The LA Setlist: May 27 - June 2, 2024

The Best Los Angeles Concerts

Avril Lavigne
Photo: Avril Lavigne

The United States includes more than 330 large cities, with populations of 100,000 or more. No concert tour can possibly include them all, but almost every tour stops in Los Angeles. So, if your favorite artist is skipping your area on their next trek, make the trip to LA and, while you’re here, enjoy the city’s myriad other attractions, from dining and nightlife to beaches and mountains.

Here are some LA live shows well worth a drive or flight, May 28 – June 1.

The Kid Laroi: The First Time Tour at LA Coliseum
The Kid Laroi: The First Time Tour | Photo: LA Coliseum

The Kid Laroi - The Torch at LA Coliseum (May 28)

The Kid Laroi’s repeatedly expanded F*ck Love mixtape, which topped US and multiple global charts in 2021, was always going to be hard to follow. Considering that the Australian rapper/singer was still a teen while recording his debut album, it’s little surprise that last year’s The First Time sometimes tries a little too hard. An arch collaborator who previously had hits with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, he packs The First Time with “feats,” including Central Cee, Jungkook, and even jazzy Grammy winner Robert Glasper. The Kid’s Auto-Tuned, Post Malone-ish pop/emo/rap/R&B mélange works best on tracks with fewer co-writers like “What Went Wrong???” and “Kids Are Growing Up.” Some other songs, with up to ten writers apiece, suffer from lowest-common-denominator bet-hedging. The Kid Laroi should have more faith in his own songcraft, but this genre-straddling prodigy will whip up a wild night at the outdoor Torch, nonetheless. Tickets on sale at AXS.

Weedeater at Transplants Brewing Company in Palmdale
Weedeater | Photo: Transplants Brewing Company

Weedeater - Transplants Brewing Company (May 28)

Weedeater are a proudly Southern stoner/sludge metal band who love a good pun. Their singer/bassist once shot his big toe off; they sell their own hot sauce; and their debut album was cheekily titled … And Justice for Y’all. After a trio of Steve Albini-produced albums saw them break into the Billboard Heatseekers chart, the Wilmington, North Carolina outfit hasn’t released a full-length since 2015’s water-treading Goliathan. The challenge for Weedeater is that their consistently solid, bong-fueled fare has, while hitting all the requisite genre marks, largely stood still while the scene around it has delved beyond just slowed-down Sabbath riffing to truly bowel-loosening depths of doom that Weedeater, intentionally or otherwise, haven’t yet plumbed. But it’s not every day that weed metal of this caliber wafts into Palmdale, so this show at the excellent and expansive Transplants Brewing Company should be blazing on multiple levels. Tickets on sale at Ticketweb.

Weedeater will also perform an all-ages show at The Regent Theater in Downtown LA on May 30.

Miki Berenyi Trio at the Fonda Theatre
Miki Berenyi Trio | Photo: Fonda Theatre

Miki Berenyi Trio - Fonda Theatre (May 29)

Lush were a critically adored band who, unlike most of their shoegaze/Britpop peers, prioritized the U.S. market and toured stateside extensively during the early 1990s, including on the then-traveling Lollapalooza fest. The original quartet split in ‘96, though a retooled version briefly reappeared twenty years later. Much of the focus on Lush centered upon photogenic flame-haired singer/guitarist Miki Berenyi who, judging by the theater-sized venues on her current trio tour, retains a small legion of American fans. Formed following the publication of Berenyi’s 2022 memoir, Fingers Crossed, the Miki Berenyi Trio is completed by her partner, guitarist KJ McKillop (formerly of Moose), and multi-instrumentalist Oliver Cherer (aka folktronic fixture Gilroy Mere and a member of UK buzz band Aircooled) on bass. While MBT’s drummerless format is unorthodox, fear not – Berenyi’s instantly-recognizable, dreamily melancholic voice endures and, yes, they play Lush songs (including “Light From A Dead Star” and “Leaves Me Cold”). Tickets on sale at AXS.

Evangelia: Feels Like Greek Summer Tour at The Paramount
Evangelia: Feels Like Greek Summer Tour | Photo: The Paramount

Evangelia - The Paramount (May 30)

Evangelia’s music reflects an upbringing divided between the Mediterranean island of Crete and New Jersey, which fuses her modern, danceable pop with traditional Greek folk influences. A magnetic presence who often collaborates with her songwriter/producer partner Stolar (Demi Lovato, Aloe Blacc), she led a double life as stateside schoolteacher and platinum-selling star in Greece before her breathily sensual vibrato and subtly exotic arrangements landed an international record deal. Last year’s ultra-escapist, summery single “Let’s Go MIA” plays up Evangelia’s roots, it’s lighthearted green-screen video featuring scenes of seaside orchards and Greek countryside through which she strolls, dances, and even juggles, with only the incongruous application of Auto-Tune bursting its transporting bubble. The similarly Greek-themed “Aphrodite” is a more subtle, sultry effort that leans into her nuanced timbre. And Evangelia can really deliver on stage, as evidenced by her 2020 stripped-down duo taping at Downtown LA’s Belasco Theatre. Tickets to the all-ages show at The Paramount are on sale at Dice.

Avril Lavigne: Greatest Hits Tour at Kia Forum
Avril Lavigne: Greatest Hits Tour | Photo: Kia Forum

Avril Lavigne - Kia Forum (May 30)

With something of a pop-punk revival underway amidst an upswell in broader 2000s nostalgia, mega-selling Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne reverted to the genre she helped define for 2022’s Love Sux album. Though it hasn’t returned the poster girl for the Blink-182 generation to the giddy heights of her multi-million-selling 2002 debut, Let Go and follow-up Under My Skin, Love Sux received the most glowing critical reception of her career, perhaps in part because today’s reviewers include peers who also have skateboards and checkered wrist warmers in their attics. Boasting back-to-front bangers, the guitar-heavy but polished Love Sux finds the late-30s Lavigne revisiting classic teen themes on songs like “Bois Lie” and “Love It When You Hate Me.” Features include Machine Gun Kelly, Blackbear, and Mark Hoppus, with co-production from Hoppus’ Blink-182 bandmate Travis Barker, who released the record on his DTA imprint. Tickets on sale at AXS.

Freestyle Fiesta at Don Quixote
Freestyle Fiesta at Don Quixote | Photo: Eventbrite

Sa-Fire - Don Quixote (May 31)

Sa-Fire was one of only a handful of freestyle artists who crossed over into mainstream pop, chiefly with her 1989 ballad “Thinking of You,” which lacked many of the genre’s trademarks. Principally an East Coast phenomenon, notably in New York City and Miami, freestyle also enjoyed a following in areas of California, including Los Angeles. A fusion of sensual R&B and the mechanical synthesized beats that then-new technology allowed, the likes of Shannon and Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam brought freestyle to national airwaves in the early ‘80s, while Sa-Fire was still coming up in East Harlem and then working as a session vocalist. Although she scored three more minor U.S. hits, “Thinking of You” remains her theme song and will surely be a highlight of this nostalgic Freestyle Fiesta at East LA’s Don Quixote. Also appearing are genre standouts Rockell (“In a Dream”), Shana (“I Want You”) and Christina Marie. Tickets at Eventbrite.

The Chameleons
The Chameleons | Photo: Live Nation

The Chameleons - The Belasco (May 31)

While not the most successful of the Brit post-punk bands of the 1980s, or even of the Manchester scene from which they emerged, the Chameleons have aged incredibly well. A nearly quarter-century absence (less a 2000-2003 reunion) has only made regard for their art grow fonder, as witnessed during last year’s US tour with The Mission. At the LA stop at the Belasco Theatre, around a third of the crowd left after the Chameleons’ set. On this headlining run, the Chameleons are performing their dreamy 1986 album Strange Times in its entirety. The album’s recent vanishing from streaming platforms, apparently due to a publishing dispute, will only make these shows more welcome among the faithful. And with half of the Chameleons’ classic lineup – vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess and guitarist Reg Smithies – aboard, and the other members being from Burgess’ interim incarnation ChameleonsVox, we’ll be getting something very close to the real deal. Tickets on sale at Live Nation.

Arturo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval | Photo: Lonnie Timmons III

Arturo Sandoval - Catalina Jazz Club (May 31 & June 1)

It says much about the passion of jazz virtuoso Arturo Sandoval that, even as he entered his seventies, he was posting new compositions on social media almost daily during lockdown. Some of those pieces reemerged on his most recent album, Rhythm & Soul in 2022. From impoverished beginnings in Cuba, the 10-time Grammy winner defected to the U.S. with the help of mentor and fellow jazz trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie in 1989. Also an accomplished pianist, Sandoval shows little sign of slowing down at age 74, still booking multiple monthly engagements all over North America and Europe. For this two-night stand at Catalina Jazz Club, incongruously slotted into the ground floor of a Hollywood office building, Sandoval will perform with his touring band. If you can’t snag tickets for these certain sell-outs, he returns to LA at Walt Disney Concert Hall with a big band on December 23.

Generacion Suicida
Generacion Suicida | Photo: Spotify

Generacion Suicida - The Midnight Hour (June 1)

True to their motto of “musica del barrio, para el barrio” (“music from the neighborhood, for the neighborhood”), Generacion Suicida’s DIY punk reflects their experience in South Central LA. The fiercely independent foursome crafts clean-guitar melodo-punk indebted to the Ramones, Adverts and old-school Killed by Death compilation albums, sung in Spanish. Formed in 2010 and initially performing literally in their own, often over-stuffed backyard, the self-managing band has since played across dozens of countries and multiple continents while honing (but never compromising) their vision. Focused on the stoic intensity of mohawked frontman Tony Abarca and the mesmerizing self-taught technique of drummer Kiwi Martinez, Generacion Suicida set themselves apart with Mario Quezada’s surfy guitar twang and sometimes Cure-ish textures. While they’ve gotten faster since their learning-on-the-job beginnings, Generacion Suicida is a band that holds its nerve and makes its point at often moderate tempos, rather than pandering to pit-stoking speed for speed’s sake. Tickets to the all-ages show are on sale at Dice.