As much as I enjoy getting drunk at a bar and ogling scantily clad women dressed slutty with a purpose, I was debating my plans for Halloween this year. I was hoping for something different; something memorable. Thankfully, a friend (who, by the way, may just be too cool for me), offered me her extra ticket to see Queens of the Stone Ages’s final concert of their “Like Clockwork” torn at The Forum, featuring The Kills, JD McPherephon and Nick Oliveri. Um, seriously? Um, how cool are my friends?
Costumes were encouraged, so I glued on two prosthetic horns, donned black, and carried around a zombie baby in a baby carrier. My friend was coming from another event across town, so me and my zombie baby waited patiently for her to arrive. There were some terrific costumes, and my “baby” definitely started some conversations. When my friend arrived, I made a b-line straight to the merchandise booth to see if there was any exclusive merchandise left. I was bummed to discover that I had missed out on limited edition event posters.
By the time I made my way back to the seats, The Kills had just started their set. Allison Mosshart is such a bad ass front-woman. She sings in the Dead Whether as “Baby Ruthless”. She is known as “VV” in The Kills
Having the The Kills perform this year was a treat. The last album that they released was in 2011, “Blood Pressures”. They’ve been touring a bit this year, so one can only hope that new material is around the corner. I thought that the sound could have been better mixed for their set, but it was still a thrill to watch them rock the stage.
(No photos pass for this concert- I tried- so all of the pictures were snapped with my trusty point and shoot Sony CybershotG)
In between sets, the Suicide Girls provided some risqué entertainment for crowd.
I missed out on watching the Queens of the Stone Age’s set at Coachella this year. I was bummed that I didn’t get approved for the photo pit, and I decided to shoot some artist’s who didn’t have photo pit restrictions.
Touring in support of their most recent album “…Like Clockwork“, the Halloween gig at The Forum would be the final show of the tour. They pulled out all of the stops, performing songs from their entire catalogue.
Josh Homme, dressed as a priest, wailed through QOTSA classic, getting some help from Jake Shears (of Scissor Sisters) for “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” and doing a five songs set with former QOTSA bassist Nick Oliveri for an encore. THIS is much better than getting drunk at bar ogling hot, slutty-dressed chicks.
“[…] This time there were a couple girls on stage, which was pretty rad. I’m always stoked to see some gender plurality in a band. A short-haired pixie on the bass and a tall lanky drink of water on rhythm guitar and keyboards. Really good energy. A fast driving beat anchored a quasi-grunge surf garage sound. The guy on lead guitar in his prison blues and beanie shared vocals with the girl on bass but her voice was a little mousy and was largely lost behind all the instruments. The guy sounded good (he might have been mic’d better) and was hitting some impressive falsetto notes […] I can’t deny that their set was a little sloppy but you found yourself rooting for them because even if you weren’t feeling it, you could tell that THEY were feeling it. They were obviously stoked to be on stage – any stage – and that’s how a band should bring it. Reckless abandon, no matter where they are. They even smiled a few times.
The set was dominated by an upbeat spacy twang that reflects the sort of trans-Atlantic surf guitar riffs that I’ve heard creep back into a lot of stuff I’m listening to. And I dig it […] Some of it was what the band self-glossed as “funky”. Not sure what their definition of funk is. I definitely was not feeling a lot of James Brown or Bootsy Collins in what were fairly aimless walls of noise and distortion […] Potential trumps refinement.”
THOUGHTS: I was really looking forward to seeing/hearing Heartless Bastards live, but sound problems at the start of their set didn’t really give me a chance really appreciate what I know this band is capable of. Granted, I only stayed for the first half of their set (I had to photograph another artist whose set had started) and, as you can tell from the Instagram video clips bellows (that I filmed as I was walking to the other state) their sound issues did get better. But, I think I’ll reserved my opinions … until I can catch them in concert again.
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!
THE ACT: Allah-Las
Members: Miles, Pedrum, Spencer Dunham (bass) and Matt Correia (drums)
THOUGHTS: There’s a reason why this Los Angeles-based garage rock band has been making waves as of late. Their neo-psychedlic sound is effortless and their laid-back stage-presence adds to their vibe. It was my first time catching their act live, and I’m looking forward to catching them again this summer when they open for Ok Go at the Santa Monica Pier September 4th.
Formed the year I was born, 1976, The Damned are a rock band from London, England. I was particularly interested in checking out there set as they are known to be one of the forerunners of the “gothic” music genre: a music style that is a mix of post-punk and alternative rock. I was especially excited that they were playing Ink-N-Iron because I couldn’t recall the last time they toured the United States.
Though their line-up has changed up over the course of their existence, three of their original members performed on this night on the Queen Mary: lead singer Dave Vanian, guitarist Captain Sensible and keyboardist Monty Oxymoron.
Dave Vanian’s performance was particularly impressive. His dark (dressed in black, with sunglasses and gloves) and mysterious stage presence was quite a contrast from Lee Ving’s performance. He performance demonstrated an understated bravado that really demonstrated, to me, a terrific command of the stage.
The audience, who had just before been moshing with reckless, and violent, abandon the set before, was now bouncing about with more fun and freedom. 37 years after they had formed, it appeared to me that they still had plenty in the tank, with their classically punk attitude in full form.
I couldn’t find a setlist of their set online, so if you attended the event and know what their setlist was, please post it in the comments, and I’ll add it to the post.
Immediately below are some videos I found of The Briefs performing at the festival and also the Ink-N-Iron pre-party. If you know of any other videos that are online, please post the link below in the comments so that I can add it to the playlist.
After leaving the mellow and sublime sounds of City and Colour, I made the trek across the festival grounds to check out one of the two last minute line-up adds to the festival: Julian Casablancas. Though I was more familiar with his earlier work with The Strokes, I figured catching his new music, with his new backing band The Voidz, would be as loud, fun and dirty as one would expect. I wasn’t disappointed. There was even a moment, when I recording a clip for Instagram, when he almost fell off the stage onto me (see the clip below). That was cool.
The only The Strokes song that he covered was “Ize of the World”, and the rest of the set was filled with new music. The music sounded heavier and more punk than his work with The Strokes, and I didn’t mind that at all. Knowing the caliber of musician that he is (having worked with other artists in the past like Queens of the Stone Age, Eddie Vedder, Danger Mouse and Pharrell), I’m excited to check out his forthcoming album (tentatively titled “Can I VHS you”) and was pleased to have caught his last-minute set.
I don’t know what they are feeding their kids across the pond, but I would suggest that we bring whatever they have over there and start feeding it to our kids in the States.
It was a last minute decision, but having missed out on seeing Jake Bugg perform at The Wiltern, I decided that I wouldn’t miss out on catching The Strypes, a four piece blues/garage rock band from Cavan, Ireland , finish up their U.S. tour with a stop at the El Rey. Their music is a throwback to some of the great rock bands of the 60s and 70s … and they are only 16-18 years old.
The crazy thing is, if you didn’t know how old they were, I guarantee that you would have never guessed that they were so young. Their music is fast and loud, and they carried an attitude on stage that made them appear older than they actually are. It was an 18+ show, but it didn’t surprise me that that their audience was equally split between those still in high school, and those who grew up with music from bands like The Kinks (whose rendition of “Louie, Louie” they faithfully covered as their finale) and the Yardbirds. It no surprise that legacy artists like Elton John (full disclaimer, Elton is managed by the same company that manages The Strypes) have been raving about the group for some time.
Their music is accessible by disparate age groups because though they perform with their naturally youthful energy and swagger that could make any pre-teen girl squeal, they also have the musical chops to impressively sound like that music form the glory days of classic rock-and-roll. I mean, the lead singer, Ross Farrelly (who I understand is only 16 years old) has a voice that quite faithfully covered classic by Bo Diddley, The Specials, Ramones and Kinks.
These kids are impressive. Their stage present and their seems to indicated that they have the potential to keep on making great sounding rock-and-roll for years to come. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that their sound doesn’t change too much with puberty.
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, then 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!
I spend a lot of money to go to a lot of concerts each year, so it takes a lot for me to want to see the same band or recording artist perform more than once a year. This year, I went to see two acts three times. One of them was Hanni El Khatib. I saw Hanni El Khatib open for The Black Angels in May and on the Santa Monica Pier in August. His set opening for The Black Angels was a revelation. It was the first time I had ever heard his music, but it was so gritty and intense, I was hooked.
Wrapping up the domestic leg of his tour, and coming back “home” to Los Angeles, you could tell that he was pumped for his headlining set at a classic Los Angeles venue.
I had a conversation with a buddy of mine about Hanni El Khatib’s music, and he pretty much summed it perfectly by telling me, “His music is so fucking raw.” Bingo. My buddy also claimed that Hanni El Khatib is probably the best rock act to come out of Los Angeles in recent memory. I really couldn’t disagree. In fact, I couldn’t think of another blues, rock artist based out of Los Angeles whose music gets me as pumped as his.
Tijuana Panthers and Bass Drum of Death got the crowd ready for HEK’s set, and as soon as the lights dimmed, and Hanni took the stage, the crowd roared with anticipation for what was to be a raucous evening of killer rock and roll.
I’ve already written about his live act twice before, so click on the links above to check them out. While you’re at it, you should probably also check out his recordings. They may convince you to check out his live act as well.
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.