Best concerts in L.A. this week: The Smell’s anniversary celebration, Califone, Glass Beach

The band Califone plays a free show at Gold Diggers on Jan. 2
(John Adams)

Kick off 2020 by rediscovering some of the L.A. area’s finest musical offerings. Local artists, small venues and free gigs shine this week as major touring acts take a break in the post-holiday lull.

Jan. 2
The experimental rock outfit has spent the last two decades exploring the boundaries between noise, acoustic textures and film, having formed in wake of the blues-rock project Red Red Meat. The group, featuring frontman Tim Rutili, producer Brian Deck and percussionist Ben Massarella, brings its immersive multimedia show to the intimate confines of Gold Diggers this week for a free show.

Gold Diggers, 5632 Santa Monica Blvd.

Jan. 3
Few L.A. punk acts are as influential as this hardcore staple. Join the Long Beach band in celebrating 40 years of an ever-evolving sound that delves deep into punk’s subgenres, ranging from deathrock to art punk to pop-inflected riffs. Local punk mainstays Smut Peddlers and D.F.L will open.


Regent Theater, 448 S. Main St. Tickets cost $15.

Jan. 3 and 4
The Smell’s 22nd Anniversary Celebration
Despite threats of an impending closure, the all-ages D.I.Y. hub is still going strong. The venue will celebrate 22 years as a key incubator for local art and music with two nights of artists who have come to define its legacy. Friday features performances by Together Pangea, VerBS, the Bob Baker Theater Marionettes and more, with Saturday headed up by No Age, Xiu Xiu, Greg Saunier of Deerhoof and others.

The Smell, 247 S. Main St. Tickets cost $20 per night.

Jan. 4
Glass Beach
The self-described post-emo outfit emerged in 2019 as a buzz darling of the alternative scene, merging post-rock, synth-pop and jazz for a striking sound all its own. After recently signing to Run for Cover Records, the L.A. band will re-release its acclaimed debut, “the first glass beach record,” on Jan. 24. The quartet likely won’t be playing cozy venues like All Star Lanes for much longer.

All Star Lanes, 4459 Eagle Rock Blvd. Tickets are $10.

Jan. 4 and 5
The Echo’s F.O.M.O Week 2020
The Echo returns with its annual week of free shows spotlighting rising local talent. This year’s selection features the frenetic post-punk of the Gems and Darkplay, psych-garage from Send Medicine and Oriah, the flamboyant rock of DMTina and the Bumps, and many more ripe for discovery.

The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd.

Jan. 6
Music for the City
Folk, comedy and indie rock join forces as local favorites Bedouine, Tim Heidecker (of Tim and Eric) and Nick Thorburn (of Islands and the Unicorns) take the stage alongside special guests for an evening in support of Nithya Raman, a City Council District 4 candidate and former Time’s Up entertainment director.

The Hi Hat, 5043 York Blvd. Tickets cost $15.