Artists Pay Tribute to Manchester

An outpouring of support for the victims

May 25th, 2017
Zein Khleif
Category: News

News of the bombing at Ariana Grande’s Manchester concert this week has left the music world shaken. Thousands of women and children (predominantly), out for a night of sing-along fun, were instead met with horror. Grande has suspended her tour until further notice, and British police officials are furiously continuing their investigation of the attack.

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Strange 80’s @ The Fonda

A cornucopia of stars for Sweet Relief

May 19th, 2017
Lex Voight

This past weekend was a star-studded benefit for Sweet Relief, a non profit seeking to provide healthcare for career musicians. Covering all the biggest hits of the 80’s, performers like Tenacious D, Weird Al, Sarah Silverman, Taking Back Sunday, Anberlin, Slipknot, Velvet Revolver and tons more all put on a night to remember at the Fonda.
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Show Review: Billy Joel @ Dodger Stadium

Legend brought hits, guest stars and LA stories

May 15th, 2017
Mary Bonney
Category: News, Review

Last Saturday evening, legendary singer, songwriter, pianist and bicoastal hero Billy Joel brought his memorable discography and unrivaled stage presence to a packed Dodger Stadium. The nearly three-hour set spanned the performer’s four plus decade career and, while Joel may be pushing seventy, his performance was filled with an energy and enthusiasm that brought tens of thousands of fans to their feet. Bros singing “Uptown Girl”. Older couples wearing “I love BJ” shirts. Young hipsters. Dads with daughters. They all flocked to downtown Los Angeles to see the man himself tickle the ivories and lull them into a sweet, piano-filled reverie.

All photos by John Bernstein

Flanked by his longtime backing band, Joel began with a simple, “1, 2, 3, 4!” and the high-energy “Moving Out” and “My Life”. A camera was suspended above Joel so fans could see his piano prowess up close on long, narrow screens hung in the same arrangement as the instrument’s keys.

Joel seemed to be in equal awe of the gravitas of his surroundings as the audience as he mused that his first performances in Los Angeles were at the intimate Troubadour. He admitted to seeing Elton John perform at the stadium and riffed a bit of “Your Song” before the ballad “Vienna” (voted on by audience applause as Joel “couldn’t possibly do all his songs” that evening).

Every member of Joel’s pitch-perfect, expert-filled band had a time to shine, whether it was trumpet player Carl Fischer in  “Zanzibar” or keyboardist Dave Rosenthal in “The Entertainer”, a song Joel explained was written while living on Mulholland Drive when he was “wrong and cynical” that reminded him “what an asshole I used to be”. Later, he explained the factually inaccuracies of “The Ballad of Billy the Kid”, also written during his time in Los Angeles in response to his desire to “write a movie soundtrack when no one was asking me to write them.”

The audience voted for “For The Longest Time”, to which Joel responded “Duh!” It was an impressive feat to tackle one of the most well-known a’cappella songs in pop rock history in a stadium, but the five-person backing vocal group led by Joel blew fans away.

Joel enlisted the help of surprise guest stars, beginning with P!nk joining him onstage for a jazzy rendition of the classic “New York State of Mind” followed by a performance of her song “Try”. Axl Rose also came to electrify the stage with his rocking “Highway To Hell” and later joined Joel for “Big Shot”.

But it was Joel’s hits that kept the audience moving in the unseasonably chilly air. Fans danced with each other during “Always A Woman”, tried to keep up with the lyrics of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and swayed along with “Piano Man”, one of the evening’s most warmly received songs. Fans illuminated the stadium with cell phone lights as Joel let the audience finish the final, familiar chorus a’cappella.

The encore began with hits “Uptown Girl”, “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me” and “Only The Good Die Young”. The twenty-five song set culminated with “You May Be Right” and the audience sang along to, “I might be as crazy as you say, if I’m crazy then it’s true that it’s all because of you.” While it might seem crazy Joel is packing stadiums, his timeless music, unwavering talent and clear passion for performing ensures fans will pack the house to see him, crazy as they were at the beginning of his career to sing and dance along.

For more information on Billy Joel:
Official site

Jennifer Hudson Joins Season 13 of The Voice

Taking over for Alicia Keys as coach!

May 12th, 2017
Zein Khleif
Category: News
The Color Purple

Look out, there’s a new coach in town! Jennifer Hudson has officially signed on to coach season 13 of The Voice, alongside returning coach Miley Cyrus, and current coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
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Show Preview: Air @ The Greek Theatre

Downtempo duo plays the Greek Theatre on June 25h.

May 10th, 2017
Lesley Park
Category: News

It’s been seven long years since Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel AKA Air last toured the US during which the LA stop where they were supposed to play at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the LA Phil was cancelled at the eleventh hour (I’m totally not bitter or anything). In the intervening years from then ’til now, they’ve released two studio albums–Le voyage dans la lune and Music for Museum–as well as a compilation album Twentyears to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band’s inception.

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Festival Preview: Blackest of the Black

Danzig curates festival sure to corrupt you.

May 9th, 2017
Lex Voight
Category: News, Staff Pick

Knotfest is cute. Ozzfest is adequate.

But the real dark heavy hitters of extreme music are gathering in Orange County at the end of this month for the Blackest of the Black festival. Presided over by the lordly and ungodly presence of Glenn Danzig, the festival is curating a unique experience in the festival landscape featuring not only some of the heaviest and most sinister acts in music, but with the inclusion of “Castle Danzig–a fully immersive walkthrough experience of pain, pleasure, and metal, based on the music and graphic novels of Glenn Danzig.”
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On St. Terrible, Some Dharma, and Joy in Nothing

The other kind of Nirvana

Lex Voight
Category: News

There is joy in nothing.

That is not to say “there is no joy,” or “nothing is joyful,” but literally there is a joy in nothing…in nothingness. It’s a weird transmission that Buddhist dharma tapped into 2500 years ago—everything is transient, everything arises from and passes away back to nothingness. Be glad of it.
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Interview with Taking Back Sunday

On the eve of Strange 80’s Sweet Relief Benefit

May 8th, 2017
Lex Voight

Taking Back Sunday are truly a band that needs no introduction. Anyone who hasn’t heard of them till now has been living under a massive pop-music sized rock. They may not be your bread and butter, but the impact that they have had on both popular music and punk is undeniable. The band is going to be here this Sunday, May 14th, at the Fonda Theatre with a whole host of other incredible acts including Tenacious D, Anthrax, Velvet Revolver, Weird Al and Goldfinger for “Strange 80’s” — a benefit for Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
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Mascarada Releases Single “Contestame”

Psychedelic Latin rock duo plays Hotel Cafe 5/9

May 5th, 2017
Mary Bonney
Category: News

Endless inspiration and creativity freedom permeates Los Angeles, making any kind of music genre feel possible. Guitarist and vocalist Shawn Grindle, who hails from of one of our local favorite groups The Mosaics (formerly Town in the City), is embracing LA’s boundless possibility by blending his trippy rock roots with bilingual singer-songwriter Leana Courtney with the new act Mascarada. The duo blends Grindle’s psychedelic musical background with Courtney’s Latin fusion to create soulful, 60s-rock soaked tunes.

Working with unfinished demos of songs that were never completed, the two combined their styles, collaboration to create the unique sound. Courtney writes the Spanish lyrics while Shawn handles the production side, such as Courtney’s velvety, effect-driven vocals.

This year, the pair recorded a self-titled full length due out this July. The LP will explore different styles and genres through the lens of traditional psychedelic sound. You can take a listen to the first single “Contéstame” below.

Mascarada will have their debut performance this Tuesday, May 9th at Hotel Cafe in the middle of a showcase of local folk and psychedelic rock. The pair performs after The Mosaics at 9pm and before local psych-pop duo group Sumeau at 11pm. Tickets are available now.

For more information on Mascarada:
Official site

Photo Gallery: Kiian’s “Beverly Hell” Music Video

Exclusive behind-the-scenes of the making-of

May 4th, 2017
David Fisch

Last week, Los Angeles held it’s first ever “La La Land” Day, in no doubt a nod to the recent Oscar-winning film about two loving souls making out their dreams in the City of Angels. Treacle as that is, no fear: the same week also saw the release of single “Beverly Hell” from an upcoming record by LA’s own and up-and-coming Kiian. The single practically takes the very idea of “La La Land” Day and tells it to shove it, exploring the irony of a city that produces hopes and dreams also manifests the unsightly depression and social anxiety that often comes with it.

The track is pop production on ultra, with vocals on full effect and warmth synths and crisp percussion. It lines right along with what you might expect from the “pretty people” Kiian writes about, but his lyrics juxtapose in a way that they’re sometimes hard to swallow. I’ve always held the notion that people who actually originate from LA can see right through the glam and masquerade that the city is often portrayed as, and seeing as how Kiian is a fellow Angeleno, he offers up a cynical and quite on-point view of a city that’s mostly seen through a glass prism.

You can listen to “Beverly Hell” below, ahead of the release of a music video in the near future. I was on-set in the Valley to capture some exclusive candid moments with Kiian and the filmmakers, which you can view in our gallery below.