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!

Cloud Control | The Fonda Theatre | 6/17/14 [PHOTOS]


Opening for Metronomy at The Fonda Theatre was an award-winning indie alternative rock band from Australia: Cloud Control.  This Aussie quartet consisting of Alister Wright, Heidi Lenffer, Ulrigh Lenffer and Jeremy Kelshaw, released their first album, “Bliss Release” to great regional praise. So much critical adoration, in fact, their debut was nominated for two ARIA awards in 2010 for Best Rock Album and Breakthrough Artist, and was the winner of the 6th annual Australian Music Prize, among other accolades. They released their sophomore album, “Cloud Control”, on September 17, 2013, and had been supporting its release with international tours.

As this was my introduction to their music, I went in with open ears and came out a fan. Their performance was solid and their music was rather good. I could definitely understand why they are popular in Australia. Their music definitely has a psychedelic vibe, but it’s more Tame Impala than The Dandy Warhols. Their set had both upbeat dance numbers and mellow “chill-out” cuts, and I found that it was a great setlist. So great, that I even purchased a copy of the their newest album on wax (and got it signed!) after the show.

I always find it interesting when  bands have great support in their home countries, but take a while to break out in other territories. I spoke briefly with Heidi (the keyboardist and vocalist) and asked her what her thoughts were about that point. She exclaimed that that’s exactly what they were aiming to impact during this last round international tour dates. She explained that she hoped that touring with Metronomy and sneaking in festival and other performance dates earned them new ears and fans.

I hope it worked for them. Hey, at least it worked for me. Follow them on Twitter (@Cloud_Control) or Facebook (CloudController) and make sure you catch them when they are in your neck of the woods.

The setlist for their performance is below:

  1. Dojo Rising
  2. The Smoke
  3. Moon Rabbit
  4. Promises
  5. Gold Canary
  6. Nothing In The Water
  7. Scar

I wasn’t able to find any video clips of their performance online, so enjoy a playlist from their Souncloud account below.

The lighting for their set was rather dim, so I had to set my ISO higher than normal. Still think I took a couple decent pics though.

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!

Dead Sara | The Echo | 5/6/14 (PHOTOS)


Dead Sara, a Los Angeles based, hard rock band consisting of Emily Armstrong (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, Sean Friday (drums), Siouxsie Medley (lead guitar) and Chris Null (bass guitar), have been in the studio recording music for their highly anticipated sophomore album for the past half year. Having recently finished recording said album, they decided to bless their L.A. fans with three club gigs throughout the month of May (at The Echo 5/6/14, The Bootleg 5/14/14 and the Satellite on 5/21/14). I was lucky enough to snag a ticket (before all three shows sold out) to their gig at their first show of the year at The Echo.

I’m a huge fan of this group. When I heard the opening riffs of “Weatherman” for the first time, it was like love at first listen. When Emily started wailing over the music, I was hooked. I saw them perform twice in 2013 (once at the El Rey Theater and also as the headliner for the Lobster Festival at the Port of Los Angeles). Their live performance solidified my love for this group. They rock, and they rock hard. My passion for this group’s music was enough for me to get “inducted” as a member of “The DEADicated” (a group of die-hard fans that will go to great lengths, and travel great distances- across continents- to see Dead Sara rock).

The day of the show, The DEADicated arrived at the venue at 10:30am to secure their spots up front. I wasn’t there, but if I stopped dating a girl because she didn’t like their music (true story), I feel like I earned a right to be a member of The DEADicated too! LOL.

Their set consisted of music from their debut LP and music from their forthcoming release (“Evil”, “Radio”, “Suicidal”, “Traveling Band”, “Something Good” and “Mr. Mr.” were all performed live for the first time ever! Lucky me!). They performed their cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” and the audience even sang “Happy Birthday” for Emily, as it happened to be her birthday. Emily prefaced the show stating that the new music were still works in progress, and asked that no one video record them until they were performance proof.

I spent my time trying to find the right camera settings to take decent pics, but leave it to a DEADicated to post up videos  of their older songs from the show. Click through the video and check out other videos of their older songs from the show.

I’m still a newbie at taking concert photos in a venue with tricky lighting, but I think that I was able to snag a few decent shots with my DSLR. If anybody has any suggestions (other than getting a better – more expensive- lens), please chime in below in the comments. Hopefully, the next time I see them perform live, I’ll have it down pat.