Deerhunter | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

Leaving The Locust, I headed back  to the main stage to meet up with some friends and to get a good spot for both TV on the Radio and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Performing on the main stage, as I was walking toward it, was an experimental noise rock band from Atlanta, Georgia: Deerhunter.

Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013

I wasn’t familiar with the band, but from where I was, and what I could hear, it came off pretty good. I’ll have to admit, I was a little thrown off as I thought the lead singer was a woman. After all, he was wearing a dress and a wig, and his voice was kinda Yoko Ono-ish. It was more shocking than anything when he tore off the wig half way into the set, and for a minute there I was lost in my own confusion.

Though I arrived midway through their set, I could tell that the music hit on elements of alternative, punk and  shoe gazing. I was starting to get into it by the time their set came to a close, but before I knew it, Bradford Cox (the lead singer) put his wig back on, picked up a purse from the ground, and walked off stage.

The set list from setlist.fm:

  1. Cover Me (Slowly)
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Neon Junkyard
  4. Don’t Cry
  5. Rivival
  6. Desire Lines
  7. Blue Agent
  8. Rainwater Cassette Exchange
  9. Nothing Ever Happened
  10. Sleepwalking
  11. Back to the Middle
  12. Monomania
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013 shredding behind the back.
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013
Brandford Cox of Deerhunter at FYF Fest 2013

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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The Breeders | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders

Since I was already up at the front of the stage for Charles Bradley, I decided to stay put for the next band to grace the main stage: The Breeders. The Breeders were very popular during my high school days in the early 90s, but truth be told, during that time my alternative rock tastes leaned more toward Nirvana , Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam. Don’t get me wrong, I liked The Breeders’ music a lot, I mean who can resist their hit “Cannonball”, but I think adolescent guys being adolescent guys, I was a little hesitant to hold a torch for a band that my younger sister was really into.

Knowing that the band would be playing their second album, “Last Splash”, in its entirety (which album, by the way, is celebrating its 20 anniversary, and was reissued as a “deluxe edition”, this year …. Yowza!!!), I was looking foward to hearing “Cannonball”, which I knew was the second track on the album. Because I wanted to also check out another artist whose set overlapped with The Breeders, I planned on catching at least half of their set before maneuvering away from the crowd … And a big crowd it was.

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The massive crowd for The Breeders

Their fans came out in droves and cheered like  mad when they took the stage to set up their equipment. The album’s original lineup was on stage: vocalists/guitarists Kim and Kelley Deal, bassist Josephine Wiggs and Drummer Jim MacPherson.  There was an additional band member on stage, but I didn’t recognize who she was. I couldn’t get any photos of Jim MacPherson since I didn’t have a good angle.

Without greeting the crowd, they opened with a Guided by Voices cover of “Shocker In Gloomtown”. Afterwards, Kim Deal greeted the massive crowd and expressed the band’s gratitude for being able to perform at the festival, and with that they jumped into playing “Last Splash”. They played the album in order, so I got to hear “Cannonball”. I didn’t get to hear their other big singles (“Saints” and “Divine Hammer”), as I left after about 4 or 5 more songs, but I got what I needed to satisfy my music craving. I made a note that I was amused with how in between songs Kelley or Kim would gleefully point out that they were using some of  the same musical instruments that were used for the original recordings. If that isn’t being faithful to the original album, I don’t know what it is.  As I left my spot from the front of the stage, the girls behind me squealed with delight beholding their newly, unobstructed view.

As I was walking to the next band on my list, I swear could hear The Breeders sing the lyrics “Come back to me right now”. I kept walking, but I did stop to pause for a second to think about it.

Setlist (pulled from setlistfm.com):

  1. Shocker In Gloomtown (Guided by Voices cover)
  2. New Year
  3. Cannonball
  4. Invisible Man
  5. No Aloha
  6. Roi
  7. Do You Love Me Now?
  8. Flipside
  9. I Just Wanna Get Along
  10. Mad Lucas
  11. Divine Hammer
  12. S.O.S.
  13. Hag
  14. Saints (with Bradford Cox)
  15. Drivin’ on 9 (Ed Redeeming Qualities cover)
  16. Roi (Reprise)
  17. Fortunately Gone
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Josephine Wigg of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kelley Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
Kim Deal of The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
The Keyboardist for The Breeders
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Kim Deal of The Breeders
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Kelley Deal of The Breeders

Charles Bradley | FYF Festival | August 24, 2013

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

Charles Bradley's mic.
Charles Bradley’s mic.

They call him the “screaming eagle of soul”, and Charles Bradley was one of the reasons I was so pumped for FYF Fest this year. I’m a big fan of the funk the soul music Daptone Records puts out. Even though I’m a fan of all music, if you were to make me choose one genre of music to live with for the rest of my life, I’d probably pick soul music. From Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to Lee Fields, Daptone’s catalog is a soul music lover’s wet-dream.

Even though he released a highly regarded album, “No Time for Dreaming”, in 2011, I really didn’t know about his music until someone saw my Lee Fields LP and asked, have you ever heard Charles Bradley sing? My friend mentioned in passing that there was a documentary about him released in 2012, but I apparently didn’t pay attention. More to come on that point later.  I googled some videos on YouTube and I was hooked.

There was something about the way he sang. He seemed to be able to communicate so much pain and life through his music. I read up on some small articles online about his upbringing, and from what I read, he had led a hard life. When I found out that Mr. Bradley was doing an artist signing session at 3:00pm, I made it a point to get to the festival grounds early. I’m so glad I did.

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Me and Charles

I got to have a chat with Mr. Bradley about his music, and about his motivation. What I asked him how he kept on pushing with music at the age of 65, all he looked me in the eyes and simply said, “The music kept calling”. He asked me if I was from Los Angeles, and when I responded yes, he told me that he once used to live on Los Angeles, but got a jaywalking ticket one day, even though there was nobody on the street, and said that that was probably a sign that he needed to move back to New York. When I asked him how it was performing with Bonnie Raitt, he told me that if I thought the day was hot, he had just arrived from Arizona  and it was hotter than I could have believed. He mentioned that he loved San Francisco, and said that he was playing a small gig there soon and that if I ever had a chance to catch him at a smaller, club venue, I wouldn’t regret the decision. When I asked him why it took so long to finally get some music out there, he said that nobody had faith in him years ago, and I told him that it’s always “better late than never”.  He nodded and with that the usher asked me to wrap it up as some people had just hopped in line. I asked him to sign the two LPs I had purchased (I already had one, by the way) and watched him methodically plan out what he wanted to write. He graciously thanked me for stopping by and I told him that the pleasure was all mine, and that I was eagerly looking forward to his set.

The spoils of the day.
The spoils of the day.

As an aside, I was reminded after the music festival that there was a documentary about Charles titled “Soul of America”.  I watched it when I got home late Sunday evening on Netflix. I may have been a little exhausted from the weekend full of music, but that movie moved me. I’ll admit, I asked some questions that easily could have been answered from watching the movie, but what moved me to tears were the little things that all made sense to me after the fact. Charles Bradley sings the truth because when he sings, he’s singing from his life. When I watched him sign my LP’s, I didn’t realize that he basically learned to read and write in the past few years. When I look at what he wrote, “Thank you Brother with Love” … I had a lump develop in my throat.

Charles’ set at FYF Festival is perhaps in my top 5, and quite possibly in my top 3, of 2013. It was all that I could have wished for and more. Hyperbole is warranted. I loved watching Charles Bradley perform. He was probably my favorite act so far this year to photograph. So much emotion. So much energy. Even at 65, he could out-perform almost all of the current pop stars under the rug. Backed by the tight sounding Menahan Street Band, his live show was truly something to behold. They call him the “screaming eagle of soul”, and he screamed that soul into the audience’s hearts and mind.

Towards the end of his set he imparted a little wisdom to his adoring fans.  He said, “The Brain is a computer, you tell it what to do. Do you want to do what it wants you to do, or do you want to do what YOU want to do.” I took it as his philosophy on life. Do what your heart tells you. His heart told him to follow music. 65 years into the game, his heart proved that the little morsel of wisdom true.

Cheers, Charles. You were the first act of all the acts I wanted to see at FYF Fest, and I could have easily left right after a satisfied customer.

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The “screaming eagle of soul”, Mr. Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley's horn section.
Charles Bradley’s horn section.
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Charles Bradley carrying the weigh of life on his back.
Charles Bradley's guitar section.
Charles Bradley’s guitar section.
The emotion of Charles Bradley.
The emotion of Charles Bradley.
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The key for Charles Bradley.
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Charles Bradley giving the audience everything he’s got.
Charles Bradley's drummer.
Charles Bradley’s drummer.
Charles Bradely on one knee, getting dirty for us and keeping it real.
Charles Bradely on one knee, getting dirty for us and keeping it real.
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You give love, you get love in return. Charles Bradley meeting the fans after his set, and getting back all the love he gave to us.

FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013

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The line-up for the 10th annual FYF Fest was stellar. For only $99, I was able to attend the two day festival, and though I had tried my darnedest to get a press-pass to no avail, I went guerrilla-style to catch those acts I wanted to see and take the best possible pictures I could. Links to the other acts I was able to catch will be posted when the pictures have been “corrected” and selected, but it’ll take some time going through the over 400 photos I snapped. It’ll take me at least a week to post everything I want to post, so keep an eye out for updates by following my twitter or instagram accounts (both have a @methodman13 handle).

Click through the name of the act to see the pictures and read the write up for the acts I was able to catch:

Saturday, August 24th

  1. Mikal Cronin
  2. Charles Bradley
  3. The Breeders
  4. Devendra Banhart
  5. The Locust
  6. Deerhunter
  7. TV on the Radio
  8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sunday, August 25

  1. The Orwells
  2. Pional
  3. How To Dress Well
  4. No Age
  5. !!! (ChkChkChk)
  6. Shlohmo
  7. MGMT
  8. Solange
  9. Holy Ghost!

Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band |Burton W. Chace Park | August 17, 2013

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t been taking advantage of the free summer concerts available in your neck of the woods, you’re probably missing out. On August 17, 2013, I had the chance to see Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, play a one and half hour concert at Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey, and it was glorious. I would have gladly paid money to see Poncho Sanchez perform, but I’m not complaining one bit that I got to see this living, jazz legend play for free.

The line to park my car was long, and after waiting almost 20 minutes to park, I almost had to pull out from the front of the line to get change  as the parking lot attendant wasn’t willing to break the cash I had. Thankfully, a kind gentleman behind me spotted me $5 (parking was $10) so that I didn’t have to wait in line again.  Thank you, sir. I hope you contact me so that I can return the favor.

The best seats in the house. Obviously, not for me ... lol
The best seats in the house. Obviously, not for me … lol. If you can’t read the text, click on the picture to enlarge the picture.

With my new friends, I walked to concert area. With the stage situated at the edge of the jetty overlooking the great Marina Del Rey harbor views, latin jazz fans got there early to lay their blankets out to stake their territory. With the weather as pleasant as weather could be on a summer eve next to the water, it was a wonderfully sublime atmosphere for an evening of mind-blowing entertainment.

On his website, Poncho Sanchez has stated the following:

Latin jazz is the world’s greatest music,” says Sanchez. “It has the melodic and harmonic sophistication of jazz and American standards, and the flavor and energy of Latin American music. What I’m most proud of is that this music – while it may sound exotic at times – is from America. It was born in New York City, when Chano Pozo met Dizzy Gillespie for the first time in the mid-1940s. They created something that didn’t exist before in this country. I’m very proud to take this music all over the world all the time.”

And with that in mind, Poncho had a set that payed tribute to a number of the great jazz legends before him, performing his renditions of classic jazz standards and dedicating songs to those who came before him. He performed a song as a tribute to Willie Bobo. He performed a “Night In Tunisia” as a tribute to Dizzy Gillespie. He dedicated a song to John Coltrane who, to the excitement of the crowd, he indicated would be subject of his forthcoming album. Amazing music. Amazing sound. A jazz legend and his band playing music till the sun set in the ocean.

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The later the concert went, the more and more people got up from their picnic dinners to dance.  It was hard to not bump into people trying to dance to the rhythm, some more successfully than others … lol, but the energy was there. Poncho encouraged the crowd to get up and dance, and more people followed suit. I felt the beat in my feet too, and I only wish that I had someone to dance with. Maybe next time.

The National | Jimmy Kimmel Live | August 12, 2013

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The National has been around for a while, since the late 90s, releasing the first full length album in 2001, but I really didn’t start listening to them until their album “Boxer” (which is still my favorite The National album), which was released in 2007. Since then, I’ve been high on their music and their melodramatic, punk, indie rock sound. They released “Trouble Will Find Me” in 2013, and I was really hoping to get tickets to see them perform live, having heard that it was a great show to catch. I knew that they were schedule to perform two concerts in Los Angeles, at The Greek and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but as fate would have it tickets had sold out before I had the chance to purchase them. Scouring the web for tickets through sites like Stubhub and Barry Tickets, tickets, even for the nosebleed seats, were in the triple digits, and a little more that I wanted to spend.

Fast forward to the Saturday eve they were playing at The Greek, I was having drinks at my watering hole, when a couple sitting next to me starting talking about the tickets they had for the Sunday show at the cemetery. I was about to lament about the fact that I didn’t get tickets, when a friend of mine, who I have been having drinks with for years at the bar, mentioned that The National was the featured artist for Jimmy Kimmel Live, August 12, and would be performing a mini-concert as part of Jimmy Kimmel’s summer concert series.

I jokingly asked if he could sneak me in, and to my surprise he said that he worked on set for the late night talk show, and offered that if I wanted to go, even though tickets were no longer available, he would sneak me in for the concert. How ironic that after 10 years of seeing him, and having drinking with him, in the bar I only now discovered what he did for a living… I took him up on the offer.

Having negotiating a $20 parking fee to $10 in Hollywood, I walked over to the alley he told me that he would meet me at. Without having to go through security, he led me to the concert area and left me to devices. Unaware that I wasn’t allowed to bring a camera into the concert area, I was able to take a few pictures with my camera before security told me to put it away.

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The National played 5 songs, but at the end of the day, it was better than never having seen them at all. Looking at the set lists for their shows at the Greek and Hollywood Forever, I was still envious that I wasn’t able to get those tickets, but beggars can’t be choosers, and I was extremely grateful that I have friends willing to hook me up every once and a while. The set list for Jimmy Kimmel was as follows:

  1. Graceless
  2. This is the Last Time
  3. Don’t Swallow The Cap
  4. Sea Of Love
  5. Pink Rabbits

 

Hiatus Kaiyote | The Bootleg Theater | July 31, 2013

DSC02654Earlier this year, I saw  Hiatus Kaiyote on a whim, and they blew my mind. From Melbourne, Australia, this “future soul” band has a sound that I particularly love. As soon as I found out that they would playing in Los Angeles again, I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.

Since the first time I saw them, back in March, the band has  toured internationally and signed to Salaam Remi‘s Sony-distributed Flying Buddha label, and re-released Tawk Tomahawk with a bonus track — a version of album highlight “Nakamarra” featuring a guest verse from Q-Tip.

IMG_2318I got to the venue and went straight to the merchandise table. I was specifically hoping  that the poster for the event, which was posted on Facebook a few weeks prior, would be available for sale. It was a gorgeous looking poster, and I wanted a copy very badly. Unfortunately, the posters were not for sale and the only ones that I could find were either pasted to a wall, or hanging from the bar. I asked the bartender if he’d sell me one of his posters, but said no, going as far as to say that he owned everything in “his” bar and that nothing except for drinks were for sale. I went back to the merchandise booth to ask the woman working there if I could carefully peel a poster from off the wall, and she said that she wouldn’t permit that, but as she was speaking she saw a poster drop to the floor.  She smiled and told me it was my lucky day. Indeed! I got the poster autographed after the show, and it’s going to have a permanent spot in my collection.

DSC02501The opening act was Contact Field Orchestra, an instrumental project from Damon Aaron. Using a box of 7” tapes of field recordings recorded almost entirely of hand-made instruments and contact microphones from the turn of the century that he purchased at an estate sale, he’s created a sound unique sound of ambient music shrouded in mystery. Prior to the set, he announced to the audience that we may need some medication to appreciate it. I was sober, and I still enjoyed the music.

After his set, the stage hands started setting up for Hiatus Kaiyote. The band’s set was delayed as people were still in line outside trying to purchase tickets at the door … um … don’t people know that they can purchase tickets in advance online? When the band finally got onstage, the lovely soul-stress Nai Palm humbly apologized for the delay, which was really no fault of their own, and the band commenced the audience’s journey to soul-town.

IMG_2320I am a music dweeb, and what I love about watching live shows is how the live performance compares to recordings that I’ve previously absorbed. The first time I watched Hiatus Kaiyote perform, I was only somewhat familiar with their music, but this time around, I must have listed to the original release of “Tawk Tomhawk” at least 15 times digitally, and 10 times spinning on vinyl (the original pressing from Australia that I purchased after seeing them the first time, which I also got autographed after the show), so I’d like to think I knew the tracks pretty well.

Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote on Bass.
Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote on Bass.
Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote on Keys.
Simon Mavin of Hiatus Kaiyote on Keys.
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Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote.
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Nai with the glowing eyes and Perrin Moss on drums.

They blew my mind once again. They took all of the songs I knew and took them to places that amazed me. Nai’s vocals were as soulful and jazzy as ever. So much soul, it was overflowing. The band’s musical oneness was on full display. Paul Bender’s bass, Simon Mavin’s keys, and Perrin Moss’ drums exhibited a musical synergy that most bands can only dream of, each taking their moments throughout the set to exhibit their own personal flares of musical ingenuity. Paul Bender was steady on bass, but added his own funky flares. Simon Mavin’s effortless playing on the keys allowed him to flourish and expand upon those keyboard moments that I loved so much from the album. His playing on “The World It Softly Lulls” is mesmerizing: 

I was particularly impressed with Perrin Moss’ drumming as there were certain moments that shocked and lifted me; sneaky little drum licks that only lasted for a brief moment, but that caught me by surprise. Speaking with someone after the gig, I was told that he had spent the whole day in a drum session, so he was probably inspired to try new sounds for the set.

After the show, a friend of mine was able to get me back stage to hang out for a moment. I had a chance to talk with the members of the band and they spoke about their experiences from touring and their plans to record new recordings after their current tour.  Damon Aaron was also backstage  chopping it up with Miguel Atwood Ferguson and I politely interrupted the conversation to a get a photograph. I was also lucky enough to see Nai jam a cappella with Moses Sumney for an exclusive with KCRW DJ  Jeremy Sole. Magic.

Damon Aaron, Me and Miguel Atwood Ferguson.
Damon Aaron, Me and Miguel Atwood Ferguson.Me and the lovely Nai.
Me and the lovely Nai.

The band had to pack up an great ready to catch a 4:00am flight to Chicago, so my friend and I saw them off in their tour van.  If I recall correctly, they may be back in November for another gig and to record locally. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up with them on a personal level again, but most definitely I will be buying a ticket to see them perform.

Nai, Perrin, Simon and their tour manager.
Nai, Perrin, Simon and their tour manager in their tour van.

Add Hiatus Kaiyote on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @HiatusKaoiyote. You should follow them. You need to see them perform live. Do it.

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Tijuana Tears | The Virgil | July 24, 2013

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The first time I heard Tijuana Tears play, it was at a ridiculously awesome house party at Frank Sinatra’s old mansion (Toddchella). What I remember most from their set that night was that their original songs were solid. For any recording artist, it’s the songs that matter most. Style and talent can get you far, but if the material you’re performing isn’t any good … well … then you’re career is going to be pretty short. These guys had some original songs that I really got into. If I’ve never heard the song before, and I’m singing the hook half way through “Phantasmic Consciousness”, I’m pretty sure that song is a keeper.

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I finally got a chance to see them again live at a venue in Silver Lake called The Virgil. By the time I walked into the venue, I noticed a small group already crowded around the merchandise table to buy the band’s newest screen-print t-shirt. The band before them was still playing and I walked around the venue to check out the digs. I bumped into a couple of the guys in the band, and they genuinely thanked me for coming out to see them play. Very appreciative. Very humble. Reza noticed the music pins on lapel of my concert backpack, and ran over to the merchandise booth to grab me one. Although I had only hung out with them once before, their kindness went a long way to make me feel like family.

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The guys took to the small stage and started their set off with a new song that I hadn’t heard before, and continued to rock through songs from the 5 song EP they released in 2012, which you can download from their bandcamp site by naming your own price: http://tijuanatears.bandcamp.com/album/phantasmic-consciousness.

They played all of the songs that I remember them playing from that raucous evening months ago, and I still enjoyed each song, and the way they performed, as much I did then. This time sober. They filled the room with an infectious energy, and while looking around between songs, all I could was smiles. And if the audience wasn’t smiling, they were singing along. After the set, Matt M. (the guitarist) shot me a text with the set list. The first song of their set was, at the time, untitled, but after checking out some other clips online, it seems they’ve titled it “The Narrows”. The setlist texted is below:

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They have a gig coming up at The Satellite Monday, August 12th 2013. If you happen to be in Los Angeles that evening, and you like what you see/hear in the video link below, I highly recommend that you see these guys play. If you’re busy that night, you should go ahead and check out their website (http://www.tijuanatears.com) to find the links to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud and catch them at a small venue before they’re playing bigger ones.

Alabama Shakes | Hollywood Palladium | July 17th, 2013

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What is it with me and female fronted bands these day? It seems that I just can’t seem to get enough of them. On July 17th, 2013, I went to the Hollywood Palladium to check out the Athens, Alabama-based quartet Alabama Shakes. I can’t pinpoint the time I first heard their music, but I remember that the song I first heard was “Hold On”. It was a Southern rock/blues tune that sounded modern enough for today’s radio, but also seemed rooted in classic 60-70s soul as well. But stylistic impressions aside, it was the lead singer’s voice that pierced through the music and into my psyche. I bought their debut album, “Boys & Girls” sometime August or September 2012 (I remember this because I bought their album the same time I bought The Heavy’s “The Glorious Dead” which came out around then).

I pressed play on “Boys & Girls”  in my car, it kept playing the rest of the day while I drove around town running my errands. For a debut album, I was smitten with their sound, and definitely one of the better albums I had bought in 2012. After watching Brittany Howard perform a tribute to Levon Helm with with an all-start cast (including Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons, etc), and Ms. Howard showing EVERYBODY up,  Alabama Shakes quickly became a band that I put down on my list as “must see live”. Fast forward to 3:30 of the video below to see what I’m talking about. 

IMG_2194I met up with some friends,and after giving each of them their ticket, we head inside inside the venue. While my friends got some drinks, I walked over to the merchandise booth to purchase a special poster that band had printed for their two gigs at the Palladium.  A limited edition, signed by the artist, and numbered (167/200) poster that’s going to find a nice spot somewhere in my crib once it’s been properly framed. It’s probably one of the cooler posters I’ve purchased this year.

We had just missed the first of the two opening bands perform and we floated about in the venue to find decent spot to watch the next band, Fly Golden Eagle, take the stage.  As my friends and I were meandering the GA area to find a spot to stand, I noticed someone very familiar looking around for a place to watch as well. Holy, shnykies. It was Brittany Howard. I’m a total photo slut when it comes to snapping pictures with musicians I’m into, and having done this on several occasions before, my body seem to go in to autopilot.

DSC02045As I handed my camera off to a friend, I whispered to Brittany that I was huge fan, and whether I could snap a quick picture. She looked hesitant, and I assured her that I would keep it on the “down-low”. My friend snapped the picture, and the flash went off. So much for on the “down-low”. I could tell that Ms. Howard reluctantly took the picture (I think her biting her lip kind of tips it off), so I apologized, thanked her and told her to “break a leg” … but I still got a picture! Woohoo! It also goes to show how awesome Brittany Howard is for wanting to support her fellow musicians by actually hanging out in the General Admittance area to watch the other bands play just like all of the other concert-goers in attendance.

Having blown her cover, Ms. Howard and her friend scurried away to blend back into the crowd. Fly Golden Eagle started playing and I think most everybody else was focused on the stage. I didn’t notice others swarming around her for photos, so I think that I kept it on the “down-low” as much as I could.

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Fly Golden Eagles set was solid. A band based out of Nashville, their music seems to touch upon classic-rock and psychedelic vibes.  The lead singer’s vocal delivery had a friend of mine comment that he had a Dylan-ish sound (translation: sounded kinda like Bob Dylan).  I agreed. I liked the band, and I’ve checkout some of their older music and they are a solid “add” on facebook. 

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The only part of the show that I could have done without was the wait between sets. Wanting to get up as close as I could to see the Alabama Shakes do their thing, I thought that I’d be able to float closer up front after Fly Golden Eagle closed their set. Nothing doing. It appeared that everybody wanted to be up close to the Shakes, and people were guarding their space, not moving a square inch, for the 40 minutes between sets. C’est la vie. If you are a fan, and you want to see YOUR band up close and personal, you’ll stay in the same spot for as long as it takes. Kudos to those staked their territory.

The Alabama Shakes took to the stage, and amazed. Their set list was as follows:

  1. Rise
  2. Hang Loose
  3. Hold On
  4. Always Alright
  5. I Found You
  6. Heartbreaker
  7. Boys & Girls
  8. Be Mine
  9. I Ain’t The Same
  10. Worryin Blues
  11. Mama
  12. Itch
  13. On Your Way
  14. Gimme All Your Love
  15. You Ain’t Alone

Encore

  1. Gospel
  2. Heat Lightnin’
  3. Heavy Chevy

The band is a well-oiled machine, and can jam with the best of them, but this band is Howard’s. At 24 years old, her voice is way more mature than her years, with every word sung from her mouth coming from something deep inside her soul. I don’t know about her past, but it certainly felt like she was singing from place of entrenched memories, whether painful, angry or joyful. Her performance is one that makes concert goers feel like they are there in the here and now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the venue lost money on drinks during their set because you would have been a fool to stop watching.

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Sometime during the set she bantered with the audience for a minute and concluded by stating, “You got to give a little to get a little.” Brittany and the band gave us their souls, and we gave them our fan loyalty. I think that’s a fair trade.