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.