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

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:

PHOTOS:

 

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

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

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

THE ACT: James Supercave Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

If you are the kind of person who likes to check out new bands in concert, it would behoove you to not limit your perception of said band on just one performance. Personally, if I even slightly enjoy new band’s performance, I do my best to try and catch them again at a later date. There are a myriad of reasons to do this: (i) because a band that you are waffling on just could have had an off night, (ii) different venues offer different atmospheres which could really impact a band’s performance, or (ii) over time, said band’s performance could have gotten better or worse.

I saw James Supercave earlier this year at the Santa Monica Pier when they opened for Cults. I enjoyed their performance then, and I anticipated that their performance this night would be equally enjoyable. I was wrong. They were immeasurably better!

This time around, they had an energy and stage presence that I don’t recall from the first time I saw them perform. Joaquin Pastor, the lead singer, seemed to exude a subdued confidence that I don’t recall noticing the first time around; actively interacting with his band through the set. Maybe it was because he wasn’t wearing sunglasses this time around, and you could really see the music’s emotion in his eyes. Whatever it was, it was something that I noticed.

His bandmates, likewise, seemed to have more energy as well, and under the heavy purple lights, I found myself enjoying their onstage movements … and their music … especially when the rhythm picked up.

I was hoping to catch the guys after the show to ask them whether or not they would have agreed with me about comparing the two shows, and their own personal thoughts about their performance, but I wasn’t able to. Oh well. I suppose I’ll have to make it a point to go see them again.

PHOTOS:

 

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

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

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

THE ACT: denitia and sene. Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

SOUNDS LIKE: 

THOUGHTS:

Opening the 29th Red Bull Sound Select 30 Days In LA concert at Mack Sennett Studios was the R&B duo denitia and sene. Denitia Odigie and Brian “Sene” Marc use synthesizers to bring out a pulsing rhythm over which they croon and coo over. Their latest release, “the side fx. EP” was released by Red Bull Sound Select.

As an opener for for Chet Faker, their performance was a solid appetizer. Although there were a couple of moments where the vocals could have been better in tune with each other, the soothing effect that their music had over the audience definitely brought the sultry and seductive air to the venue.

PHOTOS:

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

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

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How to Dress Well’s “Repeat Pleasure” (Part 1 of 3 “What Is This Heart?” trilogy) (Official Video)

Tom Krell p/k/a How To Dress Well.
Tom Krell p/k/a How To Dress Well.

I’m a fan of Tom Krell’s music. Performing under the stage name “How To Dress Well”, his music has always has always resonated a sadness or longing in me. Whether its his airy falsetto, or the generally dark lyrical topics of his compositions, his music always makes me want to lay on a coach and contemplate life, love, at other personal topics.

When I saw him perform at The Roxy earlier this year, Tom performed “Repeat Pleasure” and noted it was a song about controlling emotions even though you know that “if you do something once, you’ll probably do it again”. He also noted that it was perhaps the most “poppy” songs he had had ever written.

That being said, I suppose one would have expected a music video with an airier, light hearted mood, but I think if that had been done, it would have been so out of character for Tom, his fans, myself included, would have said, “Huh?”

Tom’s music video for “Repeat Pleasure”, which is apparently part 1 of the “What Is This Heart?” (the name of his forthcoming album) trilogy, will pull on your heartstrings. It seems to tell the story of a young man who’s grandfather is gravely ill, and his efforts to take him somewhere familiar before passing. The video is appropriately “How To Dress Well”, and I fully appreciate Tom’s creative vision for his music.

CHVRCHES | Coachella | 4/12/14 (PHOTOS)

Chvrches, a trio from Scotland, is band that got a lot of praise from critics in 2013, and its easy to hear why. They debut album, “The Bones of What You Believe”, is an album that is sonically precise, bringing back to life the late 80s, synth pop sounds of Depeche Mode and Erasure, and the lead vocalist, Lauren Mayberry, is … well … cute as a button with an equally cute voice.

As their set was during the middle of the day, I didn’t get to experience the light show that usually accompanies their live performance that I’ve heard so much about, but it really didn’t matter. The music carried their set and I enjoyed the half hour that I was able to watch.

Lauren Mayberry was easy to photograph. Her natural beauty makes it easy for the camera to find a shot, no matter the angle. Ironically enough, my favorite two shots of her are the ones that some, perhaps, may not think are the prettiest. Rather, one is a close up shot of her squinting in the sun, reaching for notes a song (above), and another is a close up candid of her on stage when she stepped  away from the mic and the wind caught her hair as she caught her breath. What do you think?

 

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.

The Locust | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

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Leaving Devendra Banhart‘s set a little early to grab a beer, I walked by the smallest stage of the festival and stumbled upon a group named The Locust. Playing amongst the trees of the state park venue, and wearing eerie, alien like, body suits, this band was shredding their set. Fast, loud and furious, this was about as hardcore as harcdore punk could get. I thought about getting closer to the stage to get a better angle for pictures, but I stopped my progression with one look at the pit and thought better of it.

If you needed a jolt of adrenaline to get you through the rest of the day, this band could have given it to you. They gave it to the audience in short bursts of frenetic shredding and intense vocal delivery.  Each song couldn’t have been more that two minutes long, and I wondered how this band could keep it up for 45 minutes. I could have stayed longer, but I looked at the time and realized that another band was scheduled to start when they ended, so I meandered off with a little more vigor in my steps.

The Locust
The Locust

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