Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help navigate this embarrassment of riches. From Odetta Hartman's retro rootsiness to Dutch metal band Within Temptation to the ultimate cartoon band, Green Jelly, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week!
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
This bill is co-headlined by two European rock acts that serve as throwbacks to the psychedelic rock sounds of the '60s and '70s. British band Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats specialize in generating a dirty, grungy din that could have served as the soundtrack of an early 1970s Brit biker movie. Their latest record, 2018's Wasteland, features guitarist/vocalist Uncle Acid steering the band through another serving of darkness-tinted garage rock that is equally hypnotic and catchy. Sweden's Graveyard have spent the last decade putting together a heavier retro-rock sound that straddles the line between the rumble of vintage Black Sabbath and the layered compositions of classic Deep Purple. The group's albums, such as 2018's Peace, are enhanced by guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson's ability to turn on a dime from a hard-rock roar to a bluesy, soulful croon. —Jason Roche
WHISKY A GO GO
For years, the go-to accusation thrown at Chicago's Enuff Z'nuff was that they sounded way too much like The Beatles. Like, they were trying to ape them rather than enjoy a healthy amount of influence (for a modern reference, see Greta Van Fleet and the great Led Zeppelin debate). But, as is usually the case, it was all a load of reactionary hooey. Enuff Z'nuff are and have always been a great power pop band, blessed with pop sensibilities that carried them far beyond the standard Sunset Strip hair sound. They dressed like Warrant but they were just different. Classic-era frontman Donnie Vie has been out of the band since 2013, with bassist Chip Z'nuff taking vocal duties for the 2018 album Diamond Boy. It's not exactly the same but still worthy of the name. The Thrill Seekers, Permacrush, Dark Horse Rising, Bob Dee With Petro, Don't Trip and Iron Core also play. —Brett Callwood
Odetta Hartman stirs up a kind of music that's purposefully retro, at least on the surface. The rootsy instrumentation on the New York singer's latest album, Old Rockhounds Never Die, is meant to evoke old-timey folk and country, but she doesn't employ those sounds as faithful mimicry of the past. Instead, the dusty shadows, softly clucking banjos and detuned violins are used as another layer of enchantment that shrouds her intimate tunes with a veneer of arty strangeness instead of dutiful authenticity. Such tracks as "Sweet Teeth" and "Cowboy Song" are too curiously strange to work as museum pieces. In Hartman's hands, these hints of nostalgia are more like another sound effect, deepening her songs with atmospheric mystery. What ultimately stands out is the way austere but endearing idylls such as "Honey" and the power-pop shimmers of "You You" grab you by the heart. —Falling James
Even a progressive needs a touchstone — a beginning — to return to, and one of the staunchest firmaments in the history of progressive rock is Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. He's been a founding member of the band since 1967, crafting a priceless standard by which progressive music moves and lives and breathes. Because he remains the stalwart, ever-lovin' heartbeat of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason graces stages once more with his Saucerful of Secrets revue, performing Pink Floyd songs from 1967 to 1972. Saucerful — producer Dom Beken on keys; guitarist Lee Harris; guitarist Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet; and a longtime Pink Floyd initiate, Guy Pratt, on bass — are as close as you'll get to those thrilling days of explorational ecstasy in rock music. Returning to the purity of the current is just as important as the touchstone around which that current flows. Also Sunday, March 17. —David Cotner
The good people at Alex's Bar sure know how to put on a quality punk-rock show. This one is a superb four-band bill, headlined by local punk pioneers The Dils. Original member Chip Kinman has gallantly picked himself up and revived the band this year following the death of his brother and bandmate, Tony, in May of last year. Nothing, apparently, can stop The Dils, and it'll be great to hear tunes such as "I Hate the Rich" and "You're Not Blank" blasted from a stage again. Also playing are Minutemen/Stooges man Mike Watt and his Missingmen, plus The Horseheads (original members of Tex & the Horseheads) and The Last. Get there early, because that is a killer lineup from start to finish. —Brett Callwood
The Urinals reinvented themselves as 100 Flowers in the early 1980s when they realized their old punk-rock name was preventing them from getting serious gigs. But the name change also reflected how the Westwood art-punk trio had evolved from their late-1970s beginning, when they varied from the Johnny Thunders template with ridiculously short, fast, haiku-like proto-hardcore blasts (along with The Middle Class, The Urinals have long been recognized as one of the first hardcore groups). Just a few years later, their sound incorporated newer elements, such as a minimalist variation and reduction of Wire's artiness mixed with Gang of Four's propulsive funk. Singer-bassist John Talley-Jones and drummer Kevin Barrett have continued to perform as The Urinals since the addition of guitarist-novelist Rob Roberge in 2005, but the duo also play these days as 100 Flowers with original Urinals guitarist Kjehl Johansen. —Falling James
WHISKY A GO GO
Arguably the weirdest thing about Green Jelly (pronounced "jello" but spelled that way for legal reasons) is the fact that they have a close connection with the band Tool. One of the most complex, awkward and thought-provoking bands in metal, and a goofy puppet show. But hey, we all need to laugh, and the 2017 Green Jelly Sux Live Soundtrack (actually not a soundtrack at all) proves that they're still capable of causing a cartoon riot with the best of them. We're expecting a new album this year, Garbage Band Kids, which will see mainman Bill Manspeaker recording each track with a different version of the band. Insane. Which band will we see at the Whisky? Who the hell knows. I.R.A.T.E., Affirmative Reaction, Unstoppable Force, Lords of Unicore and Psychoward also play. —Brett Callwood
There aren't many places in Southern California where an original band with its own distinctive style and unusual songs can escape notice for long, but Ventura County is one of them. Singer-guitarist Evangeline Noelle and her powerful combo are based in Ojai, where cover bands are far more likely to get attention than a group taking chances on their own songs. Noelle has a searing, thunderous voice, which she needs every ounce of to rise above the crushing hard-rock drive she and her bandmates generate. Such epic tracks as "Wake to Sleep" and the spacious blues ramble "Fancy Car" evoke classic rock and psychedelia mixed with raw punk rock and grunge. But Noelle also reveals an unexpectedly gentle side with the swaying, swirling melodies of "Oh Here We Go," which eventually culminates in a full-on storm of raging guitars. —Falling James
Perfection, Prettiest Eyes
The Monday night residency at the Echoplex is currently headlined by Perfection, the new project featuring Patrick Nolan, a name that will be familiar to fans of local bands such as WALTER and Meatbodies. The likes of Stevie Wonder and David Bowie inform the garage rock that Nolan is known for, and that's a potent combo. Every week, Perfection will be joined by different openers, and this week avant-garde punks Prettiest Eyes play. Originally from Mexico and now based in L.A., this three-piece makes a gloriously, uncomfortably quirky noise. Wild Wing kick off the whole thing; they claim that "every show might be our last." It's suitably uncompromising fuzz-punk and it's great. See them all. —Brett Callwood
Dutch metal band Within Temptation, led by vocalist Sharon den Adel and her husband, guitarist Robert Westerholt, have been knocking around since 1996 but it was the early 2000s with albums Mother Earth and The Silent Force that really saw them take off. Back then they often were compared to Evanescence and Nightwish because, you know, sexism (metal band with female singer). But these guys have a sound more reminiscent of film scores — they once claimed to have been heavily influenced by the Braveheart soundtrack. Westerholt still records with the band but he's retired from touring so that he can take care of the couple's kids. But this year's new Resist album proves that they're still putting out awesome material. In Flames also play. —Brett Callwood
Frankie & the Witch Fingers
Frankie & the Witch Fingers are part of a seemingly endless wave of modern local bands who pan for gold in the ancient streams of '60s garage rock and psychedelia. What makes them stand out from so many other revivalists is the strength of their songwriting combined with a hard-rock power and fluidity. The Witch Fingers' new album, Zam, is studiously retro, but such psychedelic ditties as "Pleasure" aren't feeble shadows of the past thanks in part to a funky and driving attack. The record's opening track, "Dracula Drug," is a nearly nine-minute jam that builds into a momentous jazz-rock odyssey. And yet it's immediately contrasted with "Work," a frenetic burst of pure punk rock. The rest of the album ranges from the curious stops and starts of "Cobwebs" to the headlong rush of guitars in "Dark Sorcerer." Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and Grave Flowers Bongo Band also play. —Falling James
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, Potty Mouth
Spare Parts for Broken Hearts are led by singer Sarah Green. Her heroic, anthemic vocals lift up such heavy passages as the group's recent single, "Mush," which alternates between introspective sections and more propulsive grunge-rock shifts. Green has the ability to remain coolly powerful and assured within the eyes of the swirling storms she and her bandmates generate. There is something both uplifting and cathartic about the way she chases the pain away with a mighty, soul-clearing howl. Potty Mouth are another local band inspired by early-'90s grunge on their new album, SNAFU. Singer-guitarist Abby Weems has a way with catchy hooks that are bolstered by Victoria Mandanas' relentless drumming and Ally Einbinder's nimble but heavy bass. Most tracks, such as "Liar," slam with a controlled punk-rock fury that alternates with unexpectedly poppy and dreamily melodic interludes like "Starry Eyes." —Falling James