THOUGHTS:I’d thought that I’d be over female fronted, beat-driven, electro pop, but wow … MØ was something else. Her live show was something fierce. She may have been criticized for her “off” performance with Iggy Azalea on Saturday Night Live, but I’ve witnessed MØ performing live, and she is a powerhouse performer. Stage diving, and stage walking, throughout her set, engaging the audience with her piercing eyes and impressing me with her unexpected stage presence and voice, I was blown away. I’m willing to make this prediction … she’ll be making the festival rounds next year, and she’ll be performing on the main stages. Guaranteed.
THOUGHTS: I don’t know how many times can I say it. I love this band. When I first saw them play opening for Omar Souleyman, I knew that I’d have to see them play again. Catching them at Culture Collide was my third time this year (the second time was at Echo Park Rising). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you’re a fan of the post-punk sounds of the Talking Heads, I’m sure you’ll dig this band. They are heading out on tour for the month of November, and I suggest you buy a ticket and check them out. Seriously. Buy a ticket. Check these guys out.
Opening for Omar Souleyman was the Los Angeles-based, indie neo-disco band De Lux. I had gotten a little sampling of their music online, but listening to this band’s music live was something else.
De Lux is a favorite of KCRW DJs across the board (they are one of the few acts that ALL of the DJs play in their sets). I could hear why.
They may be a young band, but their sound is pretty damn sophisticated. A little synth-pop, a little electronic, a little disco, a little punk, a little funk … their music is a mish-mosh of styles that really blends together into a unique, almost throwback, sound.
I got to chat with a couple of the guys in the band after their set, and couldn’t help but rave about their sound. Though they’ve heard it before, I really emphasized my observation that their music really reminded me of the Talking Heads. Seaun Guerin, one of the founders and the lead vocalist, in particular, has a voice that’s as oddly wonderful as David Byrnes’ voice.
These guys are playing at the upcoming free music festival in Los Angeles, Echo Park Rising, August 15th-17th (TBD). I’m going to try and make it out for their gig. Hopefully, I’ll be able to snap some more pics of them jamming out.
Devonté “Dev” Hynes is a British singer/composer/songwriter and producer who performs under the stage name “Blood Orange”. What you may not know about him, however, is that he is a prolific song writer who has worked with high profile recording artists like The Chemical Brothers, Florence and the Machine, Sky Ferreira and Britney Spears, to name a few.
He performed at Coachella in support of his fourth solo album “Cupid Deluxe”. Critics have described his music as alternative dance, “chill wave” or indie electronic, but his 80’s and 90’s influenced music can simply be described as … for lack of better words … “sexy-time” music. The mood Dev Hynes sets with his compositions is amazingly seductive. I would have preferred a set time in the evening- that would have really enhanced the overall mood of the set- but even under the blazing, desert sun, I noticed couples grinding to the music.
For his performance at Coachella, he was accompanied by several of the vocalists who appear on “Cupid Deluxe”: Caroline Polachek of Chairlift (on “Chamakay” and “Chosen”) and Friends‘ Samantha Urbani (on “You’re Not Good Enough” (my personal favorite), “It Is What It Is” and “Always Let U Down”).
I didn’t get approved to take pictures of Muse’s set, so I decided to check out the Pet Shop Boys before deciding whether to try catching Nas. By the time the Pet Shop Boys’ set started, the speed of the winds had picked up considerably, and there was dust swirling everywhere. I found it difficult to catch clean snaps of the seminal new wave band from the UK as it seemed that I kept focusing on the dust rather than the band, but I think there are a couple of keepers. I didn’t catch the entire set, but I did hear “Opportunities” performed live, and I figured that that was good enough for me.
After my time in the pit had expired, my feet were killing me, and the amount of dust on my face and in my nose/throat was quite unbearable. Due to my relative inexperience, I made the poorest decision of the weekend by opting to beat the traffic and skipping Nas’ set which turned out to be a historic performance. Major props to the professional photographers were able stick it out until the days festivities has shut down. Maybe I need to email a few of them about what kind of shoes they wear…
When I go through a lineup to decide which bands I want to check out, I make sure that I at least watch a video or two on youtube of the act’s music. When I googled Woodkid, I found some videos that immediately caught my attention. The videos were visually stimulating, sharp and stark, mostly in black in white, but what kept my attention was the music. Heavy instrumentals and booming drums, with a contrasting voice that was smooth and subtle.
Woodkid’s stage production, like his music videos, had the black/white effect. All of the players in the band were wearing black, with gothic images projecting on the screen behind him, and the bright white light that shone down on him not only gave me the opportunity to snap some pretty decent photos, but also gave the performance a highly dramatic effect.
Woodkid’s performance was the surprise of my Friday. I’d keep my eye out on Woodkid and his music. With the right type of exposure, I can imagine him doing big things state-side.
I knew that Grouplove’s music was fun, but I had no idea I’d be having so much fun taking pictures of them while they were performing. The energy that they emit from the stage while performing induced everybody, myself included, to jump and dance around, even in the sweltering desert heat. The expressiveness on their faces, and in their actions, while performing songs in the their set was really a pleasure to shoot. Hopefully, I’ve been able to capture some of that contagious energy in a few of my pics.
As a side note, after looking at their set list (below) I noticed that they covered both an A$AP Rocky and a Beyonce songs. Both artists, by the way, made special guest appearances over the weekend. Hmm … if you happen to be at Coachlla during week 2, and you happen to catch Grouplove’s set, keep an ear out to hear what songs they cover in their set. Maybe they know something we don’t know… just saying’…
Gemini Club is a four-piece indie-electronic band from Chicago, Illinois that have been earning a lot of praise recently opening for the likes of Chromeo, Two Door Cinema Club and Chateau Marmont. When I was doing research to decide which bands I wanted to see perform at Culture Collide, I found a couple videos of this band’s live performance and I was immediately interested. Though the band’s stage set-up was flanked by two stacks of keyboards, Gemini Club’s live music isn’t preprogrammed. Centered around a drummer, the electronic dance music is a live as live can be. Taking full advantage of MIDI, who says a laptop isn’t an instrument?
I was new to their music, so I wasn’t too familiar with the lyrics of their music, but in this particular instance, I was more focused on their vibe and sound, dancing and grooving to their tunes. Phoenix, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club … Gemini Club’s music is on par with the bands listed. Though the set was cut a little short due to set times running late at the venue, their set was filled with the kind of energy that only a confident band with devoted fans could evoke.
There are a lot of electronic bands flooding the music market these days. Gemini Club is an independent band that lacks the backing of a major so it’s their live performance and the word of mouth circulated by their fans that’ll get them noticed in the marketplace. Their live show is solid, and it’s my opinion that if they keep touring relentlessly, they’ll be able to lock in fans for the long haul. Follow them on Facebook, and check out their music. You may want to check them out when they are in your neck of the woods.
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.
To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.
At the suggestion of my cousin, I decided to see Holy Ghost! rather than My Bloody Valentine as the last band at the festival. This turned out to be a good suggestion as I understood that My Bloody Valentine had a plethora of technical difficulties which put a damper on their set.
In reading up on Holy Ghost!’s history, I read that while dipping their feet in the rap game, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser released an album produced by James Murphy, the founder and frontman of LCD Soundsystem. When their rap careers failed to gain traction, James Murphy suggested that they continue making music, but to make it dance music, thus planting the seed for Holy Ghost!.
In what I see as perfect timing, Holy Ghost!’s first album was released the same year LCD Soundsystem called it quits. Being signed to James Murphy’s DFA Records, it would appear that Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser’s band would be the one to fill the huge gap LCD Soundsystem left behind. Performing at the festival in support of their second studio album, my impression is that they may well be on their way in doing so.
The six member band took to the stage to the applause of a raucous audience. It didn’t seem as if anybody in the crowd was weary from the two days of stage hopping and swirling dust in the air. Influenced by LCD Soundsystem and New Order (with whom they recently toured with), their set was danceable and fun. The large band (consisting of 6 member if I recall correctly) kept the energy up throughout the set.
In a moment of NYC cool (the founding members are from NY) during the set, lead singer Alex Frankel casually lit cigarettes onstage and smoked during a couple songs. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an artist do that, and for some reason I appreciated it. It was almost like having a smoke after successfully completing an arduous task as a symbol of triumph. After two days of great music, it was kinda what I needed.