A British Invasion | Ed Sheeran & Rudimental | Staples Center | 8/27/14 [Photos and Videos]

Concerts

Performing in front of a crowd of 18,000 at the Staples Center sounds like a daunting task. Performing in front of a crowd of 18,000 alone? I think it would take a little more than imagining the crowd naked, no matter how good looking, to get over the nerves I would probably have. Ed Sheeran, with just his guitars, did it with the ease of a seasoned pro.

 

Though I probably would have enjoyed seeing him perform in a smaller venue more, there was absolutely nothing I could criticize about the performance that I saw. His voice, his musicianship, his stage presence … it was on fully display, revealing to me why his hordes of fans (mostly young girls/women) love him so much.

 

Whether it was his playful banter with the audience, mesmerizing use of his loopers and pedals to create percussive instrumentals for rousing numbers, or his thoughtful lyrics coupled with his mellifluous tenor voice during tender moments, he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Ed Sheeran | Staples Center | Setlist

Perhaps the most tender moment was before his performance of “Afire Love”. He reflected somewhat jokingly about the often times futile effort to get a rowdy person in an audience to be quiet with a “Shhh.” He asked the audience to be absolutely quiet for the following song, a request that was relatively acknowledged, save but the one or two overzealous fans who thought, I suppose it was the most opportune time to profess her (or his … I really couldn’t make out the gender of the voice) love for Ed. It was the first time I’ve ever heard the Staples Center so quiet … you could hear a pin drop.

 

Another highlight was during Ed’s encore, when he surprised the audience with a special appearance by Gary Lightbody, the lead singer of the British alternative rock band Snow Patrol. Together, they performed Snow Patrol’s hit song “Chasing Cars”.

 

I’ll be honest, I’ve always shrugged Ed Sheeran off as a Jason Mraz knock-off. I mean, I’m not really his target audience … and there are plenty of singer-songwriters who I grew up that have had the same kind of musicality and/sound, but Ed Sheeran’s performance really opened my ears up … opened them enough to give his music a chance with a clean slate.

CLICK HERE to see Instagram Video Clips from Ed Sheeran’s Concert

I wasn’t approved with a photo pass for this concert, so all of the following photos were taken with a Sony Cybershot G, point and shoot camera.

 

 

Opening up for Ed Sheeran was a band that blew my mind earlier this year when I caught their performance at Coachella. As it would be unfair to call Ed Sheeran a Jason Mraz clone, it would be unfair to call Rudimental an electronic dance music. Though they use a significant amount of production tracks in their live performance, they also perform with a full band, and multiple vocalists. Their performance opening for Ed Sheeran was entertaining, however, I did feel like it wasn’t as raw and as drum’n’bass heavy as what I saw at Coachella, but I’ll be following their development because their music is just to fun to ignore.

CLICK HERE to see Instagram Video Clips from Rudimental’s Concert

I wasn’t approved with a photo pass for this concert, so all of the following photos were taken with a Sony Cybershot G, point and shoot camera.

 

The National | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: The National | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

SETLIST:

setlist-image-v1-2

THOUGHTS: The National. What a great way to end a perfectly sublime music festival. I’ve only seen them perform live once before, and that was a short set for Jimmy Kimmel Live. This time, I got a chance to see them perform an entire set … something I’ve been dying to do for the longest time. It’s taken me about 7 years to see them in all their glory, but it was well worth the wait. Performing music that is beyond heartfelt, with fans singing along all throughout their set, with Matt jumping into the crowd during “Mr. November” singing with the crowd, it was as intimate as a large music festival could get … and I doubt that I’ll ever experience that kind of thing ever again. Amazing.

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

Cults | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Cults | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: I’m a big fan of Cults’ music. I saw them earlier this year at the Santa Monica Pier, and was excited to get the chance to shoot them again at First City Festival since I wasn’t completely satisfied with the pics that I had snapped on the pier. There were a few moments of decent lighting, but during the start of their set (the time photographers are allowed into the pit), the lights were heavy on blue, pink and purple … just like the last time I shot them! Oh well … them the breaks. Hopefully, I’ll get a third chance to shoot them. I need some keepers for my collection!

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

The Naked And Famous | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: The Naked And Famous | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: The first time I saw The Naked and Famous perform live was at Coachella this year. I was curious to see how much their stage performance had evolved from the first time I saw them perform, and I’ll have to admit that there was something about their performance at First Festival that really impressed me. They seemed to perform more freely and had a more loose air about them. Maybe it was great stage lighting. Maybe it was the gentle breeze the made Alisa Xayalith’s garments flow in the wind. Maybe it was the crowd singing along with the choruses of the popular songs. Maybe it was the act of the crowd throwing flowers onto the stage for Alisa’s birthday. Whatever it was, it reflected in their performance, and they delivered a tremendous set.

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

Geographer | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Geographer | Facebook Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: The only scheduling conflict for the entire festival for me was between Geographer’s set and The Naked And Famous’ set. Geographer started at 7pm and TNAF started at 7:25, and being  approved for a photo pass, I was instructed to be at the media tent 15 minutes prior to main stage acts taking the stage to be led into the main stage photo pit. I decided to gamble a bit. After all, was I going to miss catching a band that I was into? They use a freakin’ upright, electric bass! How cool is that? <- Yes, I’m a music nerd. Luckily, Geographer’s set started on time, and they started their set with the songs that got me into them to begin with. I pushed the time limit, and left their set at 7:20, running across the fairgrounds to get to the media tent right when TNAF was supposed to start. Apparently, the photographers had already been led into the pit, but the production manager was cool enough to take me into the pit even though I had missed my deadline. Thanks, Joan!

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

Lo-Fang | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Lo-Fang | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: A few months ago, I was at a local record store, Origami Vinyl, shopping for new wax. On display were autographed copies of a new LP by an artist I hadn’t heard of before. It’s was Lo-Fang’s debut album “Blue Film” … and I opted not to purchase the disc. Noticing that he was scheduled to perform at First City, I decided to check his set out. After the first song, I regretted not purchasing the album. Matthew Hemeriein is Lo-Fang and his music is a soothing concoction of R&B and synth pop that is just about as seductive as music can get. A skilled multi-instrumentalist (violin and guitar) with a falsetto that that is steady and silky, in addition to the fact the the dude is, as one female photographer stated, “pretty damn good-looking” make his audience, largely female, swoon with every beat.

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

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

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Future Islands | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

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.

Lake Street Dive | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Lake Street Dive | Facebook | Twitter Website

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

SETLIST (UNCONFIRMED):

setlist-image-v1-1

THOUGHTS: 

Love, love, love the sound of this band! Knew absolutely nothing about them before stepping into the photo pit, but decided stay for their entire set and forego trying to photograph another band because I was loving their sound. This quartet fuses jazz and soul in a way that is truly sonically pleasing to the ear. The lead singer, Rachael Price, has such a wonderfully soothing tone to her voice that I couldn’t help but fall instantly in love with it. Throw in highly skilled players on upright bass (Bridget Kearney), trumpet/guitar (Mike Olson) and drums (Mike Calabrese)- if my memory serves me right, they all graduated from the prestigious New England Conservatory- and you’ve got a band that sounds amazingly good live. My only regret? That I’m only now discovering their music.

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

The Men | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: The Men | Website Record Label

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Though I wasn’t able to stick around for their entire set, I was able to get a sense of what The Men were all about. Mixing elements of punk, psychadelic and classic rock into their music, the brief glimpse of them that I got made me think of a laid back The Stooges or Lou Reed. Now, take my impression with a grain of salt … I was only there for about 15-20 minutes. I really wish I could have stuck around to truly absorb their entire set … but thank god for the Internet. I’ll be logging on soon enough.

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

Midi Matilda | First City Festival | 8/24/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Midi Matilda | Facebook | Twitter

INSTAGRAM VIDEOS: CLICK HERE

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Kicking the music off on the second day of the festival was a San Francisco based band named Midi Matilda. I went to check out their set music unheard, and I left a fan.  This duo, consisting of Skyler Kilborn and Logan Grimé play an infectious, indie, electro-pop music that really had me enjoying the fact that I got to the festival grounds early. I had a brief moment to catch up with both of the guys, separately, as they were hanging out on the fairgrounds after their set (even caught a cool candid of Logan hanging with Sam Herring of Future Islands), and each were modest and well natured demonstrating to me their music really matched their personalities. I plan on keeping up with their music to see where it takes them. Good stuff. Really, good stuff.

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