Phantogram | First City Festival | 8/23/14 [PHOTOS]

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Fascinator| Twilight Concert | Santa Monica Pier | 8/7/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

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

In conjunction with G’Day USA, the Twilight Concert series presented “Australia Rocks The Pier”.

The second act performing on the Santa Monica Pier was Fascinator. Fascinator is Johnny Mackay, an Australian based in New York, whose music is an experimental, electronic, psychedelic trip. Though the act was probably better suited for a smaller club venue, I could tell that the audience was getting into it … the smell of weed permeating my nostrils was my proof.

The music, and performance, was a bit out there. With odd hat-masks, long full length garb, and a hype-man who danced around the stage, I could feel the groove, but kept sniffing the air to see if I could get a second-hand high. If only I wasn’t “working” …

Follow Fascinator on Facebook by CLICKING HERE

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

Phebe Starr | Twilight Concert | Santa Monica Pier | 8/7/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

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

In conjunction with G’Day USA, the Twilight Concert series presented “Australia Rocks The Pier”.

The first act performing on the Santa Monica Pier was Aussie Native Phebe Starr. Like the opening act from the prior week, Phebe had been the winner of a competition to perform for the Twilight Concert audience.

I arrived at the pier after she had already started her set, but was able to get into the photo pit for the last half of her set.

Her music is synth pop akin to Lykii Li and Sia. Though I only caught a portion of her set, I could see the potential she has in developing her sound. She is in Los Angeles to record music, and it’d be interesting to see how Los Angeles inspires her songwriting.

Follow Phebe Starr on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.

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

De Lux | 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!

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Opening for Omar Souleyman was the Los Angeles-based, indie neo-disco band De Lux. I had gotten a little sampling of their music online, but listening to this band’s music live was something else.

De Lux is a favorite of KCRW DJs across the board (they are one of the few acts that ALL of the DJs play in their sets). I could hear why.

They may be a young band, but their sound is pretty damn sophisticated. A little synth-pop, a little electronic, a little disco, a little punk, a little funk … their music is a mish-mosh of styles that really blends together into a unique, almost throwback, sound.

I got to chat with a couple of the guys in the band after their set, and couldn’t help but rave about their sound. Though they’ve heard it before, I really emphasized my observation that their music really reminded me of  the Talking Heads. Seaun Guerin, one of the founders and the lead vocalist, in particular, has a voice that’s as oddly wonderful as David Byrnes’ voice.

These guys are playing at the upcoming free music festival in Los Angeles, Echo Park Rising, August 15th-17th (TBD). I’m going to try and make it out for their gig. Hopefully, I’ll be able to snap some more pics of them jamming out.

Follow De Lux on Facebook by CLICKING HERE.

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

Glass Battles | Los Globos | 5/24/14

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I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I’ve always enjoyed going out to check out bands for the first time at venues I’ve never been to. An Instagram friend let me know of an independent artist showcase she was putting together through her company Badd Lemonade at Los Globos in Silverlake, and I decided to check out some new music.

The first band I saw perform was a band called Glass Battles, a five piece band indie pop band whose synch-rock sound is definitely conducive to movement on the dance floor.

The show at Los Globos was their first show in Los Angeles this year, and they were appreciative to be back rocking their hometown. Their next Los Angeles performance is Sunday June 8th at the LA PRIDE festival in West Hollywood. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with their other performances.

Los Globos is a pretty cool venue, but I found it terribly hard to snap good pics with their low and frenetic lighting. Proof that I’ll have to save up a couple of Gs to invest in some quality lens.

 

 

Little Dragon | Coachella | 4/13/14 (PHOTOS)

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I absolutely adore Little Dragon‘s music. Ever since their 2007, full length self-titled debut, I’ve been dying to see their music manifest live. It’s taken 7 years, but I finally got the chance to see them perform at Coachella, at it was absolutely marvelous.

I was pleased to see that they had packed the tent they were performing in, especially since their set was matched up against uber DJ Calvin Harris on the main stage, but this band from Gothenberg, Sweden (consisting of lead vocalist Yakimi Nagano, Kakan Wirenstrand, Erik Bodin and Fredrik Kallfren Wallin), proceeded to smack the audience in the face with their brand of downtempo, trip hop, and gave us exactly what we wanted.

Yukimi Nagano, in her flowing, bulbous dress captivated the audience with her understated vocal performance as the band expertly explored and delved into the futuristic sound that is present on all of their albums. Simply put, I loved their set at Coachella and I kicked myself wondering what took me so long to see them perform live. Well, better later than never. Though they’ve already wrapped up their west-coast tour engagements, I will certainly be keeping my eye out for tickets for when they are back in Los Angeles in the future.

As an aside, I just noticed that this year at Coachella there were many acts fronted by asian females (The Naked and Famous, Little Dragon, and Jhene Aiko [whose blog entry is forthcoming]). Being Asian (Korean) myself, and knowing how hard it is for Asians to break into the music industry, I am particularly proud of the fact that we were represented so strongly by women whose stage presence left a lasting, positive impression. Okay, enough of the social mumbo-jumbo. Enjoy the pics. 🙂

Little Dragon Setlist Coachella Festival 2014 2014

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT BLOG ENTRIES OF OTHER BANDS I SAW AT COACHELLA!

M83, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Phantogram | Hollywood Bowl | 9/22/13

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PhoenixDaft PunkJustice … France turns out some great electro, synth pop bands. Oh yeah … M83 is pretty damn good too. Named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83, M83’s music is as cosmic as that system of stars. Adding a full orchestra and choir to their already sonically complex arrangements like “Midnight City” only raised the level of their cosmic sound.

I wasn’t planning on attending the show.  In fact, I had been offered to get in on tickets when they first went on sale, but passed it up since I purchased some tickets for other shows and funds, at the time, were running low. But as fate would have it, a dear friend of mine called me up last minute the day before the concert to see if I wanted to attend the sold out show, and I got to attend the last installment of KCRW Radio’s World Festival series.  The stars were definitely aligned for me …

The indie pop/Electronic rock band Phantogram opened for M83. It was my first time listening to their music, but I could tell why they were opening for M83. Their songs were all dance friendly, and had catchy hooks. Sarah Barthel’s vocals were strong and sexy. The band didn’t seem intimidated by performing on the famous stage, but they expressed their humble gratitude by acknowledging the hallowed stage they were on, and thanked the audience for listening.

Their setlist, from www.setlist.fm was:

  1. When I’m Small
  2. Mouthful of Diamonds
  3. As Far as I Can See
  4. Celebrating Ugly
  5. Black Out Days
  6. Don’t Move
  7. Voices
  8. When I’m Small

M83’s performance, back by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and its choir, was stunning. For a band whose music is already big with layered synths, guitars and voices, I wondered how the orchestral arrangements would come off and how it would alter the original arrangements. Surprisingly, the orchestra didn’t overpower the band’s sound. Rather, at least in my humble opinion, they seemed to be used only to accent the original sound. Truth be told, it was hard to me to actually note when the orchestra was playing and when they weren’t. M83’s sound, alone, is that big.

M83 used a lot visual media  in their performance.  Though it was hard for me to actually glean what the purpose of some of the visual montages were, I supposed that it was used to evoke mood and metaphors for the audience to come up with. As visually stunning as the montages were, personally, I think that the performance could have done without it, as I hardly spent time watching the video screens.

M83 brought up a couple of special guests during their performance: grade-school aged Zelly Meldal-Johnsen (performing “Raconte Moi une Histoire”) and Brad Laner (from the band Medicine) and though each special guest’s performance was entertaining (Zelly’s song about the frog was especially cute), I was hoping that the special guests, especially at the Hollywood Bowl, would have been more exciting or well-known….  After all, it IS the Hollywood Bowl.

Special guests notwithstanding, M83’s performance was the kind of show you hope to see- and is typically delivered- at the Hollywood Bowl. Grand in scale. Aurally pleasing. Toss in a seat in a Terrace Box, with great friends on a lazy Sunday? Perfect.

Setlist procured from www.setlist.fm:

  1. In the Cold I’m Standing
  2. Intro
  3. Reunion
  4. Sitting
  5. We Own The Sky
  6. Steve McQueen
  7. Splendor (with Brad Laner)
  8. Wait
  9. Moonchild
  10. Raconte-moi une histoire (with Zelly Boo Meldal-Jophnsen)
  11. Skin of the Night
  12. Midnight City
  13. Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun

Encore:

  1. Oblivion (Susanne Sundfor)
  2. Outro
  3. Couleurs

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.

Holy Ghost! | FYF Festival | August 25, 2013

To check out pictures of other bands I was able to catch at the festival, CLICK HERE.

Holy Ghost!
Holy Ghost!

At the suggestion of my cousin, I decided to see Holy Ghost! rather than My Bloody Valentine as the last band at the festival. This turned out to be a good suggestion as I understood that My Bloody Valentine had a plethora of technical difficulties which put a damper on their set.

In reading up on Holy Ghost!’s history, I read that while dipping their feet in the rap game, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser released an album produced by James Murphy, the founder and frontman of LCD Soundsystem. When their rap careers failed to gain traction, James Murphy suggested that they continue making music, but to make it dance music, thus planting the seed for Holy Ghost!.

In what I see as perfect timing, Holy Ghost!’s first album was released the same year LCD Soundsystem called it quits. Being signed to James Murphy’s DFA Records, it would appear that Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser’s band would be the one to fill the huge gap LCD Soundsystem left behind. Performing at the festival in support of their second studio album, my impression is that they may well be on their way in doing so.

The six member band took to the stage to the applause of a raucous audience. It didn’t seem as if anybody in the crowd was weary from the two days of stage hopping and swirling dust in the air. Influenced by LCD Soundsystem and New Order (with whom they recently toured with), their set was danceable and fun. The large band (consisting of 6 member if I recall correctly) kept the energy up throughout the set.

Holy Ghost!
Holy Ghost!

In a moment of NYC cool (the founding members are from NY) during the set, lead singer Alex Frankel casually lit cigarettes onstage and smoked during a couple songs. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an artist do that, and for some reason I appreciated it.  It was almost like having a smoke after successfully completing an arduous task as a symbol of triumph. After two days of great music, it was kinda what I needed.

Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
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Nick Millhiser of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost!