Los Angeleans, myself included, are a spoiled bunch. With our seemingly perpetual, perfect weather, we aren’t ones who are necessarily fond of inclement weather. In fact, dark clouds in the sky will give pause to many in Los Angeles about whether they’ll even leave the house. But I wasn’t going to let the forecast of bad weather stop me from catching Shaun White’s inaugural Air + Style event at the Rose Bowl. After all, when will you ever get the chance to check out killer bands AND extreme snow sports in Pasadena, California?
This is the “Homepage” for the links to all of the blog entries posted about the acts I was able to catch at First City Festival, August 23 and 24, 2014. Below are links to Instagram video posts, photos and some brief thoughts about each band that I was able to enjoy in beautiful Monterey.
To read my “Love Letter” to First City Festival CLICK HERE.
Saturday, August 23th
- Strangers You Know | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Speedy Ortiz | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Miniature Tigers | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- CocoRosie | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Doe Eye | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- How To Dress Well | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Tokyo Police Club | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Mr. Little Jeans | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Phantogram | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Stepkids | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Beck | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
Sunday, August 24th
- Midi Matilda | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Men | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Lake Street Dive | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Future Islands | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Lo-Fang | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Geographer | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The Naked And Famous | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- Cults | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
- The National | Instagram Videos | Photos and Review
Listed chronologically, the most recent show first.
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)
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)
Lobster Festival | Port of Los Angeles | September 14, 2013 (The Section Quartet, Nightmare & The Cat, Deap Vally, Dead Sara)
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!)
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)
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)
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)
Phoenix, Daft Punk, Justice … 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:
- When I’m Small
- Mouthful of Diamonds
- As Far as I Can See
- Celebrating Ugly
- Black Out Days
- Don’t Move
- 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:
- In the Cold I’m Standing
- We Own The Sky
- Steve McQueen
- Splendor (with Brad Laner)
- Raconte-moi une histoire (with Zelly Boo Meldal-Jophnsen)
- Skin of the Night
- Midnight City
- Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun
- Oblivion (Susanne Sundfor)
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.
Below are Instagram clips of some of the songs from Phantogram’s set at First City Festival 2014. Instagram’s embed settings are, unfortunately, too large for WordPress, but hopefully, you’ll still be able to click through to watch the video clips. Enjoy.