot of people out there who think Soul Asylum’s career began in 1992 with the mega-smash Grave Dancers Union album and the equally mega “Runaway Train” single. In fact, that was their sixth studio album. Their debut, Say What You Will, Clarence… Karl Sold the Truck, was released in 1984 and produced by Husker Du’s Bob Mould. So their success was anything but overnight, though it was fleeting. They never repeated the commercial success of Grave Dancers Union, though they’ve always been happy in the alternative underground anyway. The set at the Teragram will likely be a career-spanning one, ably supported by fellow ’90s stars Local H, as well as Will McFarlane. —Brett Callwood

thu 3/12

Pussy Riot 


So much has been written about Pussy Riot over the past few years, but so little about it has been about the music, and that makes sense. The state of the world dictates that some things are more important, and Pussy Riot’s message is vital. We need these Russian punks around. But it’s worth remembering for these purposes that Pussy Riot are a band, albeit one with a rotating lineup. And contrary to some opinions in the media, they’re actually a decent punk rock bands. Like all of the best bands of the genre, they’re abrasive, angry and forthright, and those important messages are front and center. More than a band? Yes. But still a cool band. —Brett Callwood

Betsy Bitch; Credit: Myke Smith

Betsy Bitch (Myke Smith)

Thor, Bitch 


What a gloriously ludicrous bill this is. Canadian bodybuilding champion Jon Miki Thor formed his group in 1973, a concept band that the press played along with and dubbed the “Warriors of Gladiator Rock.” Back then, in his youth and with a ripped bod, it was cute to see him in full Norse garb. In his later years, with a few extra pounds added, you’d think it might be a little tragic but no — a Thor show is still a fun night out, not least because the frontman gives it all his gonzo every night. Alongside him is local S&M-themed hard rockers Bitch — whips and all. One Way Only and Humanoid open what will clearly be an entertaining evening. —Brett Callwood

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