We Met Tomorrow | Culture Collide | The Methodist Church of Echo Park | 10/18/14 [Review, Vids & Photos]

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught At Culture Collide CLICK HERE

THE ACT:  We Met Tomorrow | Facebook Instagram



I got to the festival earlier than my writer, so I decided not to waste any time and headed over to the church to check out a band that another music writer recommended. I’m glad I took her suggestion. A little bit of folk … a little bit of blues … a touch of alternative rock … We Met Tomorrow had a solid set that sounded very, very polished. Their tunes were filled with catchy hooks that truly reeled me in (pun intended). They are from Sweden, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell because their English pronunciation was accent-less. For an early afternoon set, it was a terrific start to a long day of music.



To Check Out Other Bands We Caught At Culture Collide CLICK HERE

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.

Nine Inch Nails | Staples Center | 11/08/13


Pretty Hate Machine” was a very important part of my teen years. Believe it or not, I used to play football – granted it was 8 man football, rather than the traditional 11 man game. Before every game, for the four years I played in high school, my Discman played the the same 3 CDs to get me pumped up to lay the smack down on opponents: Pearl Jam’s “Ten”, Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” and  Nine Inch Nails‘ “Pretty Hate Machine”. There was something about the visceral, industrial, aggressive sound of “Pretty Hate Machine” that got the adrenaline running in my viens. “Down in It“, “Head Like a Hole“, and “Sin” … yeah … you listen to those songs enough times, I guarantee it’ll get you amped as well. I saw Trent Reznor‘s band  How to Destroy Angels at Coachella in 2013, but it wasn’t the Trent Reznor that I grew up with, and I left the set a little wanting.  When Nine Inch Nails announced their Staples Center’s gig in support of their latest album “Hesitation Marks“, I jumped at getting tickets. The seats I and my friends got weren’t close to the stage. In fact, our seats were on the opposite end of the venue from the stage. That, however, wasn’t an issue … at all.

The show was amazing. It was an auditory and sensory experience. The music was played and performed expertly (you can find the setlist by clicking on THIS LINK), but it was the presentation which really, and literally, caught my eye. I won’t wax too poetic about how impressive the lighting was, because critics have already written about it. An article that I appreciated claimed that this tour is “at least a decade ahead of its time”, and I’m hard pressed to disagree. The article quotes Trent Reznor as saying that he “want[s] to make you hold your pee because you won’t want to miss something.” Mr. Reznor was right.

I usually love being up close to the stage for shows, but in this instant, I didn’t mind having seats in the rafters. It gave me the chance to take in the entire lighting effect, and it was truly glorious. As it turns out, Nine Inch Nails recorded their show at the Staples Center to release as a DVD, and 90 glorious minutes of that show is online on their VEVO channel for anybody to watch. I shot some video with my camera, but why bother putting that up when the video below is available.

The setlist covered everything from their big radio hits to rare b-sides. Perhaps what was just as impressive as the lighting for the show was my buddy that came with me. I love friends who are passionate about bands. My buddy knew the lyrics of all of the songs performed (including the b-sides) and expressed surprise and excitement when a rare song was played. My only regret was that they didn’t play “Sin”, but I can’t complain. I think everybody got their monies worth.

Photos of the show are posted below, but if you want to see them as a large slideshow on FLICKR, click THIS LINK.


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Iron & Wine | The Orpheum Theatre | 10/31/13


I didn’t have much of a social life during law school, and that’s probably a good explanation as any as to why my music collection tends to lack albums released during that time of my life. Insofar as I didn’t have a television during that time, and the only recordings I listened to were recordings of lectures explaining aspects of civil procedure or property law, I relied on friends (mostly in law school) to tell me what was hip or “up and coming” in terms of music that was available.

Samuel Beam, professionally known as Iron & Wine, released his first album when I was in law school. A classmate of mine turned me on his music, and I used music from The Creek Drank the Cradle to help me fall asleep after hours of studying, hopped up on caffeine products. Beam’s gruff voice, and tender acoustic guitar playing lends itself to a soothing, mood-mellowing state of mind.

I’ve always been interested in seeing him perform live, and when I saw the announcement that he was to perform at the Orpheum Theater on Halloween Night, I figured that that would be a great venue to see him perform in, other than a grassy festival lawn or the Hollywood Bowl.

I bought two tickets as soon as their availability was announced, about 5 months in advance of the show. I wasn’t dating anybody at the time, but I figured that I couldn’t go to the show alone. I’ve been to these types of shows before. I had a feeling that it would be couples galore. Being overly optimistic, I bought two tickets with my fingers crossed that I’d have a special someone to ask. As it turns out, I did find a date, but I noticed during the show that we were literally the only couple not snuggling during the concert.

Iron & Wine's setlist for the show at the Orpheum Theatre 10/31/13
Iron & Wine’s setlist for the show at the Orpheum Theatre 10/31/13

The snuggling aside, Iron & Wine’s show was exactly what I expected, and more. Playing most of the show with a full band, each member costumed as a member of The Muppets, Sam Beam wooed the audience with selections spanning his entire catalogue. Playing over two and a half hours of his soul-soothing music, I enjoyed the show completely, but was particularly impressed when the band left the stage, and Sam Beam stood front and center, armed with only his guitar, Kermit tied to his microphone stand, with only two spotlights from the lighting tresses illuminating his position.

His solo set revealed to me the vulnerable and fragile tenderness of Iron & Wine’s music. Though the subject matter of his music tends to lean towards the darker facets of life and love, listening to his stories through lyrics, you always still had a sense of there being a silver lining through it all. I, like the rest of the audience, was drawn into Iron & Wine’s world, and enjoyed it all. Though, I probably would have enjoyed it more with someone to snuggle with… lol. I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I see him live.

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.

Shlohmo | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Shlohmo amidst the mist.
Shlohmo amidst the mist.

Earlier in the day I had watched Tom Krell p/k/a How To Dress Well perform, and having done some research before the festival about different projects he had worked on, I found a video on youtube of a track How To Dress Well performed on produced by Henry Laufer p/k/a Shlohmo called “Don’t Say No”.

Intrigued by the sound and the fact that he was apparently working with Tom Krell, I decided to buy his latest LP “Bad Vibes” and after a couple spins on my record player, I decided that I’d put him on the list of acts I wanted to check out at the Festival.  I’m not a big fan of DJ sets- I’m more of a live band kinda guy- but having enjoyed Flying Lotus in the past year at the Hollywood Bowl, I decided to swing by the tent where he was performing to check out a bit of his set.

As the “house lights” dimmed, and the smoke machines started pumping out a thick mist over the stage, Shlohmo came up to his DJ console and started his set.  His live set was a little different than I had expected. “Don’t Say No” and “Bad Vibes” are very moody records, extremely ambient in there overall approach . The live set still carried the eerie mysticism of the music that I had purchased and watched before the festival, but during the fifteen minutes that I watched, it didn’t feel as lo-fi as maybe I had wanted. Missing was the interstitial feedback and ambient hisses that gave “Bad Vibes” its unique sound. The live show was almost too “clean.”

Don’t get me wrong.  The music was good … the filled tent of bobbing heads was proof of that, and I  love “Bad Vibes” (which sounds amazing on vinyl)  …. but like I said, I’m more of a live band kind of guy.


Shlohmo and lazers.
Shlohmo and lazers.

!!! (ChkChkChk) | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Nic Offer of !!! (ChkChkChk) getting into the audience during their set.
Nic Offer of !!! (ChkChkChk) getting into the audience during their set.
!!!’s latest album cover.

Over the past 5 months, while perusing a local store, I kept noticing an album cover for a band that I wasn’t familiar with (see right).  The band’s name was !!! (pronounced ‘ChkChkChk’) and a record store employee told me that they were from Northern California and described their style of music as dance.  I didn’t ask to hear any of the music play on the store sound system, and for some reason I neglected to look them up online each time I got home, but I was often reminded of them often because the cover to their LP was always staring me in the face whenever I entered that record store .

Fast forward to the FYF Festival, I noticed that they were listed as an early evening set.  I decided to check them out, and anticipated an energetic set. I was not disappointed. A large band consisting of 8 members, the music was groove centric, the band was tight, and the lead singer was singing and busting moves all over the stage. In fact, the lead singer’s energy was off the charts and it spread into the audience as everybody around me was bouncing to their  tunes. My first impression was that !!!’s sound was if David Byrnes of the Talking Heads started up in the 2010s, with splashes of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. Take a listen/look at the video clip below to make your own opinion.

Nic Offer of !!! "saluting" the crowd.
Nic Offer of !!! “saluting” the crowd.

The photographers in the press pit left after their second song, and Nic Offer, the lead singer, yelled out, “Hey, where you guys going?!?! I’ll only get cuter and cuter as the set goes on!” He laughed into the mic, and the band kept the set rolling. His stage manner had a likable, cocky air to it and it was infectious, as everybody was, while eyes transfixed on the stage, moving to the rhythm. The vibe was so positive that time seemed to pass instantly. When their set had ended, I was left wanting more, and it was a good indicator that I should probably purchase that LP to add to my collection and catch them when they are back in town.


Tyler Pope of !!!.


Deerhunter | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Leaving The Locust, I headed back  to the main stage to meet up with some friends and to get a good spot for both TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Performing on the main stage, as I was walking toward it, was an experimental noise rock band from Atlanta, Georgia: Deerhunter.

Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013

I wasn’t familiar with the band, but from where I was, and what I could hear, it came off pretty good. I’ll have to admit, I was a little thrown off as I thought the lead singer was a woman. After all, he was wearing a dress and a wig, and his voice was kinda Yoko Ono-ish. It was more shocking than anything when he tore off the wig half way into the set, and for a minute there I was lost in my own confusion.

Though I arrived midway through their set, I could tell that the music hit on elements of alternative, punk and  shoe gazing. I was starting to get into it by the time their set came to a close, but before I knew it, Bradford Cox (the lead singer) put his wig back on, picked up a purse from the ground, and walked off stage.

The set list from setlist.fm:

  1. Cover Me (Slowly)
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Neon Junkyard
  4. Don’t Cry
  5. Rivival
  6. Desire Lines
  7. Blue Agent
  8. Rainwater Cassette Exchange
  9. Nothing Ever Happened
  10. Sleepwalking
  11. Back to the Middle
  12. Monomania
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013

The Weeks | Three Clubs | 3/29/13


I’m extremely grateful that my friends – most of my friends – have good taste in music.

On 3/28/13, a buddy of mine shoots me a text at 11:22am about a show that he’s planning on going to in Hollywood on 3/29/13.  He tells me that a friend of his is managing a band based out of Nashville called The Weeks.  He described them as “Shit kickin Southern rock” and that the band had recently signed to the Kings of Leons of record label, Serpents and Snakes. My buddy knows I’m a fan of Kings of Leon, so he was basically telling something that would peak my curiosity.

I check out the band’s Facebook page and I am immediately impressed with what I hear.  Their latest release, “Gutter Gaunt Gangster” definitely has a Southern Rock feel to it, but it also definitely had catchy hooks and clean production value.  It’s only 8 tracks, (with one track only 50 seconds long), so it wasn’t long before I had streamed the album 4 or 5 times in a row. It’s a loud and fun album that feels like a party.

I do a little research online and read that the band hails from Mississippi, and they are, in fact, currently signed to the Kinds of Leon’s record label, but they definitely have a sound distinct from KOL.  They remind a little bit of We Were Promised Jetpacks but with a little more funk, and a little bit like Band of Horses but with more edge on the guitars.  Mind you, I based this on only the one album I was listening to.

The songwriting is solid.  Each member of the band may be in their early twenties, but you probably wouldn’t be able to tell it from the their songs on this album.  The album opens with “The House We Grew Up” which seems to be their statement to the world that they’re on a mission with this music thing. The rest of the album seems to follow the general theme, with the band singing about looking for something better and confronting those things that have tried to hold them back.

If you listen to the lyrics on this album, a lot lyrics seems to come from an intense place.  They use religious references freely, but it isn’t preachy.  Rather, it just adds to the intense emotions they are bringing to the music.Take for example the following lyrics in “Stigmata” which has an uplifting chord progression that seems to contrast with its heavy lyrical content:

“I met the man who raped my childhood/ Oh well, we were never young it’s true/ But when everyone around you keeps dying lord,/ What the hell are we supposed to do. […] I blame the devil, what else could it be/ I blame Jesus, he ain’t answering me/ Don’t call me depressed, don’t call me sad,/ I’m giving up on this life I had”

But I digress.  This isn’t supposed to be a review about the album though.  Just trust me that it’s really good.

I text my buddy back and let him know that I’m going to make the show.  It was a long work week, so I try to figure out a way to get to the venue without driving. I ended up getting a ride from a friend who was heading the same direction, where I spent a greater majority of the ride trying assure the person driving, who also was happening to have a bad week, that things will get better, and that they had to keep pushing through the hard times … kind of fitting, right?

“Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.”

It had been a long, long time since I had been to Three Clubs, and I was surprised that I totally forgot about the portrait of Billy Dee Williams with a Colt45 gracing the end of the bar in the performance area.  It was definitely a sign of good things to come. I met up with my friend, and after briefly meeting some of his friends, I made a b-line to the bar to grab some drinks: a shot of Jameson and a Dewars on the rocks.

Shelly Colvin, a singer songwriter, was opening for the band while I ordered my drinks. Her smooth, laid back vocals helped the shot of Jameson go down quite smooth. I sauntered back out to the patio to catch up with my friend.

As I went back in later to get another drink, Shelly was finishing up her set. I got another shot of Jameson and Dewars con rocks and made my way to the front of the stage.  As the band took to the stage, they took a minute to adjust the position some of their equipment. It was a really small stage.  Shelly sang back up vocals a few songs, and her mic had to be set up off-stage left, and the keys had to be pushed to the far back to make way for the drum kit. The stage may have teeny, but the band worked every square inch of it.

Damien Bone killing it on bass.
Cyle Barnes rocking out.
Cyle Barnes rocking out.

I had only heard the songs from their latest EP, but they seemed to have played their older (and maybe newer?) songs in their set as well. It really didn’t matter that I didn’t know all of the songs in their set though.  The band took that little, teeny weeny stage and made it their bitch.  Imploring the crowd to move closer to the stage, they fed off the crowd, and themselves, and really kept the set moving with their energy.

The energy in that club was electric and the rising temperature of the room vouches that statement. The music hit hard, fast and frenetic. The Southern rock roots, laced with funk and soul, made the it easy to dance to and the crowd in front of the stage was moving to the rhythms. The live show was groovier than I expected.

It seemed like the set flew by, and that was because everyone was having a good time.  By the end, my shirt was sticking to body, drenched in sweat.  I made a b-line to the merchandise table to pick up a vinyl copy of the album. I caught the band on the patio cooling down and took a few pictures of the players from the evening.  This one was my favorite… Probably because Shelly is a cutie.

Shelly Colvin and Sam Williams relaxing after the gig.
Shelly Colvin and Sam Williams relaxing after the gig.

I offered to buy a round of drinks and Damien and Shelly accepted.  I did a shot of Jameson with Damien and Shelly had glass of champagne.  She appreciated the gesture, and kindly gave me a copy of her latest CD: “Up The Hickory Down The Pines”. I say I got the better end of the deal.  Another of their fans was getting autographs on a T-Shirt, and after she was done, I borrowed the permanent marker to see if I could get all of their autographs on the LP I had just purchased.  In my boozy haze, I think I may have missed a few. LOL. But I did like the fact that one of the guys had “branded” the LP with an “LA 2013”. A rock and roll time-stamp, if you will. Click here if you’d like to see some more of my music treasure.

Partially autographed LP.
Partially autographed LP.

It turns out that some of the band members wanted to grab a bite to eat, and my buddy suggested a nearby taco truck that was supposed to have some of the best pastor soft tacos. Ended up getting tacos with Alex Collier (keys), Damien Bone (bass) and Sam Williams (guitar).  We grubbed it up, and afterwards, headed our separate ways.

Getting late night tacos with Alex Collier (keys), Damien Bone (bass) and Sam Williams (guitar).
Getting late night tacos with Alex Collier (keys), Damien Bone (bass) and Sam Williams (guitar).

The guys were continuing on their tour, and let me know they would be opening for Kings of Leon over the summer in Europe.  I wished them the best, and they told me to pick up their upcoming album when it gets released.  I assured them that I would.

Here’s their official video for “The house We Grew Up In” from “Gutter GauntGangter”

Here are some video clips from the show that I took.