The Cherry BluestormsEXPAND
The Cherry Bluestorms
Megan J. Carroll

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 proto-metal band Iron Butterfly to the ska-punk stylings of the Long Beach Dub Allstars, one of L.A.'s great lost bands in The Cherry Bluestorms and Alison Wonderland, here are the 12 best shows in L.A. this week!

fri 8/17

Alison Wonderland

SHRINE EXPO HALL

Alison Wonderland is an entity unto herself. Hailing from Australia, the DJ, producer and singer now is known for her magical blend of pop, EDM and everything in between. Beginning as a classically trained cellist in the Sydney Youth Orchestra back home, she soon transitioned her musical talents to the dance music scene in 2009 — and the rest is history. Earlier this year, Alison Wonderland released her latest project, Awake, which like her 2015 debut album, Run, entered at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. At this year's Coachella, she was the highest-billed female DJ in the festival's history. If you've ever seen one of her shows, you know this will be one for the books. —Shirley Ju

Brandi CarlileEXPAND
Brandi Carlile
Pete Souza

Brandi Carlile

THE GREEK THEATRE

"You get discouraged, don't you, girl? It's your brother's world for a while longer," Brandi Carlile confides consolingly on "The Joke," from her sixth album, By the Way, I Forgive You. "I have been to the movies, I've seen how it ends, and the joke's on them." Co-produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, the record is a folk-country-pop declaration of support for those with big hearts and tolerant minds. The Seattle singer-guitarist's empathy extends to an unknown murder victim ("Fulton County Jane Doe"), a suicidal drug addict ("Sugartooth"), lonely people in restaurants ("Party of One") and an unhappy ex-lover ("Every Time I Hear That Song"). Carlile also muses about bittersweet family ties ("Most of All") and what it's like as a gay parent ("The Mother"). —Falling James

Iron Butterfly

WHISKY A GO-GO

San Diego's Iron Butterfly undoubtedly are best known for the 1968 proto-metal hit "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," with its hard organ and spooky, psychedelic vocals. Apparently, the oh-so-mystic title actually was inspired by former lead singer Doug Ingle trying to say "In the Garden of Eden" while drunk, so there's some rock & roll myths dispelled. Like much of the Butterfly's work, the song isn't fast or crunchy; rather, the heaviness comes from an acid-drenched sense of looming darkness. The influence on contemporary bands such as Monster Magnet is there for all to hear. Drummer Ron Bushy is the only original member in the band nowadays — no other member predates the mid-'90s. But by all accounts, Bushy has assembled a group of musicians that does the material proud. —Brett Callwood

sat 8/18

Xcellerated and Innovation Present: Innovation in Los Angeles

UNION

Xcellerated is on a tear this summer. Barely recovered from its five-year anniversary and the drum 'n' bass champion is hosting a major two-day affair with longtime U.K. drum & bass event promoter Innovation Events. This is Innovation's first foray into the United States, which is astounding for the company that has been throwing drum & bass parties worldwide since 1995. It's making up for that by bringing its As We Enter tour through Los Angeles — twice. On Saturday there is the multiple-headliner situation that includes the elusive Brookes Brothers and the ever-popular René LaVice. The key is to not wear yourself out as, on Sunday, the party continues on a boat launching from the Queen Mary in Long Beach with Chimpo, Bladerunner and the U.S. debut of Critical Impact. This sounds both potentially perilous and absolutely not to be missed. —Lily Moayeri

Long Beach Dub Allstars

ALEX'S BAR

The legend of Sublime is so extensive and expansive that there's little danger of fans getting worn out anytime soon. That's why some former members teamed up for the "Sublime with Rome" project. One group of ex-Sublime guys isn't enough, though, so others, including drummer and DJ Marshall "Ras MG" Goodman, formed the Long Beach Dub Allstars. And while nostalgia does weigh heavy on these stellar musicians as they seek to do justice to the work of the ska-punk outfit to which they are eternally linked, they've managed to balance that with a bold sense of "now." These are strong musicians and songwriters, with a wonderful catalog of material to pull from. As such, these guys have been able to enjoy their past rather than get bogged down in it. Live, the LBDAs are phenomenal, so get out and see them. The Delirians and One Draw also play. —Brett Callwood

sun 8/19

The Cherry Bluestorms

SKINNY'S LOUNGE

One of this city's great lost bands is The Cherry Bluestorms. Fronted by Deborah Gee and ex-Dickies guitarist Glen Laughlin, the power-pop group emerge from the shadows only once or twice a year, but when they do, it's always special. Unlike so many '60s-style musicians who are content to faintly imitate garage rock and psychedelic pop from the safe distance of a half-century, The Cherry Bluestorms imbue the jangling original songs and inspired covers on Transit of Venus and the inventive song cycle Bad Penny Opera with unrivaled vibrancy and immediacy. Their latest album, Whirligig!, ranges from the string-laden, sun-dappled Laurel Canyon pop grandeur of "Seven League Boots" and the driving mod anthem "Purple Heart Magic" to the ebulliently groovy homage "Roy Wood" and Laughlin's acoustic folk reverie "Sleep." A sparkling remake of The Beatles' "She Said She Said" ranks with The Bluestorms' sublimely surging 2007 version of "Baby, You're a Rich Man." Duncan Faure (Rabbitt, Bay City Rollers) also performs. —Falling James

mon 8/20

Hunnypot

THE MINT

Well, this looks interesting. Hunnypot describes itself as "a multifaceted music publishing, artist representation, marketing and film & television placement organization specializing in discovering and cultivating fresh music talent." All righty then. What it also does is host events at venues like the Mint, and Monday's features a DJ set (and guest interview) from renowned concert photographer Matthew Belter, plus a Hunnypot Dance Party DJ set by Veronica Irwin and another DJ set by Hot Tub Johnnie. Meanwhile, there will be live sets by singer-songwriter Luke Loww, psychedelic indie-pop duo Inspired & the Sleep, budding pop star Adam Cola and Grammy winning songwriter Arisara. That's a lot of action for one Monday night, but hey, that's what Hunnypot does. —Brett Callwood

RasputinaEXPAND
Rasputina
Fredo Viola

tue 8/21

Rasputina

THE TROUBADOUR

Wearing elaborate vintage ballroom gowns while playing cello-driven music with lyrics that are rich in fairy tale–style imagery, Rasputina might initially seem like a quaintly atemporal steampunk band headed to the Renaissance Faire. But the New York group's fanciful visuals and knotty lyrics actually lead down a rabbit hole in which the tragedies, wars and oppression of the modern world are couched in ultra-fantastic symbolism; the technical term for what singer-cellist Melora Creager and company do is magic. While there are moments of fragile, delicate beauty on such albums as Oh Perilous World and How We Quit the Forest, Creager is just as likely to use her small army of cellos to turn airy chamber-pop dreams into urgently febrile nightmares. Before sitting in with Rasputina, Eliza Rickman opens, making the ticking chimes of her toy piano sound eerie instead of merely cute. —Falling James

Erasure

THE WILTERN

While the '80s mega package tours are undoubtedly lucrative, as so many 40-somethings look to relive their glory days, it's slightly disheartening to see some of the names on the bills, as many of them are still bona fide, relevant artists. Erasure, for example, have never gone out of style, and nor should they. Mainstays on the Pride circuit, Erasure have also remained remarkably prolific, with the World Beyond album due out this year (their 18th album). Of course, people are always going to want to hear synth-pop gems such as "A Little Respect," "Blue Savannah" and "Love to Hate You" when they go to an Erasure show, and there's nothing wrong with that. But fans should remember that recent efforts such as 2014's The Violet Flame and 2017's World Be Gone prove that these guys have still got it. —Brett Callwood

Regina SpektorEXPAND
Regina Spektor
Courtesy the artist

wed 8/22

Regina Spektor

THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL

On her current solo tour, Regina Spektor is performing generous set lists with more than 20 songs drawn from throughout her career. The Russian-American songwriter will need little more than her melodious voice and declarative piano accents to fill the cavernous, echoing spaces of the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Along with past favorites, Spektor promises to play "some never officially released little songs that want to hang out too." Her most recent album, 2016's Remember Us to Life, encompasses sadly sentimental snapshots of nostalgic longing ("Black and White") and stately balladry ("Grand Hotel"), which unfold like tangled miniature short stories. "Under the floorboards, there's a deep well that leads to a spring that sprung up in hell," Spektor confides on the latter tune, unlocking connections between the real world and the wide-open universe of her fertile mind. —Falling James

Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime

WHISKY A GO-GO

It's always slightly embarrassing and awkward when a band break up and then the various members form different versions of the same band (see Great White, Sweet, L.A. Guns, etc.). Such is the case with Queensrÿche. When lead singer Geoff Tate was fired in 2012, he put his own version of Queensrÿche together and toured, so two Queensrÿche existed. Later, he changed the name of his own band to Operation: Mindcrime, the title of a beloved Queensrÿche album, so it's ever so slightly less weird but still damn weird. But anyway, Tate has one of the best voices in metal and prog rock — an operatic howl with a dark edge. 'Ryche classics like "Jet City Woman" and "Silent Lucidity" will still sound phenomenal. —Brett Callwood

thu 8/23

Miranda Lee Richards

ZEBULON

Enchantment comes in three distinct disguises at "Need/Don't Need: An Evening of Post-Feminist Experimental Folk-Pop." Of tonight's three singers, Miranda Lee Richards is the most recognized performer, having evolved from her roots as a mid-'90s vocalist with The Brian Jonestown Massacre to the starry-eyed dreaminess of her most recent psychedelic-folk solo album, 2017's Existential Beast. Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon, native Corrina Repp is fascinated by the interplay of light, shadow, silence and fuzzy faraway sounds on her somnolently hypnotic and curiously compelling new album, How a Fantasy Will Kill Us All. Singer/media installation artist Amy Raasch celebrates the release of her new David Poe–produced record, Girls Get Cold, which segues from such contemplative, romantically ethereal interludes as "Weight of a Man" and the breathy, Kate Bush–style shimmering of the title track to the playful electropop whimsy of "Kitty Decides." —Falling James

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