Things are picking up in Los Angeles concert-wise as we head through the final quarter of 2016. Catfish and the Bottlemen, Gallant, Lush and the inaugural Music Tastes Good Festival in Long Beach are among our Best Shows This Week:
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
KAUF, DAGNY, Lily & Madeleine and TBA at Bardot’s School Night, free with RSVP
School Night is the best free weekly showcase happening in Los Angeles and it’s another good lineup this Monday. KAUF brings some dreamy electro grooves, check out the track “A Ruin” for what I’m talking about. Norwegian pop star Dagny’s single “Backbeat” has earned her a lot of buzz. Her entire Ultraviolet EP is strong track by track. Lily & Madeleine give me the same feels that The Head & The Heart vocalist Charity Rose Thielen does. Their brand of folksy pop is right in line with that sound. The fourth performer is still to be announced and School Night always delivers on their special surprises.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
Jack Garratt, Belasco Theater, $30.00, 7 PM
If you’re a fan of James Blake, Chet Faker and other downtempo electronic tunes, Jack Garratt is for you. I saw him open for MS MR last year at The Wiltern and he did a great job warming up the crowd. His name has been buzzing this year, due in large part to his great album Phase.
St. Paul & the Broken Bones, The Wiltern, $25.00, 7 PM
Probably one of my favorite sets from Coachella in 2015 were these guys. This six-piece soul band brings it, nobody more than singer Paul Janeway. This guy has so much swagger on stage, it’s incredible. I get goosebumps just thinking about their show. The new album that just dropped Sea of Noise is a great effort, they just keep getting better. The Wiltern is a perfect setting to catch them, don’t miss out.
Roosevelt, The Echo, $7.50 to $14.50, 8:30 PM
Love this dude’s brand of synthpop and you won’t find better value for your dollar this week. $15 or cheaper to see a show in LA is pretty spectacular. There’s such an overwhelming ’80s-early ’90s sound to this guy’s work and I’m curious to see how it translates to a live setting.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Gallant, Fonda Theatre, $23.00, 9 PM
Nobody is producing sex jams these days like Gallant. This guy could be the new R. Kelly without all the controversy. A lot of babies have been made to Gallant’s “Weight in Gold.” The dude brought out SEAL at his set at Coachella. SEAL. When you have Seal’s respect, it makes getting everyone else’s that much easier. His set at Coachella was damn good and I bet he brings it even more at his own gig. Gallant also has a Thursday gig, if you’re trying to get sexed up back-to-back nights with Marian Hill playing Wednesday.
Marian Hill, VERITE, SHAED, El Rey, $25.00, 8:30 PM
Marian Hill also brings the sexy jams. They have more of a jazz-infused R&B sound and it’s oh so glorious. Songs like “One Time” and “Sway” proliferated my summer chill playlists this year. I’ve also heard great things about both VERITE and SHAED. SHAED has especially gotten a lot of buzz. The trio is impressive, and vocalist Chelsea Lee can hit the craziest notes. She sort of reminds me of Misterwives frontwoman Mandy Lee with her vocal ability. This is a bill that you make sure you get there early to see everyone.
Lissie, Troubadour, $20.00 advance/$25.00 day-of-show, 8 PM
One of the first shows I saw in LA was Lissie at the Fonda Theatre. She was touring the excellent record Back to Forever with her full band. She’s on a solo tour at the moment in support of her latest album My Wild West, which has flown in under the radar but is fantastic. The Troubadour will serve as a nice backdrop to Lissie and her guitar.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Catfish & the Bottlemen, The Wiltern, $25.00, 8 PM
Probably one of my two or three favorite up-and-coming bands out there. And up-and-coming is a stretch. They’re opening for Mumford & Sons at the Greek earlier in the week. What I mean is these guys have the chance to be stadium rockers at some point in their future. They write killer hooks, songs that are great to singalong in big crowds. They’re The Killers meets Kings of Leon — but Brits. Their latest album The Ride has really grown on me after multiple listens. Their first record The Balcony was one of the strongest debut records I’d heard in awhile. As live performers, they really bring it. You can tell these guys are just having the best time on stage and it really translates to the crowd.
This legendary grunge-shoegaze group is always a joy to see live. Their set at FYF Fest last year was one of my favorite of the weekend. J. Mascic is the man, I don’t know what else to say. The song “Feel the Pain” is criminally underrated — the little jam breakdowns will make you rock out. Some people forget just how many great bands draw influence from Dinosaur Jr. — catch them in one of the best new venues in LA.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
Music Tastes Good Festival, downtown Long Beach, FRIDAY $25.00, 3-day GA $120.00
It’s always great to see a new festival added to the mix, especially in an area like Long Beach. I’ve never really hung out there and am stoked to check it out this weekend. Friday is more of a soft open for the festival. Rival Sons, rxBandits, Living Colour and Son Little are the more prominent acts performing that day. A single-day ticket is only $25.00. Read up on the festival here and buy a ticket.
Cold War Kids, Hollywood Palladium, $27.50, 7 PM
The Cold War Kids will have their LA homecoming at the large and open Palladium. They’ve really enjoyed an amazing 12 months, blowing up from solid indie credibility to mainstream success. It wasn’t overnight — they’ve been together for 10+ years. It’s a bummer this Long Beach outfit isn’t headlining their hometown festival that same weekend. They’re killer live.
Crystal Castles, Fonda Theatre, $27.50, 9 PM
It isn’t quite the same without Alice Glass, but Edith Frances fills in nicely for her. The new tunes from Ethan Kath’s project are all pretty good and I’ve had friends tell me you don’t even notice this isn’t quite the same duo. The Fonda seems like a cozy place to see them and it’s definitely one of the hot shows of the entire weekend.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
Music Tastes Good Festival, downtown Long Beach, SATURDAY $75.00, 3-day GA $120.00
The meat of this festival’s lineup performs Saturday, which is why the daily pass will run you $75.00. It’s still great value. You get to see an eclectic mix of acts. The Specials, Iron & Wine, Squeeze, Dr. Dog, Warpaint, Melvins, Vintage Trouble, METZ, Girlpool, The Dead Ships and countless others perform. Read up on the festival and check it out.
Sigur Ros, Hollywood Bowl, $20.00-$59.00, 7:30 PM
My very first music festival experience was Outside Lands in 2012. I chose Sigur Ros over Metallica on the first day and never looked back. It remains one of the most special live music experiences of my life. They sound so beautiful, it doesn’t even enter your head that they’re not singing in English.
Lush, Fonda Theatre, $35.00, 9 PM
These British shoegazers are performing make-up shows that were cancelled when they ran into visa issues around Coachella. They’ve thrown together some new times that show that their sound isn’t dated at all. Good things have floated around about their live shows and it’s cool to see them catch a second wind after the reunion.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
Music Tastes Good Festival, downtown Long Beach, SUNDAY $35.00, 3-day GA $120.00
The three-day inaugural festival closes up with headline performances from Sylvan Esso and De La Soul, along with Gallant. $35.00 just to see those three is a steal. Sylvan Esso has some new tunes in tow as they prepare for the follow-up to their killer self-titled debut. The electro-folk duo packs a mean punch and are always a joy live. De La Soul has a new album in tow as well and are fully back as though they never left.
Bloc Party, Bob Mould and Ezra Furman, Hollywood Bowl, $14.00-$151.00, 7 PM
A killer triple bill presented by KCRW — Bloc Party is headlining in support of their 2016 record Hymns. An especially affordable night out at the Bowl, we’re also giving out a pair of tickets to this one.