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Femi KutiEXPAND
Femi Kuti
Optimus Dammy

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 music festival organized by Southern California's own The Growlers to a rapper hailing form New York, a power-pop/rock doubleheader that can't be missed and a titan of country music, and an Afrobeat scion, here are the 12 local shows you should see this week!

fri 8/3

Femi Kuti & the Positive Force

EL REY THEATRE

The spirit of the great Afrobeat visionary Fela Kuti continues to live on in such tributes as the popular Broadway musical Fela!, but the intensity of the late Nigerian singer's music comes through even stronger in the work of his eldest son, Femi Kuti. Like his father and other forebears, who were teachers and activists, Femi has continued to criticize the corrupt political establishment in Nigeria. Femi's latest album, One People One World, is a fervent cry for peace and unity. Despite their heavy subject matter, such tracks as "Evil People" and "Dem Militarize Democracy" are uplifting, festively danceable funk workouts that are pumped up by Kuti's sunny saxophone interpolations. As a former member of his father's band Egypt '80, Femi witnessed firsthand how the police and military destroyed lives; yet his own music has stubbornly remained a positive social force. —Falling James

Sponge

WHISKY A GO-GO

Vinnie Dombroski's Detroit alt-rockers Sponge might be best known for '90s jams like "Plowed" and "Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain)," but in fact the band have consistently put out quality hard rock for the 27 years of their existence. That Rotting Piñata debut might have won all the plaudits and spawned the biggest hits, but the sophomore Wax Ecstatic is a dark, twisted gem of an album. As recently as 2016, The Beer Sessions proved Sponge are still capable of penning some killer tunes. Dombroski, who also can be seen fronting outlaw-country combo The Orbitsuns and industrial-metal project Crud, recently reassembled the original Sponge lineup, but that was unfortunately a one-off and not what we're getting at the Whisky. Whoever he has with him, though, Dombroski remains one of the most captivating, charismatic and underrated frontmen in rock. —Brett Callwood

The Sara Petite BandEXPAND
The Sara Petite Band
Aaron Truax

sat 8/4

The Sara Petite Band

PAPPY & HARRIET'S PIONEERTOWN PALACE

"I take the road less traveled/It's loose and unraveled/Where I'm bound, heaven only knows," Sara Petite muses on "Road Less Traveled," the title track of her 2017 album. The San Diego singer kicks up her heels with homespun original country tunes that also draw from folk and bluegrass influences. But Petite is more than just a quaint revivalist, and she slyly mixes in classic-rock references in her songs, such as a lyrical nod to Bruce Springsteen ("a vagabond like me was born to run") in "Road Less Traveled." She even gets a bit surreal in "Good 2 B Me," which was inspired by a dream she had about Tom Petty. Petite charted the landscape of loss and devastation on her moving 2013 release, Circus Comes to Town, a series of elegies to her late drummer and partner, Johnny Kuhlken. —Falling James

OC Funk Fest

HONDA CENTER

At the OC Funk Fest, missing even one of these musicians might put you into an emotional funk — so get there early to see these legends play so much great music that it's like the best compilation tape of your life performed just for you. There's Tawatha Agee performing "Juicy Fruit" (1983), The Bar-Kays doing "Soul Finger" (1967), Club Nouveau with "Lean on Me" (1987), Con Funk Shun jamming "Ffun" (1977), The Dazz Band singing "Let It Whip" (1982), Howard Johnson playing "Say You Wanna" (1982), Evelyn "Champagne" King's devotional "Love Come Down" (1982), Klymaxx's "Meeting in the Ladies Room" (1985), Ladies of SKYY asking you to "Call Me" (1981), The Original Mary Jane Girls showing you "In My House" (1985), Morris Day and The Time's "Jungle Love" (1984) and O'Bryan being the best O'Bryan he can be with "You and I" (1983). —David Cotner

sun 8/5

Beach Goth

L.A. STATE HISTORIC PARK

After five years at the Observatory in Santa Ana and then some legal turmoil over ownership of the name, and then an event in San Pedro last year that was rebranded Growlers Six, the Beach Goth festival returns this year at the L.A. State Historic Park. The Growlers, the band that put the whole thing together, have assembled a typically excellent bill featuring, as well as their good selves, The Voidz (featuring Julian Casablancas of The Strokes), old-school rapper Doug E. Fresh, shock rockers GWAR and Jonathan "Roadrunner" Richman. There's tons of local and new talent to enjoy, too, as is always the case with a Beach Goth fest. Local rockers Bleached will be playing a Ramones set, while San Diego trio Beach Goons promise to be a highlight. —Brett Callwood

Leggy PeggyEXPAND
Leggy Peggy
Garrett Charboneau

mon 8/6

Leggy Peggy

THE LOVE SONG

As Leggy Peggy, singer-guitarist Hannah Carr strums up a storm of torrid blues songs with a raw, heartfelt passion that cuts closer to the feeling of early roots music instead of the slick, distancing artifice of so many other revivalists. "Be easy on me, because my heart can't take it," Carr implores yearningly amid the chiming power chords of her new single, "Black & White," from Leggy Peggy's Catalyst EP. She croons with a soulfully majestic grandeur that contrasts the stark, stripped-down backing of guitar and drums. "I'm not looking for trouble/No, I just wanted to unwind/I tell you, my darling, you better treat me so damn kind," Carr wails over a fusillade of acoustic-guitar chords on such driving older tracks as "So Damn Kind." Tonight the local singer debuts a new song, "New Mexico." —Falling James

Skyzoo

UNION

Hailing from New York, Skyzoo is a notable rapper who has held a powerful hand in the distribution of incredible classic music for hip-hop and its culture. In addition to his solo and collaborative releases, he has worked with the likes of Jill Scott, Wale, Lloyd Banks, Tyrese, Dr. Dre — to name a few. This show marks Gregory Skyler Taylor's return to Los Angeles, taking the stage for the first time since 2013. Courtesy of Musical Moguls at Marvelous Mondays, the concert will be connection with his most recent project, In Celebration of Us. Skyzoo also will be doing a meet-and-greet earlier in the day at Shiekh Shoes on Pico Boulevard. —Shirley Ju

tue 8/7

Dylan Carlson, Mary Lattimore

RESIDENT

As the leader of the drone-metal collective Earth, Dylan Carlson specializes in unfolding long, pulverizing musical odysseys that often clock in at more than 10 minutes apiece. But on the singer-guitarist's new solo album, Conquistador, most of the songs are less than six minutes, apart from the 13-minute title track. The record is an "imaginary Western" that's inspired by the real travels of a conquistador and his servant. The heavy sustain of Carlson's guitar sprawls slowly over the course of such extended instrumental passages as "When the Horses Were Shorn of Their Hooves" and "Scorpions in Their Mouths," and the overall mood is both contemplative and crushingly loud. Mary Lattimore is a local harp player who expands on her classical-music training by incorporating effects and lulling textures in her collaborations with Jeff Zeigler, Kurt Vile and Thurston Moore. —Falling James

wed 8/8

Weezer, Pixies

THE FORUM

This is simply an astonishingly great double bill. The only argument fans are having is whether Weezer should headline over the majestic brilliance that is the Pixies. From a commercial standpoint, of course they should. Weezer have sold a ton of records, and justifiably so. From The Blue Album in '94 with "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So," right through to last year's Pacific Daydream, Weezer have never stopped with the killer power-pop. A new album, The Black Album (continuing the color theme following blue, green, red and white), is due this year. Meanwhile, Pixies remain one of the most influential indie-rock bands to have existed. Kim Deal might not be with them anymore, but 2016's Head Carrier proved that Frank Black/Black Francis (call him what you will) and the guys aren't letting the quality dip. Again, these two bands together is a rare treat. —Brett Callwood

Zig Zags
Zig Zags
Dave McFarland

Zig Zags

ZEBULON

Zig Zags sound like Black Sabbath in a hurry. The British metal band's iconic riffs are sped up and trashed impatiently by local punk trio Zig Zags on such quintessential collections as Running Out of Red. Songs like "No Brains No Balls" and "The Sadist" unwind with a heavy-metal grandeur, but they're soon crushed into a punk-rock sludge by Zig Zags' nonstop punk tempos. "Sin Eaters" evokes the throttling intensity of Motörhead, while other tracks draw from the rude aggression of early Black Flag. On their new split release with Feral Ohms, Unleashed in Long Beach, a crude live album record at 4th Street Vine, Zig Zags burn through such fuzzy anthems as "The Fog" and "Slime" with reckless abandon. —Falling James

Belly

TERAGRAM BALLROOM

Belly formed way back in 1991 when Tanya Donelly, already renowned for her work with Throwing Muses, left The Breeders. Two excellent, dreamy alt-rock albums followed in the wispy shape of 1993's Star and '95's King and then, a year later, it was over. In '96, Donelly broke the band up, essentially saying that she wasn't having fun with it anymore. She enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing a string of well-received albums, and then, taking everyone by surprise, Belly announced some tour dates in 2016, a full two decades after the split. Now, 23 years after King, Belly have released their third album, Dove. These shows at the Teragram offer us the opportunity to enjoy the new stuff live while reliving the greatness of the old material. Also Thursday, Aug. 9. —Brett Callwood

thu 8/9

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss

PACIFC AMPHITHEATRE

These essential figures of country music history have become fairly regular tourmates now, and that's great because it's a wonderful double bill that offers a sweet look at just how honest, raw and damned different country music can be. Willie is, of course, the chairman of the board. He's the real deal — a genuine outlaw who has had his brushes with the law but is still here to sing about them. Like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, his voice is an acquired taste, but he's one of the great American songwriters. Krauss, meanwhile, has a voice that can tame wild beasts. There's nothing polished and rhinestone-y about this incredible artist from the bluegrass world. They're two of the greatest living country artists, and they're performing at the same show. Incredible. —Brett Callwood

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