Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From British Goth-metalers Paradise Lost to local legends Cypress Hill, Texas' Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Habibi, here are the 11 best music shows in L.A. this week.
McCABE'S GUITAR SHOP
Los Angeles native Jackson Browne has been blending rock, folk and country since his 1972 self-titled debut, which featured friends as prestigious as David Crosby, Graham Nash and Albert Lee. He put out three more albums in the next four years, and it's the last of those, 1976's The Pretender, that shot Browne to international stardom, thanks in no small part to the title track. Nowadays, every folky, country-infused indie band with any modicum of hipster appeal cites Browne as an influence. Needless to say, the man has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in recent years. His 2014 album, Standing in the Breach, is a goodie, as is last year's The Road East: Live in Japan. These intimate gigs with Greg Leisz, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of beloved guitar store McCabe's, should be something special, although, at the time of writing, both appear to be sold out. Also Saturday, Oct. 20. —Brett Callwood
British goth-metal band Paradise Lost are not particularly well known on this side of the Atlantic, at least not to those who don't soak themselves in underground metal on a daily basis. But over in Europe, these guys ride high on festival bills and play to crowds of thousands. Their accolades are deserved, too; from their 1990 debut Lost Paradise album, they've made it their business to not sit still, blurring genre boundaries and constantly reinventing themselves. That debut was fairly straightforward death metal, but by the time 1993's Icon rolled around, the elements of goth were stronger and a new sound was born. '99's Host saw them dial down the ferocity and go for a more synth-pop, Depeche Mode–esque sound. Since then, the heaviness has returned somewhat, and last year's Medusa was a sludgy beauty. This rare U.S. show is a must-see. —Brett Callwood
When singer Teri Gender Bender formed the bloody Mexican punk/performance-art spectacle Le Butcherettes in Guadalajara in 2007, she was accompanied only by a single percussionist, Auryn Jolene. When Jolene left the band two years later, Gender Bender relocated Le Butcherettes to L.A. and has performed under the name with different members; she's backed by a full band these days. Throughout it all, Gender Bender has remained a provocative performer onstage, and the group's recent releases, such as Spider/WAVES, demonstrate Le Butcherettes' increasing stylistic range, which encompasses punk aggression, hard-rock power and prog-rock artiness. The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has long championed their music as a producer and occasional guest star. On Le Butcherettes' 2018 EP, Struggle/STRUGGLE, tracks vary from spacy interludes and acoustic guitar–driven intimacy to funky, percussive strangeness. —Falling James
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
With Bad Seeds keys man Conway Savage leaving this mortal coil this year, the current run of shows carries a particularly poignant air. 2013's Push the Sky Away was Savage's final album with the Bad Seeds, while 2016's Skeleton Tree, Cave's 16th studio album with the band, was a typically brilliant slab of work. At this point, Cave can do no wrong. The guy is the epitome of dark, vampy cool, and the consistent quality of his work since he formed the Bad Seeds in Melbourne, Australia, in 1983 is staggering. Hopefully, we'll get new material soon. In the meantime, the current lineup of the band is delivering live, and Cave himself is a bona fide rock & roll legend and lyrical poet. If you haven't seen him yet, take this chance. —Brett Callwood
THE VIPER ROOM
The mythic aura of Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman grew among die-hard heavy metal aficionados after he left the Dave Mustaine–fronted metal act in 2000, moved to Japan and immersed himself in that country's pop music scene, having found himself more infatuated with Japan's culture and music than the traditional metal he made his name with. Friedman began reintroducing himself to American metal audiences earlier this decade, with newer records such as 2017's Wall of Sound being instrumental shred-guitar opuses with plenty of face-melters that pleased longtime headbangers while tastefully integrating the Japanese pop melodies he indulged in during his self-imposed exile. Friedman's live performances — as evidenced on his new live record, ONE BAD M.F. Live!! — consist of a healthy mix of tracks from his recent Americanized records and the more melodic sounds that made him a household name in what is now his permanent country of residence. —Jason Roche
THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL
Conservatives who claim to be outraged about Willie Nelson's recent support for Beto O'Rourke, a politician running for a spot in the Texas Senate against incumbent Scrooge Ted Cruz, apparently haven't followed the country singer's career for the past half-century. While it remains to be seen if O'Rourke will turn out to be a genuine liberal icon or just another mainstream-leaning politician, Nelson has always had a soft spot for the underdog and the working man. We're lucky that Willie still performs so often, digging into his deep catalog of original classics and picking out nimble, intuitive runs on his guitar while crooning with that comforting, reassuring voice. Nelson's family band headlines this Outlaw Music Festival, which also features his son Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Sturgill Simpson, former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh and feisty country-rock chanteuse Margo Price. —Falling James
There are a lot of groups these days that are drawing from the garage-rock and '60s psychedelic-pop well, but Habibi transform these influences into something much more powerfully engrossing and strange on their recent EP, Cardamom Garden. Lead singer Rahill Jamalifard pulls out imagery from the even deeper well of traditional Iranian poetry, blending her words with the Brooklyn band's entrancing girl-group harmonies. Bassist Leah Beth Fishman has an unusually big and propulsive sound for an indie-pop band, bolstered further by guitarist Lenny Lynch's restrained melodic adornments and Karen Isabel's primal drumming. Former Death Valley Girl Alana Amram deepens Habibi's sound on guitar on this tour, which celebrates the recent rerelease of the group's entrancing self-titled debut album. Also Sunday, Oct. 21. —Falling James
THE VIPER ROOM
Texas' DRI, or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, have been kicking around since 1982, and were one of the first bands (along with Suicidal Tendencies) to blend hardcore punk with thrash metal at a time when the two camps were very separate. The likes of Anthrax and Corrosion of Conformity would follow suit later, and all would cite DRI as a major influence. DRI's most recent studio album, Full Speed Ahead, came out way back in 1995, so clearly Kurt Brecht and his guys aren't too concerned with releasing new material. Still, the band are a ferocious live proposition, and the Viper Room is the perfect place is experience them. Skullcrack, Mindwars and Throw the Goat also perform on what appears to be an unrelentingly intense bill. —Brett Callwood
Maybe you think you're too cool for Basia. Maybe you're just cold. Whatever the case, tonight you can repair this gaping hole in your cultural consciousness by immersing yourself in the Basia experience — that of sparkling pop songwriting straddling axes of both Europop and bossa nova, doing a triple Salchow and landing with such grace and verve that even the East German judge gives her a 10. She's got a new album out, Butterflies — her first studio album in a decade — and in case you haven't thought of Basia since the time of Nana Mouskouri or La La La Human Steps, you'll hear new music as well as well-worn and welcome hits by the three-octave Polish chanteuse, such as "Drunk on Love," "Time and Tide," "Cruising for Bruising" and her constitutionally catchy cover of Stevie Wonder's "Until You Come Back to Me." —David Cotner
EL REY THEATRE
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B-Real has been off with Chuck D, Tom Morello and Prophets of Rage, and Morello recently told us that the band is back in the studio. Meanwhile, everyone has been focusing on other things for a while, meaning that B-Real could go back to his main gig. It seems amazing that South Gate's own Cypress Hill have been around since 1988, but it's true. The Black Sunday masterpiece — their second full-lengther — is now 25 years old yet it barely sounds as if it's aged a day. The themes are particularly timely right now — could there be a better anthem for today than "Insane in the Brain" or, indeed, "When the Shit Goes Down"? Meanwhile, they haven't been slouching and this year's Elephants on Acid, the first album since 2010's Rise Up, marks a superb return. —Brett Callwood
The Watkins Family Band
LARGO AT THE CORONET
Singer-fiddler Sara Watkins and her guitarist-brother Sean Watkins have managed to make Largo feel like an intimate living-room jam in the middle of frenetic and flashy West Hollywood. Both former members of bluegrass upstarts Nickel Creek are engaging singers and instrumentalists with deep catalogs of their own, but at their monthly gathering they also surprise fans with unexpected cover songs and even more unexpected guest visitations from such heavy friends as Fiona Apple and Jackson Browne, along with intuitive backing from Greg Leisz, Soul Coughing's Sebastian Steinberg and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. You never know who might show up, and you never know what will be on the setlist, but expect some achingly beautiful, heartfelt harmonies and lilting, lovely balladry amid all the easygoing joking and song-swapping. —Falling James