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Friday, October 31
Queens of the Stone Age,The Kills
The lineup of amusements and distractions assembled by Queens of the Stone Age for their li’l Halloween party at the Forum is “so scary, you’ll soil your psychological jeans,” the band promises. In addition to Oklahoma roots/rockabilly singer JD McPherson and prodigal-son former QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri, the show includes pinup-model gang Suicide Girls, a morbid mariachi band, a haunted house, dunk tank, and sideshow freaks “at every turn.” Even better, QOTSA are co-billed with The Kills, the jaggedly savage duo of English guitarist Jamie Hince and enchantingly sullen vocalist Alison Mosshart, who are reportedly working on a long-overdue, reggae-spiked new album. Meanwhile, QOTSA kingpin Josh Homme continues whistling past the graveyard, infusing the band’s most recent album, Like Clockwork, with allusions to how he almost died from a simple knee operation in 2010. — Falling James
Haunted Hotel Bash with Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, J Rocc
THE THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL
It’s the first Halloween at L.A.’s recently opened downtown branch of the Ace Hotel, and naturally it’s gonna be killer. (Old-school horror host cackle goes here.) Hollywood Forever outdoor-screeners Cinespia will bring the haunted, old-school, fall-of-Babylon vibes, and FYF will bring the over-the-top dance party, which kicks off with sets by Animal Collective member Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks and Beat Junkie–slash-DJ legend J Rocc. There’s also a showing of a restored print of John Carpenter’s nasty classic Halloween, which should really come to life in the spectacular Ace environs, and then wave after wave of relentless DJs take over the rooftop bar. Costumes are mandatory, but of course you were coming in costume anyway, right? You’re not some kind of anti-Halloween monster, are you? — Chris Ziegler
Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton
NOKIA THEATRE L.A. LIVE
Danny Elfman’s Tim Burton collaborations are nostalgia in the key of strange. From Beetlejuice to Batman, Edward Scissorhands to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Elfman has been the composer soundtracking Burton’s macabre genius for nearly 30 years. Joined by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and conductor John Mauceri, Elfman will take you on a journey through all 16 film collaborations, including his own performance as the voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Elfman promises a new Nightmare song for this performance and, if the evening is anything like the previous year, you may be lucky enough to see Elfman and Burton together onstage. Also Saturday, Nov. 1. — Britt Witt
Saturday, November 1
Hard Day of the Dead
In the world of supersized EDM promoters, Gary Richards’ Hard brand continues to be The Rolling Stones to Insomniac’s Beatles, a grittier alternative to the pop and “big room” headliners of EDC Vegas. The 2014 edition of their annual Dia de los Muertos–themed party brings back some of last year’s most popular acts, including melodic bass duo Zeds Dead, Denver electro-hop star Pretty Lights, big-room maestro Calvin Harris, and the irrepressible Deadmau5, this year in an intriguing tag-team pairing with Swedish house producer Eric Prydz. Knife Party, Zedd, Bassnectar and Diplo round out the headliners — because apparently, no EDM event in 2014 is complete without Diplo. (Seriously, when does that dude sleep?) But the real stars of the show, as at every Hard DOTD, will be the fans, decked out in full Halloween “kandi” regalia. Also, Sunday, Nov. 2. — Andy Hermann
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gary Clark Jr.
The Tedeschi Trucks band pairs journeyman vocalist Susan Tedeschi with her guitarist-husband, Derek Trucks, in a retro blues-soul outfit. Tedeschi is a credible and pleasantly tuneful singer, but it’s the wicked slide playing of Allman Brothers guitarist Trucks that truly distinguishes the Florida band. Truck’s wild and woozy rambles up and down the neck of his ax often threaten to break free from the limits of genre expectations, until the rest of the group brings him back down to Earth. If you like guitars, you’ll love Gary Clark Jr. The Texas guitarist also draws heavily from the blues, but he has a rougher, tougher sound that’s too dirty and immediate to come off as mere sunny nostalgia. Tracks like “Bright Lights” and especially “Numb” rumble with defiantly grungy volume and power. — Falling James
Black Veil Brides
Hollywood’s Black Veil Brides not only drop albums with a frequency rare in rock music (Black Veil Brides IV, released this week, is their fourth since 2010), but somehow manage to radically reinvent themselves, musically and visually, with each one. Once wing-haired Warped Tour kids in hoodies, they’ve morphed into mascara’d metalcore wagon-jumpers, and, more recently, into full-blown arena-ready glamsters, replete with twin-guitar harmonizing, ludicrous cymbal arrays, and reverse-engineered Mötley Crüe wardrobes. Now going toe to toe with former tourmates Avenged Sevenfold for anthemic world domination, BVB — who retain only one original member in perpetually hoarse frontman Andy Biersack — prove that heavy metal can thrive in the short-attention-span smartphone era if it, too, is easily distracted. — Paul Rogers
Sunday, November 2
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Don’t mistake MS MR’s ready-to-serve pop for run-of-the-mill Top 40 fodder. The New York City–based duo of Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow delivered on the glittery sonic promises made on their much-licensed EP, Candy Bar Creep Show, with the 2013 debut album, Secondhand Rapture. Hershenow’s chiseled, electronics-propelled melodies are deepened and darkened by Plapinger’s rich voice and moody lyrics. There is a bitter, almost sinister undertone to the easily accessible pop on Secondhand Rapture; see the creepy “Salty Sweet.” This ominous quality is cushioned in the finger-snapping hooks of “Think of You,” cleverly disguised in the irresistible “Hurricane,” and barely perceptible on the driving “Bones.” Live, MS MR’s taut performance is like never-ending bursts of color, a perfect second day for Red Bull Sound Select Presents: 30 Days in L.A. — Lily Moayeri