Sept. 18: Phoenix, Grizzly Bear and Girls at the Hollywood Bowl
The Bowl is where the hip kids will be living this fall, with this show headlined by France's No. 1 helium-pop band releasing a flood that includes later visits from Vampire Weekend, Sonic Youth, Pavement, No Age, LCD Soundsystem and more.
Sept. 25-26: Epicenter Festival at the Auto Club Speedway, Fontana
This fest from the folks who brought us the Midwest's Rock on the Range is built around Eminem's only West Coast date this season. And there's more to entice you to the speedway. Metal divos KISS, suave rapper Big Boi, punk goofballs Blink-182 and powerful politicos Rise Against claim top slots, with dozens of others supporting.
Sept. 27-28: Bettye LaVette at Largo
Often, older artists hyped as unsung heroes actually possess more back-story than actual greatness. Not so the 64-year-old soul belter Bettye Lavette. This intimate setting offers an up-close chance to experience her flair for the dramatic and the powerfully raw.
Sept. 28: MALDEF Truth in Immigration benefit with Los Lobos and Los Tigres del Norte, Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk
Capping a month-plus of events designed to raise awareness about immigration issues, this show features two emblematic Mexicali-style bands: East L.A. Latin rock kingpins Los Lobos and Sinaloa-born, San Jose-bred Norteño masters Los Tigres del Norte.
Oct. 1-2: We Are Plastic Ono at the Orpheum
Who doesn't want to jam with the grand dame of art rock? Yoko Ono gets mucho help celebrating her late husband John Lennon's 70th at these shows: Guests include Lady Gaga, Iggy Pop, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Perry Farrell, RZA and others, including Ono's favorite accompanist — her and Lennon's son, Sean.
Oct. 7-8: Arcade Fire at the Shrine Auditorium
Whether you think this Canadian outfit is saving rock or just making a yelpy clatter, you must see Arcade Fire live. It's the only way to feel the band's drive and really get the point of its swirling musical style. This L.A. landmark is a great space for growing the magic.
Oct. 23-24: Sufjan Stevens at the Wiltern
The sultry genius of bedroom indie pop has been on a long hiatus from conventional songwriting, instead leaning toward the semiclassical. Now he's back with an ambitious and typically mystical album and a tour to get the intellectuals swooning.
Nov. 3: Elton John and Leon Russell at the Palladium
This very special occasion unites the Rocket Man with his early idol, Oklahoma cool daddy Russell, to celebrate the pair's T Bone Burnett-produced new album, "The Union." Expect much fleet-fingered piano madness.
Nov. 29-30, Dec. 5: Roger Waters, The Wall Tour at Staples Center
Southland classic rockers will have five chances to chant "We don't need no education!" with Pink Floyd mastermind Waters this fall. Reviving the band's 1979 masterpiece about how society totally screws you up, Waters visits Staples Center for these three nights and Anaheim for two the following week (Dec. 13-14).
Sept. 21: John Legend and the Roots, "Wake Up!" (Sony). More ambitious than the average covers album, this collaboration between R&B's thoughtful hunk and the decade's hardest-working band serves a dual purpose. It brings to light great soul obscurities by the likes of Bill Withers and Donny Hathaway, and, with its theme of protest and uplift, it keeps hope alive in tough political times
Sept. 28: Corin Tucker Band, "1000 Years" (Kill Rock Stars). Feminist punk has fewer voices more ferocious than Tucker's; in the band Sleater-Kinney, she laid the sonic ground for the Third Wave. This return after a self-imposed break has her making what she calls "middle-aged mom" music with new collaborators. This mama still slays, setting an example for upstarts like New Jersey's Screaming Females, who also release a new one this fall.
Oct. 26: Taylor Swift, "Speak Now" (Big Machine). Pop's precocious all-American girl inches closer toward adulthood on this follow-up to 2008's unstoppable "Fearless," without really straying from her adaptable countryish sound. With her release date coming three weeks before hip-hop artiste Kanye West's latest, Swift gets the first serve in their ongoing, um, dialogue.
Nov. 2: Brian Eno, "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" (Warp). Fresh from guesting on another major fall release — "Olympia," the new one from his former Roxy Music bandmate Bryan Ferry — the Albert Einstein of ambient music unfolds a gorgeously packaged new set of "jams" with frequent collaborators Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins.