When Kendrick Lamar played the Music Box in August, the buzzy young Compton rapper surrounded himself with high-wattage pals Snoop Dogg and Game. “Special guests” are promised tonight, too, plus support from DJ Green Lantern and a whole mess of underground L.A. rap types, including Azad Right, TiRon & Ayomari and ScHoolboy Q. But even if the surprise cameos don't rise to the A-list level of August's show, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your $25 goes to a good cause: This KDAY-sponsored gig is a benefit for Project Rishi (whose mission is “to develop and transform rural Indian villages into progressive and modern communities”) and Downtown Women's Center. —Mikael Wood
REDWOOD BAR & GRILL
It's so hard these days to find a good rock band that isn't embarrassingly stupid. Barrio Tiger come closer than most, with anthemic choruses and a driving sound that alternates between a tuneful Ramones drone and AC/DC's stop-and-start thunder. Lead guitarist Jimmy James (the Hangmen, the Comatones), a veteran scenester who also books shows at the Down & Out, powers Calixto Hernandez's lamentations with succinctly fiery solos without devolving into wankery. At times, Hernandez rises above his well-worn imagery about guns and bullets and shows hints of a more complicated Paul Westerberg perspective. Then again, in the hard rocker “Fading,” he tells his poor girlfriend, “I'm just here to make you feel all right,” before shouting “Your good looks are fading” about 20 times. —Falling James
Interface L.A., Lucky Dragons, Mike Gao
Interface L.A. presents a multimedia event showcasing the artistic exploration of human-computer interactions through a series of live performances and demonstrations. The night begins with performances from Interface L.A.'s core collective: ro, Altitude Sickness and Merbert Moover, with visuals by Oicho and interactive installations from members of CrashSpace. Special guests Lucky Dragons will demonstrate the tactile interface they developed — YouTube their “make a baby” video to see a synthesizer played by two or more people touching one another on the skin — with an interactive performance, and Mike Gao will show off his latest iPad invention and beats. The monome experts behind Interface L.A. say to expect a secret guest appearance from one of California's top controllerists. —Lainna Fader
KYUSS at the Wiltern; NEON HYMNS at Room 5; BLIND PILOT, POINT JUNCTURE at El Rey Theatre; SKETCHY BLACK DOG at Blue Whale; BEARRACUDA at the Echoplex; COLD WAR KIDS at Troubadour; KIMYA DAWSON at the Echo; CENTRO-MATIC at Satellite.
Since reuniting in 2004, The Pixies have sold out shows on the strength of their seminal 1980s albums and impeccable live performances, with no new material in the repertoire. It's hard to think of another band that could milk an album's 20th anniversary for two years with globe-spanning shows and still hold audiences' rapt attention. This album is 1989's Doolittle, one of the most groundbreaking indie-rock records ever. The quartet has been playing the disk in its entirety, with B-sides, to the delight of old and new fans. While “Here Comes Your Man” remains one of their biggest hits, nothing illustrates The Pixies' tremendous influence on everyone from Nirvana to The White Stripes as much as “Debaser.” Time to slice up some eyeballs. —Laura Ferreiro
The Civil Wars
Nashville duo Joy Williams and John Paul White could be describing their own music when they sing, “There's no second-hand alibis/Just some black ink on some blue lines/And a shadow you won't recognize.” So much of modern Americana and folk is undercut by a lack of authenticity and the distressing and patronizing attitude that seems to equate performing traditional music with playing dumb. The Civil Wars aren't dumb, and they set their meditative lyrics to gently melodic music that's lulling without being soporific. There is a certain haunting quality in the way they pour their voices together reverentially on Barton Hollow, the debut full-length album that already has become an unexpected critical and popular success. —Falling James
It's been said that Gaby Moreno learned English from obsessively devouring classic blues records as a child. Guatemalan by birth, Moreno took up retro American music and never let go. But unlike vintage-music sweethearts Zooey Deschanel or Norah Jones, Moreno brings an edge to the modern-day blues — from her assertive flourishes of Latin musical influence to the occasional all-out, Ma Rainey–style growl. Returning to Los Angeles after a long tour promoting her independently released second album, Illustrated Songs, Moreno will be in her comfort zone at the Bootleg, where she's become something of a mainstay. Go for her one-of-a-kind blend of English, Spanish, sweet, rough, stringy and soulful L.A. blues. —Erica E. Phillips
PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS at El Rey Theatre; HUNX & HIS PUNX at Alex's Bar; PAT TODD, SIMON STOKES at Redwood Bar & Grill; L.A. PHIL PERFORMS HANDEL's WATER MUSIC at Walt Disney Concert Hall; VICENTE FERNANDEZ, NYDIA ROJAS at Gibson Amphitheatre; OZ NOY at the Baked Potato.
The Devil Wears Prada
For proudly Christian kids, The Devil Wears Prada sure make an ungodly racket. Their positive metalcore is polished with keys and vocal treatments, but the battering beats and pseudo-symphonic guitars come on plenty hefty while Jeremy DePoyster's airily optimistic timbre gets almost mocked by Mike Hranica's regurgitation retorts. TDWP juxtapose all this with song titles like “Assistant to the Regional Manager” to express and explore the mundane horrors of capitalist existence. Angry as fuck and anti-materialistic (yet ultimately well-meaning), The Devil Wears Prada could be the soundtrack to today's Occupy movement. —Paul Rogers
SOFT METALS, ANIMAL BODIES, FEATHERS at the Echo; SECTION QUARTET at Largo; SKIP SPIRO LITTLE BIG BAND at the Baked Potato; SKETCHY BLACK DOG at Vibrato.
Bob Mould tribute with Dave Grohl, No Age, Best Coast, Ryan Adams
Walt DISNEY Concert HALL
Ex–Hüsker Dü howler-guitarist Bob Mould's indie-punk children will forever hold him dear, and the appeal is obvious. He's a real likable dude, with a down-to-earth, Middle American brand of charisma. The Dü canon and Bob have earned r-e-s-p-e-c-t, as this tribute by an eclectic crew of Dü devotees will be at great pains to make clear. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Ryan Adams, No Age, Best Coast, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler (The Hold Steady), comedian Margaret Cho and singer-songwriter Grant Lee Phillips perform selections from the Mould book of songs. There shall be pumping of fists, and it shall be good. —John Payne
Fans mostly familiar with The Cure's post–Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me layered goth-pop might find the stark simplicity of the band's first albums jarring: the numb new wave of Three Imaginary Boys; the lonesome, synthy contemplations of Seventeen Seconds; Faith's monochrome, borderline funereal wallowing. This trio will be performed in their entireties at the Pantages, each by a different lineup of the band (though, sadly, not those that actually recorded the albums), plus “encores of the period.” These discs are both hints of things to come and stand-alone documents of how utterly honest Cure main man Robert Smith was with his writing, however fucking depressing the results. Every time could be the last time with The Cure these days; make the most of it. Also Tues.-Wed. —Paul Rogers
K. Flay, Chain Gang of 1974
In recent months, 22-year-old Kreayshawn and her fluttering eyelashes have stood out as the symbol of modern-day white-girl rap. But now there's a new Bay Area lady spitter stirring up the convo. K. Flay, the stage name of Kristine Flaherty, is a native Chicagoan with a degree from, yes, Stanford University. Thanks to her official Santigold-featuring remix of The Beastie Boys' “Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win” and her taut, chilly flow on her three-part mixtape I Stopped Caring in '96, she has notoriously prissy music outlets referring to her as “the next big thing in hip-hop.” We have to agree — without the prissiness, of course. —Dan Hyman
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE with CHINO XL, DA CIRCLE, DJ GI JOE at the Music Box; EXHUMED at the Slidebar (Fullerton); TOUCH PEOPLE at Pehrspace; SCOTT WHITFIELD at Typhoon.
The core four of this L.A. collective — Creamie, Joon, Kent and Sleezy — were on the red carpet at an awards show late this summer, and no one noticed. Their first major headlining show tonight just might change that. As opposed to the city's other notable clan who stormed the country last fall growling bloody lyrics, Overdoz (whose members are only a couple of years older than Odd Future's) prefer to smoke you out and stroke you down. Their last album, Live For Die For, teeters between sexy and (sexily) raunchy, the bedroom-eyed lyrics sprinkled with hash before being rolled in big, spacey blunts of beats. And it's funny: The chorus of “You're Blowin' It”? “The only time you please me is when you're on your knees.” We expect plenty of people to be bowing soon. —Rebecca Haithcoat
Leading today's pack of gnashing, anti-establishment wolves are Manchester's WU LYF, a quartet who play self-described “heavy pop.” Frontman Ellery Roberts attempted to shroud them in mystery, snubbing the press, periodically deleting their Wikipedia page and blowing off record-industry courtships. Instead, the group recorded in an abandoned church, put out their LP on their own Lyf Recording label and sold $1 “shares” to fans/stockholders. Some compare them to uplifting orchestral pop acts, but Roberts' decayed, gasping shout channels the sobbing ghost of Joe Strummer. The group's shows invoke the feel of protests. You'd be wise to bring your own gas mask. —Andrea Domanick
The beast lurking in the shadows is Death Grips, an avant hip-hop collective that may or may not involve polymath drummer Zach Hill of Hella and some Sacramento homies called MC Ride, Mexican Girl, Info Warrior and Flatlander. Self-described as “raw like wet pennies, post-Christian, post-Satan,” Death Grips rap about orgies in the bowels of hell, swinging guillotines, and Shiva slashing through your flat screen. Angry and ultraviolent, their words paint a frightening picture of the most primal urges that mankind has to offer. Last summer the five-headed enigma released their noisy and explosive mixtape Exmilitary, the most incendiary, fuck-shit-up hip-hop album to emerge in years. Prepare to have your eardrums bludgeoned. —Lainna Fader
Katy Perry has been on her California Dreams world tour — in support of last year's Grammy-nominated Teenage Dream — for the better part of 2011, and she wraps the trek's final North American leg with a blowout you can bet will contain ungodly amounts of candy and/or confetti. We won't bother with a lecture on why Perry deserves more respect than she gets; if Teenage Dream's five No. 1 singles haven't convinced you she knows what she's doing, nothing will. But this might be your last chance to hear “California Gurls” in an arena full of California gurls — think carefully before you pass that up, people. With Ellie Goulding, an appealing English singer even less worried by computer-processed vocals than Perry. Also Wed. —Mikael Wood
EL REY THEATRE
“I'll follow you underground,” Lucinda William sings in a ragged-but-true voice on her latest album, Blessed. It's a steadfast declaration of devotion that's all the more moving because she delivers it plainly, without trumpets and fanfare, and yet it pierces the heart straight through. Her recent marriage to her manager, Tom Overby, seems to have given her new inspiration on songs like “Sweet Love.” But the album isn't all sunshine and roses, as she wends her way through stark and somber numbers such as “Copenhagen” and “Ugly Truth.” In the past year or so, Williams has appeared locally in venues ranging from the Queen Mary to the Viper Room. Tonight the Louisiana native kicks off the first of two nights in this grand Art Deco ballroom. —Falling James
ALLEN HINDS GROUP at the Baked Potato; PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND at Royce Hall.
Murs, Tabi Bonney
HOUSE OF BLUES
If you've grown tired of overproduced, infantile Top 40 hip-hop, catching a show by artists who honor the game's true art form — lyricism — is a welcome escape. Your salvation this week comes in the form of L.A.'s Murs, who recently told us he escaped the violence of his native 'hood by relocating to Arizona. He's joined by his Washington, D.C.–based cohort Tabi Bonney, perpetually on his grind since 2006's “The Pocket,” and now whipping up tracks with the likes of Ski Beatz and Dame Dash. Both MCs roll into town as part of the Hip-Hop and Love Tour after rocking out to a track of the same name on Yo Gabba Gabba. They're also touting new releases: Melrose and The Summer Years, respectively. —Dan Hyman
Dean Brown Band
THE BAKED POTATO
Guitarist Dean Brown has played with the likes of the Brecker Brothers, Joe Zawinul and Roberta Flack. For the past five years he's spent much of his time imparting guitar craft to students at Hollywood's Musicians Institute. Brown's own band steps out here several times a year, tonight featuring French bass phenom Hadrien Feraud (John McLaughlin), Brown's former Billy Cobham bandmate and ex–Tonight Show keyboardist Gerry Etkins, and the always terrific Marvin “Smitty” Smith on drums — also of the former Tonight Show band led by Kevin Eubanks. On a recent stage full of all-stars with the Miles Evans Band at Catalina, Brown's closing solo on Jimi Hendrix's “Little Wing” prompted the night's sole in-show standing ovation. Go, and you'll see why. —Tom Meek
AFROLICIOUS, ORGONE at the Mint; MARK SULTAN at El Cid; YIP DECEIVER at Satellite; DERDE VERDE at Silverlake Lounge; ROY MCCURDY QUARTET at Sangria.
Angela Carole Brown, Andrea Miller
PELICAN HILL RESORT
Finding live music on Thanksgiving Day can be next to impossible, but for something completely different, schedule a luxury Thanksgiving with jazz at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Coast. Save yourself from slaving in the kitchen and relax for a change — Thanksgiving dinner and music will be offered all afternoon and evening. Beginning at noon, vocalist Angela Carole Brown will be featured with pianist Rich Callaci and bassist David Enos. For the evening hours, fine young singer Andrea Miller takes over the microphone, with Callaci holding forth and Jack Daro handling the bass. At $85 a head for adults and $35 for children, this Thanksgiving won't be cheap, but it will be memorable. —Tom Meek