REVIEW & PHOTOS: Joshua Radin, Rachael Yamagata & Cary Brothers | The Fonda Theatre | 3/7/15

If there’s one thing I learned from going to Joshua Radin’s gig at The Fonda Theatre it’s that the next time I go to one of his concerts, I’m bringing a date. Period.

As I waited for my guest to arrive (a friend, not a date … unfortunately), I took notice of the line waiting to get in. 15 to 1, fellas. 15 gals to 1 guy. Most of the guys who came into the venue were coupled up, and the women came in small, excited packs yearning, I’m assuming, to have their hearts moved.

Opening for Josh were Cary Brothers and Rachael Yamagata. They all went to college with Josh, and they must have taken the same classes, because their music generally reflects that same kind of musical stylings and sentiment that Josh’s music does.

The first act opening for Josh was Cary Brothers. The name is somewhat misleading, because it’s just one guy. One guy, a guitar and his soulfully, emotional tunes. During his performance of a song titled “Blue Eyes” (which was used in the motion picture “Garden State”), I overheard and noticed a guy whisper to a girl I am assuming his was courting, “Oh wow, I didn’t know he sang this song,” as he wrapped one arm around her shoulder. It was that kind of show, and it was going to be like that the whole night. Mood music to make moves too.

Cary even joked about overall mood of the evening by asking the crowd, “How many guys are here cause your girlfriend made you come?” Amidst some of the masculine nervous laughter from the audience Cary added, “Good for you.” He acknowledged there would be a lot of “sad” songs sung throughout the evening, and hoping to change some of the mood, he announced, “Fuck sad songs,” and went into an upbeat number.

CLICK HERE to see Video Clips from Cary Brothers’ Performance The Fonda!!!

Rachel Yamagata took the stage next, and agreeing with Cary, noted that, “Cary was right, there’ll be a lot of sad tongs tonight.” Midway during her set, she even joked that she was working on a new album. “It’s happier … you’re going to hate it,” she laughed.

Rachel’s set was soft and delicate, and if there was any criticism I could pull from the evening, I’d say that it would have nothing to do with the music, but rather the venue. The Fonda is a gorgeous venue, but a solo, acoustic, singer-songwriter, is hard pressed to compete with grand space and the ambient noise of from the tipsy chit-chatter from the audience. She’s had residencies at the Hotel Cafe in the past, and for her sound, especially playing solo acoustic, smaller more intimate venues would be better suited.

My favorite part of her set was when she covered Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough”. A lovely, minimalist cover that I would certainly buy a copy of it were available on iTunes.

CLICK HERE to see Video Clips from Rachael Yamagata’s Performance at The Fonda!!!

Joshua Radin’s music … mellow, stripped down and emotionally exposed … makes women swoon. Where his past albums have been more moody, and often heartbreaking, his latest efforts, spawned from the joys of married life, is more upbeat and positive. Before jumping into his set, he assured the crowd that since it was a Saturday, “I won’t play too many sad songs … but this next one is sad one,” as he jumped into “You Got Growing Up To Do”.

Josh’s set continued and his audience was simply gazing upon the performance. The ambient noise that I heard during the opening acts had subsided, and each song performed by Josh was performed to totally engaged crowd. Seriously, you could hear a pin drop. Josh even acknowledges the audience’s respect for his music.

“Such a polite listening crowd. It usually doesn’t happen on a Saturday night.”

It was perhaps because the audience wanted to hear the story in the music. After all, Josh explained that the new record was written for a girl who he had feelings for, but was relegated to a “platonic relationship zone” because of  9 time zones. It all has a happy ending though, as he eventually married the once elusive catch.

Throughout the evening of beautiful, melodic music, we learned that “In Your Hands” was is wife’s favorite song. He recites the lyrics to “No Envy” before every show as it’s hit mantra. He finds joy in assisting the organization Little Kids Rock ( bringing music to underprivileged children, even bringing three of them on stage to perform “Beautiful Day”.

As the set continued, girls swooned more, and couples held each other closer. Though the show ended with a rousing covers “Don’t Think Twice” and “I Won’t Back Down”, if I had brought a date to the show, Josh could have been my modern day cupid. I’ll know better next time.

CLICK HERE to see Joshua Radin’s Setlist and Video Clips from his Performance from the Concert!!!



Nina Diaz | Alex’s Bar | 7/25/14 [PHOTOS]

One of my favorite female rock vocalists is Nina Diaz. Usually the front woman for the punk rock band Girl In A Coma, she’s decided to take a little hiatus from the band to record some music solo. The results are a set of music that is wrought with emotional expressions of melody that act as confessional. Continue reading

Yuna | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

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KING | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Opening for Yuna at the second installment of Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert series was KING, a trio of women whose soul infused electronic sound really impressed me. Relying only on their voices, and an electronic keyboard, the audience reveled in some soul music that has had the soul-community buzzing about them as of late.

They vocal blending was about as good as I’ve heard since my collegiate chorale days. Often times, I couldn’t tell who was singing, as their voices really meshed as one.

As the sun set, their jazzy vibe complimented it perfectly. Couples held each other a little tighter, and bodies were grinding slowly to their sensual sounds. I can only imagine what it would be like to see them performing in a small, smoky jazz club. That’s where’d I’d LOVE to see them perform next.

I wasn’t able to find a setlist for, or video clips of, their performance, but if you happen to know where I can find some, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the blog! In the meantime …

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs KING performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Yuna | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [INSTAGRAM VIDS]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from Yuna’s set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.


CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

KING | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [INSTAGRAM VIDS]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from KING’s set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.


CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Free Concert Alert | Yuna & KING at the Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [Preview]

CLICK HERE to check out the other acts I plan on checking out this Summer at the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier!

Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier

On Thursday, July 17th the second concert of Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series features the Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna. Having released her third studio album in 2013, Nocturnal, Yuna uses her light and airy vocal stylings to deliver soulful, melodic pop music that has been appealing to the masses worldwide.

I remember seeing Yuna perform live, opening up for Allen Stone (if my memory serves me right) at the Fonda, and I recall that her performance was highlighted by her emotionally sensitive acoustic confessionals about love. Her music may have evolved and developed over the past couple years with more sophisticated production (she’s had tracks produced by both Pharell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes), but the core of her music, that passion that she emotes, is still there. I’m looking forward to seeing her perform live, and you should too.

Follow Yuna on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Also performing on the pier, opening for Yuna, is the band KING. A trio of singers consising of twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother and musical compadre Anita Bias, KING released their first EP in 2011 to critical praise and they are currently supporting their follow up EP, The Afternoon EP.

Their future-soul brand of music, is nothing short of smooth, ethereal and beautiful. Opening for Yuna may be a match made in heaven.

Follow KING on Facebook by clicking HERE.

To see the full list of acts performing at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the 20th Annual Twilight Concert series, CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to check out the other acts I plan on checking out this Summer at the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier!

Proof That Music Is Good For The Soul [VIDEO]

This video has been making the rounds across the internet. Originally posted on May 17, 2014, it already has a staggering 10,000,000 hits (as of May 22, 2014), and it deserves every view. It’s a moment in time where a street performer jamming on his acoustic guitar when two passerby’s join him in an impromptu jam session.

The description from the original Facebook post states: “I was walking to kroger and saw this guy playing a song. It sounded good so I decided to record it. By the end of the song three guys started jamming. This truly is music in its simplest form. It really reminds of the Austin days. Enjoy”.

This is proof that music is good for the soul. How anyone could live without it is beyond me. Enjoy.

UPDATE: 5/22/14: Apparently this virtual moment was so good, Jimmy Kimmel found some of the fellas who performed and had them recreate the moment for his late night TV show … with a little bit extra 😉

City and Colour | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)


Though I hated having to leave CHVRCHES‘ set early, there was another band taking the Main Stage that I didn’t want to miss: City and Colour.  City and Colour is the acoustic/folk stage name of Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green, who previously was the lead guitarist and vocalist of the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. As an aside, did you know that the name City and Colour is derived from Dallas (City) Green’s (Colour) name?

Truth be told, I wasn’t all too familiar with City and Colour’s discography, but having done a bit of research before attending the festival, I discovered that he had released 4 studio albums, 3 of which landing in the top 3 (two hitting number 1) of the Canadian Albums Chart, with his latest 2013 effort, “The Hurry and the Harm“, peaking at number 16 on the Billboard 200.

The music’s gentle grace swept over the crowd that had gathered for his set, and was given a much needed reprieve from the craziness of the past 24 Coachella hours. Truthfully, it was a the perfect set, at the perfect time. It reminded me of the time I saw Andrew Bird’s midday Coachella set in 2012; how the music enveloped me really put my mind at ease.

Dallas Green heads back up to Canada for a series of performance, but I recommend checking out City and Colour when he stops by in your town. Well worth it.




Ben Harper | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 11/18/13


I  remember the first song I ever heard by Ben Harper.

I was a freshman in college, making new friends and discovering a semblance of independence. I participated in several student run organizations, and one of them was a vocal ensemble. A buddy of mine in the group invited me to hang with him and his housemates off campus. While kicking it, someone offered up a joint and we all sat there, “expanding our minds”, listening to Junta by Phish when my buddy got up and simultaneously asked me, “Have you heard this song?”

He opened up compact disc folder, pulled out a CD, and popped it into the player. Pecking the fast-forward button on the player with his index finger, the whizzing, internal, mechanical spinner settled on a track which opened with a soft, conga-beating rhythm. The song was “Burn One Down”, and the singer was Ben Harper. Talk about mood music. I was immediately drawn to the song, and after it had ended, my buddy started the disc, “Fight For Your Mind”, from the beginning with track one. We listened through the whole disc while talking about all things music.

On the way home, I stopped in at the college-town music store (which was replaced by a Kinkos after I had graduated … make sad face here …). I used the money I had earned working as a part-time beer server for fraternity parties to buy the only used Ben Harper CD that was in the rack, “Welcome To The Cruel World”, “sight unseen”. I would have bought “Fight For Your Mind” new, but money was a scarce commodity back then, and I just didn’t have much of it.

When I played that CD in my tiny boom box, in my tiny dorm room, the simple acoustic melody of “The Three Of Us” filled the room and captivated me. “Whipping Boy”, “Waiting On An Angel”, “Mama’s Got A Girlfriend Now” entranced me. “Forever” and “Walk Away” … my heart was spilling emotions from out of nowhere. I became and instant fan. 18 years later, and I’m still a fan.

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Ben Harper’s Setlist. Click To Enlarge.

I took two pages of notes about the show, but after reading this review and this one, I figured that I didn’t need to retell the stories Ben told or describe the audience’s emotions throughout the evening. That was already done by others, and eloquently so.  But let me say … after being moved by his performance of “Forever”, a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, in the “guitar like acoustics” of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, when Ben told the audience that he didn’t want the evening to stop, I could only wholeheartedly agree.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

UPDATED: 1/14/14: I found video online of Ben Harper performing Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” on Youtube.