The Damned | Ink-N-Iron |6/7/14 [PHOTOS & VIDEO]



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.



Pet Shop Boys | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)


I didn’t get approved to take pictures of Muse’s set, so I decided to check out the Pet Shop Boys before deciding whether to try catching Nas. By the time the Pet Shop Boys’ set started, the speed of the winds had picked up considerably, and there was dust swirling everywhere. I found it difficult to catch clean snaps of the seminal new wave band from the UK as it seemed that I kept focusing on the dust rather than the band, but I think there are a couple of keepers. I didn’t catch the entire set, but I did hear “Opportunities” performed live, and I figured that that was good enough for me.

After my time in the pit had expired, my feet were killing me, and the amount of dust on my face and in my nose/throat was quite unbearable. Due to my relative inexperience, I made the poorest decision of the weekend by opting to beat the traffic and skipping Nas’ set which turned out to be a historic performance. Major props to the professional photographers were able stick it out until the days festivities has shut down. Maybe I need to email a few of them about what kind of shoes they wear…


White Lies | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)


When I googled “White Lies” to check out some of the music videos they had out, I was immediately drawn to their sound. “There Goes Our Love Again” and  “Bigger Than Us” were the first two videos I found, and I quickly put a check mark next to their name to remind me that they were a band that I needed to see perform live at Coachella.

I got to the photo pit in the tent they were performing about 15 minutes before their set was to start, but they had fans already waiting at the railing; several wearing White Lies t-shirts. Though some critics may not fully appreciate their music, it was obvious to me that their fans thought otherwise. Personally, I liked their music. Though they may not be breaking any new barriers with their musical style, what they have recorded and released is something darkly lush and rings familiar … at least to me.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to catch them at the festival. Hopefully, they’ll come through Los Angeles in the future for a club gig. I’d pay to see that.



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 …