A Year of Concerts: 2013


Listed chronologically, the most recent show first.

Stevie Wonder | Songs In The Key Of Life | Nokia Theatre L.A. Live | 12/21/13

Shy Girls | The Spare Room and Bootleg Bar | 12/12/13 and 12/13/13

Snoopzilla and Dam Funk “7 Days Of Funk” Record Release Party | Los Angeles Exchange | 12/10/13

Thundercat | The Echoplex | 12/05/13

Moses Sumney | The Echoplex | 12/05/13

Pearl Jam | Los Angeles Sports Arena | Nov. 23-24, 2013

Ben Harper | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 11/18/13

The Record Company | The Satellite | 11/15/13

The Janks | The Satellite | 11/15/13

Nine Inch Nails | Staples Center | 11/08/13

Iron & Wine | The Orpheum Theatre | 10/31/13

Laura Mvula | The Orpheum Theatre | 10/31/13

Hiatus Kaiyote | Skirball Cultural Center | 10/30/13

Moses Sumney | Skirball Cultural Center | 10/30/13

Hanni El Khatib| El Rey Theatre| 10/25/13

Bass Drum of Death | El Rey Theatre | 10/25/13

Tijuana Panthers | El Rey Theatre| 10/25/13

The Secret State | Loaded Hollywood | 10/13/13

Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide 2013 | Echo Park | 11/10/13 – 11/11/13  (Wooster, Tiny Ruins, Maya Vik, Iza, Medicine, Jacco Gardner, Gemini Club and Great White Buffalo)

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 10/7/13

Depeche Mode | Staples Center | 9/29/13

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

The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue | Santa Monica Pier | September 21, 2013 (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker, Allen Stone and Aloe Blacc)

Laura Mvula | El Rey Theatre | 9/17/13


Lobster Festival | Port of Los Angeles | September 14, 2013 (The Section Quartet, Nightmare & The Cat, Deap Vally, Dead Sara)

Girl in a Coma | The Echoplex | September 12, 2013

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue | Twilight Concert Series | August 29, 2013

The Dustbowl Revival | Twilight Concert Series | August 29, 2013

FYF FEST | L.A. State Historic Park | August 24 and 25, 2013 (Mikal Cronin, Charles Bradley, The Breeders, Devendra Banhart, The Locust, Deerhunter, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Orwells, Pional, How To Dress Well, No Age, !!! (ChkChkChk), Shlohmo, MGMT, Solange, and Holy Ghost!)

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

The National | Jimmy Kimmel Live | August 12, 2013

Hanni El Khatib | Twilight Concert Series | August 8, 2013

Hiatus Kaiyote | The Bootleg Theater | July 31, 2013

Geographer | Getty Center | July 27, 2013

Tijuana Tears | The Virgil | July 24, 2013

Savages | El Rey Theatre | July 23, 2013

Alabama Shakes | Hollywood Palladium | July 17th, 2013

Rodrigo y Gabriela | Hollywood Bowl | July 14, 2013

Young, Gifted & Nina: A Tribute to Nina Simone | California Plaza | July 5, 2013

BET Experience | R. Kelly, New Edition & The Jacksons | Staples Center | 6/30/13

BET Experience | Snoop, Kendrick Lamar & J.Cole | Staples Center | 6/29/13

BET Experience | Beyonce | Staples Center | 6/28/13

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters | Shrine Auditorium | June 26th, 2013

Nina Diaz | Hotel Café | June 9th, 2013

Ink-N-Iron Festival | Queen Mary | June 8, 2013 (Girl in a Coma, Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil, Kaleigh Baker, The Fleshtones, Dead Kennedys and Iggy and the Stooges)

Illumination Road | The Roxy | June 4, 2013

Make Music Pasadena 2013 | June 1, 2013 (The Record Company, The Peach Kings, YACHT, Robert DeLong, Youngblood Hawke, Haunted Summer and The Likes of Us)

A Night For Jolie; A Night To Remember | Henson Recording Studios | May 31, 2013

Hanni El Khatib and The Black Angels | Mayan Theater | 5/21/13

What Made Milwaukee Famous | Central SAPC | 5/19/13

Dead Sara | El Rey Theater | May 9, 2013

New Build and No Ceremony/// | First Unitarian Church | April 27, 2013

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Friday (Of Monsters and Men, Passion Pit, Palma Violets, Modest Mouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jurassic 5, Stone Roses and How To Destroy Angels)

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Saturday (Ben Howard, Pucifer, Violent Femmes, Grizzly Bear, Postal Service, Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix)

Coachella 2013 | April 12-14 | Sunday (Alex Clare, Rodriguez, Vampire Weekend, Nick Cave, Wu-Tang Clan and Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Toddchella | Part I | Tijuana Tears

Toddchella | Part II | The Record Company

Toddchella | Part III | We Were Indians

The Weeks | Three Clubs | 3/29/13

Nik Kai | 12 Year Old Guitar Prodigy | The Future of Shredding

The Night Hiatus Kaiyote Blew My Mind At The Del Monte Speakeasy 3/23/13

Jose James | The Del Monte Speakeasy | 3/13/13

Morrissey | Staples Center | 3/1/13

Orange Tulip Conspiracy |El Cid | 2/22/13

Soundgarden | The Wiltern | 2/16/13

The Robert Glasper Experiment | The Roxy | 2/8/13

Social Distortion | The House of Blues (Sunset) | 01/26/13


Ben Harper | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 11/18/13


I  remember the first song I ever heard by Ben Harper.

I was a freshman in college, making new friends and discovering a semblance of independence. I participated in several student run organizations, and one of them was a vocal ensemble. A buddy of mine in the group invited me to hang with him and his housemates off campus. While kicking it, someone offered up a joint and we all sat there, “expanding our minds”, listening to Junta by Phish when my buddy got up and simultaneously asked me, “Have you heard this song?”

He opened up compact disc folder, pulled out a CD, and popped it into the player. Pecking the fast-forward button on the player with his index finger, the whizzing, internal, mechanical spinner settled on a track which opened with a soft, conga-beating rhythm. The song was “Burn One Down”, and the singer was Ben Harper. Talk about mood music. I was immediately drawn to the song, and after it had ended, my buddy started the disc, “Fight For Your Mind”, from the beginning with track one. We listened through the whole disc while talking about all things music.

On the way home, I stopped in at the college-town music store (which was replaced by a Kinkos after I had graduated … make sad face here …). I used the money I had earned working as a part-time beer server for fraternity parties to buy the only used Ben Harper CD that was in the rack, “Welcome To The Cruel World”, “sight unseen”. I would have bought “Fight For Your Mind” new, but money was a scarce commodity back then, and I just didn’t have much of it.

When I played that CD in my tiny boom box, in my tiny dorm room, the simple acoustic melody of “The Three Of Us” filled the room and captivated me. “Whipping Boy”, “Waiting On An Angel”, “Mama’s Got A Girlfriend Now” entranced me. “Forever” and “Walk Away” … my heart was spilling emotions from out of nowhere. I became and instant fan. 18 years later, and I’m still a fan.

Screen Shot 2013-12-26 at 4.22.13 AM
Ben Harper’s Setlist. Click To Enlarge.

I took two pages of notes about the show, but after reading this review and this one, I figured that I didn’t need to retell the stories Ben told or describe the audience’s emotions throughout the evening. That was already done by others, and eloquently so.  But let me say … after being moved by his performance of “Forever”, a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, in the “guitar like acoustics” of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, when Ben told the audience that he didn’t want the evening to stop, I could only wholeheartedly agree.

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.

UPDATED: 1/14/14: I found video online of Ben Harper performing Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” on Youtube.

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills | Walt Disney Concert Hall | 10/7/13

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills tour poster.
Fiona Apple and Blake Mills 2013  tour poster.

I first saw Fiona Apple perform live when I was on location at the Trump Taj Mahal in 2006 working on the short-lived, live-to-tape, VH1 Classics concert series Decades Rock Live! She was a guest artist on the episode featuring Elvis Costello, and she she sang a cover of Elvis Costello’s “I Want You” that absolutely blew my mind and gave me shivers. That one performance was, bar none, my favorite performance from  the 8 episodes we were able to tape.

It wasn’t until 6 year later in 2012 that I was able to see her perform again, this time at the Greek Theater supporting her album “The Idler Wheel […]”. I enjoyed the show, but truth be told, I could have done without the groups of drunk girls, sitting around me, chit-chatting throughout the entire show. Apparently, at that show, concert decorum left the building early. To have to tell people to shut up during the quiet, emotional songs is something that I don’t think any concert goer should have to deal with.

When I heard that Fiona Apple was performing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, I knew that that was a ticket I needed to get. Not only is the Walt Disney Concert Hall a more intimate venue (it seats 2,265 as opposed to the Greek’s 5,870), but it also has superior acoustics and strict rules as to concert etiquette (i.e, strict food, beverage, noise and photography rules). I knew that this time around, I would be experiencing a difference type of Fiona Apple concert.

When I got to the venue, I made a b-line straight to the merchandise booth. For the concert at the Greek, I remember being literally one person late in getting an autographed lithographed poster for that show, taking a picture of the last poster that the woman right in front of me purchased, and I was trying to avoid the same thing from happening again. Nothing special was available, however, and I simply picked up the poster that you can see up at the top of the page.

The stage set up was sparse and simple. Instruments (drum-kit, upright bass, guitar rack, baby grand piano and a stand alone kick drum) were positioned on the stage with carpets under the center microphone and baby grand, and an empty blackboard at the rear of the stage. The players (Sebastian Steinberg on upright bass, Barbara Gruska barefoot on drums and Blake Mills on vocals and guitar(s)) took the stage, and before the music started Fiona announced, among other things, “I don’t do soundcheck,” and, “Now that we’re here, I’m taking the most risks.”

She walked to the chalkboard and began to write a series of words on the board (I wish I could have taken a picture of it, but per venue rules, no pics):

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.57.31 PM

The music of the evening was pure perfection. Fiona and Blake complimented each other’s sound and personalities, and it was a joy to see each of the players be so in tune with each other. The musical brilliance aside, I was particularly excited to see Fiona so comfortable to be performing for us. She was chatty and enthusiastic throughout the entire set, something that wouldn’t have necessarily been expected based on all of the recent gossip.

During “The First Taste”, she sprawled herself on the floor playing percussion on some items she “borrowed” from the hotel she was staying at. After, “The First Taste” she noted her haircut and giggled while stating, “When I get excited, I cut my hair,” and added, “I just wanna feel everything.” During Blake’s first solo song, she draped herself of the stand alone kick-drum and pounded away at it throughout the tune. After “Anything We Want”, she emphasized that the name of tour was the same, and at that point it truly felt like she meant it.

Her emotions poured out on “Regret”. The dynamics on the Blake Mills duet of “Seven” were chilling, especially when Fiona sat on the floor while Blake gently, and at a super pianissamo level, gently plucked away at his guitar strings … all eyes in the room were fixated, and you could feel the tension in the room from everybody worrying about moving around making the slightest bit of noise. When an audience member yelled out “Paper Bag” as a request, Fiona admitted that she totally forgot about that song. Before “Left Alone” she called Rex Reed a cunt for giving her father a poor review, and stoically stated, “That was for you dad.”

After the show concluded, I made my way back out to the front of the theater to meet up with a couple friends when I noticed some concert goers walking around the foyer with a poster  that looked different that the one I had purchased before show. I stopped one of the patrons with the different poster and she told me it was a limited lithograph of Fiona’s original artwork, signed by both Fiona and Blake. I went back to the merchandise table where the line was considerably longer than before. As fate would have it, this time I  was the customer who purchased the LAST one that was available. I guess Karma found it’s way back to me.

A lithograph of Fiona's original artwork signed by both Fiona Apple and Blake Mills.
A one of fifty lithographs available at the concert of Fiona’s original artwork signed by both Fiona Apple and Blake Mills.

I could totally care less about all of the tabloid fodder that’s out there about Fiona. Her music should speak for itself. And her music is simply, unequivocally, brilliant. In the intimate and acoustically superior Walt Disney Concert Hall, that musical brilliance was transcendent. I must have had the hair on my arms stand up at least 5 times throughout the concert, and I hardly have any hair on my arms.

Although I wish I could have taken some photographs, coming away with 1 of 50, signed lithographs for the show is definitely a worthy consolation prize.

Setlist compiled from taken from Laweekly.com’s website and setlist.fm:

  1. Tipple (new song co-written by Blake Mills)
  2. The First Taste
  3. Every Single Night
  4. Unworthy (Blake Mills)
  5. Anything We Want
  6. Curable Disease
  7. Regret
  8. It’ll All Work Out
  9. I Want You To Love Me (new song)
  10. It’s Only Make Believe (Conway Twitty cover)
  11. Seven (duet with Blake Mills)
  12. Dull Tool
  13. Don’t Tell Out Friends About Us (Blake Mills)
  14. Left Alone
  15. I Know
  16. Waltz (Better Than Fine)

I recorded some audio clips from the show, but rather than edit them to post here, I simply found some video that another concert goer had put up. The video is terrible, but at least you can hear some of the amazing I got to experience at the Walt Disney Concert Hall that wonderful Monday evening. Cheers.

A Year of Concerts: 2012, 24 Concerts, 1 Favorite


In 2012, I was blessed to have been able to attend 24 concerts.  This being the inaugural post of my blog, I thought it may be a good way to kick things off if I listed each of the concerts in the order that I enjoyed them (starting with the least favorite, and ending with my favorite), with a line or two of my thoughts.

24. Shuggie Otis– The Echoplex- Wed Dec 5

It’s hard to see an artist that you acknowledge as Los Angeles musical royalty without his gift.  By all accounts, a sad musical revelation for me.

23. The 10th Annual Korea Times Music Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sat April 28

While I can appreciate the musicality of some of the K-Pop act thats performed throughout the evening, I’m assuming I didn’t truly appreciate it like the others because I just didn’t understand enough.  I’m a bad Korean-American.

22. Moby– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Jul 14

Moby did two sets:  Live Folk and DJ.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed with either.  While I can appreciate his musical venture, I kind of want to hear the older hits that I grew up with.

21. Boyce Avenue– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Dec 08

By buddy proposed to his girl, on stage at this show.  He picked the perfect show.  Chicks dig Boyce Avenue.

20. Starting 6– Vanguard- Fri Aug 10

Hot, sweaty, party hip-hop.  These guys can rock a joint

19. Orange Tulip Conspiracy– Mr. T’s Bowl- Fri Sep 21

The musicality of this Jazz group is amazing. A must for any jazz aficionado. I hear they are recording a new album, and I can’t wait to her the new material.

18. The Airplane Boys– Roxy Theater- Wed Aug 15

Other level hip-hop.  I also saw them at Coachella.  They killed it at the Roxy like they killed it in the desert.

17. Bizarre Ride Fest– Bizarre Ride Live (Fatlip, Slimkid3, J. Swift, etc.)- The Roxy Theater- Sat Dec 29

The Pharcyde’s debut album “Bizzare Ride II The Pharcyde”, to quote my buddy David [@davidshein on twitter] is “just one of the best hip hop albums ever”.  I won’t disagree.  Even when it’s performed by only half of the original group, the music still holds up.

16. The Heavy– El Rey Theatre- Fri Sep 07

In support of the their most recent release, The Glorious Dead, I jammed out at this concert.  Their front man, Kevin Swaby, was born to perform.

15. Jason Mraz and Christina Perri– Tour Is A Four Letter Word- Hollywood Bowl- Fri Oct 05

I enjoyed Jason Mraz at the Hollywood Bowl, but I’ve seen him at The Wiltern (full band) and The Walt Disney Concert Hall (acoustic), and his music is better suited for more intimate venues.

14. Animal Collective, Flying Lotus and Huun Huur Tu– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sept 23

Animal Collective delivered.  Huun Huur Tu entertained.  Flying Lotus blew my mind.

13. Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls– The Annenberg Space for Photography- Sat Aug 04

Such and odd concert pairing, but they both were amazing.  KCRW kicks ass.

12. Girl In A Coma, Pinata Protest and Sara Radle– The Echoplex- Fri Apr 27

Girl In A Coma is one of my favorite “new” bands.  These girls kick ass.  I wanted to see them again this year when they were opening for Grizzly Bear, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  The lead singer, Nina Diaz, has a voice to die for.

11. Playboy Jazz Festival– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jun 17

Ramsey Lewis is a musical savant.  I always pay money to watch genius perform.  Robin Thicke were Preservation Hall Jazz Band were good.  Was a slightly unimpressed with Spectrum Road.

10. Eric Hutchinson– Troubadour- Sat May 19

He was the first artist I truly “represented” back at my first job after passing the bar exam.  I couldn’t  be prouder of how far he’s come.

9. Allen Stone– The Fonda Theatre- Fri Oct 19

If this guys plays his card right, he could playing the Hollywood Bowl in a few years.  The first thought I had after the show ended?  “I’ll be able to tell my kids (when I have them), that I stood front row at an Allen Stone concert at The Fonda”.

8. Ben Harper– Vieux Farka Tour- Hollywood Bowl- Sun Jul 01

When Ben Harper sang a cappella, without a mic, at the front of the Hollywood Bowl stage, he earned by respect. He also played the one song I needed to hear, “Burn One Down”.  Can’t ask for more.

7. Hot Chip, Passion Pit and Omar Souleyman– Hollywood Bowl- Sun Sep 9

I went to the show to see Passion Pit. They met and exceeded expectations.  I was expecting more from Hot Chip.  I didn’t get to see Omar Souleyman.

6. Meshell Ndegeocello and James “Blood” Ulmer– Royce Hall- Fri Dec 7

Meshell Ngedeocello performed her interpretations of Nina Simone classics.  Mesmerizing.

5. Peter Gabriel– Back To Front- Hollywood Bowl- Sat Oct 6

I’m not going to lie.  I had a moment.  Flashing back to my younger years when he played “In Your Eyes”, mine started to water.  The power of music.

4. Fiona Apple– The Greek Theatre- Fri Sep 14

She may have been a bit too gaunt for my personal liking, but she can still sing.  A poetess with a voice.  There isn’t that many like her out there in the world.

3. Mint Condition– Club Nokia at LA Live- Sat Jan 28

Mint Condition has always been underrated.  In my humble opinion? They’re one of the best live, R&B bands out there, period.  Stokley’s voice is perfect for R&B.  I grew up with their music.  They are one of my favorite bands.

2. No Doubt– Gibson Amphitheatre- Fri Nov 30

I’ve always kicked my self in the rear when it comes to No Doubt.  They used to perform locally when I was growing out, but I never went to a show.  I can now cross this off my concert bucket-list.  Oh, by the way, I’m in love with Gwen…

1. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival– Empire Polo Club- Fri Apr 13 through Sun Apr 15

Dr. Dre & Snoop.  Radiohead.  The Black Keys. Bon Iver. Swedish House Mafia.  At The Drive-In.  Florence and the Machine.  Girl Talk.  The Shins.  Mazzy Star.    Andrew Bird.  Need I go on?

I’ve written about most of the shows on my Facebook page, so if you want to know a little more about particulars, free to shoot me a tweet [@methodman13] and I’ll send over some other thoughts.

I hope your 2013 is filled with musical discovery, and that a song stirs your heart always.