Gemini Club | Culture Collide | 10/11/13

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


Gemini Club is a four-piece indie-electronic band from Chicago, Illinois that have been earning a lot of praise recently opening for the likes of Chromeo, Two Door Cinema Club and Chateau Marmont. When I was doing research to decide which bands I wanted to see perform at Culture Collide, I found a couple videos of this band’s live performance and I was immediately interested. Though the  band’s stage set-up was flanked by two stacks of keyboards, Gemini Club’s live music isn’t preprogrammed.  Centered around a drummer, the electronic dance music is a live as live can be. Taking full advantage of MIDI, who says a laptop isn’t an instrument?

I was new to their music, so I wasn’t too familiar with the lyrics of their music, but in this particular instance, I was more focused on their vibe and sound, dancing and grooving to their tunes. Phoenix, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club … Gemini Club’s music is on par with the bands listed. Though the set was cut a little short due to set times running late at the venue, their set was filled with the kind of energy that only a confident band with devoted fans could evoke.

There are a lot of electronic bands flooding the music market these days. Gemini Club is an independent band that lacks the backing of a major so it’s their live performance and the word of mouth circulated by their fans that’ll get them noticed in the marketplace. Their live show is solid, and it’s my opinion that if they keep touring relentlessly, they’ll be able to lock in fans for the long haul. Follow them on Facebook, and check out their music.  You may want to check them out when they are in your neck of the woods.

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

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


For the past few years, my sister has been working with BritWeek, helping to curate, manage and execute elements of their art initiative. It was early in the morning, April 27, when I get an email from my sister saying that she had extra tickets for the BritWeek music festival at the Exchoplex that day, and asked whether I wanted to go in her stead. I immediately went into a crazed state to confirm some things.  In case you didn’t know, this is what happened at the Echoplex that evening.  As it turns out, the BritWeek artists had their venue changed to accommodate the Rolling Stones. I may have been a little deflated for a brief glorious moment.  After all, I thought I had a pass to see the Rolling Stones play! But when I did a little research as to who was playing at the First Unitarian Church, I got excited again.

IMG_3318The headliner for the evening was a seven piece London based band called New Build.  Two of the members are from the Grammy-nominated British band Hot Chip. I am a big fan of Hot Chip’s first three albums, and had also seen them perform recently at the Hollywood Bowl, so I knew- even though I was not familiar at all with New Build’s music- that the show would be memorable.

I got to the venue in time to catch the last two songs of Blood Red Shoes‘ set.  Sitting up in the “VIP” balcony section of the church, I noticed there were even better seats in the general admittance area, so after they had concluded,  I made my way down and up front.

I got settled in the pew seats up front as a band from Manchester named No Ceremony/// took to the stage to set up.  They are a three piece band fronted by a female bassist.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I love female musicians who can handle an axe.  And she, like her band, played with a precision and swagger that made me wonder how long this band had been around, and why hadn’t I heard of them before.IMG_0900

Though their stage demeanor is rather subdued, the visual elements of their show were quite stark and shocking. It’s a bit hard for me to recall what images were projected behind them, but it matched and morphed with the mood of their music.  I tried to a little research on the band the following day, but oddly enough, there wasn’t much “official” written about them.  As of 5/12/13, they don’t even have a wikipedia page up yet.  But I did find a little history of the band from the South By Southwest events calendar which I think appropriately describes them and their music:

IMG_0919“Their idiosyncratic sound, typified by chiming pianos, distorted synths and pounding kick drums, deftly explores the musical space between euphoric warehouse rave and melancholic, emotive pop. Glitched, machine-like cries and haunted, pure harmonic vocals interplay & counterbalance one another, creating a fascinating tension and atmosphere within the tracks.

Be it their music, or their artistic videos, striking artwork or direct website, all of which they create and control themselves, this juxtaposition of the inhuman and the soulful, of the aggressive and the beautiful, works to underpin everything NO CEREMONY/// do.”  Click here to read entire article.

After their set, I went to the merchandise booth to see if they had any music available to purchase. Unfortunately, they did not, which was a shame as I would have scooped up copies up for my collection.  I was about to heaIMG_0923d back in get ready for New Build when I noticed the lead singer of NO CEREMONY/// meandering about. Her name was Audrey (sp?), and we had a brief conversation about the band and her music.  She gave me a brief history, and went on to say that they were scheduled to keep touring with New Build throughout the Summer. Before ending the conversation, Audrey kindly let me snap a pic with her.  Did I mention that I have a thing for female guitar/bass players? lol. Instead of getting goggly eyed and asking for a picture, I probably should have asked her for the names of the songs they performed. D’Oh!

Video clips from NO CEREMONY///’s set are below:

I like Hot-Chip, but I’ve been quite disappointed with a few of the newer albums. Their older albums felt like a natural progression of the future of music. Their newer albums felt contrived, like they made the music how they thought it would make their fans feel.  That make any sense?

New Build’s live set felt like Hot Chip’s older albums.  Note that I say felt like, and not sound like.  There was something fresh and intimate in New Build’s songs and sound. Granted, their musicality was similar to Hot Chip in that elements from across the music spectrum permeated throughout the music, but there was something about this live show, that far surpassed what I saw at the Hollywood Bowl.  I can’t put my finger on it.  It just seemed like this band was having more fun.IMG_3333

IMG_0945The lead singer of New Build, Al Doyle, isn’t the lead singer for Hot Chip. He sings backing vocals for Hot Chip. But he certainly holds his own as a frontman. I particularly enjoyed his sense of humor. Making reference to the Rolling Stones taking over their original venue, he mentioned that his band and the Stones were going to kick it at the Comfort Inn after the show. I found that particularly funny and heartily laughed, to which he looked in my general direction, smiled and said, “It’s for real” before continuing into the next song. A copy of their setlist if to the left. To check out some other of my music treasure, click through here.

It was a terrific set, and this “last minute show” turned out be better than I had anticipated.  Cheer to the United Kingdom for always spawning fresh new musical talent.

Video Clips from their set below:

Just as an added bonus, here’a picture a friend took of me, taking pictures of the bands. I  really need a better camera … really …


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


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.