Margaret GlaspyEXPAND
Margaret Glaspy
Ebru Yildiz

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 Grammy-nominated DJ Zhu to a showcase for fierce female artists, '60s and '90s bands from across the pond, and a benefit to raise awareness for climate change, here are the 12 best music shows in L.A. this week.

fri 9/14

Zhu

SHRINE AUDITORIUM

Zhu is one of modern dance music's most beloved acts. Hailing from the Bay Area but now residing in Los Angeles, real name Steven Zhu gained his loyal fan base through the mystery of anonymity and letting his music speak for itself. By 2014, he released his breakout single, "Faded," which went on to receive a Grammy nomination. Currently signed to Mind of a Genius, Zhu continues to bless his fans with explosive releases and even bigger shows. From festivals across the world to headlining two nights at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall, the DJ/producer prepares to unleash his new EP, Ringos Desert (which dropped Sept. 7) to the rest of the world in real time. —Shirley Ju

Juana Molina

TERAGRAM BALLROOM

Juana Molina walks in shadows and stirs up quiet, softly lapping pools of sound. But she isn't a typical folk singer. Instead, the Argentine vocalist infuses the tracks from her latest album, Halo, with arty embellishments, and she uses gentle tones to create moods that are more often strange and unsettling instead of soothing. "Cosoco" is a breezy pop interlude, but "Lentísimo halo" is a darker and more foreboding soundscape of hushed vocals and restrained electronics. The former comedian and television personality breaks up the quietude with such rhythmic asides as "A00 B01" and "Andó," but Molina prefers to surround herself with such mysteriously somber songs as "Cálculos y oráculos" and the laid-back and dreamy "Los pies helados." —Falling James

sat 9/15

Joan Jett, Cheap Trick

POMONA FAIRPLEX

Back in the late 1970s, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick were simpatico allies who hung out and toured together. Jett was still trying to find herself as a solo performer after the messy breakup of The Runaways, and Cheap Trick were just starting to get belated national attention after the gatekeepers of classic-rock radio mostly ignored the numerous hard-rock and power-pop gems on the Illinois quartet's first two studio albums. By the early '80s, though, both Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts had become so popular through touring that the corporate rock establishment was forced to acknowledge their impact, and both groups continue to release credible albums four decades later. While the sound system and sightlines at Pomona Fairplex are mediocre, there's something eternally thrilling about hearing these musicians at the county fair with the sounds and lights of the carnival in the distance behind them. —Falling James

sun 9/16

Mirah

THE ECHO

"If anything tries to hold you back, we won't let it," Mirah insists on "Hot Hot," from her latest album, Understanding. "Try to keep your tires on the road even when the wind picks up." The Brooklyn songwriter discloses her messages of encouragement over soothing keyboards, which occasionally give away to more momentous clouds of noise that soon subside again beneath her whispery vocals. In the past, Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn has collaborated with such indie-pop allies as Thao Nguyen, Tune-Yards, Tara Jane O'Neil and Phil Elverum, and she even wrote an album with Spectratone International, Share This Place: Stories and Observations, that examined the secret lives of insects. Mirah's quiet observations are framed artfully with lulling chamber-pop and folk settings on such records as 2017's Sundial. —Falling James

Pathway to Paris

THE THEATRE at ACE HOTEL

Some things are inarguably more important than music. The Pathway to Paris concert will see some spectacular names gather for a benefit to raise money and simultaneously raise awareness for climate-change causes. While it seems ludicrous that people in 2018 still need to be made aware of this very real danger, unscrupulous politicians and pseudo-scientists have convinced the naive and desperate that global warming (and evolution, and the Earth being a globe) are liberal conspiracies. So any help getting the facts out there is vitally important. Here, the help comes courtesy of the great Patti Smith, Eric Burdon, Flea, Karen O and many more. There's already been a successful New York event, and we're sure L.A. can do the world proud, too. —Brett Callwood

Saint Etienne

THE FONDA THEATRE

For a good while in the 1990s, London band Saint Etienne were one of the coolest groups on the electro-indie scene. Sarah Cracknell was (and is) a dazzling frontwoman: part contemporary alt singer, part Berlin chanteuse with a Nico vibe. Similarly, the sound has always been a seamless blend of British rave/club sounds and '60s pop (unsurprisingly, particularly British Invasion). Saint Etienne never went on a hiatus, though they did slow down in the mid-2000s (2012's Words and Music by Saint Etienne was their first album since 2005's Tales From Turnpike House). Still, the material the band produced over their nearly-three decades has been remarkable consistent, right up to last year's Home Counties. That said, the Foxbase Alpha debut from '91, with its gorgeous cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," takes some beating. —Brett Callwood

mon 9/17

Konk Pack

ZEBULON

As they enter their 21st year of existence as a group that is the apex of freedom and the zenith of improvisation, Konk Pack (titanic Tim Hodgkinson on lapsteel guitar, electronics and clarinet; luscious Thomas Lehn playing the analog synth; and reliable Roger Turner on drums and percussion) descend from on-high to blow your minds sky-high tonight. But don't let that rapturous sticky praise throw you. Their performances are surprisingly intimate affairs, three stars locked in orbit during their brief time onstage as what they summon up borders on the otherworldly. Also: Gordon Grdina, who today graduates from existing as an individual adult human being to become a band himself with revolutionary, evolutionary help from drummer Matt Chamberlain, Grdina on oud, Moog-er and bassist Shahzad Ismaily, violist Eyvind Kang, saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi, and Chris Speed on tenor sax and clarinet. —David Cotner

tue 9/18

Fierce Femme Sounds

THE VIPER ROOM

Fierce Femme Sounds was started by Thea Stevenson of the band A.R.S.N.K., after trying to get said band bookings for a long time but having no luck. According to their Facebook page, "It was one Wednesday evening over wine and pizza, with friend and fellow producer Meghan Jones, where she mentioned there was a need for female musicians to have a voice, and a space to create the kind of music they wanted." So Fierce Femme Sounds was born, and on Tuesday at the Viper, we'll get to support and enjoy the fruits of those labors. A.R.S.N.K. perform, as do Jane Machine, Kate Faust and Lauren Lakis. All are strong, talented, awesome female musicians, and it should be a great evening. —Brett Callwood

Judy Mowatt
Judy Mowatt
Courtesy the artist

wed 9/19

Judy Mowatt

SANTA MONICA PIER

Along with Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt was one of The I Three, the trio of women backup vocalists who imbued the later lineup of Bob Marley & the Wailers with a heavenly Greek chorus of lilting harmonies. Before that, Mowatt wrote songs for The Wailers' Bunny Livingston, but she eventually stepped out on her own as a solo performer, releasing the classic album Black Woman in 1979. Her own music ranges from reggae and soul to uplifting gospel exhortations. While many of her later, glossier pop productions lack the intensity and fire of her early solo albums and work with The Wailers, Mowatt's voice remains pure and is a direct link to reggae's classic golden era in the 1970s. —Falling James

Bullets and Octane

ALEX'S BAR

Let's be honest — it didn't quite work out the way many of us predicted for Bullets and Octane. Having formed in 1998, the band was already 6 years old when they put out debut album The Revelry in 2004 (produced by former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke). Two years later, Page Hamilton of post-hardcore punks Helmet produced their sophomore effort and major-label debut, In the Mouth of the Young. Signed to RCA, Bullets and Octane had both the image and the sound to cross the sleaze rock/emo punk divide. But then things stalled. Even the release of this year's Waking Up Dead album was problematic after the whole thing leaked online. They seem to be back on track now; that new album is a killer, and the live shows have been hard-hitting, too. —Brett Callwood

thu 9/20

Margaret Glaspy

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER

"I'm not your mother, I'm sticking around," Margaret Glaspy declares on "One Heart and Two Arms," from her recent EP, Born Yesterday. "I'm not your father, trying to screw the whole town." The New York singer confides these sentiments over a low, ominous electric guitar that snarls like a wildcat between verses before pulling back its claws as she begins crooning again. The song stirs up a more intriguing sense of menace and danger than Glaspy's typically laid-back folk-pop songs, such as "Before We Were Together," which is centered around a more lyrically typical "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't" cliché. Although the EP's introspective ballads such as "I Love You, Goodnight" possess a certain intimate charm, Glaspy is far more interesting when she turns things up, as on the occasionally harder-rocking passages from her 2016 full-length album, Emotions and Math. —Falling James

Arcade Fire/The Zombies

THE GREEK THEATRE

There are few words left to be written about Arcade Fire. At this point, you either like Win Butler, his super-serious Canadian crew and their overblown, sub-Springsteen, though admittedly emotionally infectious, brand of indie rock, or you despise the pomposity of it all. Hey, music is entirely subjective, so that's your call. But this show is arguably more interesting than most from the Fire, because of the inclusion of The Zombies on the bill. The British '60s rockers normally can be found playing at venues such as the Rose in Pasadena or the Canyon Clubs, to oldie crowds. But putting classics like "Time of the Season" in front of a hip young audience is a thrilling proposition. Sometimes, risks like these are worth taking. —Brett Callwood

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