Medicine | Culture Collide | 10/11/13

Click here to check out the other bands that I saw perform at Culture Collide 2013

Brad Laner of Medicine.
Brad Laner of Medicine.

Shoegazing is a sub genre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s. As per its entry on Wikipedia, “The British music press—particularly NME and Melody Maker—named this style shoegazing because the musicians in these bands stood relatively still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, hence the idea that they were gazing at their shoes.” One of the biggest UK acts to arise from this musical movement, was My Bloody Valentine (a band that I opted not to see at 2013’s FYF Festival). Pitchfork Media has hailed Medicine as the closest thing to being an American answer to My Bloody Valentine. I had to check them out.

Medicine founder, Brad Laner, is perhaps one of the most accomplished Los Angeles musicians in the indie rock scene. Having played on more than 300 albums,  he has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Savage Republic and Rick Rubin. After over a decade of the band being on hiatus, band members Laner, singer  Beth Thompson and drummer Jim Goodall recorded and released the highly regarded album “To The Happy Few” earlier this year.

To be honest, I wasn’t all too familiar with Medicine’s catalog of music. Truth be told, growing up, I wan’t that big of a fan of the “genre” of shoegazing. It was only somewhat recently when I started to get into M83‘s music that I started to look into the genre. But where M83 is more pop-synth rock, Medicine’s brand of shoegazing is massively more psychedelic rock with silky vocals and wall of expert guitar playing and driving drums. It was a great set, and I have money that this set was much more entertaining than the My Bloody Valentine set at FYF Festival, which I heard was plagued with technical difficulties. US-1 : UK-0.

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.

Click here to check out the other bands that I saw perform at Culture Collide 2013

Solange | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

Solange
Solange

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.

Solange
Solange

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.

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Solange
Solange.
Solange.
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).

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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 setlist.fm 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
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Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT
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Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT

The Orwells | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

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

Mario Cuomo of The Orwells.
Mario Cuomo of The Orwells.

I wasn’t planning on catching their set, but I got to the festival grounds early enough to catch the tail end of a rock band from Elmhurst, Illinois: The Orwells. They are a young band … literally … the oldest member- lead singer Mario Cuomo- is 18, and the rest of the band members are 17, and their music, loud and energetic, seemed to be the soundtrack for a new, young, wave of punk fans.

Mario Cuomo, dressed in a Chicago Bulls jersey- and only a Chicago Bulls jersey- kept the audience of his peers moving to the music, encouraging them to get the party started in the midday sun, which they happily obliged. Before you knew it, kids started crowd surfing.

Crowd surfing during The Orwells.
Crowd surfing during The Orwells.
Crowd surfing during The Orwells set.
Crowd surfing during The Orwells set.

The youth and punk music. There really isn’t a better pairing. As long as they keep on writing catchy tunes like “Mallrats (La La La)” (a sample video is below), they could very well be performing on main-stages at music festivals in the near future.

The bassist of The Orwells.
Grant Brinner of The Orwells.
Mario Cuomo of The Orwells.
Mario Cuomo of The Orwells.

Devendra Banhart | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart

I’d heard a lot about Devendra Banhart, but I’ve never taken the time to really listen to the music in his 9 album catalog. I figured I’d use his set at the festival to get acclimated to his music.

By the time I got to the stage where he was performing, I noticed two things: (1) most of the audience, at least where I was at, were girls (and if you were a guy, you were there with your arms wrapped around your girlfriend) and (ii) there were very few people (again, at least where I was at) wearing drinking bracelets. Being a single dude who can legally purchase alcoholic beverages, I seemed to be the fish out of water.

The crowd for Devendra BAnhart
The crowd for Devendra BAnhart

When Devendra came on stage, the sounds of high pitched squeals permeated the early evening dusk. A girl behind me sounded off to her friend, “Oh, wow, he cut his hair.” Her friend replied, “He’s still hot.”

His looks aside, I was particularly curious to see what kind of impression his music would have on me. I knew that he had worked with Beck, members of The Strokes and Little Joy, and was nominated for a Grammy a few years ago, so my expectations were a bit high.

The music he played was quite good, sublime, in fact. People have categorized his music at alternative folk, even hipster-folk, but it seemed that his music covered multiple styles and genres, and even languages. While singing a song in Spanish, I asked a guy next to me- who had his arms wrapped around his girlfriend by the way- if he knew where Devendra was from. A good looking girl with her crew of girlfriends turned to me and said, “Venezuela.”

I enjoyed the music, and I’m more willing to delve further into his catalog of music, but at the  time, the mood was a little too romantic for me.  Maybe if I had my arms wrapped around a girlfriend (applications currently being accepted by the way), it probably would have been a different story, but rather than join the throngs of girls swaying side to side to Devendra’s soulful crooning, I decided to go find myself a beer after 30 minutes.

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Devendra Banhart and guitarist
Devendra Banhart
Devendra Banhart
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Devendra Banhart

The Breeders | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders

Since I was already up at the front of the stage for Charles Bradley, I decided to stay put for the next band to grace the main stage: The Breeders. The Breeders were very popular during my high school days in the early 90s, but truth be told, during that time my alternative rock tastes leaned more toward Nirvana , Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam. Don’t get me wrong, I liked The Breeders’ music a lot, I mean who can resist their hit “Cannonball”, but I think adolescent guys being adolescent guys, I was a little hesitant to hold a torch for a band that my younger sister was really into.

Knowing that the band would be playing their second album, “Last Splash”, in its entirety (which album, by the way, is celebrating its 20 anniversary, and was reissued as a “deluxe edition”, this year …. Yowza!!!), I was looking foward to hearing “Cannonball”, which I knew was the second track on the album. Because I wanted to also check out another artist whose set overlapped with The Breeders, I planned on catching at least half of their set before maneuvering away from the crowd … And a big crowd it was.

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The massive crowd for The Breeders

Their fans came out in droves and cheered like  mad when they took the stage to set up their equipment. The album’s original lineup was on stage: vocalists/guitarists Kim and Kelley Deal, bassist Josephine Wiggs and Drummer Jim MacPherson.  There was an additional band member on stage, but I didn’t recognize who she was. I couldn’t get any photos of Jim MacPherson since I didn’t have a good angle.

Without greeting the crowd, they opened with a Guided by Voices cover of “Shocker In Gloomtown”. Afterwards, Kim Deal greeted the massive crowd and expressed the band’s gratitude for being able to perform at the festival, and with that they jumped into playing “Last Splash”. They played the album in order, so I got to hear “Cannonball”. I didn’t get to hear their other big singles (“Saints” and “Divine Hammer”), as I left after about 4 or 5 more songs, but I got what I needed to satisfy my music craving. I made a note that I was amused with how in between songs Kelley or Kim would gleefully point out that they were using some of  the same musical instruments that were used for the original recordings. If that isn’t being faithful to the original album, I don’t know what it is.  As I left my spot from the front of the stage, the girls behind me squealed with delight beholding their newly, unobstructed view.

As I was walking to the next band on my list, I swear could hear The Breeders sing the lyrics “Come back to me right now”. I kept walking, but I did stop to pause for a second to think about it.

Setlist (pulled from setlistfm.com):

  1. Shocker In Gloomtown (Guided by Voices cover)
  2. New Year
  3. Cannonball
  4. Invisible Man
  5. No Aloha
  6. Roi
  7. Do You Love Me Now?
  8. Flipside
  9. I Just Wanna Get Along
  10. Mad Lucas
  11. Divine Hammer
  12. S.O.S.
  13. Hag
  14. Saints (with Bradford Cox)
  15. Drivin’ on 9 (Ed Redeeming Qualities cover)
  16. Roi (Reprise)
  17. Fortunately Gone
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
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Kim Deal of The Breeders
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Kelley Deal of The Breeders

FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013

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The line-up for the 10th annual FYF Fest was stellar. For only $99, I was able to attend the two day festival, and though I had tried my darnedest to get a press-pass to no avail, I went guerrilla-style to catch those acts I wanted to see and take the best possible pictures I could. Links to the other acts I was able to catch will be posted when the pictures have been “corrected” and selected, but it’ll take some time going through the over 400 photos I snapped. It’ll take me at least a week to post everything I want to post, so keep an eye out for updates by following my twitter or instagram accounts (both have a @methodman13 handle).

Click through the name of the act to see the pictures and read the write up for the acts I was able to catch:

Saturday, August 24th

  1. Mikal Cronin
  2. Charles Bradley
  3. The Breeders
  4. Devendra Banhart
  5. The Locust
  6. Deerhunter
  7. TV on the Radio
  8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sunday, August 25

  1. The Orwells
  2. Pional
  3. How To Dress Well
  4. No Age
  5. !!! (ChkChkChk)
  6. Shlohmo
  7. MGMT
  8. Solange
  9. Holy Ghost!