The Slightlys | Twilight Concert | Santa Monica Pier | 7/31/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Opening for De Lux and Omar Souleyman was a local band named The Slightlys. Performing in a local “battle of the bands” contest, they won their right to play the pier after weeks of competition.

This preteen band (the oldest member of the band is only 18) took the stage and put on a very impressive show. Their sound was clean and their stage presence was impressive. If they had jitters, it wasn’t noticeable. I was particularly impressed with the catchy hooks of several of their songs. Their music reminded me a little bit of mix of Fall Out Boy and Jellyfish.

Whoever picked them as the winner of the competition picked well. Only time will tell if this band will stick together to record and play more music, after all, it’s tough to keep a band together especially when college is around the corned. Hopefully, they keep making music and developing their sound.

Follow The Slightlys on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.

I had a couple chances to take some actions shots, but I was woefully unprepared as I think I set my aperture too wide and parts of the action in the pics were too blurry. Oh well, you live and you learn.


CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Cults | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/10/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Headlining the first concert of the 2014 Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier was the lo-fi, psychedelic, indie pop duo Cults. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivian’s 60’s infused, experimental pop music received great acclaim in 2010 and 2011 with strong reviews by publications like NME and Pitchfork.

I was particularly attracted to their latest album “Static” (released in 2013) as it basically told the story of the duos tumultuous relationship, which ultimately didn’t last. The darkness and somber tones of the music and lyrics of that album, for me, is a great straight listen (meaning, you can press play on the album and not have to fast forward any of the songs).

However tumultuous their break up may have been, it was obvious that any personal antagonism between them had been squashed as there was no tension between the two while performing. In fact, the only tension I could sense was with the person working the mixing board as I could tell Madeline, perhaps, had a difficult time hearing herself. Was it just me, or were there no monitors on stage?

The Cults’ music, especially with their latest release, is quite intricate and layered with sound. And where the recordings delicately balanced the music against the vocals, with the vocals at times just hovering over the music, the mix for their performance had the music slightly overpower the vocals. For example, when the instrumentation was minimal, like on the verses of “So Far”, I could hear Madeline’s vocals just fine. But when there was a swell of music, it often drowned out the vocal performance.

Despite any hiccups with mixing, Cults powered through their set and performed all of their hits from both their first and second albums, and even returned to the stage for an encore. Having grown up in Southern California, they thanked the crowd and expressed their sincere appreciation for being able to perform back in their stomping ground.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Cults performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Cults | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/10/14 [INSTAGRAM VIDS]

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!


Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from Cults’ set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

Nick Waterhouse | Ink-N-Iron | 6/7/14 [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

When retro-soul is done right, I love it. Last year, I was unable to catch Nick Waterhouse’s concert on the Santa Monica Pier. When I heard that he was scheduled to perform at Ink-N-Iron, I was thrilled. Some may argue that a “kid” in his mid-twenties, couldn’t possibly know about retro-soul. I’d have to disagree with them.

Dressed in a dapper suit, and his trademark Buddy Holly glasses, Nick Waterhouse and his full band took to the stage and the anxious crowd roared. They had waited eagerly to hear some music that harkened back vintage 50 and 60s soul, and they got it

Accompanied by backing vocalists, horns, drum, keys and bass, Nick managed and conducted his band through a set of music that really breathed a new kind of funk into the retro-soul genre. The only thing “modern” about the set were the iPads that the horns used for their setlist and (I’m assuming) score.

The band was terrific. Obviously a tightly knit group of players, each instrumentalist played off each other with the kind of synchronicity you would expect from a seasoned Motown band. Hidden in the not so apparent details, Nick Waterhouse’s musicality was on full display. His orchestration, and his musical arrangements, was proof positive to me that his retro-soul sound is no fluke. He may be young, but he’s got it, and he’s got it in spades.

I loved the set. I was grooving in my spot the entire time, and looking around to see how others were reacting, everyone… and I mean everyone … was doing the same. Towards the end of the set, uninvited concert goers even snuck their way onstage to dance and groove to the music. I seriously look forward to hearing- and seeing- more music from him.

I couldn’t find a setlist of his set online, so if you attended the event and know what his setlist was, please post it in the comments, and I’ll add it to the post.

I’m particularly proud of some of the photos I took during Nick’s set. I hope you enjoy them too.

Free Concert Alert | Cults at the Santa Monica Pier | 7/10/14 [Preview]

Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier

CLICK HERE to check out the other acts I plan on checking out this Summer at the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier!

Whenever I have friends visiting Los Angeles during the summer and they ask me for suggestions, I always recommend attending a concert at the Santa Monica Pier. After all, there isn’t a much better way to spend a summer day/eve, at the beach with a picnic listening to some quality music.

For the past 30 years, the Santa Monica Pier has been hosting an extremely well-curated summer concert series known as the “Twilight Concerts”. This year, their line-up is as impressive as I’ve ever seen it.

On July 10th, the concert series kicks off with a critically acclaimed rock band from New York: Cults. This duo saw their music spread virally when they posted some of their music to their Bandcamp page sometime in 2010. Music publications like Pitchfork and NME have been gushing about their pop-rock sound, which led them to get signed to Columbia Records and releases their first major label, self-titled album. Having released their sophomore album, titled “Static” in late 2013, They have been touring in support of their debut album since, and are going to shine their sunny brand of pop-rock on the pier this coming Thursday. I, for one, am looking forward to checking them out for the first time.

Also performing on the pier, opening for Cults, is the band James Supercave. They are currently supporting their latest release, “The Afternoon EP” and their music is an eclectic mix of electronic pop music. Their lead singer’s voice reminds me of Modest Mouse’s lead singer, Isaac Brock, but their music feels more along the lines of a Passion Pit or Phoenix, with a rougher “rock” edge. As long as traffic doesn’t get the better of me, I hope to catch their set as well.

To see the full list of acts performing at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the 20th Annual Twilight Concert series, CLICK HERE.

Check out Cults on Facebook to learn more about them and their music. CLICK HERE to check them out.

CLICK HERE to check out the other acts I plan on checking out this Summer at the Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier!

The Secret State | Loaded Hollywood | 10/13/13


A band is, literally, a living breathing entity. Nowadays, rare is a band that sticks with each other for the long haul. Guns N Roses, Oasis, The Police, Smashing Pumpkins, the list goes on. A band keep on performing with eh same the name, but when the faces change, it often times makes it difficult to maintain the same level affection that curried the initial musical infatuation.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine, and a talented musician, Steve Miller a/k/a “Steville” was asked  to play with the band The Secret State. The band seems to have a loyal following (over 400K likes on Facebook), but has in the past year (based on my understanding) undergone a pretty significant personnel overhaul. The band was back in Los Angeles after touring a bit domestically, and set up a semi-acoustic gig at Loaded Hollywood. Knowing how kick-ass my friend, and his music, is, I knew that it was going to be good show.

The Secret State, normally a 6 person, electric band, was paired down to 4 (two acoustic guitars, vocalist and DJ). Their set was short, but impressive. Their original songs were catchy and the arrangements of the two covers they performed (Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done” and Seal’s “Crazy”) were solid. It was an acoustic performance, so it wasn’t as “hard” as they normally are, but it gave me a chance to hear the fine guitar work of my buddy and Joshua Jones.

I liked what I heard.  For some reason when I was watching them perform live, I thought to myself that maybe they were a mix of Incubus and Tool with a splash of Filter. Again, it was an acoustic gig, so I may be way off. Check out the video below to make your own comparison. The dude singing lead for the gig, Michael, a recent addition, was a solid vocalist, but from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, it sounds as if the band decided to go in a different direction. C’est la vie d’une bande.

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.


An Amazing Cover of The Who’s “The Real Me” by 12-14 Year Olds…. There’s Hope For The Future of Rock-And-Roll!!!

These 12-14 year olds are in a band called Breaking27, and they give me hope in the future of rock-and-roll. I’ve only seen this video, but it’s enough for me to proclaim that I’d actually pay a cover to see these kids play … covers. Let’s hope they keep it up. In my opinion, the skies the limit.