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February 26th, 2009
On Tuesday night, Killsonic played at The Echo. For those of you who do not know Killsonic, they are a marching band...not just any marching band though. They are the coolest, hippest, cutest marching band in the world! The last time I saw Killsonic was on the Hippodrome, the art shuttle that loops around the Gallery Row portion of the monthly Downtown Art Walk. A shuttle is not quite the place you might expect to see a marching band perform, but then again, you don't really expect to see marching bands play LA venues at midnight. The bands preceding Killsonic that night set the perfect pace for what we were in store for when Killsonic went on. There was crazy electricity in the room. I was told that they would go on at 10:15 that night, but they didn't end up going on until about 12:30, but it was totally worth the wait!
Killsonic had about, I don't know...twenty members onstage last night, and if you know The Echo's stage, then you know that they were totally crammed up there, not to mention the fact that there were horns of all sizes, drums, and accordions that required ample space. As soon as the band preceding them ended, without skipping a beat, they started. They began their set off stage and eventually moved to the tiny Echo stage. Their energy and enthusiasm encompassed the room. You know that they love what they do and it shows. One of the highlights of their performance came when Dorian Wood sang. His vocal power is awesome and when he sings he commands the audience and Killsonic to follow his lead and we do. When he sang, that is when I noticed the passion that Killsonic is made of. When Dorian sang, the band sang his backup and their faces shown all they were made of, it was a powerful performance.
Killsonic is beautiful, organized chaos. One might not expect a marching band to be so full of awesomeness (I was guilty of having such preconceived notions) but one would be oh, so wrong. They are a marching band, a good, loud, rowdy marching band minus the choreography. If you want to see Killsonic march, they will be marching through the streets on February 28th taking part in the East Hollywood ArtCycle at 8pm and it takes place on Melrose and Heliotrope. Do yourself a favor and check their genius madness style.
February 26th, 2009
I hate being late to a show, especially a good one. So when I was running five minutes behind for the Inverse show at UCLA I was not a happy rapper to say the least. I feel the most guilt catching an artist play late and anything or anyone that stands in my way of getting to the show is like a potential victim of wrong place-wrong time syndrome waiting to happen. Not to mention this campus is like a demonstrative maze of a fun house in order to find the arena and when I finally make it- I am ushered to the bottom floor entrance because I have an orange wristband.
To taunt matters more, the door that I am being ushered to (that takes me two flights of stairs to get down) did nothing but bring me outside to the front entrance, back up another THREE flights of stairs, just to have me enter to the door exactly next to the original door that I wasn't allowed to walk through.
During this entire process I can hear Tunji and Toby- Inverse's two front MC's- rapping to the college crowd as their band backs them up with a funky ass groove.
Inverse's latest EP is titled "So True" an apt title for the group's chill and relax sound that nods an awesome echo to the laid back Cali lifestyle. Under "Influences" on the band's Myspace you will find a single word- life. Under the "Band Members" you will find two words- Toby and Tunji. The sequence continues next to the "Sounds Like" tab with three words- only ourselves.
I walked into the large room that in a few months would be full of caps and gowns and my zig-zag induced stress relating to my arrival subsided- and the chill channel of music coming from the shaggy hippy guitar player on stage began to calm me down.
A sincere spirit moves through Toby and Tunji's music and lyrics. I admit it's harder to connect with them in such a large venue like this, but none the less the sound is proper and isn't bouncing off the walls too bad. It's a great look that a fantastic local band can open for a very big local name that carries a completely different feel (Inverse is opening up for The Game tonight) and the crowd seems to be receptive to the more underground direction.
The rap duo's tunes are mixed well by the five-piece backing them up- and they are literally putting their sweat into the show as they catch their breath in between songs. Guest singer Noa King makes an appearance on a track towards the end, giving a beautiful harmony and melody to the moment. "Rise and Shine" captures the bands positive air well with Tunji's descriptive tale of growing up and not falling for the hype of the masses- while songs like "So Far" carries a strong production style worthy of a worldwide crossover appeal.
Inverse's show is well knit and tight, giving time for the introductions and solos for the band. The live music doesn't seem like a gimmick as most recent rap acts have fallen victim to- but rather a compliment to the group's organic make-up.
With the occasional back up vocal and great use of a DJ, the blend for the set is smooth, making my evenings stress melt away even more. The energy from their show and the latest So True EP reminds me that as an influence, life is as good a muse as any. We have it pretty awesome right now in 2009, what with the ability to fly, communicate with people across the world at the touch of a button, and in California the luxury to purchase Marijuana legally. It's all just a reminder to not sweat the small stuff and keep things in perspective. You will get through the right door at the right time.
February 24th, 2009
is playing at The Smell. I repeat. Thurston Moore
is playing at The Smell.
Reading that as I was browsing the Internet made me freak out a little. But then again, my brain functions differently when it comes to seeing bands and musicians that I grew up listening to. Where most people are like, "Awesome! Hell yeah! Thurston Moore at The Smell for $8", I get nauseated and worried, especially at places like The Smell where artists are known for walking around and casually talking to the crowd. I get nervous at the thought of possibly meeting Thurston Moore. Why? Because whenever I meet someone that has some type of fame or overall inspiration and respect in their field and craft, I act like a total loser. I ramble on and on, end up saying something embarrassing, then try to mend the dumb things I say with laughter and a smile, while my brain is just kicking me in the ass saying, "Good one, Kramer". While sitting around The Smell as the 67 openers played, Thurston Moore walked by me, several times, and relatively close. I wanted to avoid looking like an asshole, so I just scribbled in my notepad.
For those whom may not know, Thurston is the male vocalist/guitarist/brains behind Sonic Youth. There are so many things that I wouldn't understand if it wasn't for me growing up listening to Sonic Youth. They've been making records since the early 80s and were one of the key forces in the New York distorted, post-punk, inharmonious, destructive, noise-rock scene, and they still carry that torch high, not changing for anyone. All 4 members are ambitious, creative individuals that always attempt to work outside of the Youth. Thurston Moore released his first solo album, Trees Outside the Academy, since 1995's Psychic Hearts in September 2007, and was very much like the Sonic Youth material before. Thurston began to play and it was nothing like I was expecting. I was expecting some of his other solo stuff like "Frozen Gtr" or even a Youth gem, but there was no microphone, no band, no set.
All there was, was Thurston with an electric guitar and amp, standing there with his dirty blonde hair in his eyes and proceed to play. He began to screech and torture the guitar for all it was worth, milking it of every ungodly sound and scream that it could produce. The sound was loud and heavy static, and when I got on my tiptoes to look at him, he had a metal rod and was just penetrating the shit out of the strings of the guitar. The cries of the guitar seemed to not be cohesive, but then I started to listen to it. The static had a flow and meaning. It was destructive and off-the-wall bonkers, but there was something strangely beautiful about this clamor and racket. It was incredible. He was doing something that was so different, so anti-pop, anti-media, anti-everything that Thurston Moore was always saying, "fuck you" to for the past 20+ years.
As the thuds, crash and weeping of the guitar increased in sound and energy, Thurston's body seemed to morph with the sound, acting like it's echo. His body quivered and shook as he dived into the audience, where everyone was trying to touch him and his guitar. His eyes were closed and seemed entranced. He is still to this day deeply connected with the noise-rock sound that he helped pioneer. The usage of the metal rods created a profane, sinful resonance and reverberation throughout The Smell, and everybody was staring, mouth and minds opened. It sounded like what would be played in the lowest pit of Hades.
I guess what working at Loudvine has taught me is that no matter how old I get, how much musical knowledge I may obtain, no matter how many gigs I go to, internally I'm still that 16 year old awkward weirdo with huge black hair and horrible eyesight who was too worried about what was in my brain to care about how I looked, and in a way, Sonic Youth brought that out in me. I always felt like they were 16 years old kids that were tired of bullshit 80s radio and made what they wanted. They were always self-satisfactory artists, who liked what they made and didn't give a fuck if your parents hated it. This show was an experience rather than just another show. It doesn't matter when Thurston Moore will play again, where, or for how much. I'll always go see him.
February 23rd, 2009
We're foolishly trying to help you get out and enjoy more music every week. While we can't shower you with red carpets or gift bags, we can help you find every show every night of the week. Whether you're a hipster or just a regular person like me, I need you to know, there are some ridiculous shows this week!
Chances are we got something for all of your potential moods this week, from going out in a group to courting someone, from needing a night out alone, to just needing some inspiration. For complete calendar click on Loudvine.com
This week, we will simply say, again, thank you for supporting us and getting the word out on Loudvine.com and we will be giving away our Cut Copy Tix shortly. We also have some other cool contests on the site.
Le Switch, As Tall As Lions, Andy Clockwise, The Faraway Places -2/23, 9PM @ Spaceland, Silverlake
Flying Tourbillon Orchestra - 3/1, 9PM @ Dakota Lounge, Santa Monica
No Turning Back, Steel Nation -2/23, 8PM @ MotionLA, Los Angeles
Dear & The Headlights, Kinch, My Pet Saddle -2/24, 8PM @ Knitting Factory, Hollywood
Modest Mouse -2/24, 8PM @ Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood
Babyland , The Sweet Kill , Anavan -2/25, 8PM @ Viper Room, West Hollywood
Alexis Gideon, Shelley Short, Mycroft Holmes, Paleo -2/23, 9PM @ Pehrspace, Echo Park
Robyn Hitchcock -2/25,7PM @ Amoeba, Hollywood
Girls -2/26, 9PM @ Silverlake Lounge, Silverlake Lounge
Pic Vicious -2/26, 10PM @ Dakota Lounge, Santa Monica
Animal Collective, Silk Flowers -2/27, 9PM @ Troubadour, Hollywood
Sierra Swan, Carina Round-2/25, 9PM @ Largo (The Little Room), Los Angeles
Mikal Blue -2/24, 8PM @ Room 5 Lounge, Los Angeles
Catte Adams -2/26, 8PM @ Kulak's Woodshed, Valley Village
Watts Ensemble, Paul Bailey Ensemble, Brain Walsh -2/25, 9PM @ Mr'T's Bowl, Highland Park
Nasa Space Universe, Moment Trigger, The Amazements, Knight Rider -2/27, 9PM @ The Smell, Echo Park
Lou Donaldson Quartet - 2/24, 8:30 PM @ Jazz Bakery, Culver City
Lou Donaldson Quartet - 2/25, 8:30 PM @ Jazz Bakery, Culver City
Kool Keith: Dr Octagon Vs Dr Dooom -2/27, 9PM @ The El Rey, Los Angeles
Dead Prez -2/27, 9PM @ Key Club, Hollywood
Tijuana Panthers -2/26, 10 PM @ Silverlake Lounge, Silverlake
Free Moral Agents (electronic Set), Nocando -2/24, 10PM @ The Prospector, Long Beach
Reflection with Aceyalone & Aloe Blacc -2/25, PM @ Zanzibar, Santa Monica
Trojan Lounge -2/25, 9 PM @ Medusa Lounge, Los Angeles
Soul In The Park W/ J. Rocc Of The Beat Junkies -2/25, 9 PM @ S Bar, Los Angeles
Dj Sg -2/26, 9PM @ Trips, Santa Monica
Firecracker -2/27, 9PM @ Grand Star Jazz Club, Los Angeles
February 23rd, 2009
Just down the street from all the glamour and glitz of the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, played True Widow on Hollywood's newest outdoor stage, Space 15 Twenty. True Widow is a band that originates from Dallas, Texas. They are on a mini tour from Dallas going up to San Francisco to play the Noise Pop Festival. Their performance at Space 15 Twenty marked their first time playing in California! Too bad LA couldn't greet you with warmer weather, guys. Although, it was fitting weather for their slow, dark, romantic sounds.
True Widow is a three piece band that is: Dan (guitar/vocals), Slim TX (drums), and Nikki Cage (bass/vocals). They played on the same bill as Free Moral Agents today and I must say, the space was pretty empty, about twenty people for both bands, maybe 25. I guess considering the grey sky, the fact that the Oscars took over Hollywood, and it being 3 o'clock on a Sunday, a crowd of 25 was pretty good. Sorry, True Widow...unfortunately, Angelenos like to stay indoors on cloudy days. And, unfortunately, when we hibernate indoors, we miss wonderful music. True Widow is wonderful music. They are the dark, brooding, shoegaze type. Only bands who play dark, brooding, shoegaze music can wear sunglasses (as were they) on cloudy days and get away with it, even in Los Angeles.
Each one of their songs was a slow and harrowing journey that I let myself get dragged into. Most of the songs were sung by Dan, but two were sung by Nikki. Both vocalists have haunting voices that are perfect for their genre. I was happy to see them play as it was the perfect antithesis for what was happening down the street from us. Well, they are making their way north and then heading back to TX for the next couple of months, but I hope they decide to make their way to LA again soon cuz they fit right in, is that a compliment? Yes, of course! I would love to see them play LA again in the near future in more favorable circumstances and when they do...they'll conquer the world! Muah hahaha (sinister laugh)!
February 23rd, 2009
Having grown up singing along to old Grateful Dead and Dylan records, I'm no stranger to folk rock. The familiar sight of banjos and mandolins always makes me optimistic for a good show, so of course I was right at home at Joshua Radin's show at the Music Box last night. However, due to my own unique height challenges, standing-room-only venues pose a unique obstacle. Finally, after finding a place where I could just barely see over everyone else's head, I could enjoy the show. The whole show opened up with a bang before the curtain even rose. With almost no warning, Jesse Harris', Joshua Radin's lead guitarist and opening act, ripped right through the room with his guitar as soon as the lights came down.
After rocking through his first song, the crowd went wild when he invited Ingrid Michaelson to come up and sing with him on his second song. Other members of the Hotel Café crowd had cameos throughout the show, including Maria Taylor and Meiko, who also opened the show. Joshua Radin is clearly comfortable with being onstage, since he made easy conversation with the crowd, at some point introducing one of his songs as "not melancholic at all, about an equal minded girl with librarian glasses" amid cheers from all the college frat boys in the audience. By the end of the evening, he had the crowd completely captivated, whether he was playing by himself or with a full band, singing with a sincerity and sweetness that is a breath of fresh air in this age of vocadors and intonators. He finally ended his set with the "best soul song ever written", a version of "Bring It On Home" To Me that gave me goose bumps. By the end of the song, Joshua Radin's contagious energy had completely taken over the room, and the band was so into it that all I could think was I've never heard Sam Cooke rock so hard. At some point during his set, Joshua Radin took time to remark that there's "nothing like a sold out show at the Henry Fonda to make me feel good" and I couldn't agree more.
February 21st, 2009
There was some seriously bad juju in the air last night. Everyone I knew was upset for one reason or another. Even I was embroiled in an angry text-message war with one of my so-called friends. Yep, it was just one of those angry-at-life days. So as is my usual habit, I headed to a concert to escape all of the bad vibes. I was at the Highland Park American Legion Hall to see a truly sublime act, The Dagons. It seems that we were all in touch with our inner demon last night because this truly stellar band ended their set in with a sudden and unexpected blast of angry emotion. It was a sight to behold.
First of all, Highland Park's American Legion Hall was a pretty bizarre venue. Psychedelic sitar-garage-rock at a recreational hall for military veterans? Really? Regardless, it was still a pretty sweet place for a concert. Pink hair, dreadlocks, and crew cuts all mingled together with ease. The drinks were especially cheap and The Dagons' small group of followers were very excited. Although they're LA based, The Dagons had been off touring in Canada for a while. Finally they were home and ready to get on stage.
As far as garage rock duos go, they were especially unique. Drew Kowalski provided intricate electrified sitar riffs while Karie Jacobson showed off haunting, gorgeous vocals mixed with solemn, twangy guitar. Together, their music was a unique, passionate blending of sorrowful psychedlica. It's the sort of music you play when you're driving through the desert, alone, and at night. The Dagons can travel through ethereal, sad, and forceful. I really dig their stuff.
Supported by a drum machine during the song, "As Close As You May Ever Get" they even took on pulsing industrial edge. Things were picking up and I could have danced all night long to Kowalski as he played the trippy sitar. But those bad vibes were still in the air, remember? Suddenly: CRACK. In the middle of their fantastic song "In Gingham", Kowalski's sitar cracked. Right as it cracked, an amp started spewing mariachi music. Jacobson (without missing a beat) declared, "The sitar has cracked. Radio transmissions are coming in from space. Folks, it's time for the spare sitar! Tame the beast!" They started to play again, but something wasn't right. Something wasn't tuning properly and...
SMASH! Kowalski let loose his pent-up inner demon. In one fell swoop, he smashed his second sitar into a million brilliant black lacquered pieces. The show was over. To quote the girl standing next to me, "That was so punk." And I will give him full credit, Ravi Shankar never did that shit on stage. I only wish I had had the guts to smash my stupid phone right there next to him. And to see someone smash a freaking sitar on stage? Well, I feel as if my life is complete somehow.
Wouldn't life be better if the next time a friend screws you over or a dmv worker pisses you off, you could just smash really large musical instruments? I want to live in that world... Anyway, The Dagons are rad. I'm counting the days until their next show.
February 20th, 2009
Los Angeles was all cold and lonely last night. This long sprawling city was like one massive wind tunnel. So to remedy things, I hightailed it to the Silverlake Lounge. I walked in, went right up to the bar and said, "give me a shot of Rock and Roll, straight up." The bar tender poured me a smooth glass of Wake Up Lucid, a badass blues-rock trio. With their boot-stomping 70's rock pounding away, Los Angeles warmed up and fast.
Lead singer Ryan Baca, with his long hair and vintage-vest, had a pure blues-rock belt. But in true rock fashion, this meant I had absolutely no idea what he was singing. He looked at the audience and crooned with all his heart, "I hope you're all alone." Or maybe he said, "We should have got a loan." "She looked just like a cone"? I don't know, but he definitely sang the line, "I am just a rock and roll hippy." He absolutely was. And in a city full of ultra-gleam and post-ironic I'm-not-showering-to-be-cool, he was damn sincere.
When Dan Hodge joined him on bass, Silverlake Lounge really starting bouncing. As he was slamming that bass, you didn't just hear it, you felt it. He even whipped out a tambourine to keep the rhythm while Ian Baca let loose on the drums. Shirtless with extra shaggy blonde locks, their drummer would have made Animal from the Muppets proud. This was blood-pumping, thump-style, Southern-Comfort Whiskey music. Ryan Baca would go into these long guitar solos that made me want to jump on stage and air guitar right next to him. I didn't do that though, otherwise the evening would have gotten a little awkward.
And then Ryan Baca whipped out the harmonica. Yes, the harmonica! The truest blues instrument there is, and yet I never get to see it live. Wake Up Lucid's street cred went up 500% at that point. By the end of their set, the bar was full of excited rockers swaying their beer bottles to the music. What more do you need in life?
Leaving the bar and seeing drunk hipsters stumbling down Sunset, I sighed. It was still a chilly night on the West Coast. But for 45 minutes, I was in the smoking hot South of yesteryear. So the next time you feel like growing your hair long and purchasing some bell-bottoms to match your cowboy boots, check out Wake Up Lucid.
February 19th, 2009
So, last night, I was fortunate to catch a gem! Cobra Lilies played a fun and energetic set last night at Mr. T's Bowl. Who is Cobra Lilies? I didn't know of them until last night. Cobra Lilies rolls with 9-10 members, instruments ranging from saxophone to glockenspiel to pots and pans to kazoos! These kids had no pretension except to have fun and their excitement for what they were doing radiated Mr. T's. Anyone who was there last night witnessed something special that is not always witnessed in super-cool Los Angeles.
I noticed a red and black theme going on with the band's clothing attire, but that was not the only theme I noticed. All their songs had a quirky thematic element to them, whether it be singing about mermaids, using kazoos for sirens such as in "Cop Car," or lyrics including lines such as "Would you date a girl from the grave?" The energy and lyrical themes reminded me of The B-52's, not to be one that compares this band to that, but that's who I thought of when I started watching/listening. Actually, their voices sound nothing like The B-52's. Speaking of voices, it was nice to see that so many of the members sang. I think 3 or 4 people got to sing their own songs, which is cool because it gives the band the ability to have so much more range vocally and keeps things interesting, not that Cobra Lilies is lacking in the interest department!
To finalize their performance, four of the members of the band ran to the back of the curtained area to change and I was super excited to see what was going to be revealed (that's what is so fun about seeing new bands, there is always some element of excitement that is waiting to be revealed!). So, three minutes go by while the band is filling up the time with chit chat with the audience, then, the four members come out roller skating! Mr. T's new floor was perfect for it, I was waiting for someone to come out and say, "Hey, not on the new floor! You'll scratch it all up!" Luckily, that didn't happen, not that I really expected it. Back to the roller skating...how cute this was to witness and of course the song had to do with roller skating!
I'm very excited to see how this band will evolve, how far they will go, and what other instruments they will incorporate into their performances. I hope they play again so they can get their sound out to the masses that are unaware, I can say I am excluded from the mass now!
February 18th, 2009
Standing in the Glass House felt more like being in a school gymnasium than a concert venue. I was surrounded by a snack bar selling two dollar French fries and one dollar Doritos, middle and high school kids running around and screaming at some of the celebs who showed their faces to tonight's show, and bitter adults who were disappointed that instead of a Kettle One and Tonic, had to settle for Sierra Mist and Pretzels. But The 45 minute drive to Pomoma, California was worth every bit of gas that I owe the Audi A6 in order to catch Swedish Gypsy Rock star, Lykke Li. Lykke has quickly become the next "it" girl, and leads a musical movement I like to refer to as the Sweden Invasion. When I first "relocated" out to Los Angeles, her album "Youth Novels" got me through more lonely nights in this town then I care to recap. It was also there during some of the best. Her upbeat rhythms and slowed down tempos are well balanced and curiously attractive. Her voice is a unique angelic and sexy jazz tone that is impossible to hate, and her lyrics are filled with an international honesty that a gymnasium full of mixed generations can relate to. I would imagine it's like this everywhere she goes. Packed gymnasiums all over the world in London, Germany, LA, France all munching on chips and dip singing along to Lykke Li- she definitely has that power to pull off such a feat.
Equipped with three band mates, Lykke's set is all about the energy and the music. She takes center stage with a cowbell in hand and pumps out the beat to the opening song which encourages you to Dance Dance Dance! The opening lyrics are my favorite, "Having trouble sharing, how I feel but I, can Dance Dance Dance!!" The sold out Glass House needs not another second to join in, and soon the dark room is jumping and singing along. Yes, I do feel like a gitty little girl going to see N*Sync for the first time. And yes, I am trying to look sort of cool and not too crazy in front of the people I came with. Whatever. Lykke possess a contagious energy on stage that is part b-girl and part aerobics instructor and when you watch her, she draws you into the music even if your not familiar with the songs. Dressed in layers of black cloth, bling, and a Kazoo, Li looks like a phantom musical spirit against the solid white lights. Prancing around, shedding and replacing parts of her garb, moving about and banging cymbals, playing her Kazoo (which sounds awesome) and banging on her cowbell- she is a musical ringmaster that carries a Crique mystique. The chemistry between her band is skin-tight, and at times, the keyboard player uses a voice modulator that would put T-pain to shame. The live interpretations of her songs were better than the album, and her voice never missed a note. A few covers were thrown in the set which spanned from Tears On My Pillow to A Tribe Called Quest, and her rendition of the music was classic. Lykke is a fearless performer who knows it's her time. She works hard on stage and I'm sure even harder off- and it is clearly paying off. As she sings in "I'm Good, I'm Gone", "I'm working, I sweat, but it's all good, I'm breaking my back but it's all good 'Cause I know i'll get it back, Yeah, i know your hands will clap."
She's a singer, rapper, Kazoo player and storyteller who is now paving her own lane...indeed our hands are clapping for you Lykke.