fbpx

From theatrical metal band Sapphic Musk and Denver indie rockers Dressy Bessy to jazz vets the Sun Ra Arkestra and folk-punks The Mekons, here are 12 of the best music shows in Los Angeles this week.

fri 7/19

Sapphic Musk

THE VIPER ROOM

People tend to generally take themselves pretty seriously when it comes to their heavy metal — but Sapphic Musk is that special band that overcomes the burden of the heavy and the coldness of the metal to give you something to bang your head to, not against. Blessed with insistently entertaining theatricality and an inflatable purple dragon named Wanda, the band — guitarist Mia Ferraro, drummer Freddie McCullough, bassist Christina Ownby, singer Sarah T. Russell — may be best-known for their breakthrough 2015 hit “Kittenz,” a very metal banger about cats that led to surging global demand, both from humans and kittens. Sarah Russell remains one of the most vibrant performers storming stages today; with her sterling onstage banter and the sheer vocal power blasting out of her 5’2” frame, her charms as an artist are such that you’ll wish she actually had invented metal — the item, as well as the art form. —David Cotner

Dressy Bessy raise the roof.; Credit: Tammy Ealom

Dressy Bessy (Tammy Ealom)

Dressy Bessy, Potty Mouth, Colleen Green

MOROCCAN LOUNGE

There aren’t many indie-rock groups as smart, sassy, playful and colorful as Dressy Bessy. The Denver band’s latest album, Fast Faster Disaster, is cram-packed with catchy anthems that are powered with punk-rock drive and adorned with clever art-pop twists. Exuberant pop-punk tracks (“Fearless,” “Sweet Medicine”) alternate with stranger interludes, such as the funky exhortation “Freedoms” and the breezy pop dream “Mon Chéri,” before culminating with a perfectly zippy and exhilaratingly fuzzy remake of Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get?” The bill is further stacked with a set from punks Potty Mouth, whose recent recording, SNAFU, marries yearning, Muffs-style melodies with grunge-punk intensity. Opener Colleen Green similarly blends winsome girl-group pop with head-banging hooks on such Descendents-referencing releases as Milo Goes to Compton and I Want to Grow Up. —Falling James

sat 7/20

(Jason DeMayo)

Hank Fontaine

TROUBADOUR

Close to a year after The Fontaines played their final show, half of the brother/sister duo, Hank Fontaine, is back with a show at the Troubadour and a handful of new singles ahead of a solo album. He’s psyched for this show too, telling us in a recent interview that, “I want it to feel like a simulator ride, and I’m going all out for the visuals with that. When I was a kid I wanted to be an Imagineer actually — I remember that I figured out the email address of a guy who did that for a living, and I emailed him, but I never heard back, so now I’m doing music, I guess.” It feels like it’s been too long since The Fontaines left us, so it’s great to have Hank back. Cheridomingo, Joseph Luca and Serena Foster also play. —Brett Callwood

Rosegarden Funeral Party

BOARDNER’S

“Well, people, run from your holy temple/I used to be one of you,” Leah Lane beseeches with urgent, searing vocals on the incendiary punk anthem “Blitzkrieg in Holland,” from Rosegarden Funeral Party’s 2018 EP, The Chopping Block. “I was indoctrinated … I watched the blindfold come down.” With a name like Rosegarden Funeral Party, it’s no surprise that the Dallas quartet manufacture a dark combination of goth and post-punk on such shadowy passages as “Follow” and “Horror Music.” Mikka Vanya Brightheart layers atmospheric waves of keyboards and samples over Lane’s churning guitar on dreamier tunes such as “Eden” and the jangling, Smiths-like “Ill and Getting Worse.” Whether she’s igniting a firestorm with punk anger or subsiding for more contemplative reveries, Lane sings with a ferocious and inspiring charisma. Plus, Spirit in the Room and Violator. —Falling James

sun 7/21

Happy Together Tour

PACIFIC AMPHITHEATER

Peace and love will reign in Costa Mesa, at least for one day, as a bunch of old hippies convene. All silliness aside though, this is a great bill for lovers of ’60s music, headlined, as the name of the tour suggests, by The Turtles. “Happy Together” is one of those great ’60s tunes which builds and builds to a crashing sing-along chorus. It’s in the Great American Songbook for a reason. Also on the bill is Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, who will perform crowd pleasers such as “Mama Told Me Not to Come” and “An Old Fashioned Love Song.” The other big name is Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, while the rest of the bill is made up of The Classics IV, The Buckinghams and The Cowsills. Really, there are no excuses not to be happy together. —Brett Callwood

mon 7/22

Sun Ra Arkestra

ZEBULON

Space is the place, so get on board! Tonight, the Sun Ra Arkestra—under the direction of noted saxophonist Marshall Allen—will perform the otherworldly music of the late avant-garde jazz composer, bandleader and legend, Sun Ra. Allen played and recorded with Ra regularly from the 1950s until Ra’s death in 1993, and he has led the Arkestra since that time. For the uninitiated, the best primer to the Arkestra is perhaps 1980’s Sunrise in Different Dimensions, one of the best live recordings of Ra’s late-period band (the late ’50s albums Sound of Joy and Jazz in Silhouette are also essential listening). Tonight’s concert will be the first of two performances at Zebulon. —Matt Miner

Mekons

LODGE ROOM

Although members of Mekons — particularly singer-guitarist Jon Langford — occasionally come through town with various projects, it’s rare that the entire English collective assemble locally for a proper show. Recorded in Yucca Valley, Deserted, the group’s new album on Bloodshot Records, is a typically eclectic compendium of restrained alt-rock musings, laid-back balladry, violin-streaked country waltzes and Mojave-stranded sea chanteys. There are few hints of Mekons’ early punk roots, and references to Tony Blair and George Bush on the somnolent soundscape “In the Desert” feel more curiously quaint than timely or radical, but sun-baked oddities “Mirage” and “Weimar Vending Machine” have their demented moments. The group are at their most endearing on “After the Rain,” a seemingly straightforward country-pop idyll that expands into new-music experimentation via Susie Honeyman’s languorously unfolding tendrils of violin. —Falling James

tue 7/23

Rodrigo y Gabriela

THE GREEK THEATRE

Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero can do more with two acoustic guitars than many bands can manage with full instrumentation and a fortress of amplifiers. The Mexican guitarists’ approach is anything but old fashioned as their music draws just as much from heavy metal as it does from traditional flamenco influences. While their new album, Mettavolution, might not initially seem as radical as Rodrigo y Gabriela’s early recordings such as 2002’s Re-Foc, 2014’s 9 Dead Alive and 2012’s Cuban-themed Area 52, it includes deft rhythmic interplay between the two guitarists as well as more overtly dazzling soloing by Sánchez. Tangled, fast-moving workouts like “Terracentric” and “Krotona Days” eventually culminate in a stylized, nearly 19-minute remake of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes.” —Falling James

(Julien Kelly Gross)

Chai

TROUBADOUR

On their Facebook profile, Japanese alt-punks Chai profess their love for the color pink, gyoza dumplings and lyrics that seek to empower while also redefining the word “kawaii,” which translates as “cute.” That all makes sense (kinda — the dumpling thing is a bit random). But these songs have the vibe of cheerleader-esque chants in that “Hey Mickey” sort of way. Multi-vocals, super-catchy and simply tunes and high energy. It all makes for a fascinating band and, by all accounts, their live set is well worth catching. Also on the bill is Kingsbury, aka Caroline Kingsbury, a singer/songwriter from Florida who grew up in a conservative religious home but found escape through music. —Brett Callwood

wed 7/24

Salem’s Lott

WHISKY A GO GO

There aren’t many new bands coming out of Hollywood like shock rockers Salem’s Lott right now. With a look that’s reminiscent of the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd with a bit of Cradle of Filth-esque black metal corpse paint thrown in for a chuckle (probably explaining that Stephen King-inspired name), Salem’s Lott are a welcome throwback. The sound, while clearly influenced by early Motley Crue, also has an anthemic Euro metal quality — think Iced Earth and Gamma Ray. It all makes for a heady brew of trashy glam metal glory. Alongside the new stars of Hollywood sleaze are the new kings of New York City rock & roll, Wildstreet. Two coasts, and a ton of makeup. Wikkid Starr, Black Market Theory and The Geckoz also play. —Brett Callwood

The Beths

BOOTLEG THEATER

“My eyelids float between two states on the borderline,” Elizabeth Stokes confides on “Great No One,” from The Beths’ new album, Future Me Hates Me. “Misery loves me, but I don’t love her … If there is a record for most hours wasted, least worthy reason to cry on a Thursday evening, I’m in the lead.” Despite such sad lyrics, the New Zealand group deliver Stokes’ tunes with plenty of indie-rock energy. The serenely carefree vocals of “Uptown Girl” are pushed along madly by a flat-out punk-rock aggression, before relenting a little for the more pure pop–minded “You Wouldn’t Like Me.” The Beths’ emotional dichotomies can be summed up by “Happy Unhappy,” whose seemingly joyous music belies Stokes’ lamentations: “’Cause you’re in my brain, taking up space I need for delivering lies and suppressing the sighs.” —Falling James

thu 7/25

Static X

THE OBSERVATORY

What the holy hell is going on here? Industrial-tinged nu-metal band Static-X’s frontman Wayne Static died in 2014 and everybody pretty much assumed that was that for the band. But the surviving members have resurfaced with a mystery singer who is performing in a zombified Wayne Static mask, crazy hair and all. Some people think it’s a fitting tribute, others are saying that it’s twisted and exploitative. Maybe it’s a bit of both, but the band members are some of the people who knew Wayne best, so it’s their call. Should be a fun, weird night anyway. It’s a good bill too, with Dez Fafara’s DevilDriver and fellow industrial-metal band Dope also playing. —Brett Callwood

LA Weekly