Charles Bradley | The Fonda Theatre | 5/17/14 [PHOTOS]


Charles Bradley is living proof that the American Dream is still alive.  After learning about his life from the documentary “Soul of America”, I made an effort to catch his afternoon set at FYF Fest in 2013. His performance was a highlight of that day. When I heard that he was to perform at the Fonda Theatre, I knew that it was a show that I couldn’t miss, so I bought myself some tickets, knowing that it would be a show that would ultimately leave a smile on my face, and put a groove in my step.

I’d been dreaming about seeing Mr. Bradley perform in a club venue since the first time I saw him perform. His performance at FYF Fest opened my ears to his music, but it was talking to him at the festival that really left an impression on me. He specifically told me that if I loved his show, that I should catch him in a more intimate venue. With a photo pass in hand, in a venue like The Fonda, I figured that this would be about as imitate as it would get for me.

Mr. Bradley’s performance was otherworldly. Watching him perform though the lens of my camera, I could see the all of the emotion emoting from his soul. The intense emotions expressed while singing “Why Is It So Hard” to the wild dance moves he bust out throughout the set, amazed me that a man at 65 could perform with such fervor. His voice, weathered by the rough life he has lived, covered the entire emotional spectrum, from passionate moans, to indignant rebellion, to tender cooing. It was all there.

Perhaps the most impressive thing to me was the love he openly expressed: his love for his band (the Extraordinaires), his love for the music, his love for the opportunity to perform … but most importantly, his love for his fans. It was a sentiment that was echoed by him throughout the evening.

“I love you!” he shouted out to the audience, “I love you so much. If it wasn’t for you,” he said pointing to the audience, “I,” moving his hands over his heart, “wouldn’t be here, singing for you all.”

His love was infectious. So much so, that he even had me yelling from the photo pit, “I love you, Mr. Bradley!” He glanced down in my direction after I yelled like a child, so I think he may have heard me.

But I wasn’t the only one reciprocating the love back to the stage. For as much as Mr. Bradley gave to the audience, the audience gave it right back to him tenfold. After finishing up his encore, he jumped off the stage to hug fans who were lined up at the front; each fan giving Mr. Bradley a tight embrace. A fitting conclusion, to a concert that was all about … love.

I couldn’t find a setlist online, so if anybody has it, or knows what it was, please let me know in the comments so I can add it to this post.

Charles Bradley is scheduled to perform a FREE concert on the Santa Monica Pier on September 11, 2014. I suggest you schedule your plans accordingly and attend that show.


Rachel Goodrich & The Grrrls| Hotel Cafe | 2/28/14


After The Record Company wrapped up their set, they told the crowd to hang out to catch their friend Rachel Goodrich play a set. I hadn’t intended on hanging out, but I decided I’d google her to see what she was all about before deciding whether to leave or not. described her style as follows:

“Miami Beach-based singer/songwriter Rachel Goodrich‘s eclectic blend of vaudeville-inspired indie pop, swing-jazz and country-folk (the artist frequently describes her sound as “shake-a-billy”) is made all the more singular by the vast number of instruments at her command.”

Wikipedia also noted that:

“Her first album, Tinker Toys, was self-released in 2008 to which the New York Times dubbed her as a “queen of the Miami indie rock scene”. The second, self-titled album was produced by Grammy-nominated music producer Greg Wells. Goodrich’s song, “Light Bulb”, was featured in an episode of the TV series Weeds […] a Crayola commercial advertisement [and a] BT Infinity – “Light Streams” advert.”

Wanting to hear what her “shake-a-billy” was all about, I decided to stick around.

She took to the stage with her “grrls” and the trio (Rachel on guitar, a bassist and a drummer) started to jam out music that was a throwback to the 50’s era rockabilly with overtones of modern day pop sensibilities. At first, they reminded me of The 5 6 7 8’s … that all-female Japanese rock trio featured in Quentin Tarantino‘s “Kill Bill Volume 1, but I quickly put that comparison to rest since  Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls vocals sounded much better.

A little bit honky-tonk and a little bit surf-rock with a bit of punk and western-swing sprinkled on top, Rachel’s wispy and subtle vocals enhanced the catchy hooks and had me shaking my groove thing. Ah … “shake-a-billy” … I get it. I enjoyed what I heard and liked her Facebook fan page after the set.

In my opinion, with a fuller repertoire and more exposure, I can easily this band getting booked for local festival spots at FYF Fest or Ink-N-Iron next year, and I’ll be keeping my ears to the web to see what else they have coming up.

As an aside, it was a shame that most of the packed crowd for The Record Company dispersed before catching Rachel and her band do their thing. It was a fun set that was a great night-cap to the blues rock show that The Record Company put on. C’est la vie en Los Angeles, I suppose. At least my view was unobstructed …

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos. If the slide show below isn’t working, the Flickr has disabled their embed option for WordPress and hasn’t yet updated their HTML code, which totally BLOWS! If you can see the slide show below, hooray!

A Year of Concerts: 2013


Listed chronologically, the most recent show first.

Stevie Wonder | Songs In The Key Of Life | Nokia Theatre L.A. Live | 12/21/13

Shy Girls | The Spare Room and Bootleg Bar | 12/12/13 and 12/13/13

Snoopzilla and Dam Funk “7 Days Of Funk” Record Release Party | Los Angeles Exchange | 12/10/13

Thundercat | The Echoplex | 12/05/13

Moses Sumney | The Echoplex | 12/05/13

Pearl Jam | Los Angeles Sports Arena | Nov. 23-24, 2013

Ben Harper | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 11/18/13

The Record Company | The Satellite | 11/15/13

The Janks | The Satellite | 11/15/13

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

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

Laura Mvula | The Orpheum Theatre | 10/31/13

Hiatus Kaiyote | Skirball Cultural Center | 10/30/13

Moses Sumney | Skirball Cultural Center | 10/30/13

Hanni El Khatib| El Rey Theatre| 10/25/13

Bass Drum of Death | El Rey Theatre | 10/25/13

Tijuana Panthers | El Rey Theatre| 10/25/13

The Secret State | Loaded Hollywood | 10/13/13

Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide 2013 | Echo Park | 11/10/13 – 11/11/13  (Wooster, Tiny Ruins, Maya Vik, Iza, Medicine, Jacco Gardner, Gemini Club and Great White Buffalo)

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 10/7/13

Depeche Mode | Staples Center | 9/29/13

M83, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Phantogram | Hollywood Bowl | 9/22/13

The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue | Santa Monica Pier | September 21, 2013 (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker, Allen Stone and Aloe Blacc)

Laura Mvula | El Rey Theatre | 9/17/13


Lobster Festival | Port of Los Angeles | September 14, 2013 (The Section Quartet, Nightmare & The Cat, Deap Vally, Dead Sara)

Girl in a Coma | The Echoplex | September 12, 2013

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue | Twilight Concert Series | August 29, 2013

The Dustbowl Revival | Twilight Concert Series | August 29, 2013

FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013 (Mikal Cronin, Charles Bradley, The Breeders, Devendra Banhart, The Locust, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Orwells, Pional, How To Dress Well, No Age, !!! (ChkChkChk), Shlohmo, MGMT, Solange, and Holy Ghost!)

Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band |Burton W. Chace Park | August 17, 2013

The National | Jimmy Kimmel Live | August 12, 2013

Hanni El Khatib | Twilight Concert Series | August 8, 2013

Hiatus Kaiyote | The Bootleg Theater | July 31, 2013

Geographer | Getty Center | July 27, 2013

Tijuana Tears | The Virgil | July 24, 2013

Savages | El Rey Theatre | July 23, 2013

Alabama Shakes | Hollywood Palladium | July 17th, 2013

Rodrigo y Gabriela | Hollywood Bowl | July 14, 2013

Young, Gifted & Nina: A Tribute to Nina Simone | California Plaza | July 5, 2013

BET Experience | R. Kelly, New Edition & The Jacksons | Staples Center | 6/30/13

BET Experience | Snoop, Kendrick Lamar & J.Cole | Staples Center | 6/29/13

BET Experience | Beyonce | Staples Center | 6/28/13

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters | Shrine Auditorium | June 26th, 2013

Nina Diaz | Hotel Café | June 9th, 2013

Ink-N-Iron Festival | Queen Mary | June 8, 2013 (Girl in a Coma, Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil, Kaleigh Baker, The Fleshtones, Dead Kennedys and Iggy and the Stooges)

Illumination Road | The Roxy | June 4, 2013

Make Music Pasadena 2013 | June 1, 2013 (The Record Company, The Peach Kings, YACHT, Robert DeLong, Youngblood Hawke, Haunted Summer and The Likes of Us)

A Night For Jolie; A Night To Remember | Henson Recording Studios | May 31, 2013

Hanni El Khatib and The Black Angels | Mayan Theater | 5/21/13

What Made Milwaukee Famous | Central SAPC | 5/19/13

Dead Sara | El Rey Theater | May 9, 2013

New Build and No Ceremony/// | First Unitarian Church | April 27, 2013

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday (Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, Palma Violets, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Stone Roses and How To Destroy Angels)

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Saturday (Ben Howard, Pucifer, Violent Femmes, Grizzly Bear, Postal Service, Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix)

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday (Alex Clare, Rodriguez, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave, Wu-Tang Clan and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Toddchella | Part I | Tijuana Tears

Toddchella | Part II | The Record Company

Toddchella | Part III | We Were Indians

The Weeks | Three Clubs | 3/29/13

Nik Kai | 12 Year Old Guitar Prodigy | The Future of Shredding

The Night Hiatus Kaiyote Blew My Mind At The Del Monte Speakeasy 3/23/13

Jose James | The Del Monte Speakeasy | 3/13/13

Morrissey | Staples Center | 3/1/13

Orange Tulip Conspiracy |El Cid | 2/22/13

Soundgarden | The Wiltern | 2/16/13

The Robert Glasper Experiment | The Roxy | 2/8/13

Social Distortion | The House of Blues (Sunset) | 01/26/13


Holy Ghost! | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

Holy Ghost!
Holy Ghost!

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.

Holy Ghost!
Holy Ghost!

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.

Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Nick Millhiser of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!

Solange | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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


Having been blown away by Beyonce when I saw her perform at the Staples Center earlier in the year, I thought it was only right to see her younger sister, Solange, perform. I had heard good things about her latest album, Solo Star, and even better things about her EP, True, so I ventured over to the stage where she was set to perform.

As it was when I saw Beyonce perform, I felt a little out of place. Most of the audience members were young women, but casting any uneasy feelings aside, I held my ground and braced myself for the experience. As an aside, for me, there’s really no more uneasy feeling that going to a concert “blind” without having any knowledge or sense of what was to come.

Beyonce, to put it bluntly, blew my mind. It’s hard for anybody, let alone a sister, to live up to the “Beyonce standard”. When Solanage took to the stage, all I could think about was how Solange personally reconciles the comparisons and expectations. From what I had read, Solange’s music leaned more on mid to late ’60’s soul or eccentric synth-funk than modern hip-hop, pop sensibilities of her older sis.


The crowd warmly greeted Solange to the stage and backed with a full band she commenced her set. Lacking the kind of big-budget, stage production that Beyonce incorporates into her shows, Solange relied on her personality and “vibe” to engage the audience. Her music was mature and smooth, and carried with it a style classy and sophisticated. There were no choreographed dancers, but Solange used the entire stage effectively, addressing the entire audience.  When digging deep into emotional songs, close up shots of her face projected on the video screen monitors showed someone crafting her own style and meaning to the music.

I enjoyed her set, and though I can’t visualize her having the type of career or stardom her sister has already achieved, she can, and most likely will, carve out her own path and will be making her brand of music for years to come.

Solange looking eerily like her sister.
Solange looking eerily like her sister.

MGMT | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

Members of MGMT
Members of MGMT
A member of MGMT ran by me during their set back at Coachella 2008.
A member of MGMT ran by me during their set back at Coachella 2008.

The last time I saw MGMT was when they played a tent at Coachella back in 2008 supporting their debut album Oracular Spectacular.  The buzz around them was huge at the time, and their singles “Kids“,  “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel”  were getting tons of radio play. I remember their set being energetic and raucous, with the band members jumping off stage to run through the packed crowd. One of the guys ran right by me.

My interest in the band tapered off a bit with their follow up album, Congratulations, probably because it wasn’t as youthful and fun as its predecessor, but having looked at the festival schedule, I decided that I would at least catch the first half of their set before heading to the tent that was supposed to host Omar Souleyman’s performance (which in hindsight, was a bad idea as Omar’s set was delayed by about 30 minutes, meaning I could have stayed for the entire MGMT set).

The trippy visuals during MGMT’s set

Taking to the main stage, MGMT’s psychedelic video images and lighting was a far cry from what I remembered about them back in 2008. I sensed that they weren’t as carefree as they were 5 years ago, but I guess that’s just something that comes with age.

In a bit of a light moment, they called to the stage Henry Winkler (aka “The Fonz”) to play a huge cowbell for a song. Gimmick or not, it was a fun moment that indicated to me that the band still had it’s youthful playfulness that made them jump off the stage, and run through, the crowd at Coachella.

The Fonz (Henry Winkler) on Cowbell. More Cowbell!!!
The Fonz (Henry Winkler) on Cowbell. More Cowbell!!!

Keeping an eye on the time, I was simply hoping that they would play some of the songs that I knew and loved and having played “Time To Pretend” and “Electric Feel”, I left their set with a smile on my face and skip to my step.

The setlist, sourced from was:

  1. Alien Days
  2. Time to Pretend
  3. Introspection (Faine Jade cover)
  4. Weekend Wars
  5. Your Life Is a Lie (Joined by Henry Winkler on cowbell)
  6. Electric Feel
  7. Mystery Disease
  8. Siberian Breaks
  9. Kids
Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT
Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

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 !!!.


No Age | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

No Age rocking the FYF Festival for the 7th time.

No Age is a two-person, lo-fi punk band based in Los Angeles. They performed earlier in the summer as part of Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert series, but I wasn’t able to attend the free concert, so I figured I swing by their set at FYF to check them out.

No Age have the distinct honor of being the band who’s played the festival the most-seven times, with the festival being in its 10th year- and they played like it. I don’t have any of their albums, but they definitely played songs that I’ve heard before (a video snippet below of “Fever Dreaming” is a song that I’m sure you’ve heard before too).

Dean Allen Spunt of No Age.
Dean Allen Spunt of No Age.

They shred through their set with a vigor that translated well with the audience, as the crowd became of rolling mosh pit of raucous teens with bodies surfing left and right. I could see the security guards catching bodies falling from the railing up front.  Lots of fun and a lot of energy. If you were looking for a nice little post-punk pick me up during the day, these guys were it.

Setlist sourced from

  1. No Ground
  2. Circling With Dizzy
  3. C’mon, Stimmung
  4. Lock Box
  5. Teen Creeps
  6. Fever Dreaming
  7. I Won’t Be Your Generator
Randy Randall of No Age.
Randy Randall of No Age.
Dean Allen Spunt of No Age.
Dean Allen Spunt of No Age.

Pional | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

Pional performing at FYF Festival.
Pional performing at FYF Festival.

Pional was the act right before How To Dress Well, so I decided to watch his set and try to get a good spot for the next act. Pional is a Spanish producer, remixer and electronic musician from Madrid and is highly regards as a “mainstay” of the national electronic music scene in Spain.

I hadn’t heard of him before,  but his music reminded me a little of  Yeasayer. When he was singing, he was very reliant on vocal effects so it was hard to gauge whether his singing ability was any good.  It was a decent vibe, but I had a tough time really enjoying the music because I spent most of the time trying to think of what other artist’s it sounded like. The crowd around me, who were much younger than myself (no drinking bracelets), were having a good time, but I think that could have been partially because of the GHB (or whatever clear liquid  substance) they were passing around.

Pional performing at FYF Festival.
Pional performing at FYF Festival.
Pional performing at FYF Festival.
Pional performing at FYF Festival.