Preview: The eternal GWAR is coming to the Belasco

The almighty alien overlords return to LA

October 14th, 2018
Lex Voight
Category: Lead Story, News

Gwar, it is safe to say at this point in their roughly 30 year career, are legends. Not just our alien overlords who caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and who march across the world gleefully slaughtering legions of faithful supplicants, but, more impressively, as extraordinarily passionate and extraordinary artists and musicians.
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Festival Recap: Life is Beautiful 2018

Downtown LV’s premier festival enters 6th year

October 4th, 2018
Lesley Park
Category: Lead Story, Review

While walking aimlessly around a scorching, 100-degree Downtown Las Vegas, it occurred to me that the last time I had been here was 4 years ago at the markedly less sweltering 2014 iteration, a turning point that marked the moment that Life is Beautiful was given the number one spot in my running list of favorite festivals. With its great lineup, chill crowd, amazing food, and impressive appearances from the likes of Cirque du Soleil and other Vegas mainstays, it managed to outdo what had already been an impressive inaugural year back in 2013.

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Preview: CicLAvia – LA Phil @ 100

8 miles of performances, art and biking across LA!

September 28th, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Lead Story, News

Hey, did you hear that? Oh, it’s just the sound of one of the biggest music meets movement events to hit Los Angeles coming our way on Sunday! Celebrate LA is an epic 8-mile biking and walking route that will turn the streets connecting the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl into the most epic street party to hit LA since those magic Lakers three-peat years. And it’s car free. Hell yeah. If you’ve never had the chance to do CicLAvia, this is the one to participate in.

Beginning at 8.30AM, a diverse array of music, food, art and dancing will be interwoven throughout the route, with stages/hub in Grand Park/Music Center, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, Melrose and Hollywood. With so much to do and so many performances to check out, here’s a little cheat sheet of some of the coolest performances of the day:

YOLA: Gustavo Dudamel’s Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles will help to kick off the big day at 8.30 with members of the LA Phil and a marching band from the Grand Stage. They’ll then be performing at various hubs throughout the rest of the day including the Hollywood Bowl at 1PM and Melrose Hub at 2.30.

Dengue Fever: Ever wanted to check out Cambodian pop music of the 1960s, but filtered through the contemporary American perspective? Be sure to be at the Koreatown Hub at 3PM to grove out with the best of em.

Klezmer Juice – Enjoy the classic sounds of Eastern European Jewish music, by way of Argentina. Because who knows of a horrah will just happen, and you do not wanna miss out on an opportunity to get lifted up in a chair while everyone dances in a circle around you. Trust me, I know from experience.

Las Cafetaras – Hometown hero alert: the group from East LA will be performing their energetic take on traditional son jarocho music at the Grand Avenue hub at 12!

Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – No, your eyes do not deceive you. Jeff FREAKING LIFE FINDS A WAY Goldblum will be performing with his regular crew from the Rockwell Table & Stage at the Hollywood Hub in the shadow of the Capitol Records building at 12.15PM.

Leon Mobley and the Djembe West African Drummers and Dancers – 4 times throughout the day from the Melrose Hub, you can watch or join the West African dance party with the world-renowned percussionist! The performances will be 30 minutes long and begin at 9.30, 11, 12.30 and 2.

Pink Martini – I dunno about you all, but I love Pink Martini. As their mission describes, their sound is if the United Nations had a house band in 1962. And they’ll be on towards the end of the day on the Grand Ave Main Stage for a 90-minute set beginning at 6PM.

And there’s so much more to see! It’s times like this that make a girl wish time turners were real. The event is seriously called Celebrate LA for a reason. So many cultures and different kinds of music are going to be featured throughout the day.

And we’ll be there too, starting bright and early, sharing all the excitement on socials. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @lamusicblog. And join the conversation! Let us know what you’re checking out and what your favorite parts of the day were.

See you on Sunday to Celebrate LA!

Learn more about Celebrate LA.

Interview with Ancestors

LA based post/doom/psych band on their new album

September 26th, 2018
Lex Voight

RIYL: Isis, Neurosis, Sights and Sounds, This Will Destroy You
What does life feel like?
Not the bones, marrow, and sinew of our physical beings. Not the multitudes of forms around us. But a life, lived through—the process and the emotions.
Do you hold a metaphor of it in your head?
For me, life is a big pile of dirt.
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Preview: KCRW’s World Festival @ Hollywood Bowl

With Grizzly Bear, TVOTR & Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

September 20th, 2018
Melissa Karlin
Category: Lead Story, News

Still looking for weekend plans? Look no further!

Sunday, September 23rd, Grizzly Bear, TV on the Radio AND composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith will be closing KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. The evening will be hosted by KCRW DJ Anne Litt, in what might be the most KCRW show ever. It will be a night of grooving across the art rock spectrum, with each act bringing their unique approaches to the outdoor venue. High energy, ethereal and soulful sounds will bounce across the Hollywood Hills. Talk about ending on a high note, this concert is the perfect way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fire season (or as the rest of the world calls it: autumn).

Details: Sunday September 23, 2018 @ 7PM
Tickets are still available

Learn more about Grizzly Bear, TV on the Radio and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.
Learn more about KCRW.

On Murder By Death and The Other Shore

On their 8th effort, MBD heads for the stars.

September 2nd, 2018
Lex Voight
Category: Lead Story, Review

Theres a gentle susurration, as if an orchestra is warming up. The swell of an accordion before a guitar is plucked delicately and you are thrust headlong into a new (old) world. Thus begins the new opus from Murder By Death, storytellers extraordinaire, and what follows is 40 minutes of bliss that pulls influences from the veteran band’s discography to spin a tale that spans years and lightyears.
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Ginette Claudette Lamb Session

The now LA based songstress slays a LAMB session

August 19th, 2018
Lex Voight

Ginette Claudette seems born for stardom. The DR by way of NY and now LA-based songstress stopped by for some soul-inspired r and b showcasing her talents and chatting about her influences and some of the difficulties she’s experienced from gaining success early in her career.
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Deafheaven at the Wiltern

Black metal rebels sell out the Wiltern

Lex Voight

Every time I see Deafheaven, the band has seemingly achieved another level of excellence. This is easily my fifth time seeing the Bay Area band and again they outdid themselves–incorporating a softer, even more warm performance style to go with their equally soft, welcoming black metal sound of Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. This is perhaps best evidenced by vocalist George Clarke’s lace fingerless gloves. When I first saw them open for Russian Circles after the release of Roads to Judah, Clarke had stiff, militaristic movements and tight black leather gloves to accentuate this jerkiness to his motion. As the years have passed and Deafheaven’s sound has softened, so too has Clarke’s mobility, bringing in a prowling sensuousness that is at once dangerous and vulnerable. Backed by the nigh-alien Drab Majesty, Deafheaven ruled the night. 
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Coheed, Taking Back Sunday @ FivePoints

All-star alt rockers bring favorite hits

August 16th, 2018
Mary Bonney
Category: Lead Story, Review

Call it alternative rock, call it emo, just don’t call it over. For the first time on a full tour together, legendary bands Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday shared the bill this past Saturday as decades-long fans flocked to Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine on the southern California stop of the summer event.

One of our longtime favorite pop punk acts The Story So Far opened the show at the intimidate amphitheater as sunset. It was decidedly more mellow performance compared to previous shows, either a natural maturation of stage presence or slight exhaustion on the penultimate stop of a twenty eight-city, mainly outdoor tour.

All photos by Stephen J. Branagan

Frontman Parker Canon’s vocals held their same raw, emotional energy, heard in songs like “Empty Space” and “Roam” and he traded throwing fans into the crowd for shaking a tambourine. The group played songs off their new album Proper Dose (set for release September 21st) before closing with their powder keg mosh pit inducing “Quicksand”.


A band that needed no introduction that night, Taking Back Sunday took the stage with their signature opener “What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?”. The seventeen song set list was packed with what are now defined as classics, tracks like “Timberwolves at New Jersey” and “A Decade Under the Influence”.

Lazarra’s voice has held up through years of screaming emotional counterpoint melodies with friend turned foe turned friend again John Nolan. Fans and band alike have grown up with and through each other, reflected in the gang vocals audiences sang together, “I just wanna break you down so badly, I trip over everything you say.”

“Beat Up Car” and “My Blue Heaven” showcased the band’s ability to crafty hard-hitting ballads and a light show complemented up tempo songs like “Liar (It Takes One To Know One”). In true raised-on-Warped-Tour fashion (RIP), the audience exploded with the one-two punch closer of gang vocal-inducing emo standards “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)” and “You’re So Last Summer”.

Closing act Coheed and Cambria has been rocking with fans for over twenty years but they still can’t get enough. The crowd chanted “Coheed” until the prolific band appeared. The troupe opened with the first two tracks from their upcoming ninth studio album Vaxis – Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures and frontman Claudio Sanchez led fans with his powerful, head-banging solos.

His vocal acrobatics continued through beloved favorites like “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”, “Blood Red Summer” and “A Favor House Atlantic”. An industrial backdrop and their symbol emblazoned in neon made every song more theatrical as fans sang along to the apocalyptic-tinged songs.

With a final flip of his coif of curls, Sanchez began closer “Welcome Home”.  It was an appropriate song for so many fans who came to feel at home with these musicians. While lyrics that may have carried fans through their teenage years may have changed their meanings, their emotional impact on audiences felt just as strong… and just as fun to scream back to those who wrote them.

For more information:
Coheed and Cambria
Taking Back Sunday

Bay Ledges Lamb Session

LA locals are finding some sudden spotlight

August 15th, 2018
Lex Voight

LA’s Bay Ledges unanticipated success has been a surprise for its members, but with family, friendship, and more than ample talent crafting finely-honed indie-pop, the relatively new act is find sure footing despite its sudden leap into motion.
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