Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From an '80s throwback weekend to the L.A. return of house legend Todd Terry, Whitey Morgan & the 78's and The Wooster Group, here are the 11 best music shows in L.A. this week!
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Arthur Brown's crazy world may be defined by the incendiary 1968 single "Fire," but the certifiable loon has an enviable body of work, not to mention an unhealthy heap of charisma, that has seen him retain an enigmatic air for over five decades. To this day, TCWOAB is a fascinating live proposition; Brown may not move as much as he once did, and maybe fewer things are actually set on fire, but the musical energy is still there. Hopefully there will be some new recorded material soon — it's already been six years since the pledge-supported Zim Zam Zim. Catch One should be a cool spot to catch the God of Hellfire — the old-school disco has a great vibe. Sleep Sun, Ruby the Hatchet and Jex Thoth also play. —Brett Callwood
Although Lera Lynn generally writes her own songs, she also revels in the process of collaboration, having worked in the past with Rosanne Cash and producer T Bone Burnett. But the Nashville singer takes musical partnerships to another level on her recent album, Plays Well With Others. Lynn is joined by a series of guest vocalists and co-writers including The Civil Wars' John Paul White (on the gently contemplative ballad "Lose Myself"), Nicole Atkins (the spectral dream-pop idyll "In Another Life"), Rodney Crowell ("Crimson Underground"), Peter Bradley Adams ("Same Old Song") and Dylan LeBlanc ("What Is Love?"). Shovels & Rope accompany Lynn on a rootsy cover of TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me." The record reveals another side to fans who might know Lynn only from her music and role on True Detective. —Falling James
These '80s nostalgia tours can be a bit of a mixed bag, but this one looks to be frickin' awesome. English electronic new wavers Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), a band with way more great songs that you initially remember, headline. Elsewhere, we get local paisley underground ladies The Bangles and British mega pop trio Bananarama. That means "Walk Like an Egyptian," "Manic Monday," "Venus" and "Cruel Summer." That's almost too much awesomeness. Add to that old-school rapper Rob Base, Tiffany of "I Think We're Alone Now" fame, Farrington + Mann (of When in Rome) and synth-pop band The Flirts, and there's a lot to love. So tease that hair, pull out the leg warmers and shoulder pads, and allow yourself to recall a time when bright colors were not considered a bad thing. —Brett Callwood
The time is ripe for a Studio 54 reboot — of sorts. With the revitalization of the historic theaters on Broadway in DTLA, the launch of the new monthly event Studio 740 at the Globe Theatre is opportune. Studio 740 — which takes its name from the Globe's address — focuses on classic disco and house favorites, and who better to inaugurate the series than house legend Todd Terry. Terry's appearance anywhere at any time signals a special occasion, but it has been a long minute since Los Angeles has experienced him. Terry is a true master of dance-floor sounds, and while his fame is primarily in the house realm, he is far more multifaceted than that, with an unerring understanding of what moves bodies. Getting the crowd revved up for Terry will be local firebrand Lupe Fuentes, who was made for the job. —Lily Moayeri
Gates of the West: Joe Strummer Celebration
Punk rock lost a lot of its idealistic heart when Joe Strummer died too young at age 50 in 2002. The Clash frontman and occasional Pogues fill-in helped to move punk away from existential nihilism toward a more politically leftist and socially committed stance — one that seems sadly forgotten today as the genre has evolved from musical experimentation into its more modern state of nostalgic mimicry. Former D Generation singer Jesse Malin heads a tribute to Strummer in a benefit for the California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund, the Joe Strummer Foundation and Music & Memory. While Malin's journeyman songs lack the poetic flair of Strummer's classic anthems, the lineup is highlighted by a rare solo appearance by L7's Suzi Gardner alongside the usual tribute-show suspects (Wayne Kramer, Mike Watt, Jakob Dylan). —Falling James
It's been six years since Potty Mouth released their promising debut album, Hell Bent, which was packed with tough, smart, feminist punk anthems. An equally engaging self-titled EP built on that potential in 2015, and the local trio followed up a year later with the archly titled punk-pop single "Smash Hit," which was simultaneously sarcastic, euphoric and supremely catchy. Singer-guitarist Abby Weems, bassist Ally Einbinder and drummer Victoria Mandanas perform tonight in advance of the early-March release of their second album, SNAFU, on Einbinder and Alex Licktenhour's LGBT-friendly label, Get Better Records. The new disc includes "Smash Hit," the coming-of-age single "22" and "Fencewalker," a track co-written by Go-Go's drummer Gina Schock. Early editions of the album feature a comic book written and illustrated by Weems. —Falling James
Vicky & the Vengents, The Electric Mess, Honeychain
Vicky & the Vengents purvey a loving mixture of girl-group pop and garage rock that's thoroughly retro, but powerhouse vocalist Vicky Tafoya and her drummer-nephew Mario Tafoya team with guitarist Matt Beld and his bassist-brother Andy Beld to put it all together with irrepressible verve and energy. There's an online clip of the SoCal group harmonizing glorious doo-wop a cappella in a Bronx stairwell that's just as thrilling as punked-up Ramones-style songs such as "Sha Na." New York City's The Electric Mess have a harder approach on their 2018 album, The Beast Is You, a nonstop barrage of punk & roll leavened with keyboard-driven garage rock. Pandoras drummer Hillary Burton moves up front to lead Honeychain, an L.A. trio who bash out the tunes on their Kim Shattuck–produced debut, Crushed, with winsome melodicism and a more modern attack. —Falling James
I Am Morbid
WHISKY A GO GO
Yeah, this is another one of those slightly embarrassing situations where a key member has left a band, and now there are two versions on the circuit (see Venom, Queensryche, etc.). In this case, it's death-metal pioneers Morbid Angel. David Vincent was the vocalist in the years that are generally considered the band's best, but at some point he fell out with founding member and guitarist Trey Azagthoth. So Vincent is out as I Am Morbid, while Azagthoth has assembled a new band to carry on the Morbid Angel name (they play L.A. with Cannibal Corpse next month). It's all a big mess but hey, you still get to hear Vincent growl himself sore at the Whisky. Reaper, War Hog, Metalfier and The Doubted also play. —Brett Callwood
Whitey Morgan & the 78's
MARTY'S ON NEWPORT
Flint, Michigan, might be known best because of the poisonous water that has been inflicted on its residents of late, but the city has produced some wonderful musical artists in recent years. Whitey Morgan is an outlaw country crooner of the highest order, and just might be the best country artist you've never heard of. The 2008 Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels debut, put out on awesome Detroit label Small Stone, was a breath of fresh air in a rhinestone-heavy country climate, while last year's self-released Hard Times and White Lines is equally cathartic. Morgan has a gift for telling stories of hardship and strife without ever sounding hokey or melodramatic (as so many country singers do). His voice is like both velvet and sandpaper; frankly, we could listen to him for hours. —Brett Callwood
The Wooster Group
The Wooster Group unveil their latest priceless cultural touchstone, THE B-SIDE: Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons — or, A Record Album Interpretation. It's based on the 1965 Bruce Jackson–recorded Elektra LP (back when Elektra was a link between folk music and popular culture) Negro Folklore From Texas State Prisons, which was a clutch of field recordings — work songs, spirituals and gospel tunes — from men who worked and died on the Texas agricultural prison farms of Ramsey, Ellis, Retrieve and Wynne. Eric Berryman, Jasper McGruder and Philip Moore of the Wooster Group play the record for you and then interpret the depth of its contents, live and direct. If you see only one multimedia exploration into the heart of the American experience this year, let it be this one. Through Sunday, Feb. 3. —David Cotner
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THE VIPER ROOM
The Flytraps have been one of this area's best-kept secrets for the better part of this decade, but maybe it's time to share the gift with the rest of the world. Because these women are simply magnificent. Reminiscent of the days when bands such as The Mummies and The Cramps were the coolest in the country, The Flytraps effortlessly blend surf and psychobilly with sleaze and punk rock, out-playing and out-drinking most of the dudes on the Strip. Or on any strip. A show at the Viper from this lot shouldn't be missed because, honestly, what plans do you have that night that will be more exciting than this? Glitter Wizard, High Priestess and Gygax also play. —Brett Callwood