Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From the soulful ballads of Cat Power to a ferocious Cro-Mags/Eyehategod bill, plus the last surviving member of Sun Records' Million Dollar Quartet, living legend Jerry Lee Lewis, and SuperDuperKyle, here are the 12 best shows in L.A. this week!
Swedish metal band Ghost really divides opinions among fans of the genre. Some believe them to be the big-show arena metal band we've been missing for some time, others describe their music as the Blue Öyster Cult with added Halloween makeup. Both are kind of right; the music does have that old-school hard-rock vibe — big choruses, etc. It's not particularly "heavy," certainly not as much as their image might suggest. But, still, since forming in 2006 they've been a breath of fresh air and all four of their albums, from 2010's Opus Eponymous to this year's Prequelle, are worthy of your time and attention. This recent one sees the band touch on the themes of medieval times and the Black Death. So there's that to look forward to. —Brett Callwood
J Mascis is, of course, the leader of Massachusetts alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr., but he has taken part in a series of other projects, among them the stoner-rock band Witch, hardcore punks Deep Wound, college rockers The Lemonheads and hard-rocking power-poppers Sweet Apple. Beyond all that, he's had an extensive solo career. Mascis' latest album, Elastic Days, is a more introspective, acoustic-based collection of songs in contrast to the loud distortion of early Dinosaur Jr. Fuzzy guitar solos well up occasionally on such tunes as "See You at the Movies," but the overall mood is even mellower on such stripped-down ballads as "Sky Is All We Had." There's a hint of Tom Petty's rough drawl as Mascis croons softly over these laid-back songs. —Falling James
WHISKY A GO GO
Santa Barbara metal band DevilDriver have been active since 2002 — a full 16 years — and yet frontman Dez Fafara is just now managing to shake off the fact that he was the main man in nu-metal spooks Coal Chamber. You know what? His former band wasn't as horrible as the titters suggest. Dammit — "Loco" was a banger. But still, Devildriver have always been a far meatier proposition, and this year they released their eighth studio album, Outlaws 'til the End: Vol. 1. As the title suggests (though still somewhat surprisingly), this is an album of outlaw country covers, including Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River," the great Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road" and a couple of Johnny Cash classics. All of it, of course, given a DevilDriver makeover. Jinjer, Raven Black, Discarnate Motions and Not My Master also play. —Brett Callwood
SuperDuperKyle has successfully climbed into the mainstream light. With his pop-friendly production and melodic rap flows, Ventura native Kyle has consistently released hit records and toured all across the world. Exploding on the scene with "iSpy" featuring Lil Yachty, which currently commands more than 268 million views on YouTube alone, Kyle proves that with hard work and dedication, you can truly make your dreams come true. Now he's on the Lightspeed Tour in support of his debut studio album, Light of Mine. The project features standout single "Playinwitme" featuring Kehlani, along with fan favorite "Ikuyo" featuring 2 Chainz and Sophia Black. If you've ever been to a Kyle show, you know this will be a good time. Bring your dancing shoes! —Shirley Ju
Jerry Lee Lewis
CERRITOS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Giants walk among us, or at least Jerry Lee Lewis still does. The 83-year-old singer-pianist is the sole surviving member of Sun Records' Million Dollar Quartet — the impromptu all-star dream team that also featured Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley — and he's virtually the only remaining direct link to the primal, feral intensity of authentic 1950s rock & roll, apart from Little Richard. There will come a day when desperate fans will lament that they never saw Lewis in person and will have to settle for some flimsy hologram or mere tribute imitation, so why miss the real thing while there's still time? Due to Lewis' age, his recent sets have been relatively short at about 10 songs per show, but the Louisiana native is still fiery as he pounds out his hits and covers of Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison alongside the occasional country lamentation. —Falling James
Premiere of The Ballad of Shirley Collins
Culture more often flourishes due to certain individuals who — like a river running beneath fertile earth — make all good things grow above ground because of their unheralded presence. Shirley Collins — the English singer whose travels throughout America in the '50s with McCarthy-hounded ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax led to everything from preserving our folk music heritage to inspiring avant experimentalists Current 93 — is one such figure. Her place in the canon, where she remains a lustrously illustrious presence, can finally be more fully appreciated with tonight's Los Angeles premiere of the documentary The Ballad of Shirley Collins. Complemented by live music by Christof Certik, Bart Davenport and Miranda Lee Richards, the film is as much a history lesson as it is the story of Collins' constitutionally heroic attempt to regain her singing voice — at the tender age of 80. —David Corner
Billy F. Gibbons already has his own band — a li'l boogie-rocking trio from Texas you might have heard of named ZZ Top — but in recent years he's also stepped out with a couple solo albums. His first solo release, 2015's Perfectamundo, was a Latin-tinged set of bluesy originals and cover songs, but his new follow-up, The Big Bad Blues, is a more straightforward and harder-rocking blues record. The new album is a mix of original tunes and such covers as Bo Diddley's "Crackin' Up," Muddy Waters' "Standing Around Crying" and the Delta blues standard "Rollin' and Tumblin.'" Gibbons' own songs, such as "Let the Left Hand Know," fit in well with their deep-chugging drive and smoky roadhouse atmosphere, spiked as ever by his acute, piercing guitar solos. —Falling James
This is a ferocious double bill. New York hardcore band Cro-Mags might not have Harley Flanagan in the ranks anymore, stabbing up a storm, but the current lineup, led by on-and-off frontman John Joseph, is by all accounts a force of nature when performing live. There hasn't been a new album since 2000, when the Flanagan-fronted version of the band released Revenge, and it's perhaps time to put that right. But live, they'll kick yer ass. Meanwhile, somebody was inspired when pairing Cro-Mags with New Orleans sludge metal band Eyehategod. The gnarly noises these bands make will complement each other immensely. Count Time and Let's Rage also play. —Brett Callwood
Pearl Charles is a country-rock diva for a brave new era. The songs from the L.A. singer's two full-length albums — her 2015 self-titled debut and 2018's Sleepless Dreamer — encompass psychedelic pop, garage rock and folk as well as more straightforward country-rock leanings. Throughout it all, her melodious vocals are layered over her music with a honeyed, rueful grace. "All the Boys" is a jangling power-pop reverie, whereas "Beginner's Luck" is a more soulful pop confessional. The title track of Sleepless Dreamer is a restless, aptly titled escape, while "Only in America" is an evocative, countrified state-of-the-union address in which Charles gently, reassuringly finds the connections between battling strangers. One of her key songs remains the timelessly compelling romantic urgency of the sparkling garage-rock anthem "You Can Change," from her debut record. —Falling James
English electronic music pioneers The Orb have been peddling their chilled, ambient house for a full 30 years at this point. It was in 1991 that they released debut album The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and the accompanying "Little Fluffy Clouds" smash hit single. They would then spend the '90s being among the most respected and adored electronic acts on the planet. A British festival didn't feel complete without The Orb on the bill. To the casual observer, it might feel like things dipped a little as the new millennium began, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. They've remained remarkably prolific, right up to this year's 15th studio album, No Sounds Are Out of Bounds, and the quality has stayed incredibly high. This show should be a treat. DF Tram also plays. —Brett Callwood
THEATRE AT THE ACE HOTEL
Cat Power has long had one of the most beguiling and soulful voices among modern singer-songwriters. Her specialty is lulling, languorous balladry in which she slows down time and the beating of her heart, reveling in loneliness and sadness with a deliberate, contemplative intensity that's ultimately cathartic and moving. With her latest album, Wanderer, Power reclaims her own identity as moody soothsayer after reportedly battling with her former label over what her music should sound like. "I took the lead," she declares on "Woman," a duet with simpatico ally Lana Del Rey. "Your money's like a weapon, a tool to get me/You think I'm like the other ones ... Well, my cage is a weapon, it's perfect for me/It's the one suit they seem to not see." She's even bolder about love and war on the hypnotic idyll "In Your Face." —Falling James
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Especially for Thanksgiving, Bassrush and Respect are making us truly thankful with this awesome drum & bass spectacular featuring DJ Hype, DJ Nightstalker, No Face, MC Dino, MC Dre and, of course, Goldie. The British Metalheadz label founder is one of the pioneers of drum & bass — one of the guys alongside the likes of Grooverider, Fabio and Roni Size, who took the music out of the underground and into the mainstream consciousness. But Goldie really does reign as king of that particular hill. His 1995 album, Timeless, is a true masterpiece, and last year he released The Journey Man, only his third studio album and his first in nearly two decades. Hey, the man's been busy with his art and TV work, as well as DJing. It's great to have him producing new music again, though, and we can't wait for the L.A. show. —Brett Callwood