Culture Collide 2014 | October 16-18 [Homepage]

If you are music lover living in Los Angeles, and you failed to take advantage of the musical offerings from all around the world at Culture Collide for $30, shame on you.


Now in its fifth year, Culture Collide took over the Echo Park area of Sunset Boulevard with a diverse plethora of bands from around the globe. Bands traveled from Korea, Peru, Israel and other far reaches of the globe to bless us with their musical offerings.


Whether you are a fan of EDM or disco, hip hop or garage rock, folk or goth, Culture Collide had it all. Below are some of the bands that we were able to catch. If you were able to catch any of these bands at the festival, relive some of those moments by clicking on the links. If you decided to skip out on attending the festival, check out what you foolishly missed out on.

October 16th

October 17th

October 18th

Culture Collide | Los Angeles | October 16 – 18, 2014 [Preview]

One of the more intriguing music festivals to hit Los Angeles is Culture Collide. Now in its fifth year, it’s a music festival that offers attendees the chance to pick among over 60 bands, curated from around the world. Last year, I was able to “discover” a handful of foreign acts like IZA and Jacco Gardner while rediscovering bands like Medicine.

Culture Collide 2014


Clearly, De Lux, Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will be major draws for concert-goers, here are a few foreign acts, who you may or may not be able to catch in Los Angeles again, that would suggest checking out.


MØ (Denmark): If you are fan of Grimes, I would suggest going to see MØ. This Denmark native, is a singer songwriter whose electronic music has been making waves as of late. Critics have compared her sound to both Siouxsie Sioux and Janet Jackson, and though the comparisons may seem like an odd pairing, her “electro music with guts” is sure to impress.




Taymir (Netherlands): This band from the Netherlands is a rock band whose sound that made me think that they were the offspring of The Beatles and Oasis. I know really know nothing about this act other than what I’ve heard online, so I’m really interested to see/hear if their sound translates well live.



tkayTKAY (Australia): We’ve already got Iggy Azalea, so do we really need another hip-hop artist from Australia?  Well, if they’ve got a vibe and sonic imprint like M.I.A., I’ll take my chances to check it out.



PINS (United Kingdom): I’m always down to check out an an all female post-punk band from the United Kingdom. Their sound has a garage/surf rock vibe, so I’m sure that they’ll have the Echo pretty packed.



Until The Ribbon Breaks (United Kingdom): The band has merges R&B and electronica in a way that’s somewhat reminiscent of Chet Faker, but perhaps a bit more upbeat. Again, I don’t know too much about this band, but I’ll be sure to check them out at Culture Collide.



Quantic (Columbia): Will Holland is Quantic, and Quantic is bad ass. Mixing bossa nova, jazz, funk, trip hop, and downtempo into his music, I’m excited to hear his band’s live performance at Culture Collide. If you feel like shaking your money maker to some sweet latin sounds, I suggest that you check this act out.



Two day passes for the event are only $30. The Culture Collide website also has accommodation options available, but you can always find a deal for housing through other sites (Expedia, AirBNB, etc). If you are and adventurous music-phile, I would suggest buying a pass ASAP, and spending a few evenings in the Silverlake area to get exposed to the sounds of the world.

Rival Sons | The Observatory | 9/19/14 [Photos]

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a club with a friend and we were talking about bad ass bands, and the name Rival Sons came up. I had never heard of the band previously, so I had I a lot of questions. Where are they from? What kind of music do they play? How many albums have they released? The only I answer I got?


“Dude. Just check them out. They will blow your mind.”


Considering that my friend plays in a bad ass band as well, I didn’t take the blunt statement of approval lightly. I surfed the web the following day and started doing some “research”. My friend was right. My mind was blown.


I really got into rock and roll when I purchased my first Led Zeppilin album, “House of the Holy”. I must have played that CD a hundred times during my four years of college. It shaped the way I listen to music, and has since shaped my sensibilities. Needless to say, I’m a pretty big fan of classic rock.


Rival Sons are classic rock revivalists, and they are, quite simply, bad ass. They’ve been releasing records since 2009 with 4 studio albums under their belt, and I’ve been kicking myself in the ass for not having heard of them until recently. The fact that they are based out of Long Beach, California and I hadn’t heard of them until now? Yes … shame on me.


I wanted to see them at The Troubadour, but that show had sold out. Though I hardly ever travel outside my comfort zone (Los Angeles) to see bands play, they were embarking on a world tour that’ll basically run through till the end of the year, and I knew that I couldn’t wait until next year to see them perform live. So I sucked up the prospect of an hour long commute, and made my way to a new venue in a foreign territory: The Observatory in Orange County.


Thankfully, I had company for the trek, but when I got to the Observatory, I found it to be quite a terrific venue. It was set up so that there was a pretty decent view from anywhere in the audience (unless you had an extremely tall patron in front of you). It wasn’t overpacked and the crowd, at least for this show, was extremely friendly. Enough with the venue … let’s get to the music.


In my opinion, they’ve got everything a killer band needs. A charismatic frontman with killer pipes? Jay Buchanan has it in spades. A bad ass guitar player? Scott Holiday and his Dali-esque mustache looked and played as badass as it gets. Dave Beste (bass) and Mike Miley (drums) complete the music puzzle capturing a huge, guitar-driven classic rock sound that many try to copy, but fail to achieve. These guys nail it.


These guys nail it, but they aren’t imitators. They take the music that’s influenced them, and create a fresh, rocking sound that, though revivalist, is current and edgy. God damn, it was good. I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to catch them live again. It’s a good thing I’m a patient man. I just hope that the LPs I purchased don’t get worn out before they get back into town.

Rival Sons | Observatory | Setlist

Charles Bradley | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier 9/11/14 [Photos]

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

Charles Bradley loves everybody. Charles Bradley loves you. Charles Bradley loves me. And you know what? I love Charles Bradley. I love his spirit. I love his passion. I love his music. I won’t wax poetic about how much I his music moves my soul (I’ve already done that here and here), but I will say that if anybody is the “Soul of America” incarnate, it’s that man. Mr. Charles Bradley.


After he closed the Twilight Concert Series with a rousing performance of “Why Is It So Hard”, I went backstage with the hopes of getting him to sign a copy of a limited edition LP I had in my collection. As luck would have it, he was greeting some fans after his so I made my way towards him and asked him if he would do me the honor of signing my album.


His eyes widened with a sparkle of surprise and he exclaimed, “Even I haven’t seen this record!” I went on to tell him how I first saw him at FYF and also shot him at The Fonda, and he asked me for my name, proclaiming that he would try not to forget it. With nothing left to say, I simply said, “I love you, Mr Bradley,” reaching my hand out for a hand shake. He pulled me in for a hug, wrapping me in his arms and said, “I love you too, Derrick. Thank you.”


Getting a hug from the The Soul of America? No better way to end a concert series. Thank you Mr. Bradley. I can’t wait to hear what music you’ve got coming for us fans next.


CLICK HERE to put a little soul, and love, in your heart with some video clips of Charles Bradley at the Santa Monica Pier.


King James & The Special Men | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier 9/11/14 [Photos]

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

I love New Orleans. I love its people. I love its food. I love its music. God damn, how I love its music. Blues, jazz, funk, dixieland … New Orleans has it all. On September 11, 2014, a bit of New Orleans came to the Santa Monica Pier.


King James & The Special Men is a rhythm and blues band that embodies the New Orleans spirit. Their raw, gritty, soulful music reminded me of the crazy, fun, nights I’ve had trolling Bourbon Street, drunk off my butt, wandering into the random, local venue that had live music spilling into the street.


Playing both covers and originals, King James and his Special Men played music that evoked memories of that one time my friends and me spent an evening at Mother-In-Laws when it was hosted by the charming Miss Antoinette (R.I.P.). As it turns it out, he was a regular player there,  playing for nothing “but free drinks and big ol’ sack of Miss Antoinette K-Doe’s red beans and rice”.


It was a grand performance by New Orleans stalwart, and I was very pleased that the Twilight Concert  Series got him to open for Charles Bradley.  CLICK HERE to check out some Instagram video clips from the concert to get a bit of that New Orleans flavor in your soul.

Free Concert Alert | Charles Bradley and King James & The Special Men at the Santa Monica Pier | 9/11/14 [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!

The Santa Monica Pier ends its 2014 Twilight Concert Series with one of my current favorites. Charles Bradley!!! Continue reading

OK Go | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 9/4/14 [PHOTOS]

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

I’ve always been a fan of OK Go. Their cheery, campy music (and music videos) have always been put me in a good mood. With their next album, “Hungry Ghosts”, due out this October, they have been making the rounds touring the United States throughout the Sumer  and will continue touring through October. I’m certainly glad they decided to perform for the Twilight Concert Series.


It was my first time watching them perform live, and though there’d be no blasts of confetti and streamers into the audience for the show (they would have been fined by the city of Santa Monica for pier clean-up), I learned one thing. OK Go’s live show is, capital “F”, Fun.


With their music leading the Fun movement, they fully interacted with the audience, telling stories (like how they came up with the band’s name), doing an impromptu number from the musical “Les Miserables”, recording audience sounds to incorporate into a song they were going to perform and even venturing into the audience to perform. So … friggin … fun.


I really hope that their next album performs well. Shunning the big, corporate machine that is the major record labels, they decided to record the album on their own. I’ve only heard the singles they’ve released and the songs that they performed at the pier, but I’m thinking … as long as they keep winning fans over with their live performance, they’ll be just fine.


I couldn’t find a setlist of OK Go’s performance, but you can check out video clips of most of the band’s set by CLICKING HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos that have been compiled.

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

Allah-Las| Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 9/4/14 [PHOTOS]

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

I caught the Allah-Las live a few weeks ago when they took the stage at Echo Park Rising but I wasn’t able to watch their entire set as I had to run to another venue to photograph another band playing. Though I only caught half of their set at Echo Park Rising, I knew that I’d get my chance to watch an entire set when they opened up for OK Go at the Santa Monica Pier.


Love this band’s laid-back vibe. You can get a sense of their sound by CLICKING HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of some of the songs Allah-Las performed at this concert.


I was quite pleased with the photos I snapped for this gig. My shots from Echo Park Rising were a bit purple saturated with the dark stage lighting (which definitely added to the band’s overall vibe, but didn’t help my cause to snap clear photos), but at the Santa Monica Pier they performed against the sun setting into the ocean, which made my shots better. I hope you enjoy them!

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

Lee “Scratch” Perry | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 8/28/14 [PHOTOS]

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

Lee “Scratch” Perry. The Upsetter. A Grammy award winning, seminal Jamaican reggae producer whose innovative production techniques redefined reggae music as we know it. And he graced the stage with the Subatomic Sound System at the Santa Monica Pier for the Twilight Concert Series. Wow.


At 78 years old, I was impressed with how spry and energetic the Upsetter was. Performing some classic reggae tunes (i.e. “Sun Is Shining”) and doing his best to jump around the stage (literally), he got the crowd feeling irie. If the weed in the air was any indication, the crowd was definitely plenty irie. lol.


I do have to admit, I was a little surprised with some of what he was singing/speaking towards the end of the set. He spent several minutes singing about how much he “loves white pussy”. I wasn’t sure where it came from, but he was preaching it to the crowd. He also mentioned how much he loved the white man for “paying his bills.” I saw a few confused faces in the crowd.


Perhaps, his biggest “rant” came at the very end where repeatedly insisted that “hip-hop was dead, reggae is live.” Perhaps, making reggae loving hip-hop heads in the crowd a bit uncomfortable. Well, they don’t call him The Upsetter for nothing.


I couldn’t find a setlist online, but you can CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram Videos of Lee “Scratch” Perry and Subatomic Sound System performing.


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

Free Concert Alert | OK Go and Allah-Las at the Santa Monica Pier | 9/4/14 [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!

If you haven’t been at the Santa Monica Pier this summer to enjoy some of the free music they are offering with the Twilight Concert Series, you should try making it out this Thursday to catch Allah-Las and OK Go rock the beach.


OK Go, best known for their amazing music videos, will give the audience a chance to listen to music from the forthcoming album, “Hungry Ghosts”, which is to be released October 14th, 2014. I’ve got to give it to this band. With record labels letting go of artist’s with a loyal following (and not knowing how to capitalize on a band’s popularity with compromising the product in some way), OK Go’s upcoming release is an independent effort, with the album being distributed through the direct-to-fan platform PledgeMusic.


Check out the video below of the first single from the album, and make sure you head out to the pier to catch them perform live!

Follow OK Go on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.


Opening for OK Go is Allah-Las, an L.A. based garage band that I recently caught at Echo Park Rising.  Though their style of music is quite different from OK Go’s sound, they should be appetizer for the audience at the pier. With their loyal fan base, I’d highly recommend getting to the pier early to ensure that you make it in before the venue reaches capacity.

Follow Allah-Las 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!