Elvis Costello, Ben Folds & the Los Angeles Philharmonic | Hollywood Bowl | 9/16/14 [Review, Photos & Video]

When I heard that Elvis Costello was performing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, I was jealous. Bills had to be paid, among other expenses I committed too, and I made the economical, yet regretful, decision not to spend my money on tickets.

 

 

Fate seemed to be tempting my spending urges when it was announced that another date had been added to accommodate the demand for tickets. Still strapped for cash, I tried my best to avoid all email ticket alerts and social medial notices to remind me of my regretful frugality. Flash forward to a week before the concert and a close friend of mine … out of the blue … asked me if I wanted to be her guest to the second concert … for free. Apparently, fate likes to play games with me. Either that, or Karma saw fit to reward my dedication to music.

 

 

I have a storied and emotional connection with Elvis Costello’s music. Back in college, I purchased my first Elvis Costello CD. It was a greatest hits album of his work with The Attractions. After my first listen, I was hooked. “Pump It Up”, “Radio Radio”, “Accidents Will Happen”, “Man Out Of Time” … with 21 stellar cuts, it’s definitely on my list of best CDs I purchased in college.

 

 

The first track of that album, “Alison”, ended up being a song that I played on repeat after my college sweetheart broke my heart. Though I’m still not sure whether that song was particularly apropos to having a broken heart, the lyrics have always made me get misty eyed.

 

 

“I’m not going to get too sentimental like those other sticky valentines, ‘cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody. I only know it isn’t mine.” …. <sniff sniff> …

 

 

Elvis was also responsible for one my greatest working experiences ever. After passing the bar exam, I was working in a small boutique law firm. We represented a production company that was producing a live-to-tape concert series for VH1 classics named “Decades Rock Live”, an hour long program that featured a legacy artist who was then paired with modern day recording artists to perform each other’s songs. One of the artists we featured was Elvis Costello, and he had requested to work with Fiona Apple, Billie Joe Armstrong and Death Cab for Cutie.

 

 

Though I had spent virtually all of my time behind the computer and phone at my desk, in the office, to negotiate and draft agreements, I was asked to go on location (The Trump Taj Mahal) for the taping of that episode to handle production matters. It was an experience that reshaped my opinion of the work that I was doing. Being in thick of it all, watching how the episode got taped, watching the artists figure out creative logistics and watching their genius bloom on stage, was n0t only eye-opening but extremely soul-satisfying. Being able to attend the after concert party was pretty cool too.

 

 

To be able to see Elvis at the Hollywood Bowl, along side the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was amazing. I’ve always know that Elvis was musical genius. To see his work performed with orchestral arrangements was … to put it simply … sublime.

 

 

In between songs, he threw in stories about the meaning of the works he about to perform. He told us about how “Accidents Will Happen” was written on the way to Mexico, how “Veronica” was written about his grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, how he wrote “Shipbuilding” (a song about giving jobs to veterans after wars) 30 years ago and Chet Baker playing on the original recording.

 

 

The most poignant moments of the concert, for me at least, occurred at the end. He closed his set with a heart-tugging rendition of Burt Bacharach’s power-ballad “God Give Me Strength”. He left the stage, but I knew that he would be called upon to perform an encore.

 

 

He prefaced the encore by thanking Linda Ronstat for covering the song on her debut album; thankful that he was able to earn enough money with the song to keep his music career going. Then he performed “Alison”.

 

 

I sat back on the Hollywood Bowl bench and let it his performance consume me. I wasn’t reminiscing about anything in particular. I was focused on the music. On the arrangement. Then I notice that the arm holding my camera was slightly trembling. The next thing I knew, my vision got blurry.

 

 

It doesn’t happen very often, but a performance moved me to shed a tear. I wasn’t anticipating it. It just happened … but you know what? Beautiful music … It can do that to a grown man.

Elvis Costello | Hollywood Bowl | Setlist

 

 

Ben Folds opened for Elvis. I got into Ben Folds’ music when a member of my a cappella group arrange a Ben Folds Five song, “Evaporated”, for our group to sing. Like Elvis, Ben Folds’ musical knowledge far superior than the norm.

 

During his set, he took the time to emphasize the importance of symphony orchestras, joking that, “some towns have symphony orchestras, and some don’t … and the ones that don’t suck.” He also acknowledged the problem with the music industry today, indicating before the performance of a piano concerto he wrote, that he was only able to create his work with the help of a generous corporate sponsorship with Acura, and how a record label in today’s economic landscape would have never given him the resources to create what he did.

 

 

I was hoping he was going to perform “Kate” (my favorite Ben Folds Five song) with the orchestra, but I can’t complain. His performance was superb.

 

Ben Folds | Hollywood Bowl | Setlist

 

I was obviously wasn’t approved for a photo pass for this concert, but I hope that you can get an idea of the concert with the pictures I was able to snap with my small Sony point and shoot.

Phantogram | First City Festival | 8/23/14 [PHOTOS]

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Glen Hansard, The Head and the Heart and Iron & Wine | Hollywood Bowl | 8/10/14 [REVIEW]

There’s nothing I love doing more on a beautiful summer’s eve than catching a show, any show, at the Hollywood Bowl.

 

As luck would have it, a dear friend of mine had an extra ticket for her box seat in the terrace for Iron & Wine, The Head and the Heart and Glen Hansard. It would be my first Hollywood Bowl show of 2014, and it couldn’t have been a more sublime soundtrack for a summer’s eve feast under a Super Moon.

 

Opening the concert was Sam Beam aka “Iron & Wine”. I last saw Iron & Wine perform Halloween at the Orpheum Theatre. For that concert, he was backed by a full band, and played a set that was over two hours long. This time, it was just him and his guitar.

 

He joked with the audience that he was “dinner entertainment” as everyone in the audience was busy unpacking their picnic baskets to dine. Though the audience may have been a little distracted consuming food, it was hard not be entranced by Sam’s beautiful folk melodies.

 

In between songs, when audience members up in the privileged pool and orchestra sections began yelling out song titles, he joked with the audience that, “you get one, I get one,” though I’m not sure he really took the suggestions yelled from the audience.

 

His performance was much more subdued than the performance I saw at the Orpheum, but it worked well to exhibit the nuances of his music, especially the tender, emotional sentiments phrased in his lyrics. So powerful was his music, that by the end of his short set, the rustling of paper bags, plastic dinnerware, and the idle dinner chatter, subsided, as the audience was moved, literally, to silence when he finished his set. You could hear a pin drop. Chills. Wonderful chills.

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I first saw The Head and the Heart perform at Coachella a few years back. They caught my attention then, and I had a few songs that I was hoping to hear.

 

A Seattle based band, The Head and Heart’s folk revival is influenced by Americana, country-rock and pop. Their performance this time around seemed to be much looser and more self-assured from what I remembered at Coachella. They brought an energy to the Bowl that really got the crowd excited.

 

They expressed their sincere disbelief that they were sharing the Hollywood Bowl stage with Iron & Wine and Glen Hansard, when they closed with my favorite song of theirs “Rivers and Roads”.

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I went to the restroom after The Head and the Heart finished their set, and on my in, I noticed a familiar face pass by me. It was Chris O’ Dowd, the actor who plays the police officer/romantic interest in “Bridesmaids”. Seeing him walk by me, I figured that there were a whole lot of Irish celebrities in the audience.

 

When Glen Hansard took the stage, he walked to center stage by himself, armed with just his acoustic guitar, and ripped into a phenomenal cover of Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks.” When I say phenomenal, it’s no exaggeration. I was floored by his intense energy.

 

The rest of his set was a collection of original songs and covers, demonstrating his ability to take any song and make it his own. A highlight of the evening was when he performed one of the wildly popular tunes from his motion picture “Once”, “When Your Mind’s Made Up”.

 

I was hoping that Marketa Irglova would have made a special appearance (it IS the Hollywood Bowl, after all), but no luck.

 

The only criticism of the concert was that it was just too damn short. With the Hollywood Bowl strictly adhering to it’s 10pm curfew, Glen acknowledge to the audience that he had lost track of time, and that he was, unfortunately, out of it, promising that he’d come back and do a proper three hour show.

 

He closed with a traditional Irish folk song, “The Auld Triangle” and, lo and behold, he called up Chris O’Dowd to sing a verse with him up on stage. Thereafter, Sam Beam and The Head and the Heart each took turns singing verses with Glen to end the concert in a rousing fashion.

 

Though I wish he would have performed “Falling Slowly” (I have a really personal connection to that tune), and though I wish Glen’s set could have been longer, it was a perfect show for my first concert at the Hollywood Bowl for 2014.

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I tried to get photo pass for this concert, but I wasn’t approved. The photos below were taken with my pocket-sized Sony Cybershot G.

 

A Year of Concerts: 2013

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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

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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

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

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PhoenixDaft PunkJustice … France turns out some great electro, synth pop bands. Oh yeah … M83 is pretty damn good too. Named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83, M83’s music is as cosmic as that system of stars. Adding a full orchestra and choir to their already sonically complex arrangements like “Midnight City” only raised the level of their cosmic sound.

I wasn’t planning on attending the show.  In fact, I had been offered to get in on tickets when they first went on sale, but passed it up since I purchased some tickets for other shows and funds, at the time, were running low. But as fate would have it, a dear friend of mine called me up last minute the day before the concert to see if I wanted to attend the sold out show, and I got to attend the last installment of KCRW Radio’s World Festival series.  The stars were definitely aligned for me …

The indie pop/Electronic rock band Phantogram opened for M83. It was my first time listening to their music, but I could tell why they were opening for M83. Their songs were all dance friendly, and had catchy hooks. Sarah Barthel’s vocals were strong and sexy. The band didn’t seem intimidated by performing on the famous stage, but they expressed their humble gratitude by acknowledging the hallowed stage they were on, and thanked the audience for listening.

Their setlist, from www.setlist.fm was:

  1. When I’m Small
  2. Mouthful of Diamonds
  3. As Far as I Can See
  4. Celebrating Ugly
  5. Black Out Days
  6. Don’t Move
  7. Voices
  8. When I’m Small

M83’s performance, back by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and its choir, was stunning. For a band whose music is already big with layered synths, guitars and voices, I wondered how the orchestral arrangements would come off and how it would alter the original arrangements. Surprisingly, the orchestra didn’t overpower the band’s sound. Rather, at least in my humble opinion, they seemed to be used only to accent the original sound. Truth be told, it was hard to me to actually note when the orchestra was playing and when they weren’t. M83’s sound, alone, is that big.

M83 used a lot visual media  in their performance.  Though it was hard for me to actually glean what the purpose of some of the visual montages were, I supposed that it was used to evoke mood and metaphors for the audience to come up with. As visually stunning as the montages were, personally, I think that the performance could have done without it, as I hardly spent time watching the video screens.

M83 brought up a couple of special guests during their performance: grade-school aged Zelly Meldal-Johnsen (performing “Raconte Moi une Histoire”) and Brad Laner (from the band Medicine) and though each special guest’s performance was entertaining (Zelly’s song about the frog was especially cute), I was hoping that the special guests, especially at the Hollywood Bowl, would have been more exciting or well-known….  After all, it IS the Hollywood Bowl.

Special guests notwithstanding, M83’s performance was the kind of show you hope to see- and is typically delivered- at the Hollywood Bowl. Grand in scale. Aurally pleasing. Toss in a seat in a Terrace Box, with great friends on a lazy Sunday? Perfect.

Setlist procured from www.setlist.fm:

  1. In the Cold I’m Standing
  2. Intro
  3. Reunion
  4. Sitting
  5. We Own The Sky
  6. Steve McQueen
  7. Splendor (with Brad Laner)
  8. Wait
  9. Moonchild
  10. Raconte-moi une histoire (with Zelly Boo Meldal-Jophnsen)
  11. Skin of the Night
  12. Midnight City
  13. Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun

Encore:

  1. Oblivion (Susanne Sundfor)
  2. Outro
  3. Couleurs

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.

Rodrigo y Gabriela | Hollywood Bowl | July 14, 2013

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Most of the time, my lust to see a band perform live is satiated once it happens.  After all, the costs of concert going these days can get quite expensive, and I typically like to use my hard earned cash experiencing something new, rather than retread the same territory. There are a handful of acts that I’ve seen perform live, however, that I would gladly pay what I could afford to see perform. One of those acts is Rodrigo y Gabriela .

On July 14, 2013, I went to see them for the third time; the second time at the Hollywood Bowl– one of the best concert going venues in Los Angeles. The other time I saw them perform was at the Orpheum Theatre.  And for the third time, they blew me away. It was another KCRW sponsored concert event.

My friends and I boarded the Hollywood Bowl shuttle from Westwood, prepared with our evening picnic essentials (sandwiches, wines, cheese, crackers, etc) and settled into out seats adjacent to the box seats.  The angle and view was terrific, and I couldn’t have asked for a better location.

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The first act of the evening was a band Lord Huron, an American indie folk band based in Los Angeles. Lord Huron began as a solo project by Ben Schneider in the spring of 2010, and they have released several EPs and a full-length album since. Their sound was a perfect starter as the sun set into the hill behind us. Their music seemed to be a folksier and more mellow version of Local Natives and the audience seemed to appreciate the sounds as they dined on their picnic foods and sipped wine from their plastic cups.

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The second act was a band that I had just started to listen to name Devotchka. A quartet formed and based out of Denver, CO, their music was exotic and impassioned. Backed by a sting ensemble, their gypsy-tinged melodies added a certain flavor to the evening.  Almost like setting the stage for the exotic. The lead vocalist, Nick Urata had a certain swagger to his performance that made me think his musical personal was a cross between Andrew Bird and Morrissey. Free and light, like Andrew Bird at times, and deep and emotive like Morrissey at others. His suit and hair styling also may have influenced my first impression of him, but I digress.

Devotchaka’s style of music covered a wide gamut of styles, hinting at elements rock, folk, cabaret, eastern European, etc. It was an exotic set of sounds and music that proved to me that KRCW certainly knows how to put a concert bill together, as Devotchka seemed like a very appropriate appetizer for the main course. 

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The last time I saw Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Hollywood Bowl, they performed backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Was I worried that they wouldn’t be able to fill out the sound of the Hollywood Bowl without the orchestral accompaniment? Not at all. In fact, they duet performance (altered as a trio with a keyboard for only several selections) showcased their unbelievable talent on the acoustic guitars.  On exhibit that evening, the audience saw their raw virtuosity and dexterousness around the strings of their guitars.

For me, there is something special about Rodrigo y Gabriela that makes them a band that I’ll always want to go see when they are in town. Their music, like Devotchka’s, is fusion of styles that are put together so masterfully, one can’t help by call it art.  Rodrgio y Gabriela are unlike any other band I can think of that mixes elements of metal, jazz, flamenco and psychedila so effortlessly. It’s music that appeals to such a wide audience.

Watching them perform is also treat.  One become mesmerized by they way they perform.  They perform with such intensity and such joy, that it’s hard not be transfixed in their motions. I would have loved to dance around to the music, but personally, I just want to watch them perform.

I wanted to watch Rodrigo take his rock-star, stride stance as he plucked away at the strings, nodding his heads like a metronome to the rhythm.  I wanted to watch Gabriela’s hands and fingers move about her guitar like spiders hopped up on speed, all while dancing and bouncing about on stage. Even on acoustic guitars, their performance had such aggressive feel; it reminded me of some heavy metal shows I’ve attended.  At the same time, the sounds that emanated from their instruments were the sublime of the sublime.

And how can one not be hypnotized at the dizzying speed at which they play? To me, it simply amazing that that music … that much sound … comes out of four hands.

When I go to concerts, I want to be amazed. If you amaze me beyond comprehension, I’ll go see you every time you’re in town. This is why I went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela perform for a third time, and that is why I’ll keep seeing them perform live whenever given the chance.

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Oh … and I love Gabriela. Just saying…

A Year of Concerts: 2012, 24 Concerts, 1 Favorite

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In 2012, I was blessed to have been able to attend 24 concerts.  This being the inaugural post of my blog, I thought it may be a good way to kick things off if I listed each of the concerts in the order that I enjoyed them (starting with the least favorite, and ending with my favorite), with a line or two of my thoughts.

24. Shuggie Otis– The Echoplex- Wed Dec 5

It’s hard to see an artist that you acknowledge as Los Angeles musical royalty without his gift.  By all accounts, a sad musical revelation for me.

23. The 10th Annual Korea Times Music Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sat April 28

While I can appreciate the musicality of some of the K-Pop act thats performed throughout the evening, I’m assuming I didn’t truly appreciate it like the others because I just didn’t understand enough.  I’m a bad Korean-American.

22. Moby– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Jul 14

Moby did two sets:  Live Folk and DJ.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with either.  While I can appreciate his musical venture, I kind of want to hear the older hits that I grew up with.

21. Boyce Avenue– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Dec 08

By buddy proposed to his girl, on stage at this show.  He picked the perfect show.  Chicks dig Boyce Avenue.

20. Starting 6– Vanguard- Fri Aug 10

Hot, sweaty, party hip-hop.  These guys can rock a joint

19. Orange Tulip Conspiracy– Mr. T’s Bowl- Fri Sep 21

The musicality of this Jazz group is amazing. A must for any jazz aficionado. I hear they are recording a new album, and I can’t wait to her the new material.

18. The Airplane Boys– Roxy Theater- Wed Aug 15

Other level hip-hop.  I also saw them at Coachella.  They killed it at the Roxy like they killed it in the desert.

17. Bizarre Ride Fest– Bizarre Ride Live (Fatlip, Slimkid3, J. Swift, etc.)- The Roxy Theater- Sat Dec 29

The Pharcyde’s debut album “Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde”, to quote my buddy David [@davidshein on twitter] is “just one of the best hip hop albums ever”.  I won’t disagree.  Even when it’s performed by only half of the original group, the music still holds up.

16. The Heavy– El Rey Theatre- Fri Sep 07

In support of the their most recent release, The Glorious Dead, I jammed out at this concert.  Their front man, Kevin Swaby, was born to perform.

15. Jason Mraz and Christina Perri– Tour Is A Four Letter Word- Hollywood Bowl- Fri Oct 05

I enjoyed Jason Mraz at the Hollywood Bowl, but I’ve seen him at The Wiltern (full band) and The Walt Disney Concert Hall (acoustic), and his music is better suited for more intimate venues.

14. Animal Collective, Flying Lotus and Huun Huur Tu– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sept 23

Animal Collective delivered.  Huun Huur Tu entertained.  Flying Lotus blew my mind.

13. Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Aug 04

Such and odd concert pairing, but they both were amazing.  KCRW kicks ass.

12. Girl In A Coma, Pinata Protest and Sara Radle– The Echoplex- Fri Apr 27

Girl In A Coma is one of my favorite “new” bands.  These girls kick ass.  I wanted to see them again this year when they were opening for Grizzly Bear, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  The lead singer, Nina Diaz, has a voice to die for.

11. Playboy Jazz Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jun 17

Ramsey Lewis is a musical savant.  I always pay money to watch genius perform.  Robin Thicke were Preservation Hall Jazz Band were good.  Was a slightly unimpressed with Spectrum Road.

10. Eric Hutchinson– Troubadour- Sat May 19

He was the first artist I truly “represented” back at my first job after passing the bar exam.  I couldn’t  be prouder of how far he’s come.

9. Allen Stone– The Fonda Theatre- Fri Oct 19

If this guys plays his card right, he could playing the Hollywood Bowl in a few years.  The first thought I had after the show ended?  “I’ll be able to tell my kids (when I have them), that I stood front row at an Allen Stone concert at The Fonda”.

8. Ben Harper– Vieux Farka Tour- Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jul 01

When Ben Harper sang a cappella, without a mic, at the front of the Hollywood Bowl stage, he earned by respect. He also played the one song I needed to hear, “Burn One Down”.  Can’t ask for more.

7. Hot Chip, Passion Pit and Omar Souleyman– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sep 9

I went to the show to see Passion Pit. They met and exceeded expectations.  I was expecting more from Hot Chip.  I didn’t get to see Omar Souleyman.

6. Meshell Ndegeocello and James “Blood” Ulmer– Royce Hall- Fri Dec 7

Meshell Ngedeocello performed her interpretations of Nina Simone classics.  Mesmerizing.

5. Peter Gabriel– Back To Front- Hollywood Bowl- Sat Oct 6

I’m not going to lie.  I had a moment.  Flashing back to my younger years when he played “In Your Eyes”, mine started to water.  The power of music.

4. Fiona Apple– The Greek Theatre- Fri Sep 14

She may have been a bit too gaunt for my personal liking, but she can still sing.  A poetess with a voice.  There isn’t that many like her out there in the world.

3. Mint Condition– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Jan 28

Mint Condition has always been underrated.  In my humble opinion? They’re one of the best live, R&B bands out there, period.  Stokley’s voice is perfect for R&B.  I grew up with their music.  They are one of my favorite bands.

2. No Doubt– Gibson Amphitheatre- Fri Nov 30

I’ve always kicked my self in the rear when it comes to No Doubt.  They used to perform locally when I was growing out, but I never went to a show.  I can now cross this off my concert bucket-list.  Oh, by the way, I’m in love with Gwen…

1. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival– Empire Polo Club- Fri Apr 13 through Sun Apr 15

Dr. Dre & Snoop.  Radiohead.  The Black Keys. Bon Iver. Swedish House Mafia.  At The Drive-In.  Florence and the Machine.  Girl Talk.  The Shins.  Mazzy Star.    Andrew Bird.  Need I go on?

I’ve written about most of the shows on my Facebook page, so if you want to know a little more about particulars, free to shoot me a tweet [@methodman13] and I’ll send over some other thoughts.

I hope your 2013 is filled with musical discovery, and that a song stirs your heart always.