Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Black Keys @ The Hollywood Palladium - 9/27/10

Back in early May, I got an Email from Live Nation with the presale password for The Black Keys at The Hollywood Palladium on Monday, September 27th. Right away, I made a note in my planner reminding myself to be on at 10am on the dot two days later so there'd be zero chance of me not getting tickets. When the 9/27 show immediately sold out, The Keys added a 2nd show for the following night & it sold out too. That wasn't too surprising. I'm not the only person in Los Angeles who appreciates the unbelievable talent of Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney. It's pretty undeniable :-)

Coincidentally, the concert announcement came within about a week of the posting ( where I proclaimed I would see The Black Keys again & swore I wouldn't screw anything up the third time around. The third was definitely the charm!

Everlasting Light

Chop & Change

Howlin' For You

She's Long Gone

I Got Mine

Sinister Kid

Friday, September 24, 2010

Menomena & Suckers @ El Rey Theatre - 9/16/10

A long time ago, my buddy sent me a music video about an adorable, hard-working, little bumblebee that was trapped in the assembly line of a factory run by evil black birds. The video was inventive & thought-provoking while the song accompanying it was beautiful & unique. For years, the only thing I knew about Menomena was that I totally dug the music video for the track Evil Bee off their 2007 album Friend and Foe

Then, in early August, I was hanging out at another friend's apartment in Venice Beach when I heard the song Dirty Cartoons off Menomena's latest album Mines (released 7/26/10). I was so enthralled with Dirty Cartoons that I made my friend let me listen to it for a 2nd time right away. I then hurried home to download the entire album (illegally, of course) & became 100% obsessed.

That same day, I purchased tickets to see Menomena at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on 9/16/10 & it wasn't until only about a week before the show that I realized another band I only recently discovered, Suckers, would be opening for my favorite indoor venue in LA no less! I would've paid to see Suckers separately if the opportunity presented itself so the fact that I got to see 2 bands I really liked for the price of 1 just made the entire experience that much sweeter!

Both Suckers & Menomena MAJORLY impressed me last Thursday night. If you haven't heard of Suckers, you need to look them up & check them out asap. They put on a hell of a live show. As for Menomena, all I can say is, whether you know them or not, if you saw them live, you'd be hooked IMMEDIATELY. Every guy in the band sings & they all play multiple instruments. You know you're in for a treat when the lead singer/guitarist puts down his guitar & picks up a saxophone.

SUCKERS - I love how the lead singer flails around while he sings. It's so cute :-)


MENOMENA - Dirty Cartoons




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Walkmen @ The Musicbox in Los Angeles - 9/15/10

Last Wednesday, I was planning on going straight home after work to do laundry & clean up around my apartment (both chores were seriously needed) but, around 6pm, when I received a Facebook message from my buddy Nick asking if I'd want to take his extra ticket to see The Walkmen at The Musicbox in Hollywood, my plans suddenly changed. I couldn't resist. Plus, I had an extra ticket to Suckers & Menomena at the El Rey Theatre the very next night (post from that show coming up next) so I convinced Nick to simply swap tickets with me. Going to both shows on both nights was a brilliant idea. The Walkmen were fantastic.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

FYF Fest @ Los Angeles State Historic Park - 9/4/10


I was planning on writing a long, detailed post about FYF Fest last Saturday in Downtown LA but my festival buddy Pete beat me to the punch by posting the full description of our day on his own music blog ( 

Best Coast

Pete captured every single detail of our FYF adventure perfectly so I'm just gonna copy his post here & add my own photos & videos to go along with it.

One personal side-note I MUST add is that Ryan Gosling is GORGEOUS, creative & super talented & I want to have his babies.

Pete's Post: "This would be my first trip to the FYF Festival located in Downtown LA at Los Angeles Historic Park, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I picked up my friend Lauren, we made some road sodas with none other than Jack Daniels and ginger ale and made our way to the Western/Wilshire Metro station to make our trip much easier and less expensive. 10 minutes after hopping on the metro we arrived at our destination and made our way to the venue.

Upon walking up I see a sea of people waiting in line. This can’t be the line for people to get in can it? I find someone in the line and quickly ask “What is this line for, people who don’t have tickets yet?” She promptly replied, “this is actually for people who did will call.” It was as if someone knocked the wind out of me when she said that. Since when are we to be punished for ordering tickets via will call? Shouldn’t we have the easiest time obtaining our tickets? I took a gaze at the long line which looked like it stretched on for miles, and thought to myself that I will be here for at least 2 hours before I get in. Someone in front of us told me that the line to buy tickets is actually extremely short if I didn’t feel like waiting in line.

Now came the big question: Do I wait 2 hours to get my $30 will call ticket, do I simply walk away and swear off the FYF Festival for life, or do I shell out another $30 for a new ticket at the gate which I could obtain in minutes? I went with option 3. I would not be denied my right to music which I looked forward to seeing on that 89 degree weather in Downtown LA. We proceeded to the front where right as we saw the line to buy tickets had grown, there was someone selling an extra hard ticket they had. I of course told him I’d give him $30 for that ticket to avoid yet another line. But wait, there is more. Now both Lauren and I had our hard tickets and knew it was only a matter of minutes before we’d reach the destination of our journey, until we saw another line! This line was for people with tickets waiting to get in. After another 20 minute delay, we finally entered the venue. Hallelujah!

View from the venue
Ok, now onto the music!  As we waited in line to enter we were lucky enough to be close to the stage where the first band we had hoped to see, Warpaint, was playing and were able to listen to them from a distance.   Upon entering past the extremely relaxed security check we headed straight to the Oak Stage to catch LA’s own, Best Coast.  It was as if all frustrations were immediately lifted from our minds as we walked in to listen to Bethany Cosentino’s voice, which reminds me of the sounds of Rilo Kiley’s, Jenny Lewis, before she went off to do her solo projects (which in my opinion was a major mistake leaving her long time band mates).  Best Coast’s sound can be best classified as garage rock, lo-fi,  or surf pop and falls under the ever-growing general categorization of indie-pop.  After having the sun beating down on us we decided to take a break and head for the beer garden to hydrate with some water, and of course some well-deserved PBR’s.
Best Coast
During our time in the beer tent, we found ourselves faintly listening to the sound coming from the Redwood Stage.  We pulled out our handy guide to see who this artist we were both digging was, and at that moment we both found a new artist that we now like, AA Bondy.  AA Bondy’s acoustic folk music reminded me of a young Bob Dylan or Ryan Adams (who if you know me, really sent me into a spiral of exploration of the alternative rock/folk rock genre in 2003) if you can imagine that combination.
The secret spot. That is that ever sought after place to meet up with friends at a festival should you ever get split up.  Anyone who has been to a music festival knows that this is #1 extremely difficult to execute if it is not found at the beginning of the day and #2 technology often delays responses via text message or bbm.  This is the holy grail at music festivals.  Ours was a little patch of grass surrounded by blue tents which housed vendors for the days performances.  Post beer we chilled out on the shaded grass area and listened to Soft Pack, another unplanned band on our journey that was FYF Fest 2010.  Again we were extremely intrigued in the sounds of Soft Pack as we were with AA Bondy and just as I was beginning to show serious signs of fatigue, I was reignited with excitement that I knew would carry me through the rest of the day/night.
Local Natives
As 5:45 quickly approached we headed to Redwood Stage for Los Angeles’ own, Local Natives, who were beyond excited to be back home and playing for their home crowd.  They freakin’ rocked it!  I had seen them before a few months ago at Coachella, which for those of you who read that post, first made me believe that they were a great band.  Their album prior to seeing them live, didn’t do it for me.  Now they are on constant rotation on my iPod.  Again they brought an unmatched energy to FYF and had everyone locked in for their set.  The true acknowledgment that you  have a following? Multiple men sporting a ‘stache matching that of front man Taylor Rice.  I kid you not I saw over 50 dudes rocking that same ‘stache throughout the day and I can only imagine there were a few hundred more!  Local Natives take a warm/familiar indie-folk sound, combine it with three-part harmonies, energetic drums and just rock your world. This spawned a discussion between Lauren and I how great it is when you see bands play where all members of the band can hop on any instrument during a concert and own that instrument (a la Arcade Fire, the first time I saw them live at Coachella 2006). They are a multi-talented group of musicians, with beautiful harmonies and an intense stage presence, who bring joy and pleasure to their fans.  Definitely my vote as the performance of the day.
Local Natives
At the end of the performance, I finally met up with my new co-worker and music friend Neil.  We discussed Local Natives and quickly jumped over to catch out some of Ariel Pink, suggested to me as a strong act by a trusted music source.  Flashback 50 years, take some LSD and dance barefoot in the dirt, and I can definitely get a vision of the influences of Ariel Pink.  Not that I didn’t enjoy the set, but it was just a bit off-balance from the other acts I had seen earlier that day and planned to see the rest of the evening.  But my real reason for being at the Oak Stage was to make sure I got a good spot for Ted Leo & The Pharmacists.  And just like that the seas parted and Neil and I made our way to the 4th row, almost directly in front of Ted Leo himself.  I last saw Ted Leo at the El Rey back in 2007 and I was blown away at the energy coming from both the band itself and the crowd.  It was no surprise to see him rocking out just the same and the crowd just as energized.  About half way through the set I left Neil and his band mate and made the executive decision to head over and catch Dead Man’s Bones.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
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Dead Man's Bones
At the time I forged forward for Ted Leo, many people had journeyed over to the Redwood Stage to gaze at heart-throb Ryan Gosling and his band Dead Man’s Bones.  Upon arrival I walked up just in time to catch their performance of “My Body’s A Zombie for You” which I first heard/saw on Pitchfork TV a few months back.  Joining him on stage is band mate and friend, Zach Shields and the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, started by Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers.  The S.C.C.C, has a consistent presence on the band’s debut album and it was great to see them on stage with Gosling performing dressed up in full costume of their favorite dead artists, rulers, and legends ranging from James Dean to Amelia Earheart.  I wouldn’t say that Gosling has the most captivating voice, but the harmonies of the S.C.C.C, and the instrumental sounds make for an enjoyable performance.
Dead Man's Bones
The rest of the night took a bit of an interesting turn.  Lauren and I were hungry. Neither of us had eaten since earlier in the day and all we could see was long lines at the ONE food station that was set up yesterday.  We spotted a line for pretzels and decided that would have to do.  Lauren went to get on-line for some $4 waters while I would wait to get us some pretzels.  During this time I caught a performance from Man Man which I didn’t fall in love with but fell under the surf rock genre for me personally with a bit of a twist.  I really had no interest in the upcoming bands aside from catching Delorean at towards the end of the night.  We sat through a performance of !!! which turned out to be rather enjoyable.
And for the first time, the music side of things were totally disorganized.  It was 10:10 and we had arrived to see one of the bands that were a must see for the day, Delorean.  As we approached the Sequoia Stage for the first time that day, School of Seven Bells was still performing.  This was not a good sign.  Throughout the rest of the day, all the bands were on stage at the right time and off stage at the right time.  Clearly something had gone wrong at the Sequoia Stage that we were not aware of.  10 minutes pass, then 20, and now 30 and still NO DELOREAN!  We didn’t have time to mess around and wait for them as we were on a tight time-table to close the night out with Panda Bear before catching our train back to Western/Wilshire.  We had to leave without seeing one of the bands we really were looking forward to and forged our way back over to the other side to catch Panda Bear which was to start at 10:50.

Big Freedia booty shakin' en route to Panda Bear
Panda Bear was late to the stage too!  Finally after a 7 minute delay he took the stage and we were able to catch one long drawn out track of Panda Bear, better known as the lead of experimental group Animal Collective.  I find him weird! I said it, so weird just like I first found Animal Collective, but there are some amazing visuals that go along with his performance.  No, not visuals caused by hallucinogenic drugs, visuals displayed on a screen behind him as seen in the picture.
Panda Bear
It was now 11:10 and we had to begin our journey back to the train to catch the last train of the night to our stop.  We walk, then jog, then run as we nearly approached the departure time. We skipped buying tickets as there was an open gate to go through.  As we come to the bottom of the stairs I ask two police officers, “where is the train going to Wilshire and Western”.  They respond “that is it”, just as the doors are closing.  We were a mere :05 late and were forced to take a different train, and walk 1 mile to our car.
All in all there were some highs, some lows, but I’m glad I paid the extra $30 for another ticket so as to not miss 2 hours of music that I was eager to see.  Note to FYF Fest organizers, next year please have the following:
Efficient Will Call System
More people working the ticket lines
WAY MORE FOOD (they ran out of food at almost all the food stations, and if you say there are going to be over 12 food trucks, have 12 food trucks, not 2!)
Don’t have artists delayed 30 minutes
And because it was so bad, HAVE A BETTER WILL CALL SYSTEM! 2 Hour Lines should not be there for will call!
P.S. The LA Times Blog also offered another interesting take on the festival at 
And this is my favorite part: 
Best argument for organizational skills: Dear promoter Sean Carlson: We love you, and the Los Angeles music scene is all the better for your ambitiousness and boundless enthusiasm. But it's time to stage an intervention: The last two years of FYF have been some of the most frustrating concert experiences in recent memory. Want a bottle of water? Wait in line for 45 minutes. Have to use the facilities? That'll be an hour. Want something as wantonly luxurious as a cold beer? Soviet bread lines moved quicker. A great lineup means nothing if you spend half your time beneath punishing, shadeless sun unable to meet any basic human needs. Next year, double your capacity for every amenity or the "Y" in FYF may come to mean "You" instead of "Yeah" -- and you can fill in the rest of the acronym.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Arcade Fire's The Wilderness Downtown

It's almost 2am on a Thursday morning & I need to go to bed because I have to be at the office in less than 6 1/2 hrs but THIS simply cannot wait for a flowery, vividly detailed introduction.

I never thought I could love Arcade Fire more than I already did but I was wrong. This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a VERY long time set to one of my FAVORITE songs off the new Arcade Fire album The Suburbs.

Click HERE ->

And just go with it...

UltraLove @ Harvelle's - 9/1/10

Harvelle's is my favorite local music venue in Los Angeles. It's the place I always bring out of town guests because every person I bring there f*ckin LOVES it. Every time I go to Harvelle's, I discover a new fabulous artist I generally haven't heard of before. Tonight was no exception. I went to Harvelle's on a Wednesday night (which is more commonly a veg-on-the-couch night) to see my good friend from UCLA, Adam Berg, play keyboard. It wasn't until I walked into the bar that I realized Berg was backing a charismatic, groovy singer named UltraLove. UltraLove & his 6-piece band blew my socks off (metaphorically, of course, since I was wearing sandals).

Starting September 13th, Harvelle's is the place to be EVERY Monday night. On 9/13, UltraLove begins his weekly residency gig at the coolest bar in town. I promise you will be rewarded for rallying to go out dancing on a Monday night!