Amanda Palmer -- See Sunday
Amanda Palmer -- See Sunday
Photo courtesy of Amanda Palmer

The Best Concerts to See In L.A. This Weekend

Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

Friday, December 13

The Weirdos


Inspired mightily by the first Ramones LP, L.A.'s beloved and brilliant Weirdos would arguably -- as argued by me, here, with inappropriate enthusiasm -- go on to transcend their influences to become one of the best American punk bands ever. Songs like "Destroy All Music," "Life of Crime," "Neutron Bomb," "Solitary Confinement," "Teenage" and more are classic beyond classic, and if The Weirdos had broken out of a singles-only discography and recorded a major-label LP in 1978, it would have been as momentous as if the similarly formidable Screamers had recorded a major-label LP in 1978. (That's fucking momentous, trust me.) In my weird world, every history book on punk would have a giant chapter on these splatter-painted lunatic geniuses from Hollywood. Get to this too-rare hometown reunion show and (as the song says) get the message now! --Chris Ziegler

Rob Zabrecky


Rob Zabrecky had the world by the tail in the mid-1990s. As lead singer of new wave-inspired pop group Possum Dixon, he was one of the prime instigators in transforming once-sleepy Silver Lake into the indie-rock capital of the universe. But when Possum Dixon broke up in 1999, Zabrecky made an interesting career detour. Instead of cashing in on his fame with Possum Dixon, which at one point seemed poised for major commercial success, he began performing in small clubs and dives -- as a magician. At first, his sleight-of-hand presentations were more awkward than mysterious, but Zabrecky eventually garnered enough cred to become a mainstay at the Magic Castle. The actor-writer-auctioneer has continued to create music with such luminaries as Human Hands, Petra Haden, Beck and Ric Ocasek, but it's a neat trick indeed whenever this master showman reappears for a full set of his own songs. --Falling James

Saturday, December 14

Cate Le Bon


Cate Le Bon is a Welsh witch who lives now in Los Angeles, but she still reconnects with her homeland by singing occasionally in Welsh as well as English. On her third full-length album, Mug Museum, she duets with Perfume Genius on the watery ballad "I Think I Knew" and coos jangling folk-pop tunes like The Smiths-style "Are You With Me Now?" But she's even more engaging when she unfurls her geometric-patterned riffs and casts them like a net over such tracks as "I Can't Help You." Le Bon's melodic, almost formally restrained vocal delivery on "No God" adds a sweet layer of frosting atop the sunny and shimmering, Television-inspired guitar parts that spin around her. Beyond the new album title, she's really crazy about mugs; dozens of her handcrafted wares are for sale on her website. --Falling James

Nolan Porter, 
the Mercury Wheel


Soul singer Nolan Porter is one of Los Angeles' great native talents, a cat whose lustrous, honey-toned pipes convey a seductive, drastically relaxed R&B pathology that's absolutely irresistible. His handful of early-'70s classics ("If I Could Only Be Sure," "Keep on Keepin' On") display a wealth of skill, passion and depth that was woefully underappreciated, despite the fact that he collaborated with the fertile likes of Lowell George and Rick James (yes, THAT Rick James). Furthermore, more than a few of his singles reached the Top 40, yet Porter never gained traction serious enough to break out and fulfill his formidable potential. Faced with the ol' frustrating can't-get-arrested-in-his-own-hometown-yet-is-revered-in-Europe syndrome, Porter, as the subject of a new British documentary and with this hyper-rare local date, hopefully is going to attain, at long last, the glory and recognition he so richly deserves. --Jonny Whiteside

Sunday, December 15

Amanda Palmer


Life is a circus for Amanda Palmer. Certainly, her world is merry, and there's plenty of glamour and face paint as the former Dresden Dolls leader slips in and out of an interconnected series of stages and backstages with an ever-evolving cast of carnies, musicians, stilt walkers and collaborators, including her husband, graphic novelist Neil Gaiman. But circuses can be scary and lonely, and Palmer never veers away from uncovering their darkest secrets, even when she's disguising them in cheery, major-key melodies. The singer-pianist never lowers herself to perform anything as dull as a simple set or a mere gig. Instead, each concert is a theatrical spectacle, and tonight at the "celebratory event" A Total Disruption she's joined by filmmaker Ondi Timoner screening new shorts, Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and DJ Shepard Fairey. --Falling James

See also: Amanda Palmer talks David Lynch and Neil Gaiman

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Don't forget to check our constantly-updated Los Angeles Concert Calendar

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