Jens, Jens, JENS! I had the pleasure of watching one of my favorite vocalists, Jens Lekman, the first performance of two this week at The Echo on Wednesday night. I was in the front of the audience for once and was delighted to be there watching Jens play with his band. The night started around 9 o'clock with comedian,Tig Nogaro, opening for Jens. The fact that there was a comedian opening for the main music act was a thrilling change. She changed the whole mood of the crowd. The crowd was in a totally playful mood after Tig's set was through. To give you an idea of the mood of the crowd, there was a girl in the audience that was known as the dolphin girl after she volunteered to give us an impression of a dolphin and we heard it about six times at Tig's request! Tig did a great job getting us ready for the loveable, funny, storyteller that is Jens Lekman.
Jens' voice melted the room with the first note he sang. There were no audible flaws in his voice, it was butter! He needs no music to follow, it's all natural! His band was amazing, too. The bassist was freaking amazing (is that a technical description? No, but it was the first thing that came to mind). The band sported plain white shoes that resembled those Toms shoes that are really ugly...what? Those shoes are totally ugly, but they are for a good cause, so that means they are cool. Except, the band's shoes had laces and most likely they were a different brand. The violinist modified the dress code by wearing white cloth open-toed wedges. Anyway, they had some type of uniform they were conforming to and they all sported skeleton keys around their necks.
Around the middle of the set, Jens politely requested that if we wanted to record the show it was fine with them, but he didn't want it showing up online so as not to deteriorate the intimacy between us and them and after that was said, the experience was that much more intimate.
As the night grew on, so did my heart! He performed many of his most beloved songs including: "The Opposite Of Hallelujah" and "A Sweet Summer's Night On Hammer Hill." I was lucky to hear songs that I was not familiar with ('cuz I'm not a total Lekman head). Hearing songs that I was not familiar with was sooo rewarding because to listen to his lyrics is to experience a story and all his stories are funny or sad and relatable. Even after spending many hours listening to his music , I was surprised that I was able to finally understand a song that I have listened to countless times, I guess that happens during performances sometimes. And, his live performances of some songs intertwined snipets of classic numbers like: "Do You Wanna Dance." It was really cool.
It was a priceless, wonderful night of rejoicing with fans over beautiful music. Jens is making four more appearances in California between May 29th and June 2nd with stops in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and two performances in San Francisco. If you happen to be in any of those places on those dates, do yourself a favor and catch his show. Or, if you can't make it, check out some of his tracks on myspace or his website. I am proud to be ad advocate of Mr. Lekman!
Florida based rockers The Beauvilles rock. Catchy, I know, but seriously what more can you say about these dudes? As I listened to them the other day, with each knob dial turn making it just a bit louder, I realized I should probably turn my stereo down for fear my anal retentive neighbors would come knocking on my door(again), and complain about the music being too loud.
We wont get into the tragedy of apartment living, but we will say this about The Beauvilles-I do not personally know these four dudes, but I think they are deranged(and we mean that in a good way) and determined to make rock and roll, pure to the very core and the only way they know how; essentially lifting a middle finger at everyone while living every line and every power chord as if it were their last.
Amen to that, music, for the sake of making music and sharing it with the people. What a concept! More people should listen to The Beauvilles. Play The Beauvilles and give yourself a treat. But please do it for the band itself that has put so much of their soul into making this music, so play it really stinking loud. You will thank yourself. They have quite a few upcoming shows in Florida in June and July and hopefully these dudes will make their way to the left coast were we will be ready to welcome them with open arms!
Even the chaos that is Los Angeles this weekend could not have kept me away from listening to Blake Perlman at the Hotel Café. A quick recap of the night's activities to insure I would not miss her performance. You see, I was determined to finally see her and now that she is popping up in Los Angeles, I had to make it.
Drove across town during Friday evening traffic. Found meter parking somewhere in the vicinity of the Hotel Café. Got change. Ran to the show, but without looking like a fool. Wiped down the sweat from my forehead. Walked into the Hotel Café, took a deep breath, and was determined to see if what I mentioned months ago about Blake Perlman on our newsletter (I highlighted her as an artist to watch out for) was correct.
Finally the moment arrived. Blake took to the stage. The usually small crowd for the first show of the evening started to fill in a bit, and she did her thing. Let me simply say this, the girl has presence on stage. And so much of it. The fact that she matches it with a stellar and captivating voice that resonates from note to note left me wondering, just how far will Blake's voice carry her? I mean, I was not one of the usual ‘industry' types at the Hotel Café that night, but her talent is so dam obvious, I expect big things for this singer.
The set was accompanied by a five piece supporting, almost symphonic sound carried out by some of the most talented musicians I have heard in a very, long long while. Her band was so much more than a support, but a musical force that matched Blake's impeccable voice. And boy it was obvious; the fella's were so in tune with Blake, as if trying their hardest to make her sound reach a new level. There is something beautiful about a band working so perfectly together.
The night's music was like a jazz opera set to Blake's vocals. With the use of a stand up bass and violin and a master on the keys, and a drummer that keeps it all together, the band gives Blake Perlman an almost vintage sound and larger presence to her set. They combine on stage and feed off each other, singer and band mates, seeking that perfect unity between her elevated and piercing voice and their instrumentation. And they achieved it over and over again.
Blake Perlman oozes a triumphant voice that cannot be denied any longer. A sound that travels to the transcendent levels we usually just experience after having some out of body experience. You know the spot, right, where things fall into place and you see things so clearly you are in a better place because of it. Listening to Blake was like that for me that night. Blake Perlman has upcoming shows at The Mint on June 2nd and Hotel Café on June 4th and I would not miss her!
I have been having a hard time making the rounds lately. LA and all the wonderful music it offers, nightly, can be pretty daunting for one person to take on. Night after night, show after show, we really have a ton of options in this amazing city.
But there is something about being out on a Wednesday night, on a friend's recommendation, that the place to be is the Troubadour. And to see a legend, to a an-all-too-small audience, in the name of Dex Romweber. Yep, that Dex Romweber. This is really what it comes down to, a night where not knowing what to expect truly baffles your senses and gives you a rare treat, a history lesson into music and the wonderful people that share it with us.
Dex Romweber and Sara Romweber exploded on the Troubadour stage. And while the feel of a duo, stripped down, with one single guitar and small drum kit, could seem lost in the large empty spaces of that stage, The Duo filled every ounce of this history-soaked stage. The Duo and their loud and lasting power set, contributed to the ever-growing legacy of this spot. People will talk about the night they saw Dex Romweber at the Troubadour. In my experience, most duos loose you in a-muffled bash-the-drums, overly thought out noise procession. The Dex Romweber duo ignored this and contributed sweetly made, pulsating, garage-twang songs that got the blood pumping and the heart and mind in total unity. The Duo packed a walloping punch of a band four times as big this night.
Who knew a duo could do this. Watching Dex Romweber, I am reminded, of everyone's path and the choices we make. The set included the duo performing together, then Dex doing a heartfelt solo part, and then finishing it with an energizing final few songs(and even shout out to my date when he dedicated "Love Letters" to her). Through it all I was brought back to the only place I needed to be. Where the music transcends everything and makes me smile or in the words of Dex, "It was psycho."
Props to our buddies at Echo Curio for doing it again. Getting us wonderful bands making their way through LA for a night. They will be giving all those in attendance a real treat tonight as they have Sacramento's own, Buildings Breeding performing there. This six piece band packs quite a punch. Done through their use of beautifully crafted, softly woven double vocals, this band delivers with rich melodies that will have you smiling a bit more with each listen. Buildings Breeding write songs that are short few minute poems set to lively music. The band bends around the traditional folk, pop and indie ladle and lets us drink from it so deeply, it quenches our need for inspiring music. If you are into beautiful music, then this is definitely a band worth listening to.
Pain. Redemption, Triumph and Love. Just a few of the amazing and complicated emotions Geri X helps me feel within a three minute span. This Bulgarian Born singer songwriter carries the intensity of a Mike Tyson punch with the serene beauty of one of the best female vocalists of this era. Geri X is poet, rebel, and singer with a voice that is demanding to be heard.
Geri X's oozes confidence and rebirth as she sings with a voice that resonates with life experience and angst way beyond her years. She sings for you through the sublime progression of acoustic melodies and perfect drum rhythm setting a mood of a girl on a mission. She is be listened to over and over again, each time cranking her music just a little louder.
She is currently on a major tour thorough Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, and Wisconsin. She is not to be missed live. We cannot wait for her to come California. But for those of you lucky to be in those places, I would definitely make it a point to go listen her and support her.
A while back I met these guys via myspace. It took a while, but we got it done. Loudvine finally got the opportunity to sit down with The Counterparts- a collobo of mcs and producers. The Counterparts are so much more then a bunch of guys with microphones and fancy beats. The Counterparts act as a collective leaving their stamp on the musical landscape.
The Counterparts are five buddies that are making and sharing the music the only way they know how; staying true to the very core. It was a real treat to sit down with these guys. Sit back and get to know The Counterparts.
This week we have everything from Detroit Cobras to The Virgins to Blake Perleman and a bunch of other amazing bands playing in all our hoods. For every show, click here:
Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos, 9PM @ Troubadour, Hollywood
Jenni Alpert, 7PM @ Hotel Café, Hollywood ...
Rachel Cantu, 9PM @ Silverlake Lounge, Silverlake
Charity Music Fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 9PM @ Dakota Lounge, Santa Monica
Horse Stories, 9PM @ Bootleg Theatre, Los Angeles
Detroit Cobras, 9PM @ Troubadour, Hollywood
Ben Folds, 9PM @ Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood
Dustbowl Revival, 9PM @ Echo Curio, Echo Park
Or The Whale, 9PM @ The Viper Room, West Hollywood
The Virgins, 9PM @ The El Rey, Los Angeles
Winston Audio, 9PM @ Troubadour, Hollywood
Blake Perleman, 7PM @ Hotel Cafe, Hollywood
REO Speedwagon, 9PM @ Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles
Shark Toys, 9PM @ The Smell, Los Angeles
Thee Makeout Party, 9PM @ Perhspace, Echo Park
Samantha Shelton, 11PM @ Hotel Cafe, Hollywood
Grey Kid, 9PM @ Dakota Lounge, Santa Monica
Indigo Jazz Lounge, 9PM @ 2nd Street Jazz, Los Angeles
Keith Walsh Experience, 9PM @ King King, Los Angeles
Last night was one of those nights in Los Angeles where the air is sticky and your skin is the same. I made my way through Little Tokyo last night and ended up at 2nd Street Jazz where I was hoping to catch the East LA rock band that is The Van Pelts... I was super excited to see them. They've been one of those bands that I have been trying to catch for a couple of months now. Through word of mouth I have heard that they give a pretty energetic, pumped up performance and who can resist that?? Luck would have it that whenever I would plan to go see them something would prevent me, luckily my fortune changed last night.
It was a night of firsts. It was my first time going to 2nd Street Jazz and the first time seeing The Van Pelts. 2nd Street Jazz is not too big, but it is a very cozy atmosphere and they have $2 drinks! The Van Pelts were the first band to play last night. I was delighted that what I had been hearing was true. These guys are totally powerful musicians. They were loud, energetic, fun bad assess! The Van Pelts' vocalist, Rick, is one to watch. He's definitely a person that was born to be a front man. When he wasn't simulating bj's during songs he was dry-humping guitars and when he wasn't dry-humping guitars he was giving lap dances to his audience! The drummer, Jazz, is f-ing amazing. She's a little chick with beats that sound like they are coming from a burley, jungle creature. Matt on bass and Eddie on Guitar round out the band as loud and rockin' as they possibly can.
The last song of the night was, "Speaker Box of Doom." Talking to the band after the show, I was informed that this song is always changing, kind of like when The Doors would perform, "The End," they always leave room for improvisation. After their final song, the crowd begged for more, but they didn't. It really looked like they gave all they had, they tapped themselves dry and when a band can do that then they either leave you feeling exhausted at the end of their set or, if you have in insatiable thirst, you need more! I was tapped. Maybe it was because I had a loooong day, yeah, not because I'm old. Either way, they did not disappoint.
They will be playing a free show in Boyle Heights next Sunday, May 24th for an event hosted by musician/muralist Willie Herron III at East Side Luv. They told me it's gonna be a short set. Short or not, these guys promise to deliver, especially because that night an executive from a big-time music studio is rumored to be there. Go show some luv at East Side Luv and check them out!
When I roll out of the bed and begin the day with "Winter Lady" by Leonard Cohen or "I‘m Not" by Panda Bear, leave my hair in it's natural shape and color, bathe, spend weekends at either Pehrspace... or watching Mel Brooks films, and end the quite day with the even quieter Brightblack Morning Light, it's perhaps blurry to imagine that not too long ago I was once a dirty, acid-wash wearing punk ass kid with homemade blonde hair going to all these grimy as fuck shows. One of my closest friends from high school (a fellow ex-punk) and I decided to go to the Mika Miko record release party/show at The Smell. Nothing against Mika Miko, but I was more interested in seeing one of the 4 opening bands whom I have never heard of.
We showed up in the usual attire: button-ups, jeans, chill as hell old man shoes. When we walked into the alley of The Smell, we thought to ourselves, "what the...we look like senior citizens up in the bitch...." The majority of the crowd had strategically cut-and-placed hair that was over their eyes, weighed no more than 90 lbs and were mostly under the age of 17. As my friend treated me the $5 admission fee, we laughed as he said to me, "Ey, it's exactly like high school, huh?" Not once can I recall that I had accepted an invitation to do the time warp, and by no means did I ask to do it again. We walked in and it was much, much hotter, more crammed since it was a sold-out show (cuz apparently, The Smell can sell out...?) and much more pubescent than usual. The first band finished and I had the chance of catching P R O T E C T M E's set.
Even though both members look like a couple guys I probably would've known in high school, the difference was that they sounded a hell of a lot better than anyone I would've known in high school (my little one trick pony band included, probably). P R O T E C T M E reminded me that there was still such a thing as electro-punk and that it was still okay to have super catchy ass songs that were no more than 2 minutes long. I usually wouldn't have enjoyed a show like that: a bunch of kids running around screaming for a band that could have been 2 years younger than me. I surprised myself, however, that I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
P R O T E C T M E is a Los Angeles based two-piece with member Jordan and Luis. I had not expected such a loud boom to erupt out of the amps and speakers from such small fellows, but they made quite the combustion and the fans made quite the ruckus. Nothing short or enormously energetic, the two-some tore the walls of The Smell down with the mob of angst sort of moshing next to me. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't annoyed a bit at first. As the show progressed, however, my mood did as well. I found myself tapping to the beguiling beats and muffled vocals. It was likeable and had an appealing club to it beyond the heavy bass and drums. According to the grapevine, people are into that kind of thing.
I wasn't awaiting some type of out-of-body experience in which I connect with my soul on some mode of a kinetic plateau of extreme consciousness that night (which I didn't) but P R O T E C T M E filled me with a child-like glee as I re-connected my younger days with my current self. Everyone attempts to escape an embarrassing past; but as I mature I find that I have a peaceful life knowing that I'm ok with the douche I once was and the not-as-much of a douche that I am now. Thanks, P R O T E C T M E.
They made the crowd smile, dance and go bat shit crazy as they blitzkrieged everyone's asses with their liveliness in a town where drab is chic. Being in the front, I was thrown in the pit a few times, got stepped on, hit and sweated on; and I couldn't have been any more at peace with that night. It felt nice relocating my inner snot-nosed prick.
If you feel sad that you didn't see P R O T E C T M E like me, then its all good homes. They're playing about 6 shows at The Smell in the near future.