Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help you navigate this embarrassment of riches. From giants like Katy Perry and The Eagles to Jesika Von Rabbit and The Dickies, here are 12 of the best shows in L.A. this week!
"She's cheaper than a dollar-store version of me," Jade Bird rails on the R&B-flavored "Good Woman," from her 2017 debut EP, Something American. On the record, as well as on the three singles she's released this year, the British singer charts all the ways love can go wrong. On "Furious," Bird asks a cheating lover, "When was the turning point when you put out your joint and you laid her down?" On the stormy, acoustic guitar–driven "Uh Huh," she complains about a romantic rival, "She's got you on your knees like a little boy." Bird is more ruefully contemplative on "Lottery" even as she realizes that love is ultimately just a gamble. The 20-year-old vocalist's country-pop originals have a simple, appealing charm, but Bird hints at greater emotional heft on her stark, solo-piano arrangement of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." —Falling James
Dabrye is the leftfield hip-hop/underground rap alias of Tadd Mullinix, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who maintains close ties to that city's esteemed electronic music label Ghostly International (home to Matthew Dear, Com Truise and Tycho, among others). For his Dabrye project, Mullinix draws inspiration from the likes of DJ Shadow and J Dilla. His latest Dabrye album, the brash, swaggering Three/Three, was released on Ghostly in February; it is the final installment of a long trilogy of albums that began to appear in 2001. Dabrye will be joined onstage by MC Kadence, also from Ann Arbor. Local support will be provided by Teebs, Prefuse73 and Ras G. —Matt Miner
WHISKY A GO-GO
Before The Dickies fly to New York in October for two shows in which they'll perform full-length versions of Stukas Over Disneyland and Idjit Savant over the course of two nights, they return to the West Hollywood club where they made their live debut more than four decades ago. Although the San Fernando Valley cutups are better known for deliriously rude and gloriously sarcastic punk anthems such as "Where Did His Eye Go?" and their gleefully insipid ode to an evil auto-parts chain, "Manny, Moe & Jack," singer Leonard Graves Phillips and guitarist-henchman Stan Lee have always had a more melodious power-pop side on such gems as "Rosemary" and "Jim Bowie." Last month during an appearance at the U.K.'s Rebellion Festival, The Dickies even revived their fannish, irony-free version of The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." —Falling James
German power-metal band Helloween are one of those bands that didn't ever really bother the mainstream charts, but they've been around for so long and put out so much quality material (15 studio albums between 1985 and 2015) that they now have a more-than-enviable fan base and can headline venues such as the Hollywood Palladium. 1987's Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part I and the following year's Part II are career highlights, but the most recent full-lengther, My God-Given Right, proves that they've lost none of their power. Frontman Michael Kiske still has a remarkably powerful voice, up there with Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson and former Queensryche singer Geoff Tate on the Teutonic scale. Add a bunch of pumpkins, and we're in for a great night. —Brett Callwood
Jesika Von Rabbit
Former Gram Rabbit frontwoman Jesika Von Rabbit is one of music's great one-offs. She's simultaneously pop and art, accessible and avant-garde. Her new album is called Dessert Rock, and that's just fucking perfect because it manages to bring to mind dusty, grimy rock & roll (Joshua Tree is her home) and the sugary goodness of dessert. And Von Rabbit's music is all of that and more. She's a mass of contradictions in the most glorious way and her influences, which touch on '80s MTV pop and '70s tie-dye psychedelia with dabs of Gaga and Nico, prove that very thing. Her new album is wonderful but she really excels in the live environment. That's where she can allow the visuals to blend seamlessly with the sound. Above all, Von Rabbit is a true artist. Catch her at Alex's, one of her regular haunts, with Spindrift. —Brett Callwood
THE CANYON, SANTA CLARITA
As the frontman with Birmingham, England, rockers The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward has been the voice of some of the most incredibly beautiful and inventive musical moments the '60s and '70s had to offer. The song "Question" alone, from the 1970 album A Question of Balance, is a haunting, delicate ballad that is gorgeous in its simplicity but simultaneously technically dazzling. "Nights in White Satin" is another bona fide classic. So fair play for all of that. At the Canyon, though, Hayward will be on his own. No Moodys backing him up. That's fine with him, of course; Hayward has been putting out solo records since 1975, and 2013's Spirits of the Western Sky was genuinely great. All told, this should be an interesting set. —Brett Callwood
THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
Katy Perry's surprise booking at this grand, morbidly elegant old theater represents a rare chance to see the L.A. singer in a relatively small venue. The dramatic yet intimate setting might also emphasize the hidden depth, songcraft and emotional longing inherent in Perry's songs, which often get overlooked amid the spectacular special effects, inventive dance routines and dazzling costume changes of the Santa Barbara native's usual arena concerts. On Perry's recent shows on her worldwide Witness tour, the pop star was borne aloft and carried across colorful, ever-changing stage sets via a series of fantastic flying machines and other devices in a presentation that rivaled and even exceeded some of her pal Madonna's more extravagant productions. Expect plenty of dazzling dance-pop tonight, along with more personal and vulnerably yearning renditions of such soulful interludes as "Power" and "Into Me You See." —Falling James
Formed back in '94 as a spinoff from The Allman Brothers Band by Warren Haynes and Allen Woody, Gov't Mule has since forged a new path and very much become a band in its own right. The '95 self-titled debut set the tone, and the Mule has been remarkably prolific since then. Last June's Revolution Come ... Revolution Go was the 11th studio album, and there have been live efforts in between. They're not showing any signs of slowing down, either; that recent record is a hard-hitting slab of Southern rock brilliance, with twang and dust in all the right places. Don Was and Canadian reggae dude Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) co-produced, amping up the funk and soul. Gov't Mule always bring it live, so catch them at the Wiltern. —Brett Callwood
SANTA MONICA PIER
Yes, I also totally thought it was Betty Boo when I first saw that Betty Who was playing at this evening's edition of the Twilight on the Pier concert series — but much as Boo liked making you do the do, Who is also someone who wants to make people dance. Moving to Los Angeles from her native Australia, she's a singer and a cellist who adores Whitney Houston and MGMT equally, and it's this marriage of the soulful and the mechanical that's emblematic of her music. Her latest offering, The Valley, is an album of contrasts as wide-ranging and eclectic as the gauntlets that are the cities joined by Ventura Boulevard, and she'll put you on the edge of your seat as much as she takes you to the edge of the continent. Also: beat merchants Touch Sensitive. —David Cotner
Despite the fact that they remain one of the world's best-selling rock acts, and they're particularly popular here in California, The Eagles are one of those bands that people love to hate. Maybe we can put some of it down to the Dude's outbursts in The Big Lebowski, but only some. The middle-of-the-road country rock that these guys popularized is almost entirely without edge. Rock for people who don't normally like rock. That sort of thing. The thing is, that's all a touch unfair. The sweet country melodies with Joe Walsh's hard guitar and some poetic lyrics have always had the ability to touch a nerve, for better or worse. "Take It to the Limit" is a gorgeous song, and "Hotel California" is a local anthem. Of course, nobody has to like them, particularly in the wake of Glenn Frey's death. But Nickelback-for-oldies they ain't. Also Friday-Saturday, Sept. 14-15. —Brett Callwood
HIGHLAND PARK EBELL CLUB
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Formerly known as Raw Geronimo, the local punk-pop band Feels are unusual in that they feature two distinctly different and compelling lead singers. Laena Geronimo belies Feels' punk roots with sumptuous pop melodies, and she occasionally performs intriguing sets outside of the band context. Shannon Lay appears more often as a solo singer-guitarist and has already released three albums, Holy Heartache (2015), All This Life Goin' Down (2017) and Living Water (2017). Such tracks as "The Moon's Detriment" and "Ursula Kemp" are austere, quietly lulling passages knitted with spidery webs of guitar and layered with the soft hush of Lay's bewitching vocals. Lay contrasts the intricate guitar plucking of "Coast" with a soothing glow of harmonies and lyrics about death and mystery that suddenly gives way to a rush of loud chords. —Falling James
James Chance & the Contortions
Long before Red Hot Chili Peppers found a way to fuse funk and punk in a clownish way that could appeal to frat boys and other safely mainstream audiences, James Chance & the Contortions were combining the energy of early punk with the rhythmic jolts of funk and jazz to upend the expectations of even the most jaded underground-music scenester. Such angular, bent and rhythmically abrasive tracks as "Contort Yourself" were closer to Captain Beefheart artiness than to the easy-listening jock rock of later white-funk imitators. Chance's frantic shouting and noisy saxophone interpolations were a likely influence on latter-day NYC musical heirs as Jon Spencer, but there's nothing like the bracing assault of such James Brown–inspired eviscerations as The Contortions' "Design to Kill" and "Don't Want to Be Happy." Also Friday, Sept. 14. —Falling James