Best live music in L.A.: Playboy Jazz Festival, Go West Fest and more

Charli XCX
Go West Fest co-headliner Charli XCX attends the 2019 Met Gala in New York.
(Charles Sykes / Invision / AP)

Between Pride and the arrival of summer, there’s plenty to celebrate in the week ahead for L.A. live music.

Playboy Jazz Festival

Jazz legends and fresh talent join forces this weekend for the return of an annual festival favorite at the Hollywood Bowl. The two-day event features a robust lineup including Boz Scaggs, Angélique Kidjo, the Family Stone, the Maceo Parker Big Band, Sheila E., Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Harold López-Nussa, Sona Jobarteh, Benny Golson’s 90th Birthday Quartet and many more. George Lopez will host the event, which also honors the late Ndugu Chancler. Tickets start at $25. Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Go West Fest


Kick off Pride month with the first annual Go West Fest, a single-day fest curated and hosted by dance-pop dynamic duo Charli XCX and Troye Sivan. The lineup is stacked with queer artists and allies, including Charli, Sivan, Pussy Riot, Gia Gunn, Carlie Hanson, Allie X, Dorian Electra and rising DJs like Baby Uniq and Alima Lee. The event also features the Go West Fest Artist Circle showcasing emerging local LGBTQ artists, curated by L.A. nonprofit gallery Junior High. A portion of proceeds will go to benefit GLAAD. Tickets start at $41. The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd., 7 p.m. Thursday.

VH1’s Annual “Dear Mama: A Love Letter To Mom” - Show
Ashanti performs at VH1’s “Dear Mama: A Love Letter to Mom” on May 2 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. She’ll be appearing at the L.A. Pride festival.
(Leon Bennett / Getty Images)

L.A. Pride Festival

L.A.’s titan of Pride celebrations returns to take over West Hollywood along Santa Monica Boulevard. This year’s event features a new layout with two stages, featuring performances by Meghan Trainor, Ashanti, Years & Years, Dej Loaf, the Drums, Amara La Negra, Cupcakke, Saro and many more. The party gets started with a new Friday night program featuring an opening ceremony, a WeHo Vogue Ball and Drag Show, local DJs and an hour-long concert from the dancing queen herself, Paula Abdul. Opening night and the weekend’s “Pride on the Boulevard” events are free and open to the public, while tickets to the main festival stages along San Vicente Boulevard cost $30 for a single-day pass and $50 for the weekend. West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., 6 p.m. Friday and 12 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


Tim Heidecker and His Very Good Band

Music and comedy madcap Tim Heidecker celebrates the release of his latest album, “What the Brokenhearted Do…,” with a full band performance at new comedy and entertainment hot spot Dynasty Typewriter. The record comes in the wake of Heidecker’s releases, “Too Dumb For Suicide: Tim Heidecker’s Trump Songs” and “Another Year in Hell: Collected Songs from 2018,” both of which enraged right-leaning trolls enough to start a rumor that Heidecker’s wife had left him. The happily married comedian’s response? Make a darkly witty album imagining the experience of a crushing divorce. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 day of show. Dynasty Typewriter, 2511 Wilshire Blvd., 7 p.m. Saturday.

Lee Fields & the Expressions

Fifty years into his career, Lee Fields is doling out more soul and sweat than ever. If his acclaimed new album “It Rains Love” isn’t proof enough, this weekend’s intimate show at El Rey with the ever-electrifying Expressions will seal the deal. Tickets cost $22.50. El Rey Theatre, 5515 Wilshire Blvd., 9 p.m. Friday.

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