Jurassic Park In Concert @ Hollywood Bowl

David Newman leads a dino-mite event

August 18th, 2019
David Fisch

Film director Steven Spielberg kicked off the unofficial start of the “summer movie event” when he released Jaws in 1975, and he has since perfected and dominated the fan-centric movie-going phenomenon every few summers with a tentpole release. In 1993, the “summer movie event” was Jurassic Park, and just like Jaws before it, it has become an entertainment mainstay that has its housing on the screens of everywhere from backyard barbeque parties to rooftop poolside lounges. It is tailor-made for the outdoor viewing experience, as its breezy thrills, iconic lines, meme-ified shirtless Jeff Goldblum, and impressive visuals can envelope and entertain viewers across all generations as they bask in the cool and calm nights before the workload begins once again toward Fall. Let’s also not forget that the roars of a T-Rex echoing throughout and the Velociraptor’s hushed brustling through the bushes would make anyone’s hair raise.

But the key ingredient, as with most, if not all, of Spielberg’s projects, is the score by John Williams. Spielberg is a master of evoking emotion visually with close-ups of expressions and lingering shots of familiarity, but it’s Williams and his penchant for motifs and themes that elevate these moments with overwhelming emotional resonance. With Jurassic Park, he provides the audience with a little bit of everything: tenderness, hijinks, tension, excitement. This is all brought on with rolling bass drums ramping up the moments a character has to escape or French horns to coronate us into the large and unexplored vistas of Isla Nublar or piano to symbolize the importance of togetherness in trying times.

It’s simply hard to imagine any other composer in Williams’ place, as he quite literally creates the world of Jurassic Park in the context of his orchestrations. I’ve heard and seen performances of the “Theme to Jurassic Park” on countless occasions by Williams himself and by Gustavo Dudamel, who is the musical director of the LA Phil Harmonic, but I had yet to see the film with the score performed in its entirely to the film onscreen. For fans of the film like myself and anyone who happened to grab a ticket this past weekend in Los Angeles, they got to witness just that with the LA Phil Harmonic lead by David Newman, who has once before been tasked to bring the best of Williams, and witness it at the Hollywood Bowl, which is the class example venue for the outdoor “summer movie event” experience.

For films exhibited in this nature, the music score is extracted from the film so that the orchestra can perform it, and though sometimes it’s a little hard to discern the score as it is in the film from one performed live (unless you’ve studied the film repeatedly and know every minutiae of the cues and have written a biography about it), this was a case in which I was able to focus on all of the little details in the performance. Specifically, it was interesting to see that the scene educating the characters about dinosaur DNA – a cartoonish anthropomorphic DNA strand explaining how the park could have even been conceived – was a part of the score at all, involving frolicking brass for a flying mosquito and fast-paced string stabs and xylophone as the DNA code overwhelms the screen. It’s not a part of the film I think about having been scored (it’s not technically a part of the soundtrack release), but it showcases just how much every musical component of the film has to be conceptualized.

What’s also fascinating is seeing how much of Williams’ score there isn’t. Arguably the most compelling sequence of the film – the entrance of the T-Rex – is virtually devoid of any scoring, allowing the dread of the T-Rex’s booming thuds and the torrential downpour of rain to soak the viewer in before the imposing T-Rex roar enacts the first realization of terror. Though seeing an orchestra taking a break during these moments isn’t captivating, it brings to a point how important it is when the music does cue up again when the film requires it. It’s a testament to the analysis and brilliant direction of Mr. Spielberg and his studied collaboration with Mr. Williams.

It’s a fun experience seeing any movie outdoors, but seeing a film made for the outdoor summer movie season, with the intricate sounds produced by a full orchestra, witnessed with thousands of adoring and newly-minted fans, right in the backyard of Hollywood itself, is something you just have to do.

For more info:

LA Phil
Hollywood Bowl

Sound and Fury 2019

Historical (imo)

July 26th, 2019
Lex Voight
Category: Lead Story, Review

In 1966 Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech, during which he said “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times.” Only about three years later, Janis Joplin followed that up with the maxim “Time keeps movin’ on.” This is all just to say that we continue to live in interesting times. Perhaps the most interesting, as far as old Chinese curses go. We look back in history–of which the Cold War era seems particularly comparative (when we aren’t feeling particularly unkind)–and we see more than a few contemporary resemblances. And while the news cycle can get brutal, its incredible to have spaces that can act as a temporary haven from daily woes…even when its a haven of brutality, itself.
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Thunderpussy at the El Rey

Long may the reign

July 22nd, 2019
Lex Voight

Thunderpussy are a force. I have spoken about them innumerable times and people, i believe, are finally starting to listen. They opened up for Black Pistol Fire this last week at the El Rey and CRUSHED crowded room with their rock n roll glory. Check out the pics below.
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Hermosa Beach Summer Series is almost here!

Free music in Hermosa this summer!

Lex Voight
Category: News

The popular FREE community event returns to the sands of the quintessential Southern California beach town over two weekends in August, and for the first time ever, is expanding to both Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 17/18 and Aug. 24/25), each offering a jam-packed lineup of music, comedy, movies on the beach and other family-friendly experiences.
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Lingua Ignota – Caligula

Absolute radiance

Lex Voight
Category: Review

Caligula is a piece of profound resonance–within its abyssal depths there are multitudes. It’s brilliance is it’s fiercely unique welding of genres, most reminiscent of bands like Oathbreaker or Thou, that blends traditional, almost operatic delicateness that, moment to moment, may swell and rise to colossal heights before breaking to inhuman screams.
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Vale live at The Lexington

Living in darkness, destined for light

Lex Voight
Category: Lead Story, Review

An unassuming woman in Milo glasses ascends the stage and squints into the (relatively dim) bar lights with a frown. The guitarist backing her seems to shy from the dull yellow light, using his long locks as a screen from his eyes. A couple jokes are made before a small voice asks through the speakers,

“Can we turn those down please? Y’know…make it dark and creepy in here?”
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Show Review: Mitski @ The Hollywood Palladium

Mitski and her table electrify at The Palladium.

July 21st, 2019
Lesley Park
Category: Lead Story, Review

In response to one of many screams of “I LOVE YOU, MITSKI!” that would be heard between songs from the sold out crowd at the Hollywood Palladium, the artist looks up while adjusting on stage and replied, “That is a good diaphragm. You should consider singing.”

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Interview with Thunderpussy’s Whitney (Guitar)

They hit the El Rey 7/17

July 11th, 2019
Lex Voight
Category: Interview, News

Thunderpussy are on a quest for world domination. I have written a lot about them over the last couple years and its a testament to the band that I am still just as passionate now as I was when I first found out about them. They are here again this week, touring with Black Pistol Fire at the El Rey on 7/17. In anticipation of them coming, I caught up with Thunderpussy’s resident shredder Whitney.
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Anderson .Paak at the Forum

Photog Chelsea Rae captures new pop glory

Lex Voight

When you achieve a certain level of success in the pop world, it can be difficult to maintain what many see as “artistic integrity.” Anderson .Paak is defying all of those expectations with a firm and uncompromising artistic vision that is actively evolving pop music in new and exciting ways. He recently stopped by the Forum for an incredible performance, with a handful of like-minded artists in tow including Earl Sweatshirt and Thundercat.
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