Fall concerts in Los Angeles: Critic's picks

Check out our critic's picks for must-see fall concerts in Los Angeles, from fests to local and big name bands.

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There are tons of must-see fall concerts in Los Angeles. We help you sift through it all with our critics' picks, from fests such as Rock the Bells and Way Over Yonder to LA bands like the eponymous Local Natives, plus big name tickets like Animal Collective and Fiona Apple.

Rock the Bells

  • Critics choice

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, high-profile hip hop festival Rock the Bells is returning to San Bernadino's San Manuel Amphitheater (2575 Glen Helen Pkwy). Catch artists like Kid Cudi, Girl Talk, Common and many more, as well as an exclusive 20-year anniversary performance by Wu-Tang Clan and original virtual performances from Ol' Dirty Bastard and Eazy-E.

Photo courtesy the Zombies

The Zombies

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

After 51 years together, the current incarnation of the Zombies isn't quite what it once was. In their British Invasion heyday, the Zombies made music of subtlety and sophistication, culminating in the psychedelic masterpiece Odessey and Oracle. Today's band, led by original singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent, trades much of the musical and emotional nuance of their vintage work for arena-rock bombast. However, changed or not, these guys are the stuff of legend and worth checking out.

  1. The Observatory 3503 S Harbor Blvd
  2. Until Tue Sep 10
Buy tickets

Photo courtesy Local Natives

Local Natives + Wild Nothing

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The venues keep getting bigger for this beloved Silver Lake five-piece. No surprise here: their soaring, sweetly melodic and slightly mournful alt.pop—which tips its hat to Simon & Garfunkel, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene—is made for stages like the Greek. Support comes from Wild Nothing, Jack Tatum’s deliciously dreamy ’80s-style one-man band.

  1. Greek Theatre 2700 N Vermont Ave, in Griffith Park
  2. Fri Sep 13
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Mad Decent Block Party

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Summer is prime time for block parties, but we're guessing the ones on your street won't play host to Matt & Kim, so this one is, admittedly, mad decent. (Actually, the name comes from Diplo's Mad Decent record label.) The touring concert's SoCal stop at LA Center Studios (1201 W 5th St) will also feature Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Riff Raff, Sasha Go Hard, the Party Squad and more. And judging by the flier, apparently animated tacos, tires and cacti will play some role as well.

Fidlar

Fidlar Photo courtesy Fidlar

Fidlar + The Orwells

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The rambunctious, young L.A. garage-rockers of Fidlar pump out snotty, lo-fi songs about smoking weed, getting laid and being broke: The band's recent EP, Don't Try, is a must-listen for fans of Harlem or early Black Lips. Most notable is the band's ability to inspire even the most demure of crowds to toss beers in the air, pogo and shove each other—so be warned.

  1. The Observatory 3503 S Harbor Blvd
  2. Until Thu Sep 19
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Maceo Parker.

Maceo Parker. Photo courtesy Beach Ball

The Beach Ball Soul Revue and Reggae Fest

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The inaugural Beach Ball brings a little bit of love and groove to the Santa Monica Pier. Those old wooden planks will get a workout from all of the stomping and skanking at this two-day music festival. A KCRW-sponsored lineup splits the weekend into soul on Saturday and reggae on Sunday.

  1. Santa Monica Pier 200 Santa Monica Pier
  2. Until Sun Sep 22
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Woodsist Festival.

Woodsist Festival. Photo courtesy Woodsist Festival

Woodsist Festival

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Woodsist has been a go-to destination festival for a few years now, nestled between the huge redwoods of Big Sur’s Henry Miller Library. This year it expands with an extra day at another excellent venue, storied Pappy & Harriet’s in the Pioneertown desert near Joshua Tree National Park (53688 Pioneertown Rd). Join an intimate group of nature-loving hipsters at either location and mellow out to the shoegaze sounds of bands including buzzy Foxygen, Real Estate, Woodsist label/festival founder’s band Woods and several more. Tickets for Big Sur sold out in under 10 minutes, so be punctual if you plan to snatch up tickets to the 400-miles-closer second weekend in Pioneertown, on sale May 7th at noon.

Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent Photo courtesy Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Phosphorescent is a Brooklyn (by way of Athens, Georgia) band featuring singer-songwriter Matthew Houck and a cast of hirsute rogues. Houck’s voice cracks and moans in ways reminiscent of Will Oldham, yet over the course of five albums, he’s become something of a bona fide rock star. Catch him at the El Rey.

  1. El Rey Theatre 5515 Wilshire Blvd, between Burnside & Dunsmuir Avenues Miracle Mile
  2. Until Mon Sep 30
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Allah-Las

Allah-Las Photograph: Courtesy Allah-Las

Allah-Las + Jacco Gardner

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Rocking LA quartet Allah-Las combine the West Coast psychedelic sound of the Doors with garage and R&B. Three of the members used to work at Hollywood’s Amoeba when they formed in ‘08, so you know you can trust their taste in music. Joining them is fellow ‘60s enthusiast Jacco Gardner, a young Dutch multi-instrumentalist with a catchy baroque pop repertoire.

  1. Troubadour 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, at N Doheny Dr
  2. Wed Oct 2
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Neko Case

Neko Case

Way Over Yonder

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Folk lovers are definitely not starved in LA. There's the Echo's summer-long Grand Ole Echo Sundays, Old Time is a Good Time's yearly Old Time Social, the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and of course, the New LA Folk Fest—all of which mainly focus on amazing local acts. But when it comes to festivals featuring big-name artists, the pickins are slim: Diehard fans often travel to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco, Pickathon in Oregon or even the Telluride Bluegrass festival in Colorado to get their fill. Enter Way Over Yonder, LA's first big ol' folk fest—and the West coast offshoot of Rhode Island's famed Newport Folk Fest, which has been introducing new folk acts (such as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, maybe you've heard of them?) since 1959. Boasting impressive acts such as Calexico, Neko Case, First Aid Kit and Conor Oberst, this two-day festival is bound to strike a chord with music-loving Angelenos—and might just have folks traveling South to get their old-timey music fix for a change. Yip! Check out the lineup here.

  1. Santa Monica Pier 200 Santa Monica Pier
  2. Sat Sep 27 - Sun Sep 28
More info
Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple Photograph: Courtesy of the Fun Star

Fiona Apple

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Fiona had us hooked with “Criminal” off her debut album Tidal—way before she took home a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the riveting single—in 1996. After three subsequent albums (and a lengthy hiatus) the heartbreaker made a comeback in 2012 with a record that could easily create a new award category (Most Tongue Twisting Title) but reminded us all of why we loved her in the first place. After a few performances at SXSW, she returns to Los Angeles with groovy guitarist Blake Mills—keep all your fingers and toes crossed that she'll play "Hot Knife."

  1. Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 S Grand Ave, between W 2nd & W 3rd Sts
  2. Tue Oct 8
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Culture Collide Festival

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Filter Magazine's cosmopolitan music festival brings together big names and buzzworthy bands from around the world. Discover your next favorite artist while venue-hopping around Echo Park for four days after a separately ticketed kick-off party with Phoenix and Dinosaur Jr. The weekend's lineup features the Raveonettes (Denmark), Miami Horror (Australia), King Khan & the Shrines (Canada, Germany) and many more. Last year's creative performance spaces included the local Whole Foods and inside flying airplanes. But take note: The down-to-earth fest has a strict "no fashion headdress" policy. Check the website for a detailed schedule.

  1. Various locations in L.A.
  2. Thu Oct 16 - Sat Oct 18
More info
Angel City Jazz Festival

Angel City Jazz Festival

Angel City Jazz Festival

  • Critics choice

The Angel City Jazz Festival presents every type of jazz you can think of, at five venues stretching over two weekends. Innovative jazz musicians from the West Coast and around the world will perform; the festival presents established jazz artists as well as lesser known emerging talent, with a focus on west coast creative styles from some super cool cats. The theme for 2013's festival is “Metamorphosis: Artists on the Cutting Edge of Change.”

  1. Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) 631 W 2nd St
  2. Fri Sep 19 - Mon Sep 29
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The Dodos

The Dodos Photograph: Courtesy The Dodos

The Dodos + Dustin Wong

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Terrifically unpredictable San Francisco duo The Dodos, who expand to a three-piece live, make clanking, stomping, euphoric, twisted psych-folk. They have been compared to Animal Collective and Akron/Family, and are dropping by the El Rey to plug their fifth full-length, Carrier. Joining them will be skilled guitar-loop soundscapist Dustin Wong, formerly of Ponytail.

  1. El Rey Theatre 5515 Wilshire Blvd, between Burnside & Dunsmuir Avenues Miracle Mile
  2. Tue Oct 15
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Animal Collective

Animal Collective Photograph: Trec Rental

Animal Collective

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Animal Collective’s David Portner, a.k.a. Avey Tare, has always been fascinated by the idea of an alien band. If you’ve ever experienced the glitchy beatscapes, oddly stretched-out melodies and synthesized digital mayhem of the group’s epic live shows, then you have a taste for what he’s talking about. Get ready, as the avant-pop MVPs will bring their spacey, jammy anthems to the Wiltern, where they'll celebrate the release of their latest pleasantly perplexing opus, Centipede Hz.

  1. The Wiltern 3790 Wilshire Blvd
  2. Until Mon Oct 21
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Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib Photograph: Courtesy Hanni El Khatib

Hanni El Khatib + Bass Drum of Death

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Buzzy LA-via-SF blues-punk rocker Hanni El Khatib knocks out distorted riffs and soulful growls sure to appeal to fans of the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Khatib, of Palestinian and Filipino descent, also churns out some unexpectedly sweet songs like “Penny,” which has caught the full attention of local radio stations. Joining him at the Glass House are Mississippi's Bass Drum of Death with blown-out yet super-hooky punk in the vein of FIDLAR.

  1. The Glass House 200 W Second St
  2. Until Thu Oct 24
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