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Charlotte GainsbourgEXPAND
Charlotte Gainsbourg
Amy Troost

The 12 Best Shows in L.A. This Week

Los Angeles is a hotbed of live music, and L.A. Weekly is here to help you navigate this embarrassment of riches. From a rare chance to hear My Bloody Valentine to a Malian master of the guitar, tenacious SoCal punk veterans Face to Face and punks from across the pond, and a doozy of a doubleheader courtesy of Salt-N-Pepa and The Village People (because, why not?), here are the 12 local shows you should see this week!

7/20

The Adicts

Fox Theater Pomona

Not too much of cultural value has emerged from the English town of Ipswich in the beautiful rural county of Suffolk, making old-school punks The Adicts something of an anomaly. Known for their Clockwork Orange image, Keith "Monkey" Warren's merry droogs since 1975 have put out 10 strong studio albums (plus a string of EPs, live records and compilations), the most recent being 2017's And It Was So! on the usually metal label Nuclear Blast. The clownish costumes sit eerily alongside the fact that The Adicts' lyrics often deal with very real working-class issues, leading British journalist Garry Bushell to tag The Adicts (and bands like them) "punk pathetique." The band's popularity has barely waned, though, with young audiences flocking to see them to this day. —Brett Callwood

Charlotte Gainsbourg

The Fonda Theatre

"I shut my eyes, and all the world drops dead," singer-actor Charlotte Gainsbourg coos in a breathy voice on "Sylvia Says," from her recent album Rest. The song is not only a tribute to poet Sylvia Plath but also adapts imagery from Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song." Gainsbourg's whispery singing in English and French and the glossy production and fizzy electro-pop musical settings sometimes belie the album's heavier themes, which center on the deaths of her father, French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and her half-sister Kate Barry. Rest features such guests as Connan Mockasin, who co-wrote the airy song "Dans vos airs," and Paul McCartney, who gave Gainsbourg the tune "Songbird in a Cage" and played on the track as well. The daughter of actor Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg continues to make her own name for herself despite her impressive celebrity lineage. —Falling James

Salute to Hip-Hop Vol. 1

Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center

This early-evening festival harkens back to a more innocent time in rap, with a lineup of New York City legends who emerged in the heady era of the mid-1980s. Back then EPMD, Doug E. Fresh and Big Daddy Kane were wordplay artisans who made rap history with a high-stepping combination of rhymes and sunny, funky beats — a far cry from the more aggressive and violent real-world slices of life that would take over rap later in the decade on both coasts. "Big Daddy Kane is on the mic, and I'm a-tell about a minimum length, of rhymes of strength and power, so listen to the man of the hour," Brooklyn soothsayer Big Daddy Kane wisely advises with a cool assurance on the aptly titled "Smooth Operator." Doug E. Fresh will keep "The Show" lively, while Erick Sermon and Parrish J. Smith tag-team as EPMD. —Falling James

sat 7/21

Mamadou Kelly

Zebulon

A large, war-torn nation that encompasses varying cultures across the western Sahara Desert, Mali has in the past two decades become the crossroads for a dizzying array of compelling musicians, from the blind couple Amadou & Mariam to the rebel guitar army Tinariwen. The one thing that ties these disparate performers together is the haunting, hypnotic and often psychedelic style of guitar playing that's unique to the region. Mamadou Kelly, who used to back Malian guitar hero Ali Farka Touré, is another dazzling guitarist who weaves skeins of intricately mesmerizing riffs that twist together traditional West African styles with elements of blues, funk and Afropop. On Kelly's latest album, Politiki, the guitarist uncoils elaborate melodies on "Banyereye" and "Mahinime" and casts a spell with his vocals and layered chanting on such French-language idylls as "La vie ce n'est que deux jours" and "Pour les eleveurs." —Falling James

Freestyle SummerFest

The Greek Theatre

These Freestyle Fests seem to do a wonderful job of placing the super-cool alongside the mega-ludicrous. How else are we seeing Salt-N-Pepa billed next to The Village People? Not that this is a bad thing; the ability to put that tastemaker ego to one side for a night and just dance like a crazed loon is an admirable trait. Salt-N-Pepa changed the game back in the day — real artists with killer tunes like "Push It" that still sound awesome today. The same cannot be said for "YMCA." Elsewhere on the bill, we have Lisa Lisa, Trainer, Brenda K. Starr, Sa-Fire, Nocera, Pretty Poison and Noel. It's all about the fun and, in this day and age, we all need some mindless entertainment. —Brett Callwood

My Bloody ValentineEXPAND
My Bloody Valentine
Courtesy of the artist

sun 7/22

My Bloody Valentine

Shrine Expo Hall

My Bloody Valentine don't behave like most other rock bands. But, then again, the Irish group, led by singer-guitarist Kevin Shields, don't sound like most other groups. They're finally touring North America for the first time in almost five years. Although My Bloody Valentine have been around since the early 1980s, they've released only three full-length albums in that time. Their most recent release was MBV in 2013, a typically sprawling collection of Shields' intimate, muted vocals buried in rich layers of noise and distortion. Shields' musical obsessions center on finding the beauty and melodies within shape-shifting clouds of pure fuzz and volume, which are then crowned with his contrastingly laid-back crooning. Many musicians try to emulate that sonic duality, but My Bloody Valentine do it in a way that's distinctively engrossing. —Falling James

mon 7/23

Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries, Squid Ink

The Smell

Fresno's finest fly into town in this titanic twosome of tunesmiths you know you'll never forget once their music has clasped itself to your pounding heart. Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries — riding high on their hit "Grrrl Gang" — sing about things that are important to women today, like self-defense and getting cat-called, but mainly they concern themselves with ways to avoid life's traps and continue to grow as individual adult human beings despite all those pushy bores they'd rather drop into a lake of boiling hyena vomit. As for Squid Ink — the quartet that alchemizes the powers of punk, riot grrrl and grunge music — they vow that theirs is a music that serves as the soundtrack to smashing patriarchy/white supremacism/sexism (circle one or more) wherever and whenever it may be found. —David Cotner

tue 7/24

Chris Hillman & Roger McGuinn

Theatre at Ace Hotel

Sure, there's no David Crosby, but still, what we have here is an opportunity to hear two key members of The Byrds perform a string of classic tunes by that iconic L.A. '60s band. For longtime fans, that means an opportunity to wallow in nostalgia for a night. For the curious younger attendees, it's a chance to get a taste of that Laurel Canyon sound they've heard so much about, in the live environment. Yes, it's fair to point out that the best Byrds songs were written by other people, including "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'?" (Bob Dylan) and "Turn Turn Turn" (Pete Seeger), but it was all about the harmonies and that gorgeous folk-rock sound with these guys. Let's see if they've still got it. Along with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, they'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Also Wednesday, July 25. —Brett Callwood

wed 7/25

Face to Face

Hotel Cafe

But for a four-year hiatus in the mid-2000s, Victorville punks Face to Face have been blasting out poppy skate punk since 1991. That's no mean feat for a band that, while blessed with a loyal and enviable fan base, never made the climb into punk's big leagues, headlining Vans Warped Tours or Riot Fests. They really should have — there are few bands of this genre with tunes as memorable as the masses of catchy ditties Face to Face have under their collective belt. 2002's How to Ruin Everything is a masterpiece of its type, but as recently as 2016, Protection proved that they've not lost one iota of their mojo. This tour, with an exciting, intimate stop at the Hotel Cafe, sees the band going all acoustic, so it will be fascinating to see how those songs go over without the crunch. One suspects it will be amazing. —Brett Callwood

thu 7/26

Potty Mouth

Bridgetown DIY

You might expect from their name that Potty Mouth are just another punk band. The local trio's original songs surge forward with a punk-rock intensity, but they are also blended at times with grungy power that mixes hazy, fuzzy intensity with poppy hooks and occasional moments of soulful contemplation. "You want a smash hit/Do you know what's in fashion?" singer-guitarist Abby Weems wails sarcastically on "Smash Hit," whose euphoric chorus invokes "modern dazzle" in propelling a catchy anthem that comments on commercial popularity while quietly underscoring the group's own potential. Potty Mouth's songs range from coolly serene headbangers such as "Cherry Picking" and the fuzz-shrouded "Creeper Weed" to more introspective tracks like "The Bomb," which shifts from a relatively restrained opening into a thunderous momentum as Weems declares, "I dropped a bomb, and the bomb was me." —Falling James

Cut Chemist

Hammer Museum

Cut Chemist is looking at a long legacy behind the decks — over 30 years, in fact. The living legend occupies a critically acclaimed spot in the DJ and producer world that transcends trends and genre up- and downswings, since his inimitable style occupies its own space. For all his extensive time in music, Cut has only recently released his second solo studio album, Die Cut. The album is a departure from his signature cut-and-paste methods, instead focusing on collaborations, yet it is the most personal of his releases. Cut brings his far-reaching selections to close out the Hammer Museum's Summer Night series, and that beautiful location can't help but generate good feeling among attendees. The museum extends its exhibit hours to 9 p.m. and the free entry includes access to the multimedia exhibit of Los Angeles–based artists, "Made in L.A. 2018." —Lily Moayeri

The Fixx

The Rose

British band The Fixx are one of those new-wave groups of the late 1970s and early '80s that actually had more mainstream success than many of us give them credit for. They were, in fact, more successful on this side of the Atlantic than back in their native England, with the 1983 album Reach the Beach climbing to No. 8 on the Billboard chart but only peaking at 91 in the U.K. They didn't ever manage to get higher than No. 54 in Britain, while "One Thing Leads to Another" was a No. 4 single in the States. That's OK — there's enough love in this country to last them a lifetime, as well as propel them on a multitude of nostalgia tours. This one is tagged the Beach Tour, so we can guess where this is going. —Brett Callwood

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