Iceage / Black Lips / Surfbort @ The Regent

Mosh Ado About Something

November 15th, 2018
David Fisch

There’s an exhilarating rush knowing that you’re about to be surrounded with living, breathing music and wild personalities for an hour or more. Sure, it’s likely the band you go there for that gives you those feels, but sometimes it’s the venue. Some of the best ones have this storied allure of being small but feeling large and procuring energy from like-minds and enjoyment in togetherness.


Photos by David Fisch

It’s how I feel about The Regent in Downtown, and it might be why Danish toughs Iceage performed there twice in the same year during the same album-touring cycle. Though you might expect the band to put on the same show, you’d only be partially right: the set was mostly the same, with most of the material devoted to this year’s Beyondless. But the energy was more tense and, in a sense, controlled, like the band had refined what was otherwise an already formidable concert act from months before.

The crowd was also more riled up, given the co-headlining of Atlanta’s dependable garage punk rockers Black Lips (who played material both old and new) and the fervent speed punk stylings (and wow-ings) of Brooklyn newcomers Surfbort. It made for a night at The Regent another one of giddy joy, in which moshing is par for the course and the bands put on a display of power in a room that handles it nicely.

Photo Gallery:

For more info:

Iceage
Black Lips
Surfbort

Young Fathers / Algiers @ Fonda Theatre

Two doses of experimental soul and something else

November 12th, 2018
David Fisch

The 2010’s have proven to be the most remarkable showcase of indie experimental hip hop and soul, birthing some of the most ingenious acts who have traversed new compositional territory and blending genres so outside the realm of hip hop that it might not even be considered hip hop at all. To witness two of those acts on the same bill is something of a wish come true.


Photos by David Fisch

Scotland’s Young Fathers and Atlanta’s Algiers appeared together Friday night at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood for a brief U.S. tour, and while their studio recordings offer good insight into their instrumental drive and meticulous dexterity and conceptual thought, their live performances are another thing entirely, reverberating all of that energy into two sets that easily topped this year’s list of best concerts experiences.

Although they were only allotted a 30-minute set, Algiers made the most of it with a rapturously seismic performance, supporting one of 2017’s best efforts overall, The Underside of Power. The piercing dramatism of “Cleveland” and the industrialist gospel of “Cry of the Martyrs” and the post-punk fury of “Animals” brought out the wild of just about everyone, with vocalist Franklin James Fisher and bassist Ryan Mahan frequently exchanging close-ups as if they each wanted something extra out of their performances, more-so than the crazy energy already emanating from the stage presence.

Similarly, Young Fathers were just as if not more electric, the trio entering the stage in complete darkness before completely bursting through the strobes to “Wire” from this year’s Cocoa Sugar. The album was only slightly indicative of what a performance we would get, with its wide array of grooves and punches that could translate into a strong live show. What we got instead was something else, something otherworldly, in which this collective gathered to perform to all of their strengths with “we are not worthy” shining confidence.

The mostly bare stage felt larger than life when the colorful strobes against white hit the audience in blinding fashion, mixed together with the band’s impressive movements during “Old Rock n Roll” or “Get Up” or any one of their songs. They treated the audience to perhaps their most recognizable of the bunch, “Shame,” but they also gave their performance some refreshing nuance with tracks like the slow-burn “Lord” and the thick and sticky “Toy”

Both acts provided full-bodied performances that rank up there with the best this year has to offer, with their recent studio efforts ranking among the best in indie experimental music this decade. Your best best is to see them this month, together under one roof, sonically pleasuring the senses.


Photo Gallery

For more info:

Young Fathers
Algiers

Cloud Nothings @ The Teragram Ballroom

Going back to basics with “Last Building Burning”

November 5th, 2018
David Fisch

Cleveland-based punk rockers Cloud Nothings shot right out of a cannon in the early 2010’s as ones to watch, and as I have been watching them since the release of 2012’s Attack On Memory, it’s been a pleasure watching leader Dylan Baldi continue to hone and craft some of the most compelling and honest songwriting the genre has had to offer so far this century. Seeing them again on this new touring cycle for their latest record Last Building Burning has only reminded me of the strengths the band has, pulsating speeds of fury in tight compositions that are candy-sweet.


Photos by David Fisch

The band performed the album in its entirety, front-to-back, at The Teragram Ballroom Friday night. In addition, they performed tunes from previous works Here and Nowhere Else and Attack On Memory. With slamdancers swirling to “Pattern Walks” and “Stay Useless” and getting caught up in saying “I thought there would be more than this” as a newly-minted 30-something, it was fun to see a compact crowd rollick with the same drive the band had procured six years earlier.

Last Building Burning is out now on Carpark Records.

More info:

Cloud Nothings

GWAR dominates the Belasco

Hatebreed, Ringworm, and Miss May I in tow

October 26th, 2018
Lex Voight

Gwar are an institution. Their goofy mix of self-effacing shenanigans and absolute earnestness–coupled with their impressive musicianship and consummate showmanship–is the exact kind of solution that gets right down into my core and warms it. Sure that solution is probably made from space jizz and the blood of fellow concertgoers, but it still feels warm nonetheless. I am an avowed and devoted acolyte of our lords and masters in Gwar, however, and would probably sell someone else’s vital limbs to become their official photographer. So don’t listen to me; check out the photos below.

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Judas Priest @ Five Points, Irvine

They continue to dominate all in their path.

Lex Voight

Judas Priest are legends. True, inarguable legends. They have been an unstoppable force in rock and roll and heavy metal for almost half a century. That Rob Halford’s powerful vocals are still as vital and soaring as ever is a miracle, much less that the band has managed to consistently release good music for that long a time. While age has slowed them somewhat–many of Halford’s moves are restricted to puttering and swaying, intermingled with huge, bombastic gestures and frequent (fabulous) costume changes while Ian Hill remains largely stationary–drummer Scott Travis and guitarist Richie Faulkner continue to bring a surprising and energetic flair to the legacy act’s powerful heavy metal.

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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.