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.
THOUGHTS [Written by Kate M.]:
I love these guys! I have partied with them in the past, partied to their Indie Rock sound throughout my life. Their sound is good listening with beer on a beach or an indoor venue when it’s snowing outside with friends. Point in case, they’ve even played Lollapalooza in the past, that must have been a good time. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a great Indie Rock band – one of the best bar rock band and college tour band I’ve seen – they have that sound. The band is tight, complete with guitar riffs and lyrics to sing along to. This band already has a huge following and it was clear from the crowd dancing and singing lyrics to their songs. “Satan Said Dance” was the song I remember singing on Saturday. The one problem with is band is that they are really good at the Indie music, but, to me, and that’s that. For a minute the lead singer made chewing gum onstage look cool, collected and kind of sexy. Check ‘em out if you are an Indie music fan. Their latest album was, Only Run, released June 3, 2014. This US band hails from the East Coast and they’re playing the Brooklyn Bowl November 12th.
Opening for De Lux and Omar Souleyman was a local band named The Slightlys. Performing in a local “battle of the bands” contest, they won their right to play the pier after weeks of competition.
This preteen band (the oldest member of the band is only 18) took the stage and put on a very impressive show. Their sound was clean and their stage presence was impressive. If they had jitters, it wasn’t noticeable. I was particularly impressed with the catchy hooks of several of their songs. Their music reminded me a little bit of mix of Fall Out Boy and Jellyfish.
Whoever picked them as the winner of the competition picked well. Only time will tell if this band will stick together to record and play more music, after all, it’s tough to keep a band together especially when college is around the corned. Hopefully, they keep making music and developing their sound.
I had a couple chances to take some actions shots, but I was woefully unprepared as I think I set my aperture too wide and parts of the action in the pics were too blurry. Oh well, you live and you learn.
Headlining the first concert of the 2014 Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier was the lo-fi, psychedelic, indie pop duo Cults. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivian’s 60’s infused, experimental pop music received great acclaim in 2010 and 2011 with strong reviews by publications like NME and Pitchfork.
I was particularly attracted to their latest album “Static” (released in 2013) as it basically told the story of the duos tumultuous relationship, which ultimately didn’t last. The darkness and somber tones of the music and lyrics of that album, for me, is a great straight listen (meaning, you can press play on the album and not have to fast forward any of the songs).
However tumultuous their break up may have been, it was obvious that any personal antagonism between them had been squashed as there was no tension between the two while performing. In fact, the only tension I could sense was with the person working the mixing board as I could tell Madeline, perhaps, had a difficult time hearing herself. Was it just me, or were there no monitors on stage?
The Cults’ music, especially with their latest release, is quite intricate and layered with sound. And where the recordings delicately balanced the music against the vocals, with the vocals at times just hovering over the music, the mix for their performance had the music slightly overpower the vocals. For example, when the instrumentation was minimal, like on the verses of “So Far”, I could hear Madeline’s vocals just fine. But when there was a swell of music, it often drowned out the vocal performance.
Despite any hiccups with mixing, Cults powered through their set and performed all of their hits from both their first and second albums, and even returned to the stage for an encore. Having grown up in Southern California, they thanked the crowd and expressed their sincere appreciation for being able to perform back in their stomping ground.
Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from Cults’ set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.
I didn’t have much of a social life during law school, and that’s probably a good explanation as any as to why my music collection tends to lack albums released during that time of my life. Insofar as I didn’t have a television during that time, and the only recordings I listened to were recordings of lectures explaining aspects of civil procedure or property law, I relied on friends (mostly in law school) to tell me what was hip or “up and coming” in terms of music that was available.
Samuel Beam, professionally known as Iron & Wine, released his first album when I was in law school. A classmate of mine turned me on his music, and I used music from The Creek Drank the Cradle to help me fall asleep after hours of studying, hopped up on caffeine products. Beam’s gruff voice, and tender acoustic guitar playing lends itself to a soothing, mood-mellowing state of mind.
I’ve always been interested in seeing him perform live, and when I saw the announcement that he was to perform at the Orpheum Theater on Halloween Night, I figured that that would be a great venue to see him perform in, other than a grassy festival lawn or the Hollywood Bowl.
I bought two tickets as soon as their availability was announced, about 5 months in advance of the show. I wasn’t dating anybody at the time, but I figured that I couldn’t go to the show alone. I’ve been to these types of shows before. I had a feeling that it would be couples galore. Being overly optimistic, I bought two tickets with my fingers crossed that I’d have a special someone to ask. As it turns out, I did find a date, but I noticed during the show that we were literally the only couple not snuggling during the concert.
The snuggling aside, Iron & Wine’s show was exactly what I expected, and more. Playing most of the show with a full band, each member costumed as a member of The Muppets, Sam Beam wooed the audience with selections spanning his entire catalogue. Playing over two and a half hours of his soul-soothing music, I enjoyed the show completely, but was particularly impressed when the band left the stage, and Sam Beam stood front and center, armed with only his guitar, Kermit tied to his microphone stand, with only two spotlights from the lighting tresses illuminating his position.
His solo set revealed to me the vulnerable and fragile tenderness of Iron & Wine’s music. Though the subject matter of his music tends to lean towards the darker facets of life and love, listening to his stories through lyrics, you always still had a sense of there being a silver lining through it all. I, like the rest of the audience, was drawn into Iron & Wine’s world, and enjoyed it all. Though, I probably would have enjoyed it more with someone to snuggle with… lol. I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I see him live.
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.
To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.
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).
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 setlist.fm:
- No Ground
- Circling With Dizzy
- C’mon, Stimmung
- Lock Box
- Teen Creeps
- Fever Dreaming
- I Won’t Be Your Generator
To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.
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.
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.