Sunday, December 16, 2007

Henry Clay People and The Rosewood Thieves @ Little Radio December 15, 2007

I seem to be cursed when it comes to seeing shows at Little Radio. Or rather, when I want to see a show there, something happens to prevent me from doing so. It almost did this night, but in the end, I ended up just being to tired to finish the night past one and stay to see Dead Meadow.

The funny thing about the LR space is that it's not quite a venue yet. So, things like time do not matter, which is nice cause you can be lazy and take a nap after dinner, and even though start time says 9:30 on your invite, chances are nothing will begin till almost 11. Such was the case tonight, although I can't quite recall what the actual start time was, but I do know it was not 9:30.

The first band up was The Rosewood Thieves from New York. When they started playing they were not in my line of sight, so I thought a DJ was playing the Stones, a song I had not heard before, but the Stones nonetheless. However, when I turned the corner I was surprised to see a live band playing. They fluctuated between that folksy rock and some freak-folk styling that I still don't know what my opinion is of it. It turns out they're more well known than I thought, accumulating much in the way of good press. Their playing was on point the whole time they were up on the giant snowflake covered stage, making me feel that there kudos were very much earned.

Second up, and the last band I caught tonight, was the Henry Clay People, dressed as the Santa Claus People (or just the Santa people, I forget now...). I've praised this band before, however tonight they're playing was completely different. Maybe it was the Holiday season, maybe it was the Santa Claus costumes, maybe it was too much Dewars, but lead singer Joey Siara kept scaring me as he swayed and leapt all over the stage. In fact, Christopher felt the need to stay close to the stage in case he fell off. (For some photographic examples, click here for a slideshow at LA Weekly) However, the playing and sound were great. They played a bunch off their album, and some other stuff I didn't recognize- like usual.

Anyways, if you get the opportunity to go to a show at Little Radio, you should. They like to decorate, and know how to throw a party.

Coming soon: my review of live shows in 2007, cause I like lists.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Little More Cheeky, A Little Less Wreckless: Wrecless Eric and Amy Rigby, the Adored @ Safari Sam's December 6th 2007

The last couple of times I've been to Safari Sam's it always seems to be raining... this should also tell you the frequency in which I attend concerts here. But it's a nice enough club... it kinda makes me think of what you would get if you turned an Old Spaghetti Factory into a club. Anyways, I get the emails from Safari Sam's and they were highlighting Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby, although I didn't put it together that they were playing both at the same time till I got there (they're dating???), so I thought that was a good enough reason to go to Hollywood.

We caught one of the opening bands (although Christopher bought a cd from one of the earlier guys who we didn't see because the guy told him it was good- and I promise, yes, I will listen to it soon- I just keep forgetting it at the house). When we walked in, The Adored had just started to play and we immediately turned our attention to them; they were fun. Their live sound is much more intense than their recorded stuff. That comes off as a bit over produced and sounds like too many other bands. But live they pulled off a great set. They sound like they belong in the British post punk set, but they're from Los Angeles.

Up next, and last, was Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby. It was just the two of them with guitars and occasionally Amy on keyboard with Eric on guitar. Both played songs from their own collections and played really well off each other. There were a few technical glitches (the keys could not be heard at all on the first song that was played with them) but everything smoothed out by the end. Memorable songs for the night included Amy's "Are We Ever Going to Have Sex Again?" and Wreckless Eric's "Reconnez Cherie". Between songs was Eric's British banter about toilets and things that sound funny when spoken with a British accent. It was a good mixed crowd and not too crowded. There was even some chairs to sit in! For me it was great to be back at a show after a hiatus.

Stay tuned for the Santa People at Little Radio show review!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Awake Now: The King Khan and BBQ Show, Haunted George, and Pleaseeasaur @ Spaceland November 15, 2007

Firstly, hello. And yes, I realize the huge gap there has been in posts. However, due to the juggernaut that invaded my life not so long ago, my mind has been elsewhere picking up the mess. I did though get to go to ONE show this month (god, how depressing...). I got an email that the King Khan and BBQ Show would be playing at Spaceland this month and it had been awhile since I'd been to a good ol' garage show.

In the usual way it happens, we thought we were getting there somewhat late, but when we showed up, the first band was still playing. Well, I guess band may not be appropriate here. Perhaps, two man musical slide show, with costumes!, would be better. Pleaseeasaur is sorta hard to explain... One guy stands out behind two slide projection screens, singing and wearing costumes, all with a very late 80's influence. And then behind the screens, another guy frantically changes slides and does the music. It was hypnotic in a bizarre way. (look at the picture I posted as an example) The crowd seemed to be enjoying it, but one could not telling if they were laughing with him, or at him.

Next up was just a straight-up garage outfit, Haunted George. Actually, I think it's usually just him but tonight there was some other people up on stage helping him out, including one of the guys from the Lamps. Haunted George is all about western culture, with a lot of trailer trash thrown in, and supposedly some macabre but I don't remember listening to any. The music was enjoyable if you like that stripped down, twangy type of garage. The lyrics were a bit surface at times, but sometimes with this kind of music I don't want to think so hard and deep about what they're singing to me, just make me move a bit on my feet and I'm happy. We ducked out towards the end of the set, mainly cause at this point I needed a sit down from too many whiskey drinks, oops.

Last up was the King Khan and BBQ Show. It's funny, but the garage scene around Los Angeles is so unfortunately small that whenever there's a show like this I'm bound to run into several people that I know either personally, or just from the scene. And this show brought out some faces I haven't seen in forever which was cool. Also surprising was the amount of people who showed up. I know that KKBBQ are on a well known label (In the Red), but damn, I was not expecting a crowd like this. Anyways, these two guys put on a pretty fun show, if you like guys in drag and turbans. The music is pretty standard garage with bizarre lyrics. Combine these elements and it's just a good, head bopping music.

Again, sorry. December I will try to get out more. Expect some upcoming reviews of Wreckless Eric, the Monolators, and some other bands. Woop!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicken Bone Drummin': Holly Golightly @ the Echo October 8, 2007

What a bizarre time setup the Echo had this night. When I looked at the scheduled line up there was a posting that it was free after 10:30pm. Wait, what? I just spent a crap load of money on ticket fees to make sure all my friends would have their tickets prior to arrival- not something I usual do, however I couldn't gage how packed it was going to be for Holly Golightly. Turns out that they pushed her forwards because Castledoor had a free residency this month. So, after her set you could get in for free. Which I guess makes more sense than having Castledoor go on and then make everyone stand outside or something to check tickets.

We showed up just as Holly started her first song. Which was around 9ish- thankfully we got a text that she was going on early or we probably would have missed half the set. After the first two songs she stated the audience needed to drink more cause it was starting to make her feel like she was in Utah. Saying this she downed some alcohol. I love the Brits.

It was just a duo tonight in support of her new album "You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying" which is her and Lawyer Dave as "Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs". They played several tracks off this new record including the title track, "Jesus Don't Love Me" and either "Devil Do" or "Devil Don't", I forget. I also forgot the other songs cause I was busy fighting with the people in front of me to see the stage. Anyways, she has a funny way of talking with the audience that makes her seem so... well, I could picture her in 1800's England getting into a pub fight and cutting someone's nose off. The other neat thing was the percussion set up for Lawyer Dave- could NOT figure out how he was hitting everything while playing the guitar. I thought there was a metronome type thing but my friend thinks it may have been a chicken bone hitting a snare, which actually seems like a far better match for this pair. This also proves that you can get a lot of sound from just your feet and some drums (ahem... Mr. Bob...).

The show was not as packed as I might have thought. But then again, Holly has been with me for years since I first heard her with Billy Childish so I always assume more people know her and would go to see her (and it having nothing to do with her being on that White Stripes album). Somehow we drank a bit more than planned and ended up at Taco King or Burrito King or whatever is down the street and missed Castledoor (I'm still confused how the back of the Echo morphed into a taco stand). But I feel ok about it cause I've seen them before and can catch them again at the Echo this month. Which you all should do anyway.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Watch Where You Step: the Eagle Rock Music Festival, October 6, 2007

I don't think I'd ever seen so many kids with skateboards in one confined area in all my life as I did Saturday night at the Eagle Rock Music Festival. And I used to hang out in skateparks. A rather large chunk of Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock was closed off as bands took to playing on stages, in parking lots, and in several cases, behind chain-link fences up and down the street while teenagers and dogs scattered about your ankles. I got to see bits and pieces of bands as I tried to get a look at everything. However, I was a bit pissy cause they changed the times of some bands. Which meant I missed the Monolators set, which sucked, cause I've had their "You Look Good On the Train" song stuck on repeat in my head and I would have liked to have seen them again. Ah well.

So, let's talk about the mess that was parking and people who are inconsiderate and don't like to let you parallel park without trying to drive up into your trunk. Ugh. Had we just driven up all the way to Eagle Rock and Colorado, we probably would have seen the giant sign for the shuttle, but we didn't and ended up driving around for what seemed like at least 25 minutes until we found a spot far, far away. Walking down Colorado we could hear Bodies of Water starting their set and we began to sing along to I believe "These Are the Eyes", but I can't quite remember if that was it now or not. Not very long after we watched a couple bands we ended up at the Chalet for a couple drinks, so, you know- cloudy memory. Anyhoo, outdoor shows tend to have crappy sounding equipment, and such was the case tonight. Bodies of Water sounded, and looked, great, but the speakers were kinda crackly. In the background there was also playing the film "Westworld", although I'm not so cool to have figured this out for myself but had to be told what it was. Somehow the two meshed perfectly together. Anyone who reads this thing knows how much I like this band, however tonight we had to step away to catch up down the street with the Mormons.

So, I've been trying to catch a Mormons show for awhile now and I almost forgot they were playing tonight but remembered just in the nick of time. I've heard that this band puts on a show and is really fun to watch, and THEY WEAR HELMETS and have a whole uniform thing going on. And it so happened that every nice thing people have said about them is true. They play music that sits somewhere between Devo and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies (who are a punk amalgam of a bunch of well known punk bands- oh and I guess minus the show tunes too), somewhere in that vein of punk music. There is a great stage presence to them, even if that stage is a parking lot outside a place called Panang. The lead singer jerks around the stage like a kid on too many pop rocks while the rest of the band looks they're at their happiest behind their respective instruments. Although, the one guy standing there with his arms crossed in the background-who was obviously one of the band due to the same stage uniform-was kinda intimidating looking, like he's the bully of the group. Although I think he pulled a t-shirt out of his backpack (yes, they wear backpacks too) so maybe he's just the mobile merch man, which would be kinda cool anyways.

It's funny though to take a band like this out of a club element and plop them down into a music festival like this where in front of me a five year old girl with a glow stick headband proceeded to dance harder and longer than any of the teenager punks. But I guess that could be said about many of the bands tonight. Music festival events always seem strange to me, and I think I'm glad they are pretty much all done for the season. I am very happy to be getting back into a club tonight, even if that increases the chances of beer getting spilled on me by about 1,000.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Little Felt Wonders: The Happy Hollows and the Movies @ the Echo September 24, 2007

At some point over the last, oh- I dunno, 9 months or so, the Happy Hollows seemed to burst into popularity around here and pretty much all the L.A. bloggers could not stop talking about them. Suffice to say I was curious. However, I kept missing their shows. This past September they had a residency at the Echo and seeing as how they had a steady date set, and time, it made it somewhat easier to get there. And in my true fashion I kept forgetting until this past Monday, finally. And dammit am I kicking myself now.

There was a strong support line up tonight and I had also been trying to get around to catching Death to Anders. However, the Echo likes to do this thing where they list the bands that are playing, and when you show up, they've thrown the names into a hat and picked at random who would go on first. So, I missed Death to Anders by, maybe 15 minutes. Argh. If you want to read a nice review of their album though, you should click here.

So, the Movies were who started playing once we got there. For whatever reason I had mixed them with another band, possibly Midnight Movies, cause when they took the stage I got a confused look on my face cause they were not who I thought I was going to see. Regardless, the people there LOVED them, and they were entertaining to watch. The lead singer has this deep voice that he uses to shout, and he was dark shades on the whole time he jumps about the stage. The music felt like dark British music, or maybe I just could be safe and lump it with post punk,or not, that might be rude. I dunno. In the end we ended up heading outside due to the crushing crowd in there so we missed the end of the set.

Right before the Happy Hollows came on I figured that while I was here and that it happened to be the rare occasion I was carrying more than 2 dollars on me, I went and looked at the Merch table. And there was a whole treasure trove of felt goodness. They could have been ipod cozies, but since I refuse to buy an mp3 player for the simple reason that I don't need one, I use the cozy now to keep my phone safe from the endless dropping and abuse it goes through on a daily basis. All the little felt things were different colors with different colored owls on the front. I got a very "Fall" one which was brown with an orange owl on it. I *heart* crafts so much. Oh, and I also picked up a cd, in case you're wondering.

So, my best way of describing the Happy Hollows is sweet indie pop with frenetic dancing and noise thrown in for good measure. Sarah Negahdari is a little firecracker who coos songs and then switches rapidly screeching out sounding like Kathleen Hannah's younger sister. She and bass player Charlie Mahoney bop around the stage and look very pleased to be up there, all grins. I feel like whenever I start describing the people in bands I need to go through the roster, so, Chris Meanie plays some mean drums, and I should know, I drum too. Now, since I am relatively new to the songs, I know that they did play "Colors" (which is stuck in my head, even at times when it shouldn't be), and I think the Canal Song and the Monster Song among a bunch of others. I really need to start asking for set lists. Anyway, tonight's show proved that all the hype was much, much deserved. I need to see them again, and also because a friend of mine wants an owl cozy too.

My one only peeve for the night was all the freakin' flash bulbs going off in my eyes. Tonight there seemed to be an obscene amount of people with cameras. I know that when I have my camera on me I like to snap some photos, but these people (not all of the people with cameras I should say, but definitely a bunch) get up in front of you and just bully you out of the way. What the hell guys- and I do mean guys, not a single female doing this tonight- there are some of us trying to watch the show too. Argh, anyway, other than that, rad. Totally rad show.

Monday, September 24, 2007

And the Storm Held Off: Air, Sondre Lerche, and Sea Wolf @ the Greek Theater September 21, 2007

This night already had two strikes against it. For one, a horrible thunder and lightning/ flash flood inducing storm was on its way to Los Angeles County. The other was that I found out my friend payed way too much for her tickets to see Air at the Greek Theater- like highway robbery too much. So the night had the symbolic black cloud over it as well as the giant ones hanging in the sky. Or so I thought.

For whatever reason the 'storm' held itself at bay for most of the night. There was a bit of spitting that our garbage bag coats kept us from (we came prepared). And it was pretty light and then just stopped altogether for the majority of Air's set. It stayed that way until we reached our cars. Due to the insane amount of cash my friend felt it necessary to fork over, it did ensure that we were close to the stage and that exiting the Greek would be relatively painless. So once it was over we were able to jet out to the car, and then sit and wait for 15 minutes till we could leave the stacked parking. The timing was just too perfect- as soon as we got inside the car the drops began to fall and then it just started to pour. Awesome.

Right, so yeah, there were 3 acts Friday night (I just needed to get the lucky weather related story out of the way). First up was the local band Sea Wolf- who are all over Indie radio right now and rightfully should be. Their new album is super and live they are also, well, super. They played some tracks off the new album and received a positive response from the sparse crowd. Most of the movement came from Alex Church (also was in Irving) who ferociously strummed his guitar, while the other bandmates grooved along in the back. The only crap part was that the set was so short, less than 30 minutes I believed. But I guess I should be used to big places like the Greek skimping on time for the opening acts.

Second up was Sondre Lerche- who I learned two things about tonight. 1. He is Norwegian (which had I ever bothered to look up any info on him I could have found out myself) 2. How to pronounce his last name correctly. He's a sprightly little fellow. Bopping around stage, just himself and his two guitars, he awkwardly told stories and thanked the crowd for pretty much not walking out when he took the stage. His set was also pretty short, stopping around the 30 minute mark. He played some songs off his newest release Phantom Punch including "Say It All", "She's Fantastic", and "Phantom Punch" as well as some older ones-"Modern Nature", and a couple tracks from a movie that he is writing the soundtrack to (Dan in Real Life). One of the things that strikes me about him is how much of a crooner he sounds like. I guess I never really payed attention to it before, but was very apparent sounding when it was just him tonight. And, he pulls it off.

At some point the Greek got pretty packed. They make a big deal about having the trees lit up with different lights, so it actually looked real pretty once I craned my neck to look around. Air took to the stage and I felt like I was back in 1995. Cause they were still wearing the same clothes and singing the same songs. Seriously, if you want a general idea of what a Frenchman looks like, here: tight white pants, white wind breaker with the collar turned up and the sleeves pushed to about a 3/4 length, and a baby blue polo shirt underneath. There; French.

But anyways, the crowd was a mix between indie kids and club kids and just plain drunk obnoxious people who won't tell you to your face that you're blocking their view, but will just yell to no one in particular about it. You know who you are, jerk. Um. So, Air started off with a live band and about a million electronic things all over the stage with lots of smoke pouring out and pretty dancing lights going off in several directions. They had some new songs I didn't recognize, and they played a slew off their earlier releases. This was also the first show in awhile I've been to that had a real encore. Thankfully it was only 3 songs long and did not go on for another hour. I was a bit on the tired side this night, which may have contributed to the half-amused approach I took to the whole show. Also the rain. Ugh.

At some point I want to go back to this venue when it is not raining and maybe some kind of Orchestra is playing instead- there is a slight chance there will be less drunk people screaming how they can't see the French Horn player.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some People Only Go for the Fireworks: Pink Martini @ the Hollywood Bowl September 16, 2007

I've slowly started to make the Hollywood Bowl my yearly summer treat- I've only been out here FIVE years now, I should be enjoying it. Anyways, one of the fun parts to going is that you can still see fireworks in September here; they make the summer (along with the 85+º temps) seem to last just a little bit longer. However, who you'll see is kinda hit or miss. I caught the Tchaikovsky Spectacular last year, which I enjoyed, cause I enjoy the composer. This year we caught Pink Martini, and found out Carol Channing is still alive.

I have nothing against Lounge-y type music. It can be fun; I own a couple of the Ultra Lounge cds (mainly cause some are fuzzy or include games on the front, but whatever, I listen to them). So I was sorta prepared for the songs of Pink Martini from the Cocoanut Grove. It was kitschy and fun. Although, I liked when the girl sang in another language as opposed to English- cause then the words sound ridiculous and you feel you should be playing the slots somewhere while old ladies in tassels hand you watered down margaritas. However, if you were there solely for the firework show then it may have been a bit of a groan.

What surprised me were the fans of Pink Martini there. I've heard their name tossed around plenty of times but I never bothered to listen to them. Honestly, at some point I thought they might have been a chamber group or something along those lines. Anywho, there was a group of kids (UCLA kids) in front of us who were actually singing along to the lyrics. And not just the Pink Martini version of "Que Sera Sera" (the 'dark' version...), but also to those songs that were penned by Pink Martini themselves. Yah- that means that they own and have listened to their old and current cds. For whatever reason children several years younger than me doing this makes me think that they were all musical theater majors, HAVE to be. A lot of older people were singing along to, but these kids were at most 18.

So, I guess I have to back up a minute. The night actually started out with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra doing a few instrumental songs- which were treats from the time of Carmen Miranda and the like. And the conductor, Thomas Wilkins, was a really great storyteller besides being the man waving the stick. It was remarked upon how he kept up his enthusiasm and felt fresh, even though this was the third night of doing the show.

Oh, and backing up even before that (sorry, my mind is at a snail's death crawl right now) outside at the bottom of the Bowl when we showed up was this bizarre marching band from Portland, OR (where P.M. is also from) dressed up like they belonged in a Rockabilly Burlesque show. Later on in the night they appeared on stage for a song or two and then just as quickly were gone. That was the odd thing about the 'guest' performers... they all had very brief spots. Also, they were very old. The two singers coming on with P.M. were Henri Salvador, who is 90 and French, and Carol Channing, who is 117 and can still dance. Carol was incredibly entertaining and really did dance- not a freaking ballet or anything, but she did shimmy. It's insane though that her smile seems so wide that so swear, if she wanted to, she could unhinge her jaw and swallow a piano whole. The Henri guy I guess is really popular in France and was once a suave guy, however during "There's No Business Like Show Business" I felt a little bad as he mumbled the words and hid behind a piece of paper- I wonder what he was like the other two nights?

The fireworks at the end were awesome, even if they can't do a HUGE show due to the possibility of setting people on fire in the crowd. They started off kinda pitiful, what with the two tiny streamers that reminded me of Sparklers but then got out the big ones and had bursts of fire and all that as I sat agape with childlike awe. I love fireworks in part for their ability to still put a little wonder back into my jaded, cynical life.

I don't know if tonight turned me into a Pink Martini fan, but it did give me another reason to love going to the Bowl. That and the their shuttle system is friggin' superb.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

One Man and a Bunch of Guitars: Anders Parker @ the Hotel Cafe September 14, 2007

Were you at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood last night? Chances are you were not, which is too bad. I hate going into Hollywood on a Friday night as much as any westsider, but Anders Parker was playing a show so I had to brave the bad traffic, outrageous parking fees, and Mötley Crüe wannabes to get over there.

I know Anders Parker through Varanline, who haven't been around for awhile, so honestly I wasn't so aware of all his newer work, but I was happy to find out he still sounds as wonderful as ever. He played a solo set, and an early set too. 7pm. Rush hour was still happening on our way over there, so we ended up getting there about 10 minutes late. I'd never been to the Hotel Cafe before. You have to go down an alley, and then around the back of a building to get in, however the inside is pretty comfortable, with little tables and a tiny, tiny stage- perfect for one person and their many guitars. I couldn't tell if the people sitting in watching were there for him, or just stumbled in- one guy had a tourist guide at his table. Regardless, everyone (about 20 of us) was enjoying themselves and the sound was pretty spot on.

Anders Parker reminds me of what's his face from Neutral Milk Hotel. It's that drawn out, acoustic guitar work that is full of emotion with tinges of electric guitar thrown in for good measure. There's just something very satisfying in the combination of his voice and the guitar, even more so as a solo act here this night. I recognized some songs off the last album- or at least I think I did, man I'm crap at guessing these things.

Listening to him tonight made me think of how many really good singer-songwriter people are out there who just do not get enough recognition. Yes, Tweedy and Meloy are good, and that's why they do well. Let them have their Volkswagen commercials and make some room for some people who deserve a little more outward push.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boob Slapping: Bob Log III @ Spaceland September 11, 2007

I had no intention of going out last night for a show. However, while browsing for something to do, Bob Log III was stumbled upon and I was informed I should go see this guy. He's a bit odd but sure to be entertaining.... he wears a motorcycle helmet with a telephone mic through the front. How could I not go? So I ended up at Spaceland looking for a good time.

I have a small special place for the white man blues in my heart; I absolutely adore the Black Keys. Bob Log III falls somewhere on the outskirts of this genre. But other than that and a part in Doo Rag, I knew nothing about him (also nothing about Doo Rag, except for the fact I was told this is where he was before). I also didn't know that old dorky guys ever actually ventured out to Spaceland. It looked like outside the Sony studios at lunch with droves of guys in cargo shorts and UFO t-shirts wandering around. I suddenly found myself in cock-rock-ville.

I have no idea who the two opening bands were. Spaceland did not post anything on their site or myspace or wherever. All I know is that fans of the second band seemed quite pissed off that no one really "appreciated" the band and that the guys shouldn't have brought their girlfriends to the show. Huh? Whatever. Cock rock.

So, this Bob guy. He came out on stage donning a silver sparkly motorcycle helmet with a black phone as a mic that looked like another motorcycle man may have gotten pissy and shoved it in place there. He also was wearing a black leather one piece, that was just slightly loose, and studded with metal squares. I think it said "LOG" on the back spelled out with those too. I couldn't see his feet, however I was told he had a small bass drum and a cymbal that he feet used. Most of the songs he was using a slide for, very blusey-country sounding. There was also occasionally the sampled beat coming from somewhere as well. All this while seated in a metal folding chair.

Maybe it was because I was not familiar with the music, but after a while the off beat guitar picking and one-two thumping coming from the drums/cymbal seemed to blend into each other. The energy levels kept up though, and the crowd suddenly turned into a frat party at some point, complete with the really drunk dude running in circles. And subsequently running to a bathroom. There was also the rarely seen encore tonight. For the second half a chick ran up on stage in a tubetop and may or may not have flashed the audience, but regardless stayed on stage rubbing/smacking her boobs for the "Clap Your Tits" song. Again, I felt like I was at a college party.

It was unlike anything I've seen really before, although some performers down on the 3rd St. promenade come close. He really reminded me of a sleazy guy from some backwater town, but I didn't mind. And no one else did either.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cold Water Music: Old Time Relijun @ the Echo August 30, 2007

I will admit to occasionally listening to some far away, hillbilly Appalachian music. Bluegrass or whatever. But it's weird to consider it joining forces with another form of music so polar opposite from it, like indie rock. Oh, and sounding good. Real good. Or maybe it's just that the front-man of Old Time Relijun, Arrington de Dionyso, looks as if maybe he crawled his way out of some backwater village out in the Ozarks. Regardless, it was another hot night over at the Echo August 30, and also marked the start of a much needed vacation for myself.

Let's just say that in the summertime, smoker or not, taking a break on the smoking patio out back is almost a necessity when you can only allow yourself shallow breaths inside. That said, we showed up as close to the start time of OTR as possible, however we always get bored waiting and end up at the Echo earlier than planned. Also, tonight there was a butt load of bands playing beforehand (Jail Weddings, the Holy Kiss, Woman, and Jeremy Jay).

Deciding to hit the merch table before OTR played, we were able to catch Jail Weddings. First, they're all kinda entertaining to watch, what with the gazillion people on stage (okay, 8 I believe). Their music is a mix between garage, doo-wop and that 60's bad girl music I so adore and have an ever-growing collection of 45's from. They were fun however it got too stuffy so we went outside. IF it had been a bit more accommodating then maybe we would have stuck around for the whole set. (Yes, I know by this point I must seem like some kind of high maintenance type that is easily annoyed by heat... and smells. But I'm not that bad.)

Taking the stage, this four piece seems to have an aura of something slightly odd about them. They seem dressed up in suits or dress shirts, but slightly frayed around the edges, like a worn disguise. And then before you realize it, de Dionyso is down to his undershorts and starts howling, eyes bulging out at you. It's a bit scary if you're not expecting it; but we were and found it delightful. Launching into the set, pounding drums and a haunting sax, lyrics seems to be torn from throats while Aaron Hartman makes frantic love to his stand up bass. It's part spectacle, part tribal dance. Getting lost in the music I forget the set, however they did play a number of tracks off their new, soon-to-be released album "Catharsis in Crisis" on K Records. And they did a crazy fast version of "Cold Water" and yet still made it last for what seemed 10 minutes. That maybe have been the highlight of the show, screaming the refrain back at the band. It was an amazingly good show, one I've enjoyed the most as of late. And yet the place cleared out towards the end. Too bad, ya'll missed a good one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fucking in a Ballroom: Fuck Yeah Fest with Great Northern, Jay Reatard, and No Age August 25 & 26 2007

My ears are still ringing from trying to walk through the crowd during Deerhunter's set at the Echoplex last night, the last night of the Fuck Yeah Fest in Echo Park. A year has passed already and I can still smell the beer lingering around from last time. This year though felt a lot less chaotic, more spread out and relaxed. And not a single freakin' beer spilled on me. WOOHOO!

This year I actually ventured out to both nights. However, Saturday we kinda got stuck at Taix. We were smart (albeit not that smart- the food was icky!) to get to the bar for dinner first and then just wait for the comedians to start up. It got so packed in there; thankfully there was air conditioning. I guess Bob Odenkirk was supposed to go on Sunday, but came Saturday, or was doing both nights... or whatever, regardless, a shit load of people showed up for him. I hate to say thankfully he went on second, following a killer set by Kyle Kinane. Because when he was done, a good third of the room left and breathing could commence. The whole night seemed to be, "Let's All Be Dicks to the Comedians". Which is weird, cause last year it was really relaxed. Anywho, some really entertaining sets came out of this audience/comedian "banter" with Matt Dwyer and Jarret Grode. Hil-AR-ious folks, really. And all the guys there were good too. Although I need to NOT shout out punch lines to my favorite jokes and then spend the rest of the night feeling like an ass- yeah, not cool.

Sunday night had a solid line up down at the EchoPlex. Great Northern, Jay Reatard, No Age and Deerhunter. Yeah, insanely good lineup in one block.

Ok. Need to stop here for a second and apologize for one- the lateness of this post and two- the cloudy details that will follow. I'm starting this post up again over a week later due to VACATION. One which was a long time coming and included me stopping all electronic-ness for a week. Ok, back to the post.

The Echoplex, just under the Echo, has it's pro's and con's against it's Big Little Sister upstairs. For tonight, the amount of space inside was great. You could drift to the back bar and not get stepped on and take a breath of not-so-stale air, and you can still see whoever is playing on stage up front. For multi-band shows like the Fuck Yeah Fest, with its crowds of people, the venue makes the crowds much more tolerable. However, the smoking patio, where even if you don't smoke and just want a breath of fresher air outside, is two sizes too small. It feels smaller than the Echo's area, which does not make sense because if your crowd is larger, why make the outside area smaller. I just don't get that. And on both fronts, air conditioning. God it got awful hot and smelly during Jay Reatard.

Oh, yeah, so the bands.... We walked in during Great Northern's set. And you know what? They sound exactly the same live as they do on the record. Not much movement, but enjoyable all the same. I hear them whenever I turn on Indie 103.1, which can be both a good and bad thing... Really, every time....

Jay Reatard was up next, and surprisingly, for the Echo, everything was running on time, even early at some sets. It was a bit jarring to go from the last set to this. If you've never heard Jay, read this post. I don't remember four people the last time I saw him, but maybe one was hidden. Either way, it's rare to see a whole band rockin' out at the same time like these guys. The bass player, who sorta resembles Jay himself, bobbed his head, screamed out lyrics and kept thrusting his bass up like the statue of liberty. There are no breaks between songs either. Jay Reatard yells out for the next song, and if his band mates do not start instantly, he growls the name of the song in frustration. Pumping out I don't' even know how many songs in around 40 minutes I did catch: blood visions, nightmares, hammer i miss you, i know a place, all over again... and a bunch more. He's always exciting to watch live.

No Age were up after that. Based in LA, these two kids came out of the Smell scene and now seem to be playing all over the world. Good for them, they're awesome. And so is their latest album. Anyways, the usual more spacey sounding tunes that are interspersed between the loud, pounding garage/punk beats sounded more static-y and harsher tonight. But really, just another facet to this duo that makes them fun to watch and listen to. They twisted through the many songs that make up their EPs and the latest full length, as well as some new tunes.

Oh, and the crowd surfing tonight. I guess this is not an unrelated experience from that last occurance I saw at the Matt and Kim show. Both during the Jay Reatard and No Age set: kids being thrown over heads. Craziness. I guess this is making a come back.

I really wanted to stick around and see Deerhunter. However, I was told they can be iffy live, and I was already counting the hours till my day job. So, I caught a couple minutes of their set at the beginning: loud, screaming loud. I'm sure it wasn't like that the whole set, but I made peace with myself for missing the rest of the it.

So yay! No beer spilled on me this year and a more positive, less crowded feeling showcase. Maybe next year I'll feel more inclined to review more than three bands, maybe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday: Manic @ the Echo, August 13, 2007

Lazy summer days make me lazy about going to hot, hot concert venues. However, the Monday night residency at the Echo this month is Manic, a band I just reviewed over on Little Radio and who I needed a comparison of their live music to what they sounded like on cd. And it was free, but that's beside the point.

The funny thing about residency nights is that the bands' "style" of music does not necessarily have to match each other. I have no idea how they go about doing this but in my head it involves a bunch of club owners drawing names out of a hat in a dark back room somewhere with one bare light bulb hanging overheard. For example, tonight upon arrival the bouncer was telling us that they had a huge crowd tonight compared to the 50 odd people who showed up last time and I believe they were mostly there to see this all girl Japanese ska band. Oreskaband is made up of what looks like a group of 14 year old girls in school uniforms. The strange thing being is that they were cute in like, a muppet way and actually were entertaining to watch while we fetched drinks from the bar. A LARGE amount of people were packed in front of the stage jumping up and down to the music, which made the Echo incredibly hot and gross so we decided to high-tail-it outside to the back, where it was still kinda too warm out, but it is August so I shouldn't complain.

When we happened to look at out watches again it was almost 11 and Manic had just started to play. Which is odd for the Echo... going on time. I believe we walked in on the start of "Carolina Ghost", a haunting, pulsing rock song that I think might be my favorite off the new EP. One thing that struck me about seeing Manic live is that much more emotion seems to be thrown into the songs than on the record. Maybe it's the sweating and dancing and screaming into the mic. Or the girls yelling "sexy" as they play. Or the fog machine that we thought had killed the drummer... maybe not that. But anyways, they played songs off the new EP and I'm guessing their last one as well- I'm not completely sure. It as kinda a short set, but they only have 2 EPs out so I guess that makes sense. In a press release on them it said that the only things in life they want to be doing aOne ridiculous event of the night was while I was taking photos an older woman turned to me and asked if I was Paul's (the singer) mom. Seeing as how I might actually be younger than Paul, I don't think this is biologically possible. It made me hate my new haircut for a second if it makes people think I'm possibly 30 years older than I actually am. Oh, and what was up with the craft fair outside in the back? I think that's a first as well.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nothing But Happy Folks: Bishop Allen and Castledoor @ the Echo, July 31, 2007

Bishop Allen put out an album last week that included mostly reworkings of songs from the TWELVE EPs they put out last year. It's a really good album. It turns out they're also really great live too.

Last night Bishop Allen played to an almost packed Echo, thankfully no one ever stands to the right of the stage so it's usually about 30º cooler there (that's a tip for you readers, all three of you). Page Francis was supposed to play, but did not for reasons I never learned, which bumped Castledoor up to the number two position instead of first- good, considering I didn't want to show up too early so I still got to see them play. Yay.

Castledoor have been getting a lot of hype so I was keen to check them out. They run the vein of the poppy folk indie rock crowd (yes, it's a bit of an amalgam, but whatever) and they get you to want to dance and clap along with them. The lead singer, Nate Cole, seemed genuinely pleased to be performing and was all grins and shout outs to people he worked with that came to see his band play. They also get kudos for have a keyboard AND a xylophone. I know that they played "Magnetic Forces" cause they shouted out that that was what they were playing next. I think that they were a perfect band to open for Bishop Allen, that happy streak ran through both bands. So, yeah, all the hype is true, go check these local kids out.

Taking the stage, Bishop Allen look like a bunch of kids coming out of Harvard or something. Maybe it's to due with their traveling from the east coast, or not, I'm just guessing. The same happiness evidently present prior to their set was still there, beaming in the smiles of frontmen Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. Tonight they also had a fifth member in the band, but I do not know where he hails from (forgot the digital camera last night and took "real" photos instead. Once they're developed and scanned look for them here [approximately 6 to 8 weeks] so until then enjoy the generic photo).

People were attempting to dance in the smooshed crowd that gave off waves of heat you could see through the smoky stage lights. Songs were played off The Broken String, which actually are mostly songs off the 12 Eps from 2006, including Click, Click, Click, Click , The Chinatown Bus (which is an actual bus that runs from the Chinatown in NY to the one in Boston and is wicked cheap), Middle Management, and Like Castanets (a favorite of mine). There were also some songs I didn't quite recognize, but you know, that happens.

So yeah, pretty satisfying night of music. Even if the Echoplex had MIA downstairs and whenever the music came to a quite spot upstairs all you could hear was THUMPATHUMPATHUMPA, and it felt like an earthquake.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Chromeo, Chromeo...Where for...: Chromeo and Flosstradamus @ the Echoplex July 26, 2007

Where the hell was everyone last night? Or actually, where were the bands? With a door opening time of 9pm I was kinda expecting nothing to really happen till like, 10:15 or something, not 12:15. Tonight was my first venture beneath the Echo to the "Echoplex". Didn't they use to throw parties down there and just not advertise it? I'm pretty sure they have. The Echoplex, as it was remarked upon by a friend of mine last night, looks like a war-era ballroom turned Hollywood. It's MUCH more expansive than the Echo, but somehow still made me kinda claustrophobic. Perhaps it was the DJs, playing exceptionally bad early 90's hip-hop, a la O.P.P. and Momma Said Knock You Out. OR, the fact that the "smoking patio" was filled to capacity with what a passerby referred to as "Did Cinespace close down or something and all those kids filter here?". OH, yeah.

Way back last year when I saw CSS upstairs with what I guess would still be a "dance" type indie crowd, I don't remember it being so god awful. And they started at a reasonable time. At some point close to midnight I even went up to the soundboard guy and asked him if he had any clue as to when someone was going on. He shrugged and said maybe 15 minutes.

Now, what I heard, and this is completely going off of some random person, was that Flosstradamus were supposed to go on first, but they threw a fit or something about not wanting to go on early. So, I'm guessing they came on at four in the morning.

All I know is that after several whiskeys, and the smell of that many people cramped into such a hot space made Chromeo's performance not as outstanding as I would have liked it to have been. Oh, do not get me wrong, they were fun to watch. Although, it was hilarious to watch hordes of 18 year old girls practically screaming for Dave 1 as he started singing. They were also screaming the lyrics out, to electro-hip hop songs, what? Yes, odd. I tried to dance a little but the crushing heat of the place was too much. Our troop tried to stick it out, but, oof- the smell was a bit much in there. We left towards the end of the Chromeo set, sometime close to one I think. Can anyone confirm that the Echoplex/DJ shows usually start really late? Just for future reference, and the ability to avoid standing in line for 45 minutes in the will call line.

**end rant**

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Staring at My Shoes: Adam Franklin @ the Echo July 17, 2007

I admit that once Swervedriver was no more, I never got into Adam Franklin's other projects. However, a couple weeks back I found out he was putting out a solo record in his name and that it was sorta a throw back to the older stuff but really just plain amazingly good. Turned out it was (you can read my review on Little Radio if you'd feel so inclined). So I looked to see if he was touring here to support it, and by chance he was. Cheers all around.

I didn't recognize the other bands on the bill. Although I found out at the last moment that the Black Lips were playing a midnight show. But, I'd seen them before and had to get up early the next morning for work, so... Trying to show up later, we still got there just as the first band (Benni Hemm Hemm I believe) was finishing. It was kinda neat to enter the Echo to a blaring horn section. After hearing them close I wished I'd made the effort to show up a bit earlier, but oh well.

The second band, The Black Watch (almost positive I'm not mixing these two up), made me think to myself, "this is all such a very British night". They just reminded me of a band coming out of the mid-90's Brit Pop scene, but with a more brooding looking. It sounded decent enough but we opted to sit this one outside.

When Adam Franklin hit the stage I was suddenly drawn back into a time warp, and it felt so good. Either it was the whiskey I'd been drinking, or it was the fact that it's been so long since I've been to a show of this type, I dunno, but I was just all warm and happy hearing the music. Franklin creates these wonderful swirling melodies that layer up real nice and make you feel like you're swimming in the music. He played tracks (I believe all of them) from his newest release Bolts of Memory, which I would suggest picking up. Another thought I had while listening is if people still look for make-out music, because this would probably fit pretty well into that category. However, I can't actually remember going out of my way to do that since high school...

Oh, and sorry for the grainy film still photos here. Camera is on the fritz, could not possibly be the photographer. If you want some color shots of Adam, click on over here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

All It Takes is a Little Harp- The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, and Band of Horses @ the Hollywood Bowl July 7, 2007

Sorry about the pun. I thought of it while watching the Decemberists' set and it stuck. They did have a harp playing, along with all the other wonderful instruments that make up the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Tonight was my inaugural night this summer for attending the Bowl, and it did not disappoint in the least.

I'd recommend a box seat if you can when going to the Hollywood Bowl. You get a table, so while you're trying to be all fancy drinking your wine out of clear plastic Solo cups, you can put out a cheese spread and not have it all go in your lap. Pretty sweet. Oh, and the view's not so bad either, well, up until it gets dark it's kinda fuzzy, cause they don't turn the t.v.s on till then so Band of Horses is just a bunch of guys with beards and no other distinguishing characteristics, except perhaps that one guy had a much longer beard than anything else.

All three of the bands tonight I've never seen live before. I've wanted to... it's just that opportunities have come and gone and I always miss the boat. While it was still light out, Band of Horses was up first, and yeah, pretty much every guy up there was all beards and apparently no faces. I was a little wary of their performance going in, I was told they could be spotty, but tonight I really didn't have much to complain about. They had more guys on stage apparently then they usually do, so it was a better sound live, especially for the Bowl, which, unless you're a full-on orchestra, your band tends to sound a little distant with all that space around. I guess my only complaint would be that they tended not to move around much on stage, but I guess playing at such a venue as this would make dancing around kinda odd- unless they're always like that in which case they need to lighten up a bit. Anyways, they played several tunes off "Everything All the Time", including Great Salt Lake, Monsters, and, of course, the Funeral. They played one new tune and a cover, neither of which I can recall, but if you point your mouse to You Set the Scene, you can get a little more info on songs covered.

Next to the stage was Andrew Bird, who, admittedly, I didn't know was more popular than Band of Horses. I while back (like, several years) I was given a copy of The Mysterious Production of Eggs and found it both fascinating and delightful. But then I don't remember hearing anything else by him until recently while watching t.v. there was a hotel commercial with a song of his playing in the background. He put out a new album this year which is supposed to be on everyone's top 10 list so I feel it my duty to check this out. Anyways, Bird and two other guys played however you would have sworn it was a dozen had you not been looking at the stage. They make full use of delays to create some amazing layered songs that seemed insane to me that they were able to do it all and make everything in time. Behind Bird was this quite large double gramophone thing that would twirl like crazy when they would play; it was really hypnotizing and made me a little dizzy when I watched it on the big screens.

I feel like this post is starting to get too long, and I let it sit for enough time for everyone else out there to have written a review, and possible much more comprehensive than this. But, I will say that having an orchestra back the Decemberists was probably one of the smarter things for them to do. However, never having seen them live before this I could be very wrong on that. Regardless, I found the two a perfect match. Highlights for me being that they played a couple tracks off of Picaresque which is hands down my favorite by them, and when Colin Meloy decided to prance about attempting to do an air guitar solo on the crescent wall that surrounds the pit in front of the stage I realized they're much more lighthearted than their 18th century suicide characters portray. One thing I found funny was in listening to the lyrics to "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" and seeing the crowds reaction. Now, I am familiar with the lyrics and their somewhat biting review of the city I live in, but whatever, it's a catchy tune. However, seeing a crowd cheer on the song every time he sung the city's name, I'm pretty sure not all these folks were quite listening to what was being said. Anyways, they did come out for an encore- "The Chimbley Sweep" which, when I saw the accordion was hoping it the Mariner's Revenge Song, but no. Then again, maybe not everyone would have enjoyed an 8+ minute song about whales and killing some seedy guy.

Overall I was quite pleased with everyone's performance tonight and hope that all of them on their own come back for much more intimate shows. Except for the Decemberists, who I am quite aware that I missed my chance for intimate performances from them for many years to come. Oh, and I took some shots of the show, however it was with a "real" camera so I need to get my ass down to the developers; in the meantime enjoy some generic shots.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Bad Muthaf*cker- Andre Williams, Flash Express @ Safari Sam's June 29, 2007

I can be crass; I will unabashedly tell a dirty joke while certain friends of mine will redden in shame; Those same friends are also the ones that will remind me that children will be present and please refrain from using the word fucknut. However, I will never be as crass as Andre Williams, never ever. For a man nearing 70 something, he will sing "Give it to me baby" and make me blush. Tonight, in what you guys must see as a trend here, I showed up as the second band was ending their set, which left Flash Express and then Andre Williams.

Ok. I need to put a caveat on here. I was told that the band before Andre Williams, and who also ended up being the backing band, was Flash Express. HOWEVER, there is a Los Angeles band called Flash Express as well and I cannot seem to find any info to prove that this band I saw perform was in fact Flash Express. So, please, if you look at the band in the photos and know that, Yes- this is totally Flash Express, or Uh-no this is definitely not the band, then please tell me. Thanks.

Anywho, with all that blah blah aside, they were not the most exciting/original band to see. It was only after three songs in that I started to bop my head a little. The crowd that was enjoying them though was bordering somewhere along the lines of the Rockabilly scene and guys who like Monster Trucks. It reminded me of hyped up lounge music or really fast "white guy blues". The guys though could play, I will give them that. I think what bothered me the most is how many times the singer wanted to put motherfucker into the songs; you can only do that so many times before I stop taking you seriously. The funniest thing here though was the one guy who got the job of wearing shades on stage, doing back up vocals and shaking either a tambourine or a maraca, or both, and almost never in time with the actual music. I felt like he's the friend of the band who just got out of rehab and needed something to do.

Now, once you took away the lyrics and they had to start playing Andre Williams songs, all the showiness was scraped away and they were a great backing band. Now... on to the man.

Andre Williams started off by walking through the crowd to get up to the stage. He actually seems a little intimidating walking through, what with young girls throwing themselves at a 71 year old. And it's not like a rich old man thing, he doesn't really have much money, he's just that cool. Sauntering on stage with what looked like a complete satin suit of royal blue and red, he crooned "Give It to Me Baby" over and over into the microphone. While covering songs off the last couple of releases, including "Agile, Mobile and Hostile" and "I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas", he gave smooches to anyone up in front of the stage, regardless of sex.

It was apparent though that Williams was getting up there in years. In between songs, or when the band started jamming, he had to take a sit break, or lean up against one of the band members. But I give him an incredible amount of kudos just for getting up there and doing a compete set. And the show was entertaining and I danced and had fun while this cool old guy sang about bonin' and cussing. Oh, and if you're still not convinced, there's a movie/documentary coming out about him so I suggest that for future viewing material.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hey Mister Tambourine Man, Could You Put a Couple Down?- Brothers and Sisters @ Spaceland June 25, 2007

I took a little breather lately from going to shows in case you've been wondering what had become of the site for the last two weeks. Mainly I had a crap load of stuff interfering with my ability to get to shows or stay up past 10 o'clock on a weeknight. Alas, Spaceland had a free Monday night residency for the Deadly Syndrome with Brothers and Sisters, and goddammit an unannounced appearance at midnight by the Pity Party, who I keep trying to get to see but always have my plans upended when it comes time to see them. Including this night too unfortunately.

We arrived just as Brothers and Sisters started and we stayed right up till they finished, mostly in part due to an exhaustive day which made me ok with leaving cause I at least got to see ONE band. So anyways, Brothers and Sisters is outta Austin, TX (one of the best places right now for new, awesome music, besides L.A. that is) and actually does have brothers and sisters in the band, namely Will and Lily Courtney who lead and sing. They also answer the question of "Can one band have too many tambourines?" Um, yeah, actually they can. At some point during the show the numbers on Spaceland's tiny stage seemed to have doubled as people came on solely to play tambourines, a bit too much if you ask me. It's just asking for "parody" to be stamped on to them.

Anyways, the music sounded pretty good, nothing really new, even perhaps calling back to some good ol' seventies country rock. They did have a steal guitar, which for me is always a plus. Actually, the guy playing it also played about five other instruments as well including the keys and the guitar, and maybe a tambourine that I might have overlooked. Everyone on stage looked to be enjoying themselves as their bopping along to the music spread out audience wise so that I found myself swaying as well (and into a couple of people with full drinks too, sorry about that....).

Tonight was also the last night that Brothers and Sisters would be here in L.A. I believe that they were here for pretty much the whole month. They are definitely worth checking out if you're into the whole alt-country scene, and not afraid to venture knee deep into the freak-hippies that attach to bands such as these like moths to a bare bulb.

Ah, and one thing about Spaceland: free show = no parking. Which also means having to wait 20 minutes for the valet to find your car and almost get you run down in the street.

Monday, June 11, 2007

SUMMER CAMP! with the Raveonettes and the Little Ones @ Little Radio June 10, 2007

Going to see bands perform in the daytime is always a sorta surreal experience. Especially when the last band has played and you walk out the door, and suddenly your eyes are being blinded from intense sunlight, even though it's now 6:30 in the evening. Ouch.

Today was the second installment of this summer's Summer Camp, organized by Little Radio. Boasting a water slide, free food and drinks, and FREE MUSIC, you can't go wrong with this much entertainment. Today was especially important to be there because I missed the Raveonettes Friday night. This seemed to be a recurring curse that was finally lifted as of today. Over the last two or so years, every time they came to play out here in LA I missed them for some reason. Plans would be made, money in hand, and then SOMETHING had to go wrong. Not this day, finally.

We really didn't have so much time to hang out there so we didn't pack bathing suits for the pool. Really, they had a pool there too. So standing outside drinking Dewars even under the tarp canopy in jeans was proving to be too hot for us. Inside was somewhat cooler, and we had wandered inside to catch the Little Ones (having missed the opening band Brothers & Sisters).

I couldn't for the life of me remember if I'd seen the Little Ones before. I recognized the name, and they sounded familiar, but.... Anyways, the best word I can think of to describe them was HAPPY. They were all smilies and whooping and yelling and they even had what looked like choreographed drumming and keyboard playing. That's always pretty neat. They also liked to play musical instruments(like musical chairs.. get it?), which for whatever reason is always entertaining to me. Like going to see Bedroom Walls where you never seem to know which one of them will be on what instrument. The Little Ones make me think I'm listening to a British band; there's something in the lead singer's voice and maybe the sunny poppy tunes that seem lined with slight sad notes. But they're not, they're from here.

I'm not sure if everyone knows that the Raveonettes acquired their name from the Buddy Holly song "Rave On"-they did by the way if you didn't know that. So, it was fun to hear them start up their set with "Everyday", one of my favorite Buddy Holly songs (one of which I also wanted to do a cover of, but dammit, theirs was pretty great). Today's show had them performing as just a duo; in fact, I believe their tour was called the Electric Duo tour. At least it was until the newer songs, then they had help on drums by Sandra Vu (from Midnight Movies- so pissed I missed them Friday) for the rest of the set. After "Chain Gang of Love", their second song into the set, something technical went wrong with an amp or along the lines of that nature and they had to fiddle with stuff for a bit. After a few they were back up and played "Love in a Trashcan". For just the two of them (at least for the first half) they sounded amazing to me and still kept their signature sound regardless of having only two instruments playing at a time. When the both of them sing, it's very hypnotic to me and also odd that I know there are two people singing, and yet it's hard to pull out the separate voices.

In another odd turn of events, I actually kept track of most of the songs they played, which included: Attack of the Ghost Riders, the Candy Song, My Tornado, Dead Sound and some new ones including (I believe) Lust and closing with Aly Walk With Me. One thing I must try and do when writing these things down is write legibly. Then I can be a bit more accurate with these things, sorry guys.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dance Dance With Your Pants Off: Anavan, The Shark That Ate My Friend, and Bloody Robots @ the Scene, June 6, 2007

Firstly, a big thanks goes out to la-underground for putting on this show (except for the scary clown poster, jesus I hate clowns). I don't think I've shaken that involuntarily since I was stuck on a bus in below zero weather with no heat. But this was the good shaking, the boogie kind.

Tonight was a weird blend of noise, keyboards, helmets, lizard people and testosterone. The girls tonight were very underrepresented, which I don't get cause I had quite an enjoyable time. Also, it's funny that the more I've gotten out to these things, the more people I start to recognize; I'm pretty sure the drummer for the Monolators was here tonight. Anyways- the show:

Started off SO FUCKING LOUD with the Bloody Robots. It sounded like three people, but upon closer inspection it was only two. We couldn't figure out how the guy was getting his bass to sound like a guitar but thought that was pretty cool. Anyway, they played some very aggressive, brash, heavy sounding music that left my ears almost close to bleeding. With earplugs. And standing outside. Damn.

After my head finally calmed down, The Shark That Ate My Friend were up second. Coming out of Orange County somewhere these youngsters were introduced to me, on a musical level, not very long ago and I was pretty excited by what I heard. First of all, there are two keyboards and drums, nothing else. They make this incredible happy dance music that just sounds really cool, kinda reminiscent of the Unicorns. And then occasionally interjected with bizarre video game noises. OH, and the drummer played so fast I thought he was going to break the kit. They were overall really entertaining to watch. Too bad they're all the way inland.

So, the poster had Anavan headlining however they were third instead. Not to sound biased, but this band is one of my favorite LA acts so already I was beaming to see them. And man do they put on a fun show. Donning hockey helmets with microphones, this three piece makes some sick elctro-dance-noise music that you can't help shaking too. One guy in the audience looked like he was convulsing, but he was smiling so there was no need to call an ambulance. They use their own spot lights, have a smoke machine, and at one point a man wearing a red lizard/dragon suit came crawling off the stage. Fun folks, fun. And they like to get personal with the audience too, pants did come off at some point. I'm not entirely sure as to which songs they played, although I'm pretty sure they did belt out "Mingle". It was just so frenetic that I was lost in the beats, and not due to more poor memory of such things.

I was exhausted in all respects after their set so I did not stick around to see the Mormons, but I hear they're a fun band. Supposedly they wear helmets when they play too. Which is also entertaining.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

One Plus One: A Night of (ALMOST) All Duos with Matt and Kim, Japanther, Mika Miko, and No Age Friday June 1, 2007 @ the Echo

Blarg. This should have been a week long concert going extravaganza, however Matt & Kim seemed to be the only stand out show worth making the effort for. The fact that I was witness to crowd surfing for the first time in forever was just one of the highlights Friday night over at the Echo.

There was a chance this show was going to (or had already) sold out so in an act of desperation we showed up at the Echo before the doors had even opened to try and get in. Waiting paid off, but getting there that early meant we would have to stay there for the next three or so hours. Usually this is horribly painful but tonight was an incredibly solid line up of bands that made sticking it out worth while.

What a night for duos. First up to play were Los Angeles guys NO AGE. They prove my point that two people can make a lot of melodic noise. Pounding the crap out of their instruments they still work through some interesting beats and harmonies. The great thing is that there is little difference between them live and their recorded stuff, it translates well, which sometimes can be a difficult task even for bands with years under their belts. I highly recommend going to see them, and you can if you're in the area on June 10 at the Smell, also playing with this band:

Mika Miko. They sound like a combination of late 70's NY new wave/punk and mid 90's lesbian hard core, except they look like they're 9th graders. This bizarre picture forming in your head right now actually produces some fun partying music. Scurrying around the stage, bent over instruments and telephone microphones, this group of girls pump out an obscene amount of energy that really got the crowd jumping around. And the crowds really do love them. They play constantly and chances are wherever you see a group of concert posters somewhere, their name will be on it.

Third up was Brooklyn based Japanther, the second duo for the night. Two guys with a bass and a drum kit and I'm pretty sure some sampling thrown in. They play hardcore anthem music that will make your ears bleed but you want to stay around and sing along. Lightning Bolt came to mind while watching them. Oh, and they had a telephone microphone too.

Headlining tonight was Matt and Kim, the third duo and second Brooklyn based band. These two kids are probably the happiest people on earth. I've heard this about them, but seeing them live, with Kim's giant grin plastered on her face the WHOLE time they played was kinda nuts. Their music is happy poppy indie stuff, sorta like Mates of State in reverse, except grittier, much grittier. The album hasn't seen much of the light of day but you couldn't tell with the crowd at the Echo, it was SO packed there with just wall to wall people. And it was wall to wall people pumping their arms in the air and singing along to the music. One thing about the songs they play is that they are catchy, but also seem meaningful somehow, like you can't help singing your heart out along to the words. And live, when you watch Matt belting out the lyrics it all seems connected. Anyways, tonight they played tracks off their EP and the full length including No More Long Years, Yea Yeah, Silver Tiles, and It's a Fact. And the whole time people crowd surfed. I'm not kidding, really, lots of people. The whole night was just waves of energy that culminated with probably the question, "How else can we show we're excited?" to which was answered, "We can dive off the stage."

The only downside of the night was the giant glass of beer that got accidentally poured down the front of me. GodDAMN there were a lot of people there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Saturday Nite Special: Lip Synch and Future America @ Spaceland this Saturday May 26, 2007

Yes, I know this is a bit unusual. But the Lip-Synch show is only once a year, and more people should know about it anyways.

I'm pushing the music part to the show, Future America, who I will be going to see. This local two piece of bass and drums play heavy distorted noise with catchy beats. While the lyrics can be quite irreverent at times, they also can be quite catchy ("Hey, you wanna go to Tijuana? Hell yeah."). The humorous undertones and bar-style singing remind me of The Slats. So go listen to them on their myspace page and swing by Saturday at Spaceland to check them out. Anyways, it will be a good show all around to catch. Not to mention the scores of people who will make asses out of themselves. Hell yeah.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Random Acts: Hearts of Palm U.K. @ Hang the DJs/ the Echo and Priestbird @ the Smell May 19, 2007

So my original plans for the evening kinda got botched a bit due to poor planning and general laziness. However, the Echo was having this event:

Which seemed like fun. I like free stuff. Also, I heard (from here) that this band Pit Er Pat, who are produced by the Sea and Cake's John McEntire, were playing at the Smell. The end result being to make the best of it with my gal pals.

Ok, I can now give an honest review of Hearts of Palm U.K. Seeing as they were the first band to play the Echo party. They did have to compete with a movie that the club was projecting over them. I have no clue what it was, just that it had subtitles and I clearly remember reading: "You can't take away my chastity in a cesspool like this". Regardless, they were actually really good this time around. I still agree with my first impression of being poppy, electronic girl folk music. Maybe not the best description but that seems to fit right with me. It was the two girls up until the end of the set and then for the last 3 songs they had a cellist accompany them. They did two covers tonight, Faith by George Michael, really- it was funny cause the 3 of us were singing along to it. I think I liked that song when I was 6 or 7. And then they did the Bryan Ferry song again. The songs seem cute by them, and when they play, it reminds me of being in high school and watching your friends get up and play in front of everyone on talent day or something. They just seem slightly uncomfortable when they are playing. One did play a triangle though, that really brought me back to high school.

Hearts of Palm UK were the only band we stayed for although the DJ sets (both inside and out in the back) were pretty fun. They did play two Ladytron songs almost in a row though, and at that point we saw fit to get a move on over to the Smell.

The trip to the Smell seemed to follow along the same lines of this being a crazy mixed up day. I don't go to the club very often (see here) but even so, the schedule seemed to run on time to a point. Tonight however they were either running really really late, or the line up I read was wrong. We got there during the middle of a one woman set. Although she was much up for audience participation. Unfortunately, she picked the one guy who couldn't shake the shakey musical instrument in time. Ah well. It was pleasant enough but we wandered back into the front of the place to sit. I figured since it was going on quarter to 12, the next band up had to be Pit Er Pat. Uh, no, not actually. The next band, Priestbird, had a small audience pooled around the stage who, after the first blaring notes, were quite ready to rock. It was such an odd set up, the singer had a double neck guitar (guitar and bass I believe), there was a cellist (what's up with that tonight) who also played keys, and a drummer who had a gong. No really, a gong. I think the last time I was anywhere where there was a gong, it was at the Hollywood Bowl, and they were playing classical music. My first thought immediately was to write them off as noise. However, as they progressed through their set, there was a definite melody present that wasn't as offensive as I first thought. Eventually I decided that there was some structure to what they were doing and in the end realized it wasn't that bad.

Tiredness struck though, and since I was the driver I decided that tonight was not the night I would be seeing Pit Er Pat. I guess all things Sea and Cake were just not meant to be tonight.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Meant to Be: Agent Ribbons, Hearts of Palm U.K. @ the Silver Lake Lounge May 17, 2007

May is looking to be the busiest show going month in a long time for me. Unexpectedly, as if possibly by fate even, I was able to fit in another show this week. It started in the a.m. on my occasional commute from the east side to the west side for work. Stuck in traffic on the 10 I decided NPR wasn't cutting it and switched it over to KXLU cause I had only just remembered that it was Thursday, and on Thursday from 6 to 10 is McCallister's Hostile Makeover. An incredibly awesome radio music show that happened to be the first place several years ago that I was introduced to bands like Irving and the Sharp Ease (r.i.p.). Anyhoo- I switched over and this cute song was playing, and there was this girl's voice belting out "Don't touch me..." among other lyrics and it instantly got stuck in my head. Scenario two: leaving work KXLU was still on (this is actually a rare occurrence that the radio is on instead of a cd playing) and again I recognized the lyrics that I had heard much earlier in the day however this time they were live, in the studio. All this time I kept missing the name of the band, but I did hear "Silver Lake Lounge" and "tonight", which piqued my interest.

Fast forward a few hours and I found myself at the Silver Lake Lounge, finally able to place the "Salvation" bulb sign that I've seen in local live concert photos- I've never been here before.

When we got there, local band Hearts of Palm UK were on stage. I've seen this band name posted all over the place, I'm assuming they're quite popular around these parts but this was the first time I've ever seen them live. They're a duo- two girls with lots of instruments. My notes from last night read "light-folky girl pop, with keyboards". This review can't really do them justice, partially because I got caught up in a conversation and my attention wandered elsewhere, until they closed their set with, I'm pretty sure, a cover of Bryan Ferry's 'More Than This'. That's always entertaining.

So this band that I kept hearing all day... they're called Agent Ribbons, and hail from Sacramento. They were adorable, but they also looked like if you tried to mess with them they'd fuck you up. The line up consisted of two gals, one sang and played guitar and the other played the drums and at one point jumped on an accordion (which somehow became the cool new instrument. I should tell my sister, she played one for years). The music was bluesy-garage-girl pop, and the singers voice reminded me of the girl from Pony Up! and someone else that I can't remember for the life of me and has been driving me crazy since last night; very crackly and deep. There was something very crafty about the two of them; one might expect them to live in a giant pink Victorian house somewhere with a pet pig. When they played they would look back on each other and smile or giggle, like they had some secret they were trying to keep from the audience.

Anyways, they were enjoyable to watch and played the songs I had heard earlier (Don't Touch Me, Birds & Bees) as well as others from the album and some not from the album. It turned out I was the only one in the audience who had heard them perform on KXLU. But really, that station is iffy once you get on the east side. Oh, and if you order an album from them, they'll send you cute things in the mail with it. So do it.