The DamnedEXPAND
The Damned
Steve Gullick

12 Best Music Shows in L.A. This Week

Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From an evening of dark music lorded over by "Evil Elvis" (Glenn Danzig) himself to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, ska revivalists The Selecter and Mitski, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week.

fri 11/2

The Damned

THE FONDA THEATRE

Although the hope that The Damned will ever reunite with such crucial early members as guitarist Brian James and frenetic drummer Rat Scabies seems to be an increasingly unlikely possibility, lead singer Dave Vanian and irrepressible guitarist/keyboardist Captain Sensible still strike some sparks onstage. With production from legendary David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, The Damned's latest album, Evil Spirits, is the British band's first album in a decade, although it lacks the punk-rock energy and memorable melodies of 2008's surprisingly engaging So, Who's Paranoid? It sounds like Vanian is attempting some kind of political statement with new songs such as "Look Left" and "Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow," but the lyrics are too vague to amount to much, and the music is closer to the bombastic but hollow pop of The Damned's mid-'80s efforts rather than the exhilarating, madcap intensity of their early punk classics. —Falling James

The Dead Boys

ALEX'S BAR

At this point, debate about how worthy this current lineup is of carrying the Dead Boys name is redundant. Because this is the band. This is what The Dead Boys are in 2018, and every fan is free to take it or leave it. But O.G. guys Johnny Blitz and Cheetah Chrome are not, in any way, damaging the legacy of Stiv Bators. The last time these Dead Boys played at the Viper Room, they tore the place up, leading that venue's talent buyer to list it as one of the best shows she's ever seen in the place, and she was right. New guys Jake Hout, Ricky Rat and Jason Kottwitz have added fresh sparks to an old flame and so, no matter how dubious you are, go and see them at least once. They'll shock the shit out of ya. Also Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Five Star Bar. —Brett Callwood

sat 11/3

Danzig Hell Bash

FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATER

This is quite a bill, blending dark punk with darker metal, with "Evil Elvis" Glenn Danzig lording over the whole thing with the Danzig band (rather than the recently reformed Misfits). The Damned also play (more on them above), as do Venom Inc. (essentially pioneering British black metallers Venom, minus original lead singer Cronos). That's an impressive top three, but there's plenty to enjoy beneath that, including British psychobilly originators The Meteors, Dallas thrashers Power Trip and hotly tipped Brooklyn band Mutoid Man (featuring members of Cave In and Converge). Fair play — that's a brutally intense yet genre-spanning bill. Perfect fodder for those thinking, "Aw shucks, Halloween is over for another year." —Brett Callwood

Public Image Ltd

THE FONDA THEATRE

People who are offended about John Lydon's apparent support for Donald Trump haven't really been paying attention for the past 40 years. Regardless of the Public Image Ltd frontman's actual beliefs about the United States' current dictator-in-chief, it's always been Lydon's job to be a gadfly and provoke people. The fact that he's defying the expectations of comfortably settled punk rockers is completely in character with the former Johnny Rotten who angered supposedly liberal classic rockers in the late 1970s with his dour observations about how many of the hippies ended up just as conservative as their parents. What should be more troubling to listeners is how the always forward-thinking PiL seem to have settled into atypical sentimentality with a new career-spanning box set and a de rigueur nostalgic documentary. But Lydon, guitarist Lu Edmonds (Mekons, The Damned) and drummer Bruce Smith (The Pop Group) still make these deathly disco chants sound baleful and menacing. —Falling James

The Selecter

THE GLASS HOUSE

The Selecter get overshadowed in this country by fellow early-'80s British ska revivalists The Specials and Madness, but they are led by Pauline Black, the most musically assured singer in the 2 Tone scene. The daughter of a Yoruba prince and an Anglo-Jewish mother, Black is an ebullient and nuanced vocalist who imbues such trademark songs as "On My Radio" and "Three Minute Hero" with a soulful intensity that's lacking in the mostly white singers of the English ska revival. After battling with former members over the right to use The Selecter name, Black now owns the band name and still performs with fellow original co-vocalist Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson. Former leader of all-female ska combo The Bodysnatchers, Rhoda Dakar is another influential vocalist who reclaimed her own legacy with the 2015 remake album Rhoda Dakar Sings The Bodysnatchers. —Falling James

sun 11/4

Kruder/Dorfmeister

THE FONDA THEATRE

In terms of landmark bands having landmark years, you couldn't do better than Kruder & Dorfmeister releasing their seminal chillout epic G-Stoned in 1993. The record — the cover of which was designed to resemble the cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends LP — delivered, over its four tracks and 24 minutes, a dimension of sound that was at once placid and propulsive, meditative and momentous, blissful and banging. They're also one of the main reasons why KCRW sounded the way it did for so many years, for better or worse — and now the aces from Austria are here to transport you to those thrilling days of yesteryear as well as turn you on to the new sounds and sensations of the music they're working on in the here-and-now. —David Cotner

mon 11/5

Suffocation

WHISKY A GO-GO

New York death-metal band Suffocation have been around since 1988 (but for a break between '98 and 2003) but this current tour is a bit special because it's the last for vocalist Frank Mullen. The writing's been on the wall for some time — the group has been using dual vocalists for a few years, and now Mullen has decided he's ready to retire, at least from this group. He'll be tough to replace; his low-pitched vocals were considered groundbreaking within the death-metal world back in the '80s. But the noises are that Suffocation will soldier on, with longtime guitarist Terrance Hobbs leading the way. We trust that they'll continue to be awesome, but this last chance to see them with Mullen should be grabbed. Cattle Decapitation, Krisiun, Visceral Disgorge, Insineratehymn and Festering Grave also play. —Brett Callwood

tue 11/6

Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION

The gorgeous surroundings of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, elaborate chandeliers and all, will provide a glamorous setting for a two-day birthday party for the first lady of folk, Joni Mitchell. The event (also on Nov. 7) will see stars pay tribute to Mitchell, with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos, Graham Nash, Seal and Rufus Wainwright turning out. Mitchell deserves all of that attention and more; the woman behind the 1971 masterpiece Blue has won nine Grammys and has influenced more musicians than anyone could ever possibly count. Mitchell is a Canada native but she's closely associated with the Laurel Canyon scene of the '60s and so, as far we're concerned, she's one of us. Happy birthday, Joni. —Brett Callwood

wed 11/7

Goatwhore

THE ROXY

Goatwhore are classified as "blackened death metal," which essentially means black metal and death metal mixed together into a big extreme metal soup. And honestly, that's not a surprise when looking at the album titles (Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun, Carving Out the Eyes of God, and last year's Vengeful Ascension), and song titles such as "The Serpent That Enslaves What Is Worshipped," "Razor Flesh Devoured" and "Those Who Denied God's Will." Look, the New Orleans boys ain't writing ballads and, to a degree, you know what you're gonna get with them. That said, limited copies of last year's album came with a hardcover "spell book," so they can still throw out a surprise or two. The Casualties, Black Tusk and Great American Ghost also play on this 2018 edition of the Metal Alliance tour. —Brett Callwood

MitskiEXPAND
Mitski
Bao Ngo

Mitski, Overcoats

THE WILTERN

"Spend an hour on my makeup to prove something," Mitski sings forlornly about a romantic assignation on "Lonesome Love," from her fifth album, Be the Cowboy. "'Cause nobody butters me up like you, and nobody fucks me like me." The track clocks in at less than two minutes, and yet a piercing sadness lingers long after the song has ended. The vicissitudes of love hover throughout, whether Mitski is intoning over an icy soundscape on "Geyser" or singing a more traditional piano ballad, such as "Old Friend." She turns her romantic disappointment and self-erasure into a kind of poetry on "Me and My Husband," in which she confides, "I steal a few breaths from the world for a minute, and then I'll be nothing forever." New York duo Overcoats set the mood with subdued electronic pop layered with heartfelt harmonies. —Falling James

thu 11/8

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

THE NOVO

Hailing from Cleveland, the hip-hop group consisting of Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Flesh-N-Bone and Bizzy Bone is best known for timeless hits including "Crossroad," "1st of tha Month" and "Thuggish Ruggish Bone." While they were held responsible for the "Cleveland Sound," their story, swag and style have influenced generations to come. It was in November 1993 that the group decided to purchase one-way tickets on the Greyhound and head to Los Angeles to claim their place in the rap game. They connected with Eazy-E early on, and it wasn't long before the N.W.A co-founder eventually signed them to his Ruthless Records label. Fast-forward to 2018 and the group continues to tour and bless fans with nostalgic performances around the world. —Shirley Ju

Southern Culture on the Skids

ECHOPLEX

Like a three-ring circus, Southern Culture on the Skids are a visual trip onstage. Drummer Dave Hartman performs standing up, singer-bassist Mary Huff often is decked out in fantastic, colorful wigs, and singer-guitarist Rick Miller hands out buckets of chicken to fans midsong. However, the fun-loving roots-trash-surf trio from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, are far more than just a novelty band. If you close your eyes, the musical prowess of the group becomes immediately obvious. Miller scratches up a slew of deft CCR-style licks on guitar, and he and Huff are fine vocalists, trading off on such catchy originals and inspired cover songs as "Banana Pudding," "Mojo Box" and "Fire of Love." SCOTS' most recent album, The Electric Pinecones, is a '60s-tinged assortment of country and garage-rock tunes. It's all fun, fun, fun, as The Beach Boys would say. —Falling James

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