Chet Faker | Mack Sennett Studios | Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” | 11/29/14 [Review & Photos]

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

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

THE ACT: Chet Faker Facebook | Twitter

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

Chet Faker. Girls love him. Guys wish they could write music like him.

I saw Chet Faker earlier this year at The Roxy. Musically, there is no question that Nicholas James Murphy a/k/a “Chet Faker” has the musical goods. His sound (soulful, downtempo electronica) is baby-making music, plain and simple. It’s still early in his career (he’s only released one full length album, “Built On Glass” and a couple of extended plays) so it’ll be interesting to see how his sound develops going forward.

What I was more interested in observing this time around was his actual stage performance. At the Roxy, Chet Faker spent the length of the performance behind his keyboards under dim lights. On a couple of songs, additional musicians took the stage to perform as part of a backing band. This time around, with Red Bull as the sponsor of the event (and presumably  a bigger budget), that his stage performance could have bit could a bit … more. The lighting at Mack Sennett Studios was definitely a step up from The Roxy’s lights, but on the large stage, it was again Chet behind his keyboards.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love his music. I even brought my LP copy of “Built On  Glass” just in case I could catch him for an autograph. But truly memorable  musical performances are not only auditory; there has to be a visual component to it as well … for me, it takes both aspects to make a show complete. Chet looked so isolated on the large stage. I was really hoping that he could have hired a backing band play his arrangements, or at least a some video screens to actually see what he was doing at the keyboard consoles. I mean, you can see moving around behind his instruments, but it would have been so much more effective if there were more “action” on stage. I mean, take Flying Lotus, for example. Flying Lotus performs behind his consoles, but he’s got an elaborate laser/lighting show going on around him simultaneously.

I’m not suggesting that Chet Faker needs some intricate laser light show. I just wish I could have seen what his hands were doing. There musicality and artisanship in watching a professional maneuver a drum machine and keyboards. It would have been nice to see the action on the keys.

SETLIST (unconfirmed)

  1. Blush
  2. 1998
  3. I’m Into You
  4. Terms & Conditions
  5. Intro
  6. Ciggs & Chocolate
  7. On You (with Goldlink)
  8. No Diggity
  9. Drop The Game
  10. To Me
  11. Gold
  12. Talk Is Cheap

VIDEO:

#chetfaker

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PHOTOS:

 

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

Bad Religion | Mayan Theater | Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” | 11/9/14 [Review, Photos, Setlist & Videos]

Pictorials | Videos, Reviews, Uncategorized

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

THE ACT: Bad Religion | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: (Excerpted from M. Sloves full article which you can read by clicking HERE)

“[…] Bad Religion religion finally took the stage and started just as you’d expect them to: minimal bullshit, maximum intensity. At 50 these guys still look like freaking rock stars. Well, all of them except for Graffin. With his horn rimmed glasses held on by a pair of Chums, receding grey hairline, and an endearing middle aged dad-gut testing the tensile strength of his polo shirt, he looks more like a high school chemistry professor or an engineer from TRW. But it doesn’t really matter. Dude still runs the crowd like a G.

The set opened with “Fuck Armageddon… This is Hell”. For some reason my first impulse was to close my eyes. Kinda weird for me. But I wanted to eliminate the visual. Take everything out of the equation except for the sound. Verdict?

So damn fresh!

They’ve been doing this for so long – for decades – and yet it wasn’t even remotely stale. Instead it felt fast and crisp and …communal. Looking around The Mayan you could really feel the shared sense of stoke and mutual recognition that only happens when a group of people all bear witness to a voice that speaks truth to power.

During the front end of the set, there was very little hesitation. The band plowed forward, each song more classic than the last. But there were a few songs that hit a little harder than others. For me, the first moment where I really felt them pull at the heartstrings of nostalgia was when at about the quarter-mile mark when they burst into “Stranger than Fiction”. Hearing this song live was …electric. Literally raised the hair on my arms – and that’s not easy because I’m a hairy bitch. When they hit the chorus, I felt myself jerked straight back to UCSB circa ’97.  In our crash pad on Sabado Tarde, my Orange County brochachos and I weren’t always on the same page (I was both token Jew and token South Bay member of the house) but we always agreed on three things: Cantina Breakfast burritos, Seinfeld, and Bad Religion. Generator, Against the Grain, Recipe for Hate – these albums fueled many days and many more nights of benevolent ape-shittery …and why was this night different from any other night? Because Bad Religion was cramming 30 years of punk rock classics into a single evening of musical rad.

[…]

[…] And the crowd expressed its stoke by ditching the aforementioned bro-nods for a wholesome and healthy all-American mosh pit. It was long overdue and it was also cool to see the multi-generational makeup of the moshers coexisting and functioning on the same page. For me, it was precisely Bad Religion and Fishbone who many moons ago taught me the ethics and the essence of a proper mosh pit – a lesson lost on many a meathead who still doesn’t get it. Because it’s about communal expression, not individual testosterone. You move, you shove, you take an elbow, you throw an elbow, youslam – it’s violent, no doubt – but the intention is never to take someone out and when someone goes down, the obligation is always to help them back up.

It takes a village to rage. And inside the Mayan, the village was strong.

[…]

[…] The whole night felt like a series of reencounters. Every song gave me the feeling that I was bumping into an old friend or finding that missing sock I thought I’d lost at the laundromat. So recognizable. So familiar. Filling empty space where I didn’t know anything was missing. So many of their songs are so classic and so provocative that hearing them was like standing up straight and spreading my arms after sitting slouched and hunched over in front of computer screen for hours…days…years. It was liberating …and powerful.

I think I really felt it most when they played “New America”. What a kickass anthem! What a righteous call to arms. I mean, I’m cool listening to Taylor Swift sing about ex-boyfriends. I’m not a hater. But there’s a saturation point, isn’t there? Which always causes me to wonder: where is the political in popular music? Folk was swallowed up in the angst of singer/songwriters who can’t get laid. Funk got eaten by disco which was then euthanized in the 80s. Rap started political but by the late 90s it had largely cannibalized its own prophets. Rock has pretty much sucked since Rage Against the Machine (except maybe for System of a Down). What are we left with? Basically a lot of narcissism.

[…]

But punk continues to live in a largely political realm. It’s a purpose driven music that offers more than mere catharsis. It’s not all genius but when silverbacks like Graffin, Gurewitz, Dimkich, and Bentley hold it down, most of it is.

At one point Greg Graffin PhD looked up at the plaster cast Mayan carvings that line the walls of the theater and blurted out: “These hieroglyphs are not authentic.”

Maybe that one moment summed up the entire night. Bad Religion remains relevant because they remain authentic. When they scream “Fuck you!” it sounds just as urgent and outraged as it did 30 years ago. When 55 year olds and 22 year olds are packed shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor with their fists in the air screaming the chorus to every song, for one night at least, Los Angeles indeed is burning.”

SETLIST:

Bad Religion | The Mayan | Red Bull Sound Select | 30 Days In L.A. | Setlist

PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

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

Reignwolf | The Mint | Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” | 11/12/14 [Review, Photos & Videos]

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

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

THE ACT Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

The anticipation for Reignwolf at The Mint was palpable. After giving early comers army jackets emblazoned with Reignwolf logos, looking around the small venue it looked, with what seemed like a majority of the fans in attendance wearing the matching jackets, like there was some kind of cultural, or revivalist, movement happening.

With the fog machines pumping out a heavy mist, and the band emerging from back-stage, the crowd erupted with a cultish zeal. We were waiting all night for some rock-and-roll nirvana. We were waiting for Reignwolf to take us there.

I had seen Reignwolf at the Troubadour earlier this year and was a bit surprised that this Red Bull show was at The Mint. With a capacity of only 200, this show had sold out (just like his concert at The Troubadour) early. I thought for sure that Reignwolf could have easily sold out a 500 capacity venue. I wasn’t complaining though. Trust me … you want to see Reignwolf in an intimate venue. It got really intimate at The Mint.

Jordan Cook (a/k/a Reginwolf) was in the zone from the start. His eyes were glazed over with a wild-man’s look, only breaking out of its trance when technical issues with microphones arose or when he directly addressed the audience. His performance at The Mint was as raw and unhinged as it was at the Troubadour.

Moving his performance into the audience, literally dragging his drum kit from the stage into the crowd, and standing up on top of his kick drum, his energy was relentless, and it was a performance that I’m sure kept everybody up at night because of how much adrenaline it stirred up.

The performance aside (which was incredible), I’m more in awe about the fact that Reignwolf has developed such a loyal following without having a full studio album up for sale or a label backing his image. His reputation, to this point, has been, for the most part, organic and based on his live performance. I had a buddy swear to me that I HAD to see Reignwolf live. I listened to his recommendation, and now I can’t get enough. Am I satisfied? Not yet. I need more music.

SETLIST:

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PHOTOS: This show was one of the toughest gigs for me to shoot. Wasn’t happy with most of what I shot. I’m not even that happy with the photos that I posted here. Still one or two real quality shots in here, but it was all timing matching my shot with someone elses flash.

VIDEO CLIPS:

#Reignwolf

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

De Lux | Culture Collide | Echoplex | 10/16/14 [Photos]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: De Lux | Facebook | Twitter Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: I don’t know how many times can I say it. I love this band. When I first saw them play opening for Omar Souleyman, I knew that I’d have to see them play again. Catching them at Culture Collide was my third time this year (the second time was at  Echo Park Rising). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you’re a fan of the post-punk sounds of the Talking Heads, I’m sure you’ll dig this band. They are heading out on tour for the month of November, and I suggest you buy a ticket and check them out. Seriously. Buy a ticket. Check these guys out.

PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

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

Holy Child | Culture Collide | Echoplex | 10/16/14 [Photos]

Concerts

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

THE ACT: Holy Child | Facebook | Twitter Instagram

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Holy Child is a lot of fun. If you’re looking for uptempo, energetic pop music with a beat, this is the band for you. They call their music “brat pop”, and I really couldn’t argue with the categorization. Their front woman, Liz, is a sprite full of energy, and I couldn’t help but be infused with the energy she gave out. They have a residency coming up at the Echoplex’s sister venue, The Echo, and I may have to make the trek out to Echo Park to catch them perform again.

PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

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

Culture Collide 2014 | October 16-18 [Homepage]

Concerts

If you are music lover living in Los Angeles, and you failed to take advantage of the musical offerings from all around the world at Culture Collide for $30, shame on you.

 

Now in its fifth year, Culture Collide took over the Echo Park area of Sunset Boulevard with a diverse plethora of bands from around the globe. Bands traveled from Korea, Peru, Israel and other far reaches of the globe to bless us with their musical offerings.

 

Whether you are a fan of EDM or disco, hip hop or garage rock, folk or goth, Culture Collide had it all. Below are some of the bands that we were able to catch. If you were able to catch any of these bands at the festival, relive some of those moments by clicking on the links. If you decided to skip out on attending the festival, check out what you foolishly missed out on.

October 16th

October 17th

October 18th

The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre | 10/3/14 [Photos & Setlist]

Concerts

THE ACT: The War On Drugs | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

SOUNDS LIKE: 

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.

SETLIST:

The War On Drugs | Fonda Theatre

VIDEO CLIPS:

PHOTOS:

Jackson Browne | Way Over Yonder | Santa Monica Pier | 9/27/14 [Photos & Setlist]

Concerts

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At Way Over Yonder, CLICK HERE!

THE ACT: Jackson Browne | Facebook | Twitter 

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS: Closing out the Way Over Yonder festival was Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne. Jackson Browne has recorded and released 14 albums during his prolific career. His latest album, “Standing In The Breach”, was released this year and his set was heavy with new material from the album. Though his music doesn’t necessarily “rock” my world (I’m more of a James Taylor fan), I can still appreciate the impact his music has had on the world. After all, not many artists from the early 70s can be deemed the “quintessential sensitive California singer/songwriter”.

SETLIST:

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PHOTOS:

VIDEO CLIPS:

To Check Out Other Acts that I Caught At Way Over Yonder, CLICK HERE!

Elvis Costello, Ben Folds & the Los Angeles Philharmonic | Hollywood Bowl | 9/16/14 [Review, Photos & Video]

Concerts

When I heard that Elvis Costello was performing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, I was jealous. Bills had to be paid, among other expenses I committed too, and I made the economical, yet regretful, decision not to spend my money on tickets.

 

 

Fate seemed to be tempting my spending urges when it was announced that another date had been added to accommodate the demand for tickets. Still strapped for cash, I tried my best to avoid all email ticket alerts and social medial notices to remind me of my regretful frugality. Flash forward to a week before the concert and a close friend of mine … out of the blue … asked me if I wanted to be her guest to the second concert … for free. Apparently, fate likes to play games with me. Either that, or Karma saw fit to reward my dedication to music.

 

 

I have a storied and emotional connection with Elvis Costello’s music. Back in college, I purchased my first Elvis Costello CD. It was a greatest hits album of his work with The Attractions. After my first listen, I was hooked. “Pump It Up”, “Radio Radio”, “Accidents Will Happen”, “Man Out Of Time” … with 21 stellar cuts, it’s definitely on my list of best CDs I purchased in college.

 

 

The first track of that album, “Alison”, ended up being a song that I played on repeat after my college sweetheart broke my heart. Though I’m still not sure whether that song was particularly apropos to having a broken heart, the lyrics have always made me get misty eyed.

 

 

“I’m not going to get too sentimental like those other sticky valentines, ‘cause I don’t know if you’ve been loving somebody. I only know it isn’t mine.” …. <sniff sniff> …

 

 

Elvis was also responsible for one my greatest working experiences ever. After passing the bar exam, I was working in a small boutique law firm. We represented a production company that was producing a live-to-tape concert series for VH1 classics named “Decades Rock Live”, an hour long program that featured a legacy artist who was then paired with modern day recording artists to perform each other’s songs. One of the artists we featured was Elvis Costello, and he had requested to work with Fiona Apple, Billie Joe Armstrong and Death Cab for Cutie.

 

 

Though I had spent virtually all of my time behind the computer and phone at my desk, in the office, to negotiate and draft agreements, I was asked to go on location (The Trump Taj Mahal) for the taping of that episode to handle production matters. It was an experience that reshaped my opinion of the work that I was doing. Being in thick of it all, watching how the episode got taped, watching the artists figure out creative logistics and watching their genius bloom on stage, was n0t only eye-opening but extremely soul-satisfying. Being able to attend the after concert party was pretty cool too.

 

 

To be able to see Elvis at the Hollywood Bowl, along side the Los Angeles Philharmonic, was amazing. I’ve always know that Elvis was musical genius. To see his work performed with orchestral arrangements was … to put it simply … sublime.

 

 

In between songs, he threw in stories about the meaning of the works he about to perform. He told us about how “Accidents Will Happen” was written on the way to Mexico, how “Veronica” was written about his grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, how he wrote “Shipbuilding” (a song about giving jobs to veterans after wars) 30 years ago and Chet Baker playing on the original recording.

 

 

The most poignant moments of the concert, for me at least, occurred at the end. He closed his set with a heart-tugging rendition of Burt Bacharach’s power-ballad “God Give Me Strength”. He left the stage, but I knew that he would be called upon to perform an encore.

 

 

He prefaced the encore by thanking Linda Ronstat for covering the song on her debut album; thankful that he was able to earn enough money with the song to keep his music career going. Then he performed “Alison”.

 

 

I sat back on the Hollywood Bowl bench and let it his performance consume me. I wasn’t reminiscing about anything in particular. I was focused on the music. On the arrangement. Then I notice that the arm holding my camera was slightly trembling. The next thing I knew, my vision got blurry.

 

 

It doesn’t happen very often, but a performance moved me to shed a tear. I wasn’t anticipating it. It just happened … but you know what? Beautiful music … It can do that to a grown man.

Elvis Costello | Hollywood Bowl | Setlist

 

 

Ben Folds opened for Elvis. I got into Ben Folds’ music when a member of my a cappella group arrange a Ben Folds Five song, “Evaporated”, for our group to sing. Like Elvis, Ben Folds’ musical knowledge far superior than the norm.

 

During his set, he took the time to emphasize the importance of symphony orchestras, joking that, “some towns have symphony orchestras, and some don’t … and the ones that don’t suck.” He also acknowledged the problem with the music industry today, indicating before the performance of a piano concerto he wrote, that he was only able to create his work with the help of a generous corporate sponsorship with Acura, and how a record label in today’s economic landscape would have never given him the resources to create what he did.

 

 

I was hoping he was going to perform “Kate” (my favorite Ben Folds Five song) with the orchestra, but I can’t complain. His performance was superb.

 

Ben Folds | Hollywood Bowl | Setlist

 

I was obviously wasn’t approved for a photo pass for this concert, but I hope that you can get an idea of the concert with the pictures I was able to snap with my small Sony point and shoot.

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.