The best upcoming concerts in L.A.
Everyone’s favorite NPR affiliate has a hand in over a half-dozen summer concert slates at locations like One Colorado, the Hammer Museum and KCRW’s new Santa Monica headquarters. But the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza have become a particular favorite. Familiar KCRW personalities like Garth Trinidad, Travis Holcombe, Anne Litt and Jason Bentley spin the tunes at these food truck-fueled block parties. Regardless of the location—including the oceanfront offshoot, Twilight on the Pier—you really can’t go wrong with any evening spent at Summer Nights.
The Skirball puts on its annual series of free summer concerts, highlighting indie, folk and world music from L.A. and beyond. Guests can arrive early and visit the museum’s galleries for free, dine under the stars and grab a seat for the show in the beautiful central courtyard. Attendees are encouraged to sing along, dance in the aisles and gather at the foot of the stage to celebrate with the performers. The concert is free, but parking is $15.
If you’ve caught Jack White live recently, you’ve almost surely heard him play “Steady As She Goes,” the signature single from his side project, the Raconteurs. It’s been a long 11 years since the entire band assembled on an L.A. stage to tackle the track together, but they’re coming back for some more bluesy, pounding psychedelia. Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, Patrick Keeler and White will play the Greek Theatre this July—the Raconteur’s first L.A. show since playing that same venue back in 2008. As part of a larger world tour, the set will come on the heels of their forthcoming release, Help Us Stranger. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday, April 12 at 10am, with a presale beginning Tuesday, April 9 at 10am. Each ticket comes with a physical copy of the new album. As is typical with White-related live shows, you’ll need to stash your phone for the performance: photo and video-capturing devices will be secured in a Yondr pouch for the duration of the show.
Ride the monorail to the Getty on select evenings during the summer for this experimental series of ephemeral performances. Formerly known as Friday Flights, the monthly series includes live music and a cash bar, and it takes its name from an engraving that marks the entrance to Robert Irwin’s central garden at the museum: “Ever present / Never twice the same / Ever changing / Never less than whole.”
Though locally born EDM juggernaut HARD Summer has hopped around Southern California in recent years, its dedication to bringing the biggest names in the hip-hop and electronic scene. Kid Cudi, Major Lazer, RL Grime, Dillon Francis, Alison Wonderland top the lineup, with a slew of high-profile back-to-back performances: Excision and Nghtmre, Flosstradamus and 4B, and Zhu and Tchami, among them.
For this inaugural fest, Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li has assembled an all-female lineup of musicians that ranks among this summer’s best festival lineups. In addition to Lykke Li, Cat Power, Courtney Love and the Chateau Band, Cat Power, SOPHIE, CupcakKe, Megan Thee Stallion, Kelsey Lu and Empress Of have all been tapped to play the single-day fest at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Yola Día (initially announced as Yola Fest, and later moved from June 8 to August 18) takes its name from Yola Mezcal, a female-run venture from Yola Jimenez, Gina Correll Aglietti and Lykke Li. A portion of proceeds will go to the Downtown Women’s Center.
The trip-hop icons celebrate the 21st anniversary of their Mezzanine album with what’s being billed as a totally new audio/visual production. Excitingly, they’ll be joined by Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins, who sang on three Mezzanine tracks including the hauntingly beautiful “Teardrop.”
Vampire Weekend aren’t phoneys. Firstly, they chose their name before the whole prepubescent Twilight craze kicked off. What’s more, they all studied musicology, making them that rare thing on today’s rock scene: a band who know their shit. Their music, a hybrid of pop, rock and South African influences which they’ve dubbed ‘Upper West Side Soweto’, certainly reveals a careful craft and intelligence. See them play the Bowl in support of their latest record, Father of the Bride.
The great bard of Irish R&B turns up for a show at the Hollywood Bowl. You never know what you’re going to get from a Van gig—or what mood the famously prickly singer-songsmith will turn up in—but he remains one of the least contrived performers of his generation. While Morrison’s vocals might have diminished over the years, his penchant for thrilling improvisational risk remains very much intact.
The Who—that is, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, some other musicians and two very prominent ghosts—come to town on their “Moving On!” tour. Despite the name, though, this isn’t a farewell scenario; instead, the band is pegging this as a new chapter, with their first new album in over a decade due out as well. See them during a pair of orchestra-backed shows at the Hollywood Bowl.