Feathers | The Roxy | Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” | 11/2/14 [Photos]

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught During Red Bull Sound Selects “30 Days In LA” CLICK HERE

THE ACT: Feathers | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



Feather’s set was shorter than anticipated. Though I’m not absolutely certain, I think it may have been a result of the technical difficulties that they seemed to be dealing with; which in turn seemed to affect Anastasia Dimou’s (the founder and lead singer) stage presence. The bold music could have used more assertive body language. Notwithstanding the short set, and the technical difficulties, I was really hoping for more as the music was growing on me. I’m a huge Depeche Mode fan, and a thought that crossed my mind was, “this is like a female version of Depeche Mode.” Heavy on synths, with dark and broody overtones, it was music that I could imagine Dave Gahan singing over.



To Check Out Other Bands We Caught During Red Bull Sound Selects “30 Days In LA” CLICK HERE

The Mercy Beat | Culture Collide | TAIX Main Stage | 10/17/14 [Review & Photos]

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught At Culture Collide CLICK HERE

THE ACT:  The Mercy Beat | Facebook | Twitter Instagram


THOUGHTS: [Excerpted from M. Sloves full-day review that you can read HERE.]

“[…] Mercy Beats was already playing and the crowd was slowly starting to fill out a bit […] Dude on vocals was hitting a lot of clean high notes over a retro 80s pop rock / new wave kind of vibe. Pretty fun. Light. Very danceable […] and the lead guitarist was playing a double necked guitar. So that was happening. What was I feeling? Human League? A-ha? Duran Duran? Definitely A-ha. Dude’s voice was really up there and was channeling a “Take on Me” kind of vibe […] [T]hese guys had some swagger on the stage. Overall, the word that keeps leaping into my head is “fun”. They were good fun. Easy to imagine them turning on a shit ton of people dancing their collecting balls off […].”

PHOTOS: Spoke with the folks working the lights after The Mercy Beat finished their set to ask about whether “red” was going to be the lighting theme for the evening. Was informed that the band specifically asked for red lighting.

To Check Out Other Bands We Caught At Culture Collide CLICK HERE

Future Islands | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At First City Festival, CLICK HERE.

THE ACT: Future Islands | Facebook | Twitter



THOUGHTS: To think that I almost missed out on seeing Future Islands perform at Coachella 2014. If it wasn’t for their lead singer, Sam Herring, convincing me to check them out, I would have missed out on music that I have perched high on my “best of the year” lists. When I found out they were performing at First City Festival, I urged all of my friends who were also attending to check them out. They, like me, were amazed by what they saw and heard. I think part of what makes Future Islands’ live performance so powerful to witness is the emotive stage presence of Mr. Herring. Every movement … every gesture … it all speaks to something, and it’s truly a revelation to witness. I suppose that why most of my shots of the band were of Sam. It really couldn’t be helped. I suppose that I should have bust out a wider angled lens to capture the entire band … hopefully, I’ll get a chance to do that in the future when they get back to Los Angeles for another gig.

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At First City Festival, CLICK HERE.

The 1975 | Coachella | 4/13/14 (PHOTOS)


Earlier this year, I heard a little buzz about an indie-rock band from Manchester, UK called The 1975. I really didn’t know much about their music, but a lot of my female friends on Facebook had posted about them, so I decided to check out their set to see what they were all about.

I didn’t know much about their music, so I kind of assumed that it would be something akin to music of that era like Queen or Led Zeppelin (considering that they were from the UK and they were called The 1975). Rather, it was more like the pop-rock of HAIM. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of 80’s influenced, indie rock, I suppose I was just anticipating, although a bit unfounded, something a little harder of an edge.

I liked their music. With the support and push of their label. I don’t think this band will have a problem breaking into the american, mainstream market. The tunes are catchy and consumer-friendly, and the lead singer, based on a female friend’s opinion, is “a good looking, if not waif, guy” … and I’m assuming that most of the crowd would have agreed as they seemed to be mostly female (you should click the instagram video below … It’s not surprising that there is a girl yelling, “I love you, Matty,” at the end).

I liked their music. If you like bands like HAIMCHVRCHES or Vampire Weekend, you should look into The 1975.


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…


Empire of the Sun | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)


It didn’t surprise me that I didn’t make the cut to shoot Queens of the Stone Age’s set, so at the wise suggestion of a photographer from Canada, I decided to check out Empire Of Sun. Wow.

Empire of the Sun is an electronic music duo from Sydney Australia. Having achieved critical acclaim abroad, I was surprised that I had never heard of them before. Their set took place in the Sahara Tent, and I’ll be honest, I tried desperately to stay from that part of the festival grounds all weekend as it was usually overcrowded with molly-popping, inebriated, frat boys pushing their way to get in to rave. It was no exception this time around. Empire of the Sun absolutely packed the tent. Even after my time in the photo pit had ended, it took a good 5 minutes to get out of the photo pit area as security was trying to push back people trying to push their way in.

In terms of the music, truth be told, I really wasn’t paying too much attention to it at the time. I was more intrigued by the costumes, choreography and videos playing in the background. Total sensory overload. After the festival had ended, I looked up more of their music and as it turns out I actually enjoyed what I heard. One of their most recent singles, “Alive”, is really catchy.

On the photography front, being relatively short (5’8′), I noticed, for the first time, how high the Sahara stage was. I found it difficult to snap pics, which was a bit of a shame since the stage production for the band, costumes, videos and all, was pretty epic. I think I was still able to catch a few decent shots. What do you think?




Future Islands | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)


If Woodkid was the surprise set of my Friday, Future Islands was the surprise set of my Saturday.

Between catching White Lies and Banks, I took a pit stop in the media tent of the festival. While there, I noticed Samuel Herring, lead singer of Future Islands, hanging out after an interview. For some reason, perhaps due to the little sleep I had the two nights before, I went up to Samuel and apologized for missing his band’s set on Friday. Problem was, they were performing later that evening. D’oh!!!! He politely corrected me, and encouraged me to go check them out. I was a bit too embarrassed to show him that I had actually circled their set in my festival booklet, and opted to assure him that I would while asking for a selfie, which he graciously obliged.

As an aside, in those few minutes chatting with Sam Herring, I got the impression that he was one of the most humble and easy going dudes on the planet. Total bonus points in the “cool” column.

When the band took the stage and started performing, I was blown away. I had seen videos of them perform live online, but there’s nothing like watching Sam Herring rock the stage in the flesh. He performs with such a passion, you can’t helped but get hypnotized by him. His facial expressions, body language, even hand gestures all served the purpose to help tell the stories he was singing.

To put it bluntly, I fucking loved it. On record store day, I actually looked for their LP to buy. It was apparently sold out, so I ended up buying their album on cassette instead. It was the second cassette I’ve purchased in the past 15 years (the other being a copy of The Pharcyde’s  “Bizarre Ride To Tha Pharcyde”). I’ve played that cassette at least a half a dozen times since, and each time I think about their performance at Coachella.

If you enjoy bands like War On Drugs, Phantogram or St. Vincent, you should check out Future Islands. If you have the opportunity to see them live in a club venue, do it.


Julian Casablancas | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)



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.




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.



The Locust | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.


Leaving Devendra Banhart‘s set a little early to grab a beer, I walked by the smallest stage of the festival and stumbled upon a group named The Locust. Playing amongst the trees of the state park venue, and wearing eerie, alien like, body suits, this band was shredding their set. Fast, loud and furious, this was about as hardcore as harcdore punk could get. I thought about getting closer to the stage to get a better angle for pictures, but I stopped my progression with one look at the pit and thought better of it.

If you needed a jolt of adrenaline to get you through the rest of the day, this band could have given it to you. They gave it to the audience in short bursts of frenetic shredding and intense vocal delivery.  Each song couldn’t have been more that two minutes long, and I wondered how this band could keep it up for 45 minutes. I could have stayed longer, but I looked at the time and realized that another band was scheduled to start when they ended, so I meandered off with a little more vigor in my steps.

The Locust
The Locust