Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From a rare SoCal set by Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Malian "desert blues," here are the 11 best music shows in L.A. this week!
SHRINE EXPO HALL
Shoreline Mafia is the biggest rap group to come out of Los Angeles this generation, but if you speak to the group's leader OhGeesy, he'll correct you and say they're a family, not a rap group. Best friends OhGeesy, Fenix, Rob Vicious, Kato started this group that encapsulates the new wave of trap, rap and living life to the fullest. It was their 2017 single "Musty" that put them on the map, with a music video currently clocking in at over 51 million views on Youtube alone. Since then, singles "Nun Major," "Serve A Boat," and "Whuss The Deal" arrived as close favorites. Now, the group takes their efforts to the main stage at Shrine Expo Hall for a special evening. —Shirley Ju
L.A. first wave punks The Weirdos have a storied history. Having formed in 1975, just as the genre as we know was taking shape, and surrounded by the likes of the Germs, Dickies, Dils and X, they released a string of groundbreaking singles including 1977's "Destroy All Music" and the following year's "We Got the Neutron Bomb." They broke up in '81 and occasionally reformed and split again, but they've now been gigging and recording since 2013. In 2016, classic lineup member Bruce Moreland rejoined, and the band has been putting on some spectacular live shows ever since. For this one in Long Beach, they're joined by The Stitches, Shattered Faith, Jail Weddings and Loose Trucks. —Brett Callwood
Otomo Yoshihide is a musician for whom living many lives means that his life has actually been well-lived. There's his life as one of Japan's heroes of free improvisation; his life as an avant-turntablist; and his life as a sine-wave sorcerer whose high tones are like pure, challenging snow falling on yonder mountain. Tonight, dynamic avant producers Black Editions bring him to town for tonight's performance, incidentally an extra-added dimension to the exhibition Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s over at Blum & Poe on La Cienega. You'll get two out of three of Yoshihide's aforementioned lives in one performance as he takes to the electric guitar and the turntable in an evening of mind-altering sounds that redefine and revivify the nature of both guitars and turntables as we know them. Also tonight: SAICOBAB (feat. Yoshimi P-We from Boredoms). —David Cotner
Just Like Heaven
QUEEN MARY EVENTS PARK
The Cure aren't playing this festival by the shores of Long Beach, but their 1987 song "Just Like Heaven" gives the two-day gathering its name. Among the highlights is a relatively rare local performance by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Singer Karen O, guitarist-keyboardist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase haven't released a new album since 2013's Mosquito, but their arty, angular anthems continue to resonate, particularly the poignant, heart-catching and oft-covered love song "Maps." Other headliners include fizzy French indie-poppers Phoenix, feathery Connecticut pop acolytes MGMT, and the shadowy, gauzy entrails of Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House. Plus, Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, The Rapture, Miike Snow and others. Also Fri., May 3. —Falling James
The Carvels NYC, Vicky & the Vengents
MAUI SUGAR MILL SALOON
Fronted by the sassy and stylish chanteuse Lynne Von Pang, The Carvels NYC crank out a brand of rock & roll that's equal parts punk, garage rock and girl-group pop. On the title track of the New York combo's new EP, Life Is Not a Waiting Room, Ms. Von Pang (Trick Babys, Da Willys) belts out urgently romantic entreaties about living life fully while there's still time as Dave Spinley responds with boisterous sax lines and guitarist Brian Morgan surrounds her with leering Johnny Thunders–style licks. "I asked you what is your name/You offered no reply," Von Pang intones dramatically on "I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy," a gender-bent necrophilia fantasy in which her '60s pop melody is crushed together with a Ramones drive. The Carvels NYC are well matched by the dreamy doo-wop/punk-rock collisions of Vicky and the Vengents. —Falling James
While you might not want to take Ariana Grande with you on your next visit to a donut shop, there is no denying that the 25-year-old singer possesses a big, powerful voice that belies her tiny physical stature. Unlike her early inspiration Mariah Carey, who also has an awe-inspiring vocal technique but rarely seems to know how to rein it in, Grande is adept at using her talents more persuasively. On Grande's latest album, Thank U, Next, the singer revels in lust, longing and desire with such seductive idylls as "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored" and "Needy." In recent years, the former child television star has developed into a more nuanced artist exploring feminist themes, although her inviting 2018 single "God Is a Woman" is a relatively faint echo of The Ringling Sisters' 1994 riot-grrrl anthem "God Is a Girl." Also Tue., May 7. —Falling James
The Dream Syndicate
This in-store should be a fun, intimate show for paisley underground pioneers The Dream Syndicate. A day earlier, they're playing at the Grammy Museum with fellow paisley underground bands The Bangles, The Rain Parade and The 3 O'Clock, a special event for sure, but this promises to be special in a more "up close and personal" sort of way. There's a new album, These Times, out this year, not to mention a compilation/covers/collaboration record with the aforementioned other three PU bands, where all four perform each other's music. But to be fair, they've stayed active and remarkably consistent since reforming in 2012, having split in '89. Long may it continue. —Brett Callwood
Guitarist Alan Licht can manufacture some mighty mountains of noise. In his solo work and past projects with Loren Mazzacane Connors and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, Licht prefers to explore a variety of musical landscapes, blending pure noise and avant-garde experimentation with more evocative and restrained passages. He's not some dour technocrat or solemn musical purist, though, and he revealed sarcastic wit underneath all that crushing volume when he titled one of his recordings, The Evan Dando of Noise. The composer and Artforum critic plans to perform a solo set at Zebulon, followed by separate duo sets with three similarly intriguing collaborators, Ulrich Krieger, Emmett Kelly and David Pajo. —Falling James
THE VIPER ROOM
Following the trend set by the likes of Fear Factory and White Zombie, there seemed to be a ton of industrial metal bands that were embraced by fans of nu-metal in the '90s. Some came and went quite fast, but many have been hanging on ever since. In the latter category, see Dope, Spineshank, Static-X (singer Wayne Static died, but they're touring with a "mystery frontman" wearing a Wayne Static mask), Orgy and Powerman 5000. Formed by Rob Zombie's brother Spider One in 1991, the band's ninth studio album New Wave came out in 2017 and, while it wasn't well-received by critics, the fanbase has remained loyal. —Brett Callwood
Phil X & the Drills
WHISKY A GO GO
Canadian guitarist Phil X achieved the unachievable in 2016 when he seamlessly replaced Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora. So beloved was Sambora by old Jovi heads that many have said for years (perhaps with tongues in cheeks) that the band should be called Sam Bora. So when the original member called it quits, he left an enormous hole. That Phil X has not only filled it but done so with class, quality and charisma has gone a long way to calming the understandable fan fears. His band The Drills predates his time in Jovi by at least seven years, but it'll be cool to see him performing in a relatively small venue after his many months in stadiums and arenas. —Brett Callwood
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Songhoy Blues are not a typical blues band. The Malian group describe their music as "desert blues," but what comes out on their recent album, Résistance, is something that is far more engrossing, psychedelic, mysterious and musically diverse than the output of generic blues combos. Iggy Pop lends his gravelly vocals to "Sahara," a swirling whirlwind of funky rhythms spiked with guitars that prick like diamond-tipped needles. "Voter" and "Bamako" are also juiced up with supertight funk accents, forming a base for the group's freewheeling guitar explorations. Themes of displacement echo throughout the record as Songhoy Blues recall their days as exiles driven out of their hometown of Timbuktu during the Malian civil war, when music was banned, before they relocated to Bamako. The group perform every Thursday for the next three weeks. —Falling James