by dklee13 Categories: Concerts, ReviewsTags: "She Bangs The Drums", A$AP Ferg, Afrika Bambaataa, alabama shakes, Alice Smith, Allah-Las, allen stone, Aloe Blacc, Alphabetics, Alune George, Audio Push, Babies On Acid, BABY BABY, Bad Religion, Banks, Banoffee, Beat Connection, beck, Ben Folds, Biffy Clyro, Black Uhuru, Blood Orange, boston, Broken Bells, Bush, Cat Stevens, chance the rapper, charles bradley, Chet Faker, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Chvrches, City and Colour, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Cloud Control, Cloud Nothings, Cocorosie, Cody Chesnutt, Cold War Kids, concert photos, concert review, concert video, Crosses †††, Cults, De Lux, Dead Dawn, dead sara, denitia and sene, Doe Eye, Doja Cat, Dr. Madd Vibe, Dreamland, Drowners, Dum Dum Girls, Ed Sheeran, Elle Varner, Elvis Costello, Empire of the Sun, eric hutchinson, Escape The Fate, Faith Evans, Fall Out Boy, Falling In Reverse, Fartbarf, Fascinator, FEA, Fear, Feathers, Fire In the Hamptons, Fishbone, Forest Swords, Fractures, Future Islands, Gaslamp Killer, Gateway Drugs, Gavin Turek, geographer, girl talk, Glass Battles, Glen Hansard, Goapele, GOAT, GoldLink, Gossling, gramps morgan, Green Gerry, Grouplove, HAIM, Heartless Bastards, Holy Child, Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil, Hopeless Jack and The Handsome Devil (1st Performance), Hopeless Jack and the Handsome Devil (2nd Performance), Houndmouth, how to dress well, illumination road, Incubus, iron & wine, Jackson Browne, Jagwar Ma, James Supercave, Jamestown Revival, Jhene AIko, Jill Scott, Joe Fletcher, Joe Pug, Jonathan McReynolds, Josiah Bell, Julian Casablancas, Kevin Lyttle, Kid Cudi, king, King James & The Special Men, Ky-Mani Marley, Lake Street Dive, Lana Del Rey, Laura Mvula, Lecrae, Lenny Goldsmith, Leslie Stevens, Level & Tyson, Linda Perhacs, Linkin Park, Little Dragon, Little Hurricane, Little Wings, LiV Warfield, Lo-Fang, Local Natives, Lorde, Lucinda Williams, Machine, Matt Kivel, Matthewdavid, Maxwell, MØ, Merle Haggard, Metronomy, Midi Matilda, Miniature Tigers, Mod Sun, Morning Parade, Moses Sumney, motorhead, Mr. Little Jeans, Myron & E, Mystery Skulls, Mystic Braves, Nathaniel Rateliff, New Politics, Nick Waterhouse, Nikki Lane, nina diaz, Nina Persson, Ok Go, omar souleyman, Outkast, owenstone, Pastilla, Peanut Butter Wolf, Pet Shop Boys, Pete Molinari, Phantogram, Pharrell Williams, Phebe Starr, Phosphorescent, PINS, pixies, Quantic, Queens of the Stone Age, Rachel Goodrich, Rachel Goodrich & The Grrrls, Ray Campi, Reignwolf, Riff Raff, Rise Against, Rival Sons, robert glasper, Roman GianArthur, Rose Quartz, Rudimental, Run The Jewels, Scars on 45, setlist, Sex Stains, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Shelby Lynne, shy girls, Silver Hands, Slum Village, snarky puppy, snoop dogg, Solander, SPEAK, Speedy Ortiz, Stacy Barthe, Strangers You Know, Sturgill Simpson, System of a Down, Takeoffs & Landings, Talib Kweli, Tank, Tashaki Miyaki, Terrace Martin, the 1975, The Afghan Whigs, The Barr Brothers, The Briefs, The Damned, The Dandy Warhols, The Electric Sons, The Far West, The Filthy Souls, The Futures League, The Grizzled Mighty, The Head and the Heart, The Internet, The Killing Lights, The Kills, The Kokoro, The Lone Bellow, The Men, The Mercy Beat, The Naked and Famous, the national, The Pharcyde, The Preatures, The Record Company, The Replacements, The Scandals, The Slightlys, The Stepkids, The Strypes, The Tontons, The War On Drugs, The Warlocks, the weeks, The Wild Reeds, The Zombies, Thruster!, THURZ, Tiara Thomas, Tkay Maidza, together PANGEA, Tokyo Police Club, Tom Odell, Torches, Valerie June, Walk The Moon, Wanda Jackson, We Met Tomorrow, White Lies, Woodkid, Woods, Wynonna Judd, YG, Young the Giant, Yuna, Yusuf Islam
I purchased a lot of music in 2014. A ton of CDs, a couple of cassettes, and a few digital purchases. I’m also a lover of the vinyl format … but with the generally higher prices for vinyl, I’ve had to be a bit more selective with my decisions as to what new LP gets added to my racks. Some of the selections were good, some bad … but what I’ve got for you here are a handful of LPs that I purchased that I’m particularly fond of. Continue reading
“[…] Joey, Troupe, and Nick (bass, vocals, guitar) heralded three part harmonies that maintained the attention of an audience caught off guard by the band’s naïve appearance and subdued interactions. […]. Troupe’s ambitious vocal range sailed smoothly through the heart of every song, and as a singing trio they were just as solid and as much of a centerpiece. Their quick paced songs were brought down to hip swaying tempos at times, adding an aura of unexpected intensity and edge to the band’s otherwise sonically friendly climate. But despite their seemingly shy demeanors reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, but edgier, the four guys from Austin performed a confident set of hook-heavy pop rock.”
Written by G.Bonilla and D. Lee
There was a line almost 2 blocks long waiting to to get into the venue before doors had opened. Future Islands, who were playing club gigs last year, are now selling out storied venues like the Wiltern.
It’s not easy for bands to break through. Sometimes it can take years. Sometimes it never happens. It took 8 years, but Future Islands finally got the exposure they deserved when they made their network television debut on March 3, 2014, on The Late Show with David Letterman, performing the lead single “Seasons (Waiting On You)”. That’s how I discovered them. That’s why I’ve seen them three times this year.
We entered the storied venue and as the others spent time visiting Red Bull affiliated booths and activities in the lobby, we stepped into the performance room to set up shop to find a good view. As we made our way up front, walking towards the relatively empty orchestra pit, a security guard stopped us to give us wristbands to enter the space up front. Typically at the Wiltern, orchestra pit passes are given to those waiting in line for the doors to open. Thankful, for whatever reason, that they gave them out, first come-first served, to whose who ventured to the front of the stage before the show started.
The first band to take the stage was Red Bull Sound Select artist, SPEAK; an art rock band from Austen, Texas.
The muted look of black attire and prescription glasses camouflaged the three guys and drummer out on stage. They quietly took the stage and meekly addressed the audience. They didn’t have to say a word. They introduced themselves to the audience by digging into their instruments. With a different palate to offer, SPEAK took a detour from the synth-pop lineup of the evening. Elaborations on four-on-the-floor beats and pop progressions were accompanied by synth lines but not driven by them. That’s not to say that the band was unfamiliar with how to hook a bait; the oscillating melodies that stamped each of their songs are proof of their knack for knowing what sticks.
Joey, Troupe, and Nick (bass, vocals, guitar) heralded three part harmonies that maintained the attention of an audience caught off guard by the band’s naïve appearance and subdued interactions. That’s not to say that there was a timidity in their sound. Troupe’s ambitious vocal range sailed smoothly through the heart of every song, and as a singing trio they were just as solid and as much of a centerpiece. Their quick paced songs were brought down to hip swaying tempos at times, adding an aura of unexpected intensity and edge to the band’s otherwise sonically friendly climate. But despite their seemingly shy demeanors reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, but edgier, the four guys from Austin performed a confident set of hook-heavy pop rock.
The second band, another Red Bull Sound Select Artist, Rose Quartz, is a synth band Denver, Colorado.
As the veil of darkness on stage lifted to reveal stacked bulks of vintage looking synth gear, the duo known as Rose Quartz (who perform as a foursome live with the addition of guitar and drums) went into what I would describe as dancy trancy synthy indie.
Their cyclical progressions and repetitive vocal lines gave the performance a chanty element and plenty of landscape to dance to, making their set sound like one long song. Build-ups usually plateaud onto lyrical incantations while vocal effects trailed through musical changes that hopped back and forth between two or three chords. Again, dancy trancy synthy indie. The band’s musicianship gave gravity to the group’s spacey nature and I appreciated the strength of their live show; they gave their all and played an enthusiastic set. I would however like to hear them develop the journey of their songs instead of relying on technological filters as a vehicle to drive the music home. We couldn’t ignore that the progression of their songs lacked a story, leaving listeners pretty much where it all began. Nonetheless, their stamina to float into the ether and keep the dance vibes rolling made for a truly dancy, trancy, synthy indie time at the Wiltern.
Rose Quartz was a decent appetizer … but we were ready and anxious for Future Islands to take the stage..
When Future Islands walked out on stage, you could tell that the crowd that was unmistakably on a mission to move and be moved. Singer Samuel Herring began with speaking a heartfelt introduction that bonded us both and served as preparation for a ceremony of unabashed intimacy.
There seemed to be shaky start as within a few seconds of their opening song, Sam gestured abruptly to kill sound and apologized of for the synth malfunction. It was as is he was teasing and taunting the brewing hurricane that the music was stirring. The audience was more than willing to forgive the incident even before Herring made a comment on the beauty of second chances. If anything, the technical difficulty proved to show the humanity in the circumstance and fit right in with the prevalent theme of their music.
They picked up just as powerfully as the first attempt, and it soared from there. Between primal outbursts of energy, blessing the crowd, eating his own sweat, and a Hulk-like tear through his shirt, the shamanistic vocalist prodded out our repressions as he shared with us his confessions. Balloons released from above as the night came to a close and Future Islands made sure there wasn’t a single thing you hadn’t danced out by playing three encores. By the end of the performance, the air was thick with the sweat of released emotional baggage. Walking back out into the city was the perfect cool down for the collective dance party we’d all just had.
Does Red Bull have the keys to the future of the music industry? Only time will tell, but their business model is one that I think may trend positive for the foreseeable future.
INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE
THOUGHTS: The first time I saw The Naked and Famous perform live was at Coachella this year. I was curious to see how much their stage performance had evolved from the first time I saw them perform, and I’ll have to admit that there was something about their performance at First Festival that really impressed me. They seemed to perform more freely and had a more loose air about them. Maybe it was great stage lighting. Maybe it was the gentle breeze the made Alisa Xayalith’s garments flow in the wind. Maybe it was the crowd singing along with the choruses of the popular songs. Maybe it was the act of the crowd throwing flowers onto the stage for Alisa’s birthday. Whatever it was, it reflected in their performance, and they delivered a tremendous set.
INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE
THOUGHTS: To think that I almost missed out on seeing Future Islands perform at Coachella 2014. If it wasn’t for their lead singer, Sam Herring, convincing me to check them out, I would have missed out on music that I have perched high on my “best of the year” lists. When I found out they were performing at First City Festival, I urged all of my friends who were also attending to check them out. They, like me, were amazed by what they saw and heard. I think part of what makes Future Islands’ live performance so powerful to witness is the emotive stage presence of Mr. Herring. Every movement … every gesture … it all speaks to something, and it’s truly a revelation to witness. I suppose that why most of my shots of the band were of Sam. It really couldn’t be helped. I suppose that I should have bust out a wider angled lens to capture the entire band … hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do that in the future when they get back to Los Angeles for another gig.
This is the “Homepage” for the links to all of the blog entries posted about the acts I was able to catch at First City Festival, August 23 and 24, 2014. Below are links to Instagram video posts, photos and some brief thoughts about each band that I was able to enjoy in beautiful Monterey.
To read my “Love Letter” to First City Festival CLICK HERE.
Saturday, August 23th
- Strangers You Know | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Speedy Ortiz | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Miniature Tigers | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- CocoRosie | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Doe Eye | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- How To Dress Well | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Tokyo Police Club | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Mr. Little Jeans | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Phantogram | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Stepkids | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Beck | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
Sunday, August 24th
- Midi Matilda | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Men | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Lake Street Dive | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Future Islands | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Lo-Fang | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Geographer | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Naked And Famous | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Cults | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The National | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
If Woodkid was the surprise set of my Friday, Future Islands was the surprise set of my Saturday.
Between catching White Lies and Banks, I took a pit stop in the media tent of the festival. While there, I noticed Samuel Herring, lead singer of Future Islands, hanging out after an interview. For some reason, perhaps due to the little sleep I had the two nights before, I went up to Samuel and apologized for missing his band’s set on Friday. Problem was, they were performing later that evening. D’oh!!!! He politely corrected me, and encouraged me to go check them out. I was a bit too embarrassed to show him that I had actually circled their set in my festival booklet, and opted to assure him that I would while asking for a selfie, which he graciously obliged.
As an aside, in those few minutes chatting with Sam Herring, I got the impression that he was one of the most humble and easy going dudes on the planet. Total bonus points in the “cool” column.
When the band took the stage and started performing, I was blown away. I had seen videos of them perform live online, but there’s nothing like watching Sam Herring rock the stage in the flesh. He performs with such a passion, you can’t helped but get hypnotized by him. His facial expressions, body language, even hand gestures all served the purpose to help tell the stories he was singing.
To put it bluntly, I fucking loved it. On record store day, I actually looked for their LP to buy. It was apparently sold out, so I ended up buying their album on cassette instead. It was the second cassette I’ve purchased in the past 15 years (the other being a copy of The Pharcyde’s “Bizarre Ride To Tha Pharcyde”). I’ve played that cassette at least a half a dozen times since, and each time I think about their performance at Coachella.
If you enjoy bands like War On Drugs, Phantogram or St. Vincent, you should check out Future Islands. If you have the opportunity to see them live in a club venue, do it.
This year, I was lucky enough to get approved for a media/photo pass for the first weekend of Coachella. The photo pass allows me to take pictures from the photo pit of each stage, and being armed with an incredible lens, I’ve taken some pretty amazing pictures so far, and I can’t wait to sift through them all and post what I’ve been able to capture.
There were a few acts that I wish could have snapped pictures for (Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Beck and Arcade Fire), but being a “newby” in the world of concert photography, I wasn’t selected to by artist management to have the privilege of taking pictures. Hopefully, the pics I post of the bands I saw here will help change their opinion of me for the future.
Each entry will contain a little bulb of my overall thoughts of what I was able to see, with a Instagram video post that I posted (my Instagram account is @Methodman13 … you may as well go there now while you’re waiting for the post to go up) and a photo slideshow. I hope you enjoy the moments I captured as much as I enjoyed shooting it. Click on the name of the artist you want to check out to see the blog entry I put up.
Friday | April 11th, 2014
- Tom Odell
- The Preatures
- Dum Dum Girls
- Jagwar Ma
- A$AP Ferg
- The Afghan Whigs (Unfortunately, the pictures I took during this set are unusable)
- Broken Bells
- The Replacements
- Girl Talk
- Outkast (Unfortunately, the pictures I took during this set are unusable)
Saturday | April 12, 2014
- Laura Mvula
- White Lies
- City and Colour
- Julian Casablancas
- Kid Cudi
- Future Islands
- Empire of the Sun
- Pharrell Williams
- Pet Shop Boys
Sunday | April 13, 2014
- Chance The Rapper
- The 1975
- Blood Orange
- The Naked and Famous
- Little Dragon
- Lana Del Rey
- Jhené Aiko
UPDATE: 5/9/14: It was a long, glorious, music-filled weekend of music. I think I may have ruined all of the future music festivals I attend because there really is nothing like being in the photo pit, even for only the first 3 songs, trying to capture “moments” of musicians practicing their craft and giving the audience all that they have. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, Goldenvoice. Thank you, Snoop. You made this music dweeb very, very happy.