Nate Mendel has played in the Foo Fighters for the past 20 plus years. In fact, the only person who’s been in the Foo Fighters longer is Dave Grohl. While Dave’s non-Foo gigs, and there are many (Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of The Stone Age. etc) may have received much of the attention, Nate’s musical output outside of Foo Fighters is just as impressive.
Toronto based, indie synth-rock band Yukon Blonde opened for Nate Mendel’s bad Lieutenant at the Troubadour 4/8/15. It took a while, but we finally posted some photos from their gig.
Written By: M. Sloves | Photos By: Derrick K. Lee
Sometimes you hear people wax poetic about the abundance of vinyl that surrounded them growing up. How their unconsciously cool parents shaped the future of their musical minds with shelves full of Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dylan, Mozart, The Stones: anything and everything rad from the last century of recorded music. I always shake my head and think, “damn … lucky fucks.”
“Straight out of the gates, front men Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay hit the crowd with a tight, well-groomed honky-tonk anthem. Looking like Bo and Luke Duke, working the stage like the gearshift on the General Lee, these hombres have a lot of style and whole lot of swagger […].
“Her South Carolina accent makes her sound a helluva lot older than she looks. It’s a little raspy but not in a French/Israeli “I’ve been smoking since I was 8 years old” kinda way. Nikki probably sounded like this straight out of the womb. Lends her a certain gravitas that plays well off the current of thick heavy drumbeats that connect her grittier rock moments to her slower country vibes.
“[Pete is] clearly a charming guy and extremely talented. I think he falls into that category of “musician’s musician” – the guy that pro jocks want around when they’re at a recording studio or a house party because he can jump in on any song without a lot of ego stroking or maintenance costs.
About a year ago, a buddy of mine forwarded me a soundcloud link of a band based out of Seattle named Reignwolf. Knowing that he had good taste in music, I opened the link and and this song played:
Whoa. I was like, “Where did this come from, and why don’t I know anything about them?” I quickly remedied that problem. I started following them on Facebook and found out that Reignwolf was Jordan Cook. I started watching videos of his live solo performances on Youtube, and I was hooked. I had missed out on his performance opening for Black Sabbath at the Hollywood Bowl due to a prior engagement, but when I found out he was headlining a show at the Troubadour, I logged on and bought tickets as soon as they went on sale. I’m glad I bought them when I did, since the tickets for the gig sold out.
Before Reignwolf took the stage, the anticipation was palpable. Accompanied by David T. Rapaport on bass and Joseph Braley on drums, Jordan took the stage to loud cheers. The music started and the rock had commenced.
It was as good a live show as I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’d say that is was the best club gig I’ve seen this year.
With Jordan bouncing around the stage, off the drum kit, and into the audience, the energy was frenetic. He kept the audience guessing as to what was coming next, taking control of the set by ripping out a jaw-dropping performance of “Electric Love” solo, playing the guitar and drums simultaneously, and by playing a song in the audience, using his logo emblazoned bass drum as a pedestal.
Midway through the set, I looked over to a friend I had invited to the show to see if she was doing all right. She didn’t have to say anything. Her mouth was agape, and her eyes were fixated on Jordan, with a “what’s the hell am I witnessing right now” look. Yeah, she was enjoying herself.
When Reignwolf came back to the stage for their encore, Jordan humbly expressed how lucky he was to be playing in the legendary venue. He mentioned how all of his music idols had once played at the Troubadour, and how he was sincerely appreciative of the chance to do the same. He then slyly looked around the room, pointed to the upstairs balcony area, and announced to the audience that though his sound guy wouldn’t appreciate it, he wanted to play up there.
Dragging his amp up to the rafters, he seated himself on the balcony railing, anchored by fans who made sure he wouldn’t fall. The crowds’ frenzy reached it pinnacle. At this point, even MY jaw was on the floor. It was definitely a first for me, and most likely a first for the Troubadour. I’ll not soon forget what I was witness to that evening at the Troubadour, because that show … seriously … was the stuff of legend.
As much as enjoyed the show, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t all that happy with the photos that I snapped. I think part of the problem was that I was moving to the music too much while snapping pics (most of my shots were blurry). Also, I honestly think that the music being so good, I was distracted and missed moments when lights saturated the room. What can I say? It really couldn’t be helped. I was just having too much god-damn fun with the music. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to redeem myself at some point. Ya hear me, Reignwolf? I want to shoot you again!!!
Opening for Reignwolf at the Troubadour was an LA based rock band named the The Futures League. It was my first time catching them play, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I liked what I heard.
A mix of psychedelic and garage rock, with catchy riffs and a solid groove, it was a sound that definitely piqued my curiosity … so much so, that I started to record a video clip of them so I could remember what it was that interested me when I got home. I shut it down quickly though when a bouncer gave me the stare down and a hand gesture that indicated that I should shut it down asap. Needless to say, I liked them on Facebook. I’m interested to hear more of what the guys have to offer.
- Give My Lovin a Try
- Too Many Lies
- Mojo Back
- Never See Me Again
- I Wanna Go
- Digital Dreams
- Women Trials
- Tall Buildings
Ever since Snarky Puppy beat my favorite neo-soul band of 2013, Hiatus Kaiyote for the Best R&B Performance Grammy this year, I had to look them up and figure out who they were.
I’ll admit … the first video clip supporting their release of “Family Dinner- Volume 1”. It was Lalah Hathaway singing a song titled “Something” … and she harmonized with herself… let me say that again … SHE HARMONIZED WITH HERSELF!!!
That video was mind blowing, and I’ll have to admit the music, separate from the mind-blowing vocal gymnastics performed by Lalah, was pretty damn good.
Based out of New York, the band is led by Michael League, a Grammy Award-winning bassist. It’s players are part of collective that features nearly 40 musicians. They affectionately refer to themselves as “The Farm” and for this evening, they had 9 of them play at The Troubadour.
With the 10 players cramped on the stage, their music, which is a fusion of jazz, rock and funk, was loud and funky. I won’t lie, though … if you were hoping for some vocalists to jump onto the stage to join them for a song or two, you would have been disappointed. It was an all instrumental set with only the audience singing along with the chants on a song … the name of which totally escapes me, but you can see the video below.
I’m not one to complain though. When you have that many talented musicians on stage, it’s easy for me to get lost in some robust, Grammy Award winning music.
When Terrace Martin invited me to his gig at The Troubadour opening for Snarky Puppy, lord knows that I couldn’t turn that down, especially when he mentioned that Robert Glasper would be joining him. Terrace Martin, Snarky Puppy AND Robert Glasper in one night at a legendary performance venue? Hell, yeah, I was going.
I arrived at the venue relatively early. Knowing that it was a sold out show, waiting in line would be the only way I could get up front with my camera to take pictures. After all, the lighting in The Troubadour makes it a tough venue to shoot in. Unfortunately, for me, there were about a hundred other people already in line by the time I got in line.
There isn’t much I can say about how dope Terrace’s set was. After all, I’ve already seen him perform twice this year (once at the Virgil in January and again at the Del Monte Speakeasy in February), and I’ve already preached how seriously amazing his live shows have been, so I won’t get into here. His music, and his musicality in interpreting jazz classics, is what modern jazz should aspire to be. As far as I’m concerned, he’s an ambassador of the West-Coast Jazz movement that I’ve noticed gained traction recently.
Though I usually never convert my photos to black and white, I had to in this instance. The lighting was so low in the venue, the only way I could get some of the images I liked to really pop was to convert them. Though I’m much more partial to having the photos presented in their natural light, without some really high end (and expensive!) photo gear, this was the best I could do. I took pretty decent pics of Cody Chesnutt’s performance at the Troubadour, but I was up in the front for that gig. I guess, with the gear that I’ve got, I’ll have to get up closer to the stage for good pics. You live and you learn.