2014 fall concert critics' picks

Check out our critics' 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 the options with our top picks, from fests such as Way Over Yonder to big name tickets like Pixies and Crosby, Stills & Nash.


 


Earth.

Earth. Photograph: Courtesy Earth

Earth

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The veteran Seattle band that grew out of the city's '90s grunge scene has evolved past being simply frontman Dylan Carson and a bass guitarist. It now features an expanded lineup playing the lengthy, heady instrumentals, with a dash of country influence. Hear the pioneers of drone doom as they play behind their brand-new tenth studio album, Primitive and Deadly, at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever. Special guest King Dude opens the night.

  1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Blvd
  2. Until Thu Sep 11
Buy tickets
Mick Rossi

Mick Rossi Photograph: Courtesy Slaughter & The Dogs

Slaughter & The Dogs

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Nearly forty years in the making, these Bowie-inspired 70s British punkers continue to bring down rock houses the world over. After a couple decades playing band member musical chairs, the foursome settled in '96 on Wayne Barrett, Mick Rossi, Noel Kay, Jean Pierre Thollet; and this has remained the longest running lineup in Slaughter & The Dogs history. They haven't released a new album in over ten years, but nostalgic glam punk fans catch them play the classics at The Observatory in Santa Ana this September.

  1. The Observatory 3503 S Harbor Blvd
  2. Until Sat Sep 13
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Unlocking the Truth.

Unlocking the Truth. Photograph: Courtesy Unlocking the Truth

Unlocking the Truth

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

These pint-sized rockers (none of them is over 13!) garnered attention for their performances in Times Square, earning themselves a record deal and a slot at this year's Coachella—they're the youngest group to ever play the fest. Hear the Brooklyn metal band at the Troubadour and see what the hype is about before the trio records its first album.

  1. Troubadour 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, at N Doheny Dr
  2. Until Sat Sep 13
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Karen O

Karen O Photograph: Courtesy the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Karen O at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Frontwoman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O debuts her first solo album, Crush Songs, on September 9, and shortly after its release you'll have the chance to see her at the intimate Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. True fans of KO can also attend a listening party hosted by Sofar Sounds on August 27 and hear the deluxe vinyl version of the album early. Tickets for the Masonic Lodge show, which are limited to 2 per person, go on sale August 15.

  1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Blvd
  2. Until Fri Sep 19
Buy tickets

Fatboy Slim

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Having conquered the world and its radio airwaves with his big beat antics (and by making Christopher Walken dance maniacally in one of his videos), Norman Cook has quite a track record. Considering the fact the top U.K. producer also doesn't play out much any more, tickets for this Shrine Expo Hall show are moving fast. "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat" to his raucous blend of house, funk, hip-hop and electro as he plays behind his latest mix album, Fatboy Slim Presents Bem Brasil.

  1. Shrine Auditorium & Expo Center 665 W Jefferson Blvd
  2. Until Thu Sep 18
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Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird Photograph: Cameron Wittig

Caetano Veloso + Andrew Bird + Devendra Banhart

  • Critics choice

Prodigious musical bravado comes to the Hollywood Bowl this fall by way of three first-rate acts. We start off with the hero of Tropicalia, who returns with a new album, "Abraçaço"—the fifty-second record for the Brazilian artist. Built on foundations of Tropicalia, Veloso's hypnotic style mixes Brazilian popular music, rock guitar riffs, funk Carioca and pop arrangements. He's joined by cassically trained violinist (in the Suzuki method), leftfield singer-songwriter, guitarist, master whistler and Chicago native Andrew Bird, supporting his most recent release I Want to See Pulaski at Night. Rounding out the trio is psycho folk Devendra Banhart, who, a decade since his first album, is no less wonderful and no less weird—the irresistible lead single from Banhart’s new album, Mala, is inspired by Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century nun, mystic and composer. Catch these three for a unique evening of top-notch listening September 21. Tickets on sale May 4.

  1. Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 21
More info
Temples

Temples Photograph: Courtesy Tempes

Temples

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Fronted by Marc Bolan look-alike James Edward Bagshaw, British psychedelic rock group Temples has won the admiration of Oasis's Noel Gallagher and Smiths man, Johnny Marr. The analogue fetishists play extremely retro psych-pop like a drier, more period-authentic Tame Impala. The released their Heavenly Records debut album, Sun Structures, earlier this year. Catch them play an intimate gig September 26 at The Glass House.

  1. The Glass House 200 W Second St
  2. Until Fri Sep 26
Buy tickets
Pixies

Pixies Photograph: Courtesy Pixies

Pixies + Gogol Bordello + Cat Power

  • Critics choice

Pioneering alt-rockers Pixies are back in LA to scratch and scream their way through selections from their four classic albums, in addition to a new release, Indie Cindy, their first batch of new material in over two decades. Neither Kim (Deal nor Shattuck) is with the band anymore, so the lineup now looks like this: Black Francis, David Lovering, Joey Santiago and Paz Lenchantin. The new EP and members have given some renewed purpose to the band's ten-year reunion tour. They're joined at the Hollywood Bowl by your favorite high-energy gypsy-punks, Gogol Bordello, as well as mysterious indie crooner Cat Power. Ticket sales begin May 4.

  1. Hollywood Bowl 2301 N Highland Ave
  2. Until Sun Sep 28
More info
Way Over Yonder Folk Festival

Way Over Yonder Folk Festival Photograph: Joshua Thaisen

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. Now in its second year and boasting impressive acts such as Local Natives, Heartless Bastards, Moses Sumney, Jackson Browne and Lucinda Williams, this two-day festival strikes 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 (which doesn't strike us as super folky, we must admit...) here.

  1. Santa Monica Pier 200 Santa Monica Pier
  2. Until Sun Sep 28
More info
The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs Photograph: Dusdin Condren

The War On Drugs

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Philly's the War on Drugs is a strong outfit built around the Dylanesque songwriting of Adam Granduciel. Though Kurt Vile left the band a while ago, its colorful dreaminess is reminiscent of his solo work—but it's probably even sharper. The group's latest is Lost in the Deam—a magnificent album that begs to be played on a road trip, or on a sunny back patio with a few beers and a joint. Live, the band can jam with the best of them—and should be a treat at the intimate Fonda.

  1. The Fonda Theatre 6126 Hollywood Blvd, between N El Centro Ave & N Gower St
  2. Until Fri Oct 3
Buy tickets
Crosby, Stills & Nash

Crosby, Stills & Nash Photograph: Courtesy Crosby, Stills & Nash

Crosby, Stills & Nash

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The Anglo-American folk-rock supergroup comes together again for a westward visit, and with a band name like that, you can be sure it's sure the original line-up. David Crosby of The Byrds, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of The Hollies were at the center of the Laurel Canyon scene in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and their trademark vocal harmonies are more influential than ever nowadays thanks to the success of bands like Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons. The group itself might seem a bit quaint now—especially sans Young—but you can't knock the transporting power of a piece like "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

  1. Greek Theatre 2700 N Vermont Ave, in Griffith Park
  2. Sat Oct 4
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Elton John

Elton John Photograph: Courtesy Elton John

Elton John

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

For twice the length of Justin Bieber's entire life, Sir Elton John has answered to the title of Pop King. Thanks to his musical diversity and relevance, both artistic and cultural (need we mention the fact that he made Lady Gaga the godmither of his son?), Elton John has solidly maintained his royalty. In more recent years, we reveled in the unexpected delights of his recent collaboration album with Leon Russell and 2013's reflective solo release, The Diving Board, but we're sure glad to see Sir Elton play a big ol' greatest-hits show: Swoon along to "Tiny Dancer," make juvenile hand gestures to "Crocodile Rock" and smile meaningfully at your folks during "Can You Feel the Love Tonight." It might be one of your last in-concert opportunities to see Elton John do what he's done best for half a century. Don't miss it.

  1. Staples Center 1111 S Figueroa St
  2. Sat Oct 4 - Sun Oct 5
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Photograph: Courtesy The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

It's been 4 years since The New Pornogaphers have released an album, but we most definitely haven't forgotten about them; their sixth album, Brill Bruisers, has been a long time coming. The pop/indie-rock group—composed of notable artists such as A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Dan Bejar—saw their upbeat single "Moves" in multiple commercials back in 2011 and most recently came out with their latest single, "Bill Bruisers," in anticipation of the August release of their album. This outdoor performance will start off with opening act The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

  1. Pappy and Harriet's 53688 Pioneertown Road
  2. Wed Oct 15 - Fri Oct 17
Buy tickets
Moon Block Party.

Moon Block Party. Photograph: Courtesy Moon Block Party

Moon Block Party

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This underground rock 'n' roll festival from the same people behind Desert Daze returns to Pomona with an impressive lineup of indie darlings: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Black Angels, Band of Skulls, Black Lips, Tinariwen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Metz are just some of the highlights. There will be three music stages, plenty of food, drinks, shopping and even a costume contest. If you don't feel like making the long haul home after the show, make a night of it and join others who will be camping out nearby.

  1. Fairplex 1101 W McKinley Ave
  2. Sat Oct 18
Buy tickets

Tom Vek

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

British pop talent Tom Vek returns with new material after yet another long wait between albums. True, it's only been three years since his last record, Leisure Seizure—nothing compared to the six-year gap after We Have Sound—but that's still a long time to go without a fresh dose of Vek's Talking Heads-ish raw riffs, sharp edges and baritone vocals. His new tracks boast bigger beats and production, but still offer his unique "garage rock for the Pro Tools generation." Catch him during his first visit to the U.S. in three years this October, as he plays an intimate show at the Echo behind said new record, Luck.

  1. Echo 1822 W Sunset Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 23
Buy tickets
The Growlers.

The Growlers. Photograph: Courtesy the Growlers

Beach Goth

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

SoCal music festivals turn a little more eclectic and much more indie in the fall, between Pomona's Moon Block Party and this, the third annual Beach Goth at the Observatory. Beloved OC natives the Growlers are both headlining and co-presenting the Pauly Shore-hosted fest. Hop on one of the carnival rides or play a game of laser tag and then catch a set from the likes of the Drums, the Sweet & Tender Hooligans, Atlas Sound, Bleached, Mariachi El Bronx and more across three indoor and outdoor stages.

  1. The Observatory 3503 S Harbor Blvd
  2. Sat Oct 25
Buy tickets

Photograph: Courtesy The Coup

The Coup

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Over the past 20-plus years Boots Riley has been on the music scene with his radical political commentary, and he shows no signs of slowing down. The activist/vocalist/writer, joined by the musicians who make up The Coup, will play a 21+ show at The Satellite this November. Influenced by the punk, funk and hip-hop genres—think The Clash, Japanther and Rage Against the Machine—the band may not fit into one category, but always performs music that's "aggressive and danceable," according to Riley. Look out for songs from all 6 of their albums, including their latest, Sorry To Bother You (2012).

  1. The Satellite 1717 Silver Lake Blvd, at Effie St
  2. Thu Nov 6
Buy tickets
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz. Photograph: Courtesy Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The moodily charasmatic Strokes frontman follows up on a back-to-back performance at FYF (with both the Strokes and the Voidz) with a Wiltern show featuring his first solo venture since his solid 2009 debut, Phrazes for the Young. This time around, he and his new band tackle '80s punk and metal, as evidenced on their fall album, Tyranny.

  1. The Wiltern 3790 Wilshire Blvd
  2. Thu Nov 6
Buy tickets
Lo-Fang performs in support of Lorde at Roseland Ballroom on March 10, 2014.

Lo-Fang performs in support of Lorde at Roseland Ballroom on March 10, 2014. Photograph: Michael J. Chen

Rhye + Lo-Fang

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Mysterious L.A.-based electronic duo of Danish instrumentalist Robin Braun and Canadian singer Mike Milosh fooled a lot of ears when they released their early Rhye tracks. "Open" and "The Fall" were dead ringers for Sade, and many took Milosh's lush falsetto to be female. Alas, the mellow bedroom soul of debut album Woman is all-male. The band has been enigmatic with its publicity photos, so we're excited to finally see them in the flesh. Coming off of opening for Lorde, singer-songwriter Lo-Fang opens, in support of his recent debut, Blue Film. Both buzzworthy bands will perform at the beautiful Cathedral Sanctuary at Immanuel Presbyterian (3300 Wilshire Blvd.).

James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Irish folk singer James Vincent McMorrow, with his heartbreaking tunes and epic buildups, has been heralded as the next Bon Iver for the way he delivers strummed-out soul in his folky falsetto over lush harmonies. He arrives at The Theatre at Ace Hotel to play behind his genre-transcending second album, this year's Post Tropical.

  1. Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles 929 South Broadway
  2. Thu Nov 20
Buy tickets

Photo: Alex Shahmiri

Vance Joy

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Sunny singer-songwriter James Keogh (aka Vance Joy) releases his debut album, Dream Your Life Away, this fall, following the breakout success of last year's EP, God Loves You When You're Dancing—single "Riptide" has been in heavy radio rotation since. Think of him as the new, Aussie Jack Johnson. Catch him as he brings his ukelele-laden indie pop to the Fonda.

  1. The Fonda Theatre 6126 Hollywood Blvd, between N El Centro Ave & N Gower St
  2. Fri Nov 28
Buy tickets


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