A tip for any avid concert goer living in Los Angeles: ALWAYS find a concert or two to go to during Grammy Week. During the week immediately preceding the awards ceremony, amazing musical talent from all over the world flocks to Los Angeles to join in the celebration of music, whether to attend the ceremony as a nominee, to perform in the city of angels to showcase their own musical abilities for the throngs of A&R, talent agents, talent managers, critics and fans who happen to be in town to celebrate music with them or to just play gigs with their friends. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve heard a good concept album. A Concept Album is an album where “all of the musical or lyrical ideas contribute to a single overall theme or unified story.” In this decade (the 2010’s) there have been some solid, highly regarded concept albums that have left their mark: Adrian Young with Ghostface Killah collaboration called Twelve Reasons to Die (a black mafia member who gets betrayed by his lover), Arcade Fire‘s The Suburbs (its themes focus on regret and lost youth) and Danny Brown‘s XXX (about growing up, the fall of Detroit, and the impact of drugs on both).
A concept album was even nominated for both Album of Year and Rap Album of The Year at this year’s Grammy Awards (2014), Kendrick Lamar‘s “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City” which centers around Kendrick’s life in Compton, California and how he strived to escape it. Each song in the album follows this theme and furthers the story line. As an aside, even though I loved “The Heist”, Kendrick should have won the best rap album award … just sayin’ …
Coincidentally, a producer on Kendrick’s album released a pretty damn good concept album in 2013 as well. His name is Terrace Martin, and the album is titled “3ChordFold”. Terrace is a musician’s musician, who has produced tracks for and worked with artists like Kenrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, 9th Wonder, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, etc.
Though the album is filled with many guest appearances by notable artists (Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Musiq Soulchild, Robert Glasper, James Fauntleroy, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop and Lalah Hathaway), Terrace’s songwriting and musical sensibilities shines through with his latest effort, use elements of jazz, soul, R&B and hip-hop, creating an album that is based on a theme of the three types of “loves” one may encounter in the search of their true love: The Freeloader, The Renter and the Buyer.
Everyone can take what they want from the music, but listening to the album in a vacuum, I came up with my own “summary” of the album. Perhaps, I have missed the mark on a song or two, but hey, it’s music. Take from it what you will. You need to listen to it for yourself and make your own determinations.
Set against a strong saxophone line, Ab Soul introduces the idea of the trials of love, and the perils associated in the quest of looking for someone who is not a freeloader, or a renter, but someone who will “buy me out” (Intro). The problems are more fully set forth in the next song which explains the conundrum of when a “circle and a square don’t fit (Triangle Ship). The soft and sultry voice of Wyann Vaughn (the “poetess”) introduces in spoken word the idea of the “The Freeloader” which immediately has Terrace (the “protagonist”) romancing the freeloader with offers of leaving it all behind and taking off with him (Get Away) only to have those hopes shattered when he realizes that the person he is in love with isn’t as into him, as he is her (Something Else).
Still in love with freeloader, the protagonist has his first epiphany, learning that “love changes over time” and in this case, “you don’t call, you don’t text, no love, not even sex,” asking “what I’m supposed to do? Sit around and wait for you?” After the first epiphany, both the freeloader and the protagonist admit and realize that this relationship wasn’t meant to be (No Wrong No Right). Even though the protagonist knows that the freeloader can never be his, he still mourns the loss of the little things from the relationship lost (Watch U Sleep).
The poetess’ voice fades back in, and explains the situation of “The Renter”, where both parties already know “the terms” of the relationship at the outset, as they’ve both signed “the lease”. The protagonist and the renter then sing about the possibility of building a bridge between them, perhaps to erase the renter moniker, but really the renter’s modus operandi is already deeply rooted, and turning the renter into a buyer seems an unlikely scenario (Move On).
In trying to move on from the renter, the protagonist is offered the advise that “love can’t hurt you, it should be motivation” (Motivation), which seems to be taken to heart as the protagonist tells the renter that he doesn’t want to rent, he “just want[s] a happy home”, and he’s willing to do it with “The Buyer” (Happy Home), who will be his “angel” (Angel).
The protagonist then further goes into what qualities it would take for his buyer to have his love (You’re The One). On the outro, the protagonist, in spoken word, professes his love to a potential buyer, and during his preaching of what love means to him, the poetess fades in and completes the thought stating “Freeloaders get expensive, Renters never stay […] but me, I can’t help how I feel […] I’ve signed the final paperwork [.]” The protagonist’s voice then fades back in to join the poetess on “finished up in escrow, I got you baby. Long haul […] Let’s go.”
The album seems to be heading towards a happy ending as the next song is a profession of both parties swearing that they won’t play games with each other’s hearts (I’m For Real), even going a step further by offering words of encouragement with the mantra of “just pray and be patient” (Gone). There is, however, a sense of rough waters ahead as the vocals seem to warn that they are “moving to fast”. Following a wandering instrumental, the music morphs into a cover of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” which on the one hand could be seen as a reaffirmation of the love that the protagonist has of the buyer, but on the other hand, reading into the lyrics, just who is the “angel in disguise”? Didn’t the protagonist already acknowledge the buyer as his angel? Could it be that the protagonist finds another angel and can’t help but retread the 3ChordFold again?
These days, the consumer predominantly tends to only purchase singles off an album. And though those individual tracks are able to stand alone, sometimes they are much more meaningful when listened to in the entire context of the album as a whole. I think Terrace Martin’s album is an album that needs to be listened to in its entirety if you are to really appreciate the music’s overall sentiment. I’ve told Terrace that his album is an album that should be released on vinyl, not only because I selfishly want to own a copy for myself being a record collector, but also because it’ll force the “buyer” to listen to the entire album without fast forwarding or skipping tracks.
Listed chronologically, the most recent show first.
Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide 2013 | Echo Park | 11/10/13 – 11/11/13 (Wooster, Tiny Ruins, Maya Vik, Iza, Medicine, Jacco Gardner, Gemini Club and Great White Buffalo)
The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue | Santa Monica Pier | September 21, 2013 (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker, Allen Stone and Aloe Blacc)
Lobster Festival | Port of Los Angeles | September 14, 2013 (The Section Quartet, Nightmare & The Cat, Deap Vally, Dead Sara)
FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013 (Mikal Cronin, Charles Bradley, The Breeders, Devendra Banhart, The Locust, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Orwells, Pional, How To Dress Well, No Age, !!! (ChkChkChk), Shlohmo, MGMT, Solange, and Holy Ghost!)
Ink-N-Iron Festival | Queen Mary | June 8, 2013 (Girl in a Coma, Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil, Kaleigh Baker, The Fleshtones, Dead Kennedys and Iggy and the Stooges)
Make Music Pasadena 2013 | June 1, 2013 (The Record Company, The Peach Kings, YACHT, Robert DeLong, Youngblood Hawke, Haunted Summer and The Likes of Us)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday (Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, Palma Violets, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Stone Roses and How To Destroy Angels)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Saturday (Ben Howard, Pucifer, Violent Femmes, Grizzly Bear, Postal Service, Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix)
Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday (Alex Clare, Rodriguez, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave, Wu-Tang Clan and Red Hot Chili Peppers)
About a year ago, while searching the web for new music, I came across a youtube video of a white soul singer from Seattle, Washington singing a soulful, acoustic version of one of his own compositions. The chorus of the song, and the voice the singer, hooked me instantly. The songs was called “Another Break Up Song” and the singer’s name was Allen Stone.
On October 19, 2012, I was able to see him perform at The Fonda Theatre. His performance that evening was so good that it made it into the top 10 of the concert events I went to in 2012. Since I missed his early afternoon set at Coachella this year, I was ecstatic to hear that he would be performing at the Beach Ball Soul Revue.
If you are unfamiliar with Allen Stone, I would describe this self-professed “hippie with soul” as a throwback to those soul legends who sang lyrics embedded with social commentary. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway … I’m talking the heavy hitters. Lofty comparisons for a relative newbie in the music industry, but with a tenor voice as soulful as his, and poingnant songwriting ability, it’s hard for me not to make them. Back in October 2012, I professed on my Facebook page that Allen Stone could be an artist that we’d see performing at the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre sooner rather than later. I’m going to stick to my guns.
His performance at the Beach Ball was as good as I remembered him at the Fonda, if not more energetic. He fed off the energy from the crowd, who sang along to Allen’s more well known songs. The crowd loved his performance, and clearly loved the messages of love and togetherness Allen professed throughout his set.
After all of the concert festivities for the evening had concluded, I meandered to my “Cheers” (Ye Old Kings Head in Santa Monica) for a few drinks with friends. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Allen and his crew were tucked away in a corner of the bar. Being the gregarious person I am … though, I’m sure the double Dewars I had just consumed also helped … I walked over to Allen’s table and introduced myself. I recall telling him that I was at his show at the Fonda, that I enjoyed his set on the pier, and how I’m always hoping that I’d get to hear him perform “Another Break Up Song”.
I offered to buy him a drink, but he told me that it was his turn to be the designated driver. I think I may have bought his manager a drink though. Not wanting to be a leech, I told Allen that I was really looking forward to hear his next album, and snapped a quick pic before minding my own. A friend of mine who manages the Kings Head has offered to hang a picture of me and Snoop on the celebrity wall of the Kings Head, but I’ve always refused because Snoop’s never been to the Kings Head. I just may have to give him my picture with Allen.
Every year, since 1999, the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro holds a Lobster Festival where families can enjoy mouth watering, freshly cooked Lobster, in a carnival like setting, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been before, but when I did, I went for the food, and not the entertainment. Not this year. When I saw that Dead Sara was slated to headline the Saturday evening entertainment, I decided that I would head out to San Pedro, eat some lobster, check out some new music, and watch one of the hardest rocking, female fronted bands in music today crush it.
Click through the name of the act below to read my thought, see some pictures and watch some video:
To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.
My day of music was originally supposed to start with Charles Bradley, but I got to the main stage a little earlier than anticipated and happened to catch the back end of Mikal Cronin‘s set. Raised in Laguna Beach, California, his music has that indie rock / garage punk / surf rock sound that is native to area. Though this was my first time seeing him perform and listening to his music, I could understand why the crowd showed up early in the day to catch his 4:00pm set. A little grunge, a little pop, and catchy hooks can put almost any rocker in happy mood. My day was off to a decent start.
Earlier this year, I saw Hiatus Kaiyote on a whim, and they blew my mind. From Melbourne, Australia, this “future soul” band has a sound that I particularly love. As soon as I found out that they would playing in Los Angeles again, I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.
Since the first time I saw them, back in March, the band has toured internationally and signed to Salaam Remi‘s Sony-distributed Flying Buddha label, and re-released Tawk Tomahawk with a bonus track — a version of album highlight “Nakamarra” featuring a guest verse from Q-Tip.
I got to the venue and went straight to the merchandise table. I was specifically hoping that the poster for the event, which was posted on Facebook a few weeks prior, would be available for sale. It was a gorgeous looking poster, and I wanted a copy very badly. Unfortunately, the posters were not for sale and the only ones that I could find were either pasted to a wall, or hanging from the bar. I asked the bartender if he’d sell me one of his posters, but said no, going as far as to say that he owned everything in “his” bar and that nothing except for drinks were for sale. I went back to the merchandise booth to ask the woman working there if I could carefully peel a poster from off the wall, and she said that she wouldn’t permit that, but as she was speaking she saw a poster drop to the floor. She smiled and told me it was my lucky day. Indeed! I got the poster autographed after the show, and it’s going to have a permanent spot in my collection.
The opening act was Contact Field Orchestra, an instrumental project from Damon Aaron. Using a box of 7” tapes of field recordings recorded almost entirely of hand-made instruments and contact microphones from the turn of the century that he purchased at an estate sale, he’s created a sound unique sound of ambient music shrouded in mystery. Prior to the set, he announced to the audience that we may need some medication to appreciate it. I was sober, and I still enjoyed the music.
After his set, the stage hands started setting up for Hiatus Kaiyote. The band’s set was delayed as people were still in line outside trying to purchase tickets at the door … um … don’t people know that they can purchase tickets in advance online? When the band finally got onstage, the lovely soul-stress Nai Palm humbly apologized for the delay, which was really no fault of their own, and the band commenced the audience’s journey to soul-town.
I am a music dweeb, and what I love about watching live shows is how the live performance compares to recordings that I’ve previously absorbed. The first time I watched Hiatus Kaiyote perform, I was only somewhat familiar with their music, but this time around, I must have listed to the original release of “Tawk Tomhawk” at least 15 times digitally, and 10 times spinning on vinyl (the original pressing from Australia that I purchased after seeing them the first time, which I also got autographed after the show), so I’d like to think I knew the tracks pretty well.
They blew my mind once again. They took all of the songs I knew and took them to places that amazed me. Nai’s vocals were as soulful and jazzy as ever. So much soul, it was overflowing. The band’s musical oneness was on full display. Paul Bender’s bass, Simon Mavin’s keys, and Perrin Moss’ drums exhibited a musical synergy that most bands can only dream of, each taking their moments throughout the set to exhibit their own personal flares of musical ingenuity. Paul Bender was steady on bass, but added his own funky flares. Simon Mavin’s effortless playing on the keys allowed him to flourish and expand upon those keyboard moments that I loved so much from the album. His playing on “The World It Softly Lulls” is mesmerizing:
I was particularly impressed with Perrin Moss’ drumming as there were certain moments that shocked and lifted me; sneaky little drum licks that only lasted for a brief moment, but that caught me by surprise. Speaking with someone after the gig, I was told that he had spent the whole day in a drum session, so he was probably inspired to try new sounds for the set.
After the show, a friend of mine was able to get me back stage to hang out for a moment. I had a chance to talk with the members of the band and they spoke about their experiences from touring and their plans to record new recordings after their current tour. Damon Aaron was also backstage chopping it up with Miguel Atwood Ferguson and I politely interrupted the conversation to a get a photograph. I was also lucky enough to see Nai jam a cappella with Moses Sumney for an exclusive with KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole. Magic.
The band had to pack up an great ready to catch a 4:00am flight to Chicago, so my friend and I saw them off in their tour van. If I recall correctly, they may be back in November for another gig and to record locally. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up with them on a personal level again, but most definitely I will be buying a ticket to see them perform.
I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t know much about cars. I’ve always tossed around the idea of getting a tattoo, and it’s still a possibility at some point, but I’ll just put in a pin in it for now. That being said, I attended the Day 2 of the Ink-N-Iron Festival, and joined the party to celebrate some seriously good music.
It was my first time attending the yearly event, and I have to give the organizers some serious props for making it a day that I’ll remember. Beautiful cars. Beautiful tattoos. Women in corsets and otherwise dressed up in pin-up outfits. It was clean. It was family friendly. It wasn’t too crowded. Very nicely done.
I drove to Long Beach from West Los Angeles, and I was slightly worried that I’d arrive a little late to catch the first band I wanted to see perform: Girl In A Coma . I’ve been following this band for a few years now, and I always go out of my way to catch them perform whenever they come to town. I remember when I first heard their music. It was sometime November 2011 when I was up late watching TV. I had “Last Call with Carson Daly” on, and they were the featured artists for the episode. Their music snippets piqued my interest and I Googled their music. Boom. Instant fan. You can check out the feature that I watched here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/302589 .
Thankfully, the Los Angeles traffic gods saw it in their good graces to get me to the Queen Mary on time.
It was an early afternoon 2:00pm set, and I joined their other fans up against the general admittance railing as they finished sound checking. Even with a few technical difficulties, it was a solid set. They played songs from all four of their full-length albums ( “Both Before I’m Gone” , “Trio BC” , “Adventures In Coverland” , and “Exits and All the Rest”.
Before closing their set, Nina announced that the band was planning on starting recording for their new album at the end of the year. It sounded like they closed their set with new songs, and when I got the set-list from Phanie (drums) the following night when I went to Nina’s solo gig at the Hotel Café (which was amazing, by the way, and which you can read about by clicking this link… do it!) it looks like their last two songs were new. The video clips I took with my phone don’t do the band justice- I need to buy a good camera that takes good video/audio clips… any suggestions? They are my favorite all-girl rock band.
The only criticism I had with the festival was that since it was so early in the day, the organizers should have let their fans into the VIP viewing area to watch the set. Other than that, no complaint.
- One Eyed fool
- Slaughter Ln
- Si Una Vez
- She had a plan
- Joanie in the city
I planned on visiting them at the artist merchandise booth to say, “Hi,” but having noticed that all of their other fans I was standing with announced that they were going to head over, I decided to hang back and walk around the festival grounds. I’m sure glad I did.
There was a band named Hopeless Jack & The Handsome Devil that also had a 2:00pm set time. I wasn’t planning on checking them out, and only stumbled upon their set when I decided to check out some cars at the Tiki-Drive-In Stage. As soon as I was within earshot of their music, I thought to myself, “Screw the cars, I need to see who the fuck is playing right now”.
It was raw, heavy, lo-fi, blues, garage rock. Two guys, one drummer and one guitarist. I hate comparing artists to other artists, but if I had to, I’d say they were The Black Keys, high on adrenaline, and drunk on whiskey. Simply based on what I was able to catch, which was only the last couple songs of their set, I was hooked. If you see the video below, there was some photo shoot going on, and for a minute, I didn’t want to get in the way. I stopped the video when I noticed another photographer up at the front of the stage. I walked through the photo shoot, and was able to snap a few cool shoots of the band with my phone.
When they finished their set, I had to catch them to buy whatever music they had. I purchased one of their CDs and their newly pressed 7’’ single of “Firefly” and “Pack My Bags”. The drummer, “Smilin’ Pete”, was the first to greet those who wanted to meet the band. I wanted to get the guys to sign the vinyl that I purchased, and I asked him whether “Hopeless Jack” would be coming out. Smilin’ Pete assured me that Hopeless Jack would be coming out in a minute. He explained that Jack’s music come from and is written from a deep, dark place and he always needs a minute to unwind after a set. Completely understandable.
When Jack came out, Pete introduced us and I told them that though I was only able to catch the end of their set, what I did hear (and saw) really impressed me and got my blood moving. They both autographed my vinyl and snapped a pic. Both guys were really humble and unassuming. I’ve been listening to their CD “Shallow Hears – Shallow Graves” and spinning their 7’’ Single non-stop since that weekend. I’m hoping they come back to the Los Angeles area for a gig so I can catch an entire set.
Afterwards, I head back to the main stage merchandise booth and the gals from Girl In A Coma were still taking pictures and signing autographs. I dropped by to say, “Hello,” and also to let them know I would be showing up the next day for Nina’s solo gig (which was amazing, by the way… wait, I said that already, didn’t I….), snapped a pic, then continued on with my day.
Due to Sharon Jones having to cancel her appearance due to a medical emergency, a few of the set times were switched around causing me to have to pick between acts for 5pm: Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears or Kaleigh Baker. I decided to walk around the venue and think about it.
I checked out some of the vendors and marveled at some of the tattoos getting done. I hopped into an Ink-N-Iron photobooth that was free (very cool!) and walked onto the boat to explore the Queen Mary. It was getting closer to 5:00pm, and since I was already inside the boat, I realized that my musical choice was made for me: Kaleigh Baker it was.
I got up to the front of the stage and as the band was sound-checking, I had a brief conversation with a gentleman, probably in his late 50s-early 60s who asked me about Kaleigh’s music. We talked deep soul and early punk, and he suggested that I check out The Fleshtones. I suggested he stick around for Kaleigh Baker. We took each other’s advice.
Kaleigh Baker can sing. Her voice and vocal ability is unreal. The way she emotes the lyrics, and controls her voice to express the lyrics of her music is truly, in my opinon, on par with some of the leading female singers of our time. Sure, my comparison may be a little premature- after all, I only have this one set and her newest EP, “The Weight of It All”, to base it on, but I’m willing to put it out there. She’s got the type of voice that makes you FEEL something. The way it lilts. The way it crescendos. The way it belts. I can’t wait for her to record more music so I can see which direction she takes it.
I was able to catch up with her and some of her band mates after the set. Like the gals in Girl In A Coma, the guys in Hopeless Jack & The Handsome Devil, everybody in Kaleigh’s band, including Kaleigh, was extremely humble and appreciative. I had a weird moment of deja-vu when I was introduced to the guitar and bass players, as for some reason I felt like I’d met or seen them before. No … I wasn’t drunk. It was a sober day for me. And no, pretty certain that we had never crossed paths before. I bought a copy of Kaleigh’s latest EP from the keyboardist/horn player of the band (who I didn’t get a picture with, but was really accommodating with me asking a bunch of questions) and had Kaleigh sign it. Black Joe Lewis who? … lol.
Again, my iPhone video doesn’t do Kaleigh justice. Try Googling her. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
At that point, my phone was pretty much dead. I stayed in the boat to charge my phone. JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound were taking the stage, and as much I wanted to check his band out, I was relegated to sitting next to an outlet to charge my phone up. It took his entire set for my phone to fully charge, but from what I was able to hear, it sounded pretty good. It was funky, indie soul. From what I could hear, it almost sounded like they had Niles Rogers sit in with them for a song. Perhaps the unexpected surprise was when the band did a soulful/funked-up version of Blackstreet’s “No Diggitiy”.
My friends who were coming to the festival texted me that they were almost at there. I texted them back and told them I was going to grab a bite to eat, and kick it for them. When they arrived, and at the suggestion of the gentleman who I spoke with before Kaleigh Baker’s set, I suggested that we check out The Fleshtones.
The Fleshtones were one of the original punks bands. Like the Ramones, the Fleshtones came out of Queens. Though I wasn’t too familiar with their repertoire, when it comes to being able to catch one of the “original” bands of a particular genre of music, you simply can’t pass it up. They certainly drew a decent crowd, and played some songs that I actually really enjoyed.
One of the highlights of the set was when the one of members made reference to The Dirtbombs- who were actually influenced by The Fleshtones-playing the main stage. One of the members of the Fleshtones addressed the audience, “Why aren’t we watching the Dirtbombs? […] You want quality! […] You got quality right here!” It was a fun set, and I’m glad I checked it out.
In between the Fleshtones and The Dead Kennedys, my friends and I decided to check out the featured auto exhibit. I haven’t been into cars, but I’ll have to admit, I was impressed.
I’ll admit that I don’t know much about the Dead Kennedys music. In fact, the most I knew about the band was while in law school reading about the obscenity case against the artwork for their third album “Frankenchrist” Some of the songs sounded familiar, but I really felt like the levels were a bit off. Not enough vocals, maybe?
My friends wanted to see the next main stage act, Rocket From The Crypt , another band that I was not all to familiar with. They were quite popular when I was in high school, but I was kind of going through a Boyz II Men/Jodeci phase back then. My phone was running out of juice again, so I opted to head back into the boat to charge up before Iggy and the Stooges.
Iggy and the Stooges were schedule to open for Morrissey’s concert back in November last year, and I was really hoping to see them back then. Unfortunately, Morrissey had some medical issues come up and that November show was rescheduled for the March, with Patti Smith replacing Iggy as the opening act. Patti Smith was good, but she isn’t Iggy.
Iggy and the Stooges were awesome. I tried looking for their set list online, but I couldn’t find one. It didn’t matter though. It was seriously a “best of” set, with a couple songs off their newest album. “Raw Power”, “Fun House”, “Penetration”, “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. They did them all.
From the opening note, where I was standing, pictures and video shots were virtually impossible to take as a mosh pit had formed. During “Fun House”, Iggy started pulling up people from the crowd to dance on stage. It was a mad house on stage, and I pitied the stage-hand who had to make sure that women on stage didn’t molest Iggy while he was performing. A potential shit-storm turned into a raucous party.
Watching Iggy hump the speaker, throw his water bottles into the audience, and dance about on stage, was rock-and-roll incarnate. After most of the set, I needed to escape the crowd to find my friends. I bumped into Kaleigh’s band-mates on the edges of the crowd. They were equally impressed with Iggy’s stage performance.
When the set ended, my friends left to catch a shuttle back to their parking structure. I opted to hang out for a minute to decompress. It was a full day for hard hitting, musical goodness. The one day pass was definitely worth the price of admittance, and depending on who’s on the bill next year, odds are I will be attending again.
I remember when I was first introduced to the music of The Smiths. It was the summer after 8th grade, and I was shipped off to a summer, boarding program called C.T.Y. [Insert nerd jokes here]. I always enjoyed spending the summers away from home (I went to my first summer boarding school after 6th grade). Studying asides, I saw boarding school as an opportunity to meet new people and to learn to be somewhat autonomous.
At the time, I was listening to a lot of KDAY, so my music inclinations leaned more towards hip-hop. I had some alternative rock in my music collection, mostly Depeche Mode … in fact, at the time, my alternative music collection was all Depeche Mode… so every time I was introduced to new music I, tended to soak it all in.
There was a guy in my dormitory who was all about alternative music. He listened to Jane’s Addiction, Pixies… and the Smiths. We did a music swap, and made mix-tapes on cassette tapes (remember those?) for each other. I wish I still had that cassette tape, but I remember some of the tracks were “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side“, “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “How Soon Is Now“
I remember being taken aback by The Smiths music. It was a “new” type of rock music for me. It had hints of pop and rockabilly, but what really got me, was Morrissey’s vocal style. Morrissey’s croon captured my attention, and his lyrics, though very forlorn, was just so soothing to listen too.
After that summer, I kept up with Morrissey’s solo career, and over the years, I’ve amassed a nice little collection of The Smiths and Morrissey. Perhaps my favorite purchase is my most recent one, a live album titled “Panic!” of The Smith, which was recorded in Germany in 1986, that I bought November 24th, 2013. I even posted a picture of the album when I first played it on Instagram.
Ironically enough, the day I purchased the album, was the day Morrissey was originally supposed to perform at the Staples Center. That show was cancelled due to his mother being hospitalized. I didn’t know it then, it wasn’t until a few weeks later when I visited another record store about the cancelled show. I saw the poster, and convinced the owner of Touch Vinyl to let me have it (after I bought a couple other albums). I figured it was a sign that I needed to get tickets to the rescheduled show, so I stopped by the box office when I was at the Staples Center for a Clippers game. Morrissey had been cancelling some concerts in recent days due to health concerns (bleeding ulcer) … thankfully he didn’t cancel the March 1, 2013 show.
While Morrissey’s health may not be 100%, his voice sounded amazing. It was a solid 19 song set, that mixed in old hits, new music and several The Smiths songs. I was sitting in the nose-bleed section, and there was no video monitor projecting the performance on stage, but a ticket is a ticket, and it’s Morrissey.
I could care less about Morrissey’s politics. I could care less about the news about meat being sold at the Staples Center. If you cared about that shit, you should have given your ticket to someone else who cared more about the music.
Morrissey and the band took their bows before they started playing. It’s the first time I have ever noticed a band or artist do so. The crowd went nuts, and Morrissey kicked off his concert with The Smiths song “Shoplifters of the World Unite”, one of the songs that was on heavy rotation on KROQ back in the day, and it seemed like all of Los Angeles who grew up during that time, were at the show.
Morrissey’s performance was all that you could have expected. His style hasn’t changed since I first heard him, and the themes that he’s known for … loneliness, heartaches, letdown, isolation … all came out through the music, though it did seem slightly ironic considering he sells out arenas. And the crowd loved it. Morrissey’s set list is below, with some video clips I took.
Immediately below is a clip of Patti Smith performing her classic “Because The Night”. She dedicated it to her deceased husband Fred “Sonic” Smith, and it was the highlight of her set. Maybe she was the perfect opening for Morrissey because the night really did belong to lovers … of Morrissey.
Morrissey Set List
- Shoplifters Of The World Unite (The Smiths song)
- Irish Blood, English Heart
- Alma Matters
- You Have Killed Me
- You’re The One For Me, Fatty
- Action Is My Middle Name
- That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (The Smiths song)
- I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
- Meat Is Murder (The Smiths song)
- Ouija Board, Ouija Board
- November Spawned A Monster
- To Give (The Reason I Live) (Frankie Valli cover)
- How Soon Is Now? (The Smiths song)
- Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
(The Smiths song)
- Everyday Is Like Sunday
- Let Me Kiss You
- First Of The Gang To Die