Haunted Summer played a set opening for Avid Dancer on 2/23/15 and we snapped some pics. Check them out! Continue reading
Light FM played a set opening for Avid Dancer on 2/23/15 and we snapped some pics. Check them out!
THOUGHTS: I wasn’t planning of checking them out (they weren’t in the printed “programs” for Echo Park Rising) but when I went into The Echo to check out how hard it would be to deal with the lighting Pastilla was on stage performing to packed house (with a line of festival patrons waiting to get in). I couldn’t understand what they were singing … but that’s because the song they were singing was in Spanish. I enjoyed their groove, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more if I had taken Spanish instead of French in high school and college. C’est la vie. As for the the photos? Well, the room was so packed, I couldn’t get very close to the stage, so most of my shots were from a distance … and most of my shots were slightly out of focus. I tried to edit them clearer, but it is what it is. I tried.
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.
When I first started this blog in January 2013, one of the first blog entries I put up was a list of my favorite concerts of 2012. Breaking the Top 10 was Allen Stone’s performance at the Fonda Theatre, Friday, October 19th, 2012. I only wrote a couple of sentences about the performance (below … which I should have proofread), but being an avid fan of soul and R&B music, I was particularly impressed.
His performance at The Fonda made me an instant fan, so much so that I reviewed his first album “Last To Speak”, tried (but missed) his set at Coachella, and bought VIP tickets to see him perform at The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue, even hanging out with him and his manager afterwards at my favorite bar in Santa Monica. When I heard that he had a gig scheduled at The Echo (a venue, ironically enough, that I hadn’t seen a show in), I snapped a ticket up immediately. Knowing that he was currently writing and recording music for his next album, I anticipated a mix of both old and new songs.
When I arrived at the venue, there was a line at least 30 people deep. Knowing that the event had sold out, I asked the bouncer whether I had to wait in line if my ticket was at will call. He indicated that the people waiting in line were waiting to see if any extra tickets would become available. I was glad that I got my ticket way in advance.
As soon as I stepped into the 350 person capacity venue, I felt a warmth overcome me. Yeah, it was packed, and I kinda felt sorry for anybody hoping to score a ticket last minute. I became somewhat resigned insofar as I knew that I got there a little too late to find and stake out a good vantage point to take pictures, but I did what I could.
An as aside, and a concert going tip, at The Echo there isn’t any reserved seating. The booths that line the walls are first come, first served. As I was walking through the venue during Allen’s set, I noticed there was space between an older man and his wife at a booth. In between songs, I kindly asked if I could stand there for a song or two to take some picture, and he pointed his finger at me saying that I was blocking his wife’s view, and that the section was “reserved” for him. After the show, on my way out, I asked the the employees working the ticket office about “reserved seating”, and they told me that there was no such thing at The Echo. Even old people are mean.
That little rude blip didn’t get me down though. How could it when the music was so good? His setlist was a mix of tracks from his first album (“Figured It Out”), self titled album (“What I’ve Seen”, “Unaware”, “Contact High” and an acoustic version of “Satisfaction”), covers (Tingsek’s “Six Years”, Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”) and newly written material (“Momma Gonna Punish You”, “Million” and “Voodoo”).
He sang the Gotye cover for his encore, and I must say that his vocal rendition, and arrangement, of it blew my mind. For a song that has been covered by everyone and their mom, he breathed a new life into it. His voice forceful, and longing, it was a performance that gave me chills, making me fall in love with a song that, truthfully, I never cared for.
The only thing that would have topped the Gotye cover would have been if Allen Stone performed the song that got me interested in his music and sound in the first place: “Another Break Up Song”. That didn’t happen, but I ain’t complaining.
After the gig, I bumped into a mutual friend who writes for the Los Angeles Times. He was with Allen’s publicist and I exchanged some pleasantries adding that I was happy to hear that Allen would be playing at the Playboy Jazz Festival this year. I didn’t tell her that I actually predicted that he would be performing at the Hollywood Bowl, but I did tell her that I’d buy a ticket for the day Allen performs if he puts “Another Break Up Song” on the setlist. I wonder if my mutual friend can find out if that song gets put on the setlist … hmm ….
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.
My first exposure to Aloe Blacc‘s music was years ago (late 90’s) when he was performing as a rapper/singer in a hip-hop group called Emanon with the producer Exile, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I really started to get interested in his sound. The HBO series Entourage had just ended, and its fans (like me) were anxiously waiting for HBOs new series How to Make It in America, hoping that it would have the same kind of energy and characters of its predecessor.
I was always impressed with Entourage’s soundtrack, so I anticipated How to Make It in America to have as good a soundtrack. As soon as the show’s intro song played, I had to run to my computer and perform a google search to find out the name of the song and who performed it. It was Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar“, a modern recording with a vintage sound, a sound that I am very partial too, and strong social commentary.
As a native Southern Californian, his closing of the Soul Revue festivities was apropos. Backed by a full band with a terrific horn section, and dressed in a form fitted black suit with a fedora, his set was both visually and sonically the embodiment of traditional soul music. His doting fans lapped up the performance and clearly appreciated every theme of Aloe’s music which ranged from groove shakers to songs of substance.
During his set he called the well known poet, IN-Q, to the stage to recite a poem titled “85”. By that point in the evening, the camera in my battery was dead, so I couldn’t video record it, but thankfully, a video of it being performed at Witzend was posted Jan 11, 2013. A truly lovely performance.
After his set closed, Aloe was cheered back to the stage for an encore. The audience clearly didn’t want the day of soul music to end, but curfew ordinances are curfew ordinances and the glorious day of soul music had come to an uplifting conclusion. I went backstage to get some water before moving on with my evening, and happened to see Aloe hanging out with some friends and/or fans. I “happened” to have his 12” single recording of “Get Down” in my backpack so I asked his manager if he could sneak me a signature. He graciously obliged, and not only did I get an autograph, but I also got a pic with Aloe . As I’m typing this right now, I’m wondering why I don’t have an LP copy of Aloe’s “Good Things” (would totally be worth having on vinyl).
It was a terrific day of soul music, and I hope that the festival organizers can put together another strong line-up for the soul revue next year. Kudos are deserved for KCRW and The Echo for putting together a terrific lineup. It was a great way to end the summer.
I LOVE soul music. I listen to all genres, but if I had to guess, I’d venture to guess that probably a third of my music collection (iTunes indicates that I have 19,452 songs that last 54.4 days) consists of soul tracks and about half of my vinyl collection consists of soul LPs. From Aretha Franklin to Amy Winehouse, Marvin Gaye to D’Angelo, I have a thing for soul music. Period.
When I heard that KCRW, in association with the Echo/Echoplex, was having a Soul/Reggae Festival, I was excited. As soon as I saw the line-up, I bought tickets. The Bay Area soul duo, Myron and E; The prolific and enduring Lee Fields; one of the architects of Funk, Maceo Parker; the hippie with soul, Allen Stone; and the former rapper turned soul-man, Aloe Blacc: I knew and respected all of these artists and there was no way I was going to miss out on this full day of soul music. I bought an “early bird” VIP ticket which only cost me $45, and my Saturday, September 21st was set. Below is a list of the artists whose performances I had the pleasure of catching. Click through on their names to read my thoughts, see pictures and watch performance snippets. If there is a “(pending)” notice next to the name, follow my blog, twitter (@methodman13) or Instagram (@methodman13) for updates. Hey…. these entries just don’t write themselves! LOL.
Myron & E are a soul duo based in the Bay Area. They are currently signed to one of my favorite independent labels, Stones Throw, so even though I wasn’t too familiar with their catalog, I was relatively sure I would be pleased with their music.
The Stones Throw website introduces the band as follows: “The vocal duo is something of a rarity. There have been countless solo stars, trios, quartets and quintets, but the pairing of equally talented singers isn’t nearly as common. Sam and Dave, Ashford and Simpson, the Righteous Brothers and the Everly Brothers comprise a short list of standouts. Enter Myron & E.” A tall order to live up to, for sure, but I’m willing to bet that the Stones Throw folk know what they’re co-signing on.
They had the earliest set in the day so the crowd hadn’t reached critical mass yet, but they had their die-hard fans in the trenches, wearing their screen-print Myron & E T-shirts, and they performed with the type of gusto to satisfy their own, and to drawn in new fans. Half way through their set E mentioned it was Myron’s birthday, and the crowd joined in on an impromptu singing of “Happy Birthday”.
It was a solid set to establish the “soul” mood for the rest of the day, though at times I felt that some of the vocal tuning was a bit off, which I could attribute to the blazing midday sun, but it was good enough want me to follow them on Facebook so to keep up with their music and see how their sound develops. You should too.
They are touring domestically and throughout Europe throughout the fall, so check them out when they are in your neck of the woods.