The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre | 10/3/14 [Photos & Setlist]

THE ACT: The War On Drugs | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: When people ask me what music has been turning me on lately, I usually rattle off a list new LP’s that I’ve purchased at the local record shop. The one album that hasn’t left that list? The War On Drugs’ “Lost In The Dream”.

I remember when I bought the LP. I was thumbing through some racks of LPs at Origami Vinyl, when the text of “Limited Edition” and “Purple Vinyl” on the sticker caught my eye: “. Silly as it may be, since I’m a collector, things like that always interest me. I asked the proprietor about the album, and he told me that it was a solid album, giving me the history behind the band (how founding member Kurt Vile left the band in 2011, leaving Adam Granduciel to helm the band) and suggesting that if I purchased it, he was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. He was correct. In fact, he had gotten me to purchase an album that I have very high on list of “best albums of the year”. Well done, Origami Vinyl.

The album is brilliant. It’s a cohesive masterpiece of brilliantly engaging, dreamy rock, melding understated synths with soaring guitar licks. The album is only 10 tracks deep, and runs slightly over an hour, but the listening experience seems to conclude too early, as if the “dream” is the music causing the listener to get “lost” in it. A dream that you simply don’t want to wake up from. The lyrics, honest and emotional, is Adam’s voice … but really, it’s the voice of the everyman. When he sings about that moment of realizing heartbreak or admitting depression, he’s really writing, whether he meant to or not, for everyone one who has been there.

The War On Drugs’ live show is just as amazing as their album. Pulling from the band’s entire catalog, their set, and pardon the pun, was like an ocean with waves (a song of theirs is titled “An Ocean Between The Waves”). From sublime smoothness, to relentless ardor, the room swelled with the kind of natural energy only great music can create; hitting the right peaks and valleys with an emotional fervor.

And the music was played to perfection. Though they may have jammed out, extending songs longer than what are on the album, I closed my eyes at times and couldn’t hear the difference. The musicianship, and the technicality with which they played, was effortless.

After their performance, I hung out a while to see if I could get Adam to sign the LP that I had lugged with me in my camera bag. As his band was on stage taking down their equipment, I asked a stage hand as to whether Adam would be cool signing the LP for me. He shouted up to Adam and he jumped from the stage to greet me. A very real, and modest man, he was happy to sign my LP and was genuinely pleased (I could see it in his eyes) when I told him that their performance blew my mind. I asked him some more questions about the rest of his tour, and then went on my way; but needless to say, knowing that the man behind the music was as genuine and modest as the other, looking me in the eyes and paying attention to me with my small talk, made me appreciate his art more than ever.

SETLIST:

The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre

VIDEO CLIPS:

PHOTOS:

Metronomy | The Fonda Theatre | 6/17/14 [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

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When it comes to buying music, I’m old school. I like to sift through racks of CDs or vinyl records to discover music. As a vinyl collector/lover, I often find myself spending hours at local record stores looking for new albums to add to my collection.

One Saturday, I was over at Origami Vinyl to purchase concert tickets to see The War On Drugs. As per usual, I got sidetracked and started looking at some of the records that were on display.

Then, as if it were pulled from the scene in “High Fidelity” where John Cusack’s character plays the Beta Band single “Dry The Rain”, some music started playing out of the store speakers that caught my attention.Neil Schield, the owner of the echo park record store, was manning the register when I asked what album it was. He told me it was the Beta … Metronomy, and that he was spinning their latest album, “Love Letters”. I left the store two of Metronomy’s albums, and I’ll have to say that “Love Letters” is on my list of favorite albums of 2014 (so far). I had to get a ticket for their show at the Fonda when I found out about it.

Yup. It kinda happened just like that.

When the English band (Anna Prior, Gabriel Stebbing, Joseph Mount and Oscar Cash) too the stage, the audience erupted with an enthusiastic cheer. The men, dressed in their matching white suits, and the female drummer, in a similar white matching ensemble, jumped into a set of breezy synth pop that had the sold-out crowd dancing where space permitted.

Their music was extremely polished and on point. The mix at the Fonda was excellent, and the great sound of the venue definitely enhanced the band’s live performance. The played with joy and vigor, and it was clearly self evident with the steady smiles on their faces. They noted that this was their last performance on this particular tour and emphasized how much they were pleased to be playing the last gig of their current tour in Los Angeles.

I roamed the venue during their set to get an idea of whether their energy transferred up into the balcony. It did. Even in the balcony, fans were dancing the the isles. Even I couldn’t resist shaking my booting when I wasn’t trying to find a shot.

Metronomy is back in the United States for more touring in September and are back in Los Angeles October 21st at the Regent Theatre. I suggest you follow them on Facebook to know when they are back in your neck of the woods.


Getting a photo pass only allows photographers to take pictures during the first 3 songs of each set. I wish I had more time to take more pictures of Metronomy. Their stage set up allowed for great lighting at certain moments. I wish I had noticed the lighting patterns earlier. Oh well. Enjoy the pictures!

Cloud Control | The Fonda Theatre | 6/17/14 [PHOTOS]

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Opening for Metronomy at The Fonda Theatre was an award-winning indie alternative rock band from Australia: Cloud Control.  This Aussie quartet consisting of Alister Wright, Heidi Lenffer, Ulrigh Lenffer and Jeremy Kelshaw, released their first album, “Bliss Release” to great regional praise. So much critical adoration, in fact, their debut was nominated for two ARIA awards in 2010 for Best Rock Album and Breakthrough Artist, and was the winner of the 6th annual Australian Music Prize, among other accolades. They released their sophomore album, “Cloud Control”, on September 17, 2013, and had been supporting its release with international tours.

As this was my introduction to their music, I went in with open ears and came out a fan. Their performance was solid and their music was rather good. I could definitely understand why they are popular in Australia. Their music definitely has a psychedelic vibe, but it’s more Tame Impala than The Dandy Warhols. Their set had both upbeat dance numbers and mellow “chill-out” cuts, and I found that it was a great setlist. So great, that I even purchased a copy of the their newest album on wax (and got it signed!) after the show.

I always find it interesting when  bands have great support in their home countries, but take a while to break out in other territories. I spoke briefly with Heidi (the keyboardist and vocalist) and asked her what her thoughts were about that point. She exclaimed that that’s exactly what they were aiming to impact during this last round international tour dates. She explained that she hoped that touring with Metronomy and sneaking in festival and other performance dates earned them new ears and fans.

I hope it worked for them. Hey, at least it worked for me. Follow them on Twitter (@Cloud_Control) or Facebook (CloudController) and make sure you catch them when they are in your neck of the woods.

The setlist for their performance is below:

  1. Dojo Rising
  2. The Smoke
  3. Moon Rabbit
  4. Promises
  5. Gold Canary
  6. Nothing In The Water
  7. Scar

I wasn’t able to find any video clips of their performance online, so enjoy a playlist from their Souncloud account below.

The lighting for their set was rather dim, so I had to set my ISO higher than normal. Still think I took a couple decent pics though.