I went to the Viper Room to support my friend’s band, Great White Buffalo. Unbeknownst to me, I would also be witnessing rock royalty shred the axe the same night. The Dirty Knobs? Heard of the them? Neither had I. How about the name Mike Campbell? Does that name ring a bell? No? Well it should. Continue reading
Great White Buffalo was the first two of two bands who opened for Mike Campbell’s The Dirty Knobs at The Viper Room. Continue reading
I’ve got a full time job. It takes a lot for me to drive 45 minutes to catch a band play on a weekday. When I found out that The Janks and Rachel Goodrich and the Grrrls were playing on the same bill at the Bootleg HiFi on a Thursday night, the 90 minutes of driving and the subsequent lack of sleep for a 9am conference call is definitely worth it. Continue reading
The Viper Room. It’s a storied venue that’s had everyone from Tom Petty and the Hearbreakers, Bruce Springteen and Johnny Cash to Stone Temple Pilots, the Go-Go’s and Oasis. Christina Applegate once tended bar one night.
With a capacity of only 250, when certain shows get announced, it’s often times only the hard core fans, or fans in the know, who get tickets. The Eagles of Death Metal Valentines’ Day gig this year. As soon as I found out that tickets were available, I logged on. The same day tickets were announced, within no more than 30 minutes, tickets were already sold out.
I subscribe to a lot of social media outlets that give me a heads up about tickets that go on sale, but when tickets were released (and not announced) for Dead Sara’s show at The Viper Room, my friend who takes guitar lessons from Dead Sara’s bassist gave me the heads up. Talk about knowing the right people … right?
When I arrived at the venue (early to make sure that I could get a spot up front), there was already a line. TheDEADicated were already there in full force, one of whom drove all the way from Denver to catch the show. Luckily, the line wasn’t too long such that I couldn’t get a spot up front. Perhaps not the best angle, but at least I didn’t have to worry about getting other fan’s heads in the shots.
Dead Sara rocked it solid. Rocked it hard. Rocked it furious. Their live shows are what it’s all about. I love their music, but I love watching them breath life into their music even more.
After the last song of their set (check out the photos below to see the autographed setlist I was able to procure), my veins were pumping with adrenaline. They have a new album that is ready to see the light of day. If all goes according to plan, Dead Sara should be lining up more gigs next year. I’m a Dead Sara junkie. I need my fix, and I can’t wait.
Brit indie-rockers, The Filthy Souls are in indie-rock band whose released a self-titled debut EP this year. It’s a solid, 7 song set of pulsating music that straddles the pop and hard rock lines with a delicate balance.
Their performance at The Viper Room, opening for Dead Sara, was a rocking affair that I’m sure made believers of some of the Dead Sara faithful, myself included. It certainly didn’t hurt that they were giving out free music and t-shirts to those who wanted them.
I’m definitely going to keep an ear out on this band. I’m excited to hear more from them, and hopefully catch them live again.
A member of theDEADicated is also a big fan of The Filthy Souls. He shot some video and I’ve posted links below. If you are a fan of Dead Sara, or a new fan of The Filthy Souls, you should probably follow him on Youtube and Twitter.
There’s aren’t many bands that’d I’d see four times in one year. Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil is the only one that I’ll have on my list this year.
Not only are they really cool dudes, but their music also rocks. This year, I saw them twice at Ink-N-Iron and personally arranged for them to play a gig at the Garage. When they told me they had a weekday gig in downtown L.A., I didn’t hesitate to put it in my calendar.
I get pumped to see these guys live, because they have an absurd amount of stage presence. From Jack growling into the microphone, wildly dancing while jamming killer riffs, to Pete’s eye’s menacing, almost possessed, look while he smashes the drums, these guys, at least to me, embody rock and roll. As a wanna-be photographer, getting chances to shoot bands like this is a thrill. If I can capture a moment of the pure, unrelenting joy that these guys perform with … that’s something that would make my day.
I got to the venue a little early, and the fellas were our front hanging in their tour van. Jack was greeting friends and Pete was munching on a slice of pie from California Pizza Kitchen. I told Pete that I liked some of their pizzas, and he told me that he never realized that California Pizza Kitchen was an actual restaurant. He always assumed that it was just a frozen pizza. I got a chuckle out of that.
Set times were running a little late, and friends, fans and the band were getting antsy. Jack, while puffing on a cigarette, was already making plans for after the set.
“Tacos, man,” Jack said while flicking out his smoke, “I need tacos.” Taking recommendations from friends, he already had location in mind. In a Pavlovian kind-a-way, I started craving tacos too.
Got to meet some of Jack and Pete’s friends, including a photographer named Jason who was touring with the band as a friends and roadie. This was one of the dope pics he took at the gig.
The light was dim and I had put pump the ISO on my camera (even though I know that the pics always come out noisy at a high ISO with my old-ass camera), but I still think I got a couple decent shots.
Again, they rocked (check out the video clips below).
After they had packed, the band, and some of the fans, made a short trip to the late-night taco stand. While waiting to order L.A. deliciousness, we noted a multi-storied, retro-fitted building across the street that was for lease. We started talking about what we would do if we could afford to buy the classic looking building. As we sipped on horchata, and devoured out grub, we fantasized about which floor would be rooms and which floor would be the studio … but I think we were all in agreement about having the ground floor be a performance venue/club.
Dreams and tacos. A perfect end to a terrific night of rock-and roll.
Do yourself and follow them on Facebook. You’ll want to catch their live show if they end up in your neck of the woods.
THOUGHTS [Written by Kate M.]:
Pop, rhythm and EDM. Singer/producer Banoffee is an Australian artist whose performance included mixing her own R&B and sometimes Reggae style beats, throwing down versus once or twice, singing and frontin’ the ultimate cool chick persona and musical ability. Her music is chill vibes and heavy, sick synth production. Banoffee’s beats drop with accented bounces and her vocals are a smooth glaze over electronic beats Pop, R&B and EDM sounds. You could say she’s an EDM and sporty Imogen Heap. She includes “Ninja” and “Let’s Go To The Beach” in her performance at The Echo and I included the link to her debut EP whick dropped October 7, 2014 so you can listen to her unique texture of musical styles. She’s been playing NYC venues this past week – check her out!
THOUGHTS [Written by Kate M.]:
Good band, they got it done. On lead vocals is Naama, her voice has a unique sound, one you don’t hear often these days in the music age of Electronic and Dance Pop. Truth, I love this girl’s voice – it’s a slightly raspy, feminine Rock voice that meets some good Indie and unique enchanting sounds. Naama’s is not a true muscular voice, but it has a cool texture, a little bit of Pop meets Rock with a unique ingénue sound. I liked it, kind of wanted to see Joan Jett after hearing this band, too. Naama also has showmanship, an intriguing attraction to her movement with her sound. Take Offs and Landings is from Lima, Peru and the other members of the band are Dennis, Christian, Chris, Sergio. Take Offs and Landings was formed recently, in 2013, and is already playing festivals like Culture Collide. Their music is a blend of sinister girl rock and tones that make it seem like they know something you don’t and you are intrigued enough to follow wherever they are leading, which I I think is one reason the lead vocal’s voice struck me, it all went together – their enchanting sound and lead vocals that compliments the magic. Their first album is due to drop at the end of the year.
THOUGHTS: When people ask me what music has been turning me on lately, I usually rattle off a list new LP’s that I’ve purchased at the local record shop. The one album that hasn’t left that list? The War On Drugs’ “Lost In The Dream”.
I remember when I bought the LP. I was thumbing through some racks of LPs at Origami Vinyl, when the text of “Limited Edition” and “Purple Vinyl” on the sticker caught my eye: “. Silly as it may be, since I’m a collector, things like that always interest me. I asked the proprietor about the album, and he told me that it was a solid album, giving me the history behind the band (how founding member Kurt Vile left the band in 2011, leaving Adam Granduciel to helm the band) and suggesting that if I purchased it, he was pretty sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. He was correct. In fact, he had gotten me to purchase an album that I have very high on list of “best albums of the year”. Well done, Origami Vinyl.
The album is brilliant. It’s a cohesive masterpiece of brilliantly engaging, dreamy rock, melding understated synths with soaring guitar licks. The album is only 10 tracks deep, and runs slightly over an hour, but the listening experience seems to conclude too early, as if the “dream” is the music causing the listener to get “lost” in it. A dream that you simply don’t want to wake up from. The lyrics, honest and emotional, is Adam’s voice … but really, it’s the voice of the everyman. When he sings about that moment of realizing heartbreak or admitting depression, he’s really writing, whether he meant to or not, for everyone one who has been there.
The War On Drugs’ live show is just as amazing as their album. Pulling from the band’s entire catalog, their set, and pardon the pun, was like an ocean with waves (a song of theirs is titled “An Ocean Between The Waves”). From sublime smoothness, to relentless ardor, the room swelled with the kind of natural energy only great music can create; hitting the right peaks and valleys with an emotional fervor.
And the music was played to perfection. Though they may have jammed out, extending songs longer than what are on the album, I closed my eyes at times and couldn’t hear the difference. The musicianship, and the technicality with which they played, was effortless.
After their performance, I hung out a while to see if I could get Adam to sign the LP that I had lugged with me in my camera bag. As his band was on stage taking down their equipment, I asked a stage hand as to whether Adam would be cool signing the LP for me. He shouted up to Adam and he jumped from the stage to greet me. A very real, and modest man, he was happy to sign my LP and was genuinely pleased (I could see it in his eyes) when I told him that their performance blew my mind. I asked him some more questions about the rest of his tour, and then went on my way; but needless to say, knowing that the man behind the music was as genuine and modest as the other, looking me in the eyes and paying attention to me with my small talk, made me appreciate his art more than ever.
THOUGHTS: Though I typically do my research before attending festivals, I didn’t do so with this year’s Way Over Yonder because I, for the most part, knew a majority of the acts that were scheduled to perform. One of the artist’s that I really had no clue about was Lenny Goldsmith. When I walked into the carousel stage area, I noticed and elderly gentleman seated behind a keyboard, back by a full band and background vocalists. I was at first skeptical of what I was about to hear, that changed as soon as he started singing. Soulful blues music filled the room and I quickly pulled my phone out to see who this man was. It turns out Lenny has had quite the history in the music industry: fronting several bands and performing records that were Billboard #1 singles, mentored by Clive Davis, was, for a time, the lead signer of Tower of Power, it all made sense. I couldn’t stay for his entire performance, but I was glad I was able to hear what I heard.