KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 2 @ The Forum

KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 2

December 12th, 2017
David Valera

KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Christmas sold out event, Night 2, featured sets by Vance Joy, X Ambassadors, Franz Ferdinand, Walk, The Moon, Phoenix, Foster The People, The Lumineers, resident Weezer and The Killers. The headliner, Morrissey, unsurprisingly was a no show but The Killers made sure the fans left with “Every Day Is Like Sunday” stuck in their heads.

If you were at this year’s KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, tell me about your best experience of the night in the comments. Take care of each other and Happy Holidays.

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KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas Night 1 @ The Forum

KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017 Night 1

December 11th, 2017
David Valera

KROQ’s annual Almost Acoustic Christmas has always been a dynamic mix of wall to wall alt-rock music. It was no surprise the 2017 Almost Acoustic Christmas was quick to sell out. With over 6 hours of music each night there was quite a mix of sonic delight with Run the Jewels, Royal Blood sprinkled in with Prophets of Rage and Rise Against topped off with QOTSA, 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse. Saturday night certainly wasn’t without a bit of drama and controversy with Josh Homme of QOTSA kicking a photographer in the head and apologized later on Instagram.

Let me know if you were there and what your favorite part of the night was in the comments. Be kind to each other and Happy Holidays.
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Miya Folick @ Moroccan Lounge

The rising singer-songwriter’s EP release show

December 7th, 2017
David Fisch
Category: Lead Story, Review

Santa Ana singer-songwriter Miya Folick has been rising in indie circles for the past couple of years for her staggering vocals and deep-felt lyrics, releasing two EPs in that span including the recently-released Give It To Me. It’s a hot ticket to get to see her perform live; indeed, her sold-out show at the Moroccan Lounge in support of the new EP was plenty fire, considering the venue houses only so many people.


Photos by David Fisch

She and her merry minstrels performed an hour’s worth of material from her two EPs, including tunes she stated she wouldn’t ordinarily perform live, but the LA crowd was lucky enough to receive her keys/synth player. There wasn’t much to the stage other than flowers strewn across it and performance artists dancing to two tracks, but it didn’t need much more than that. The spotlight was literally all on Folick, whose voice was impeccable and her look stark.

From quieter songs like “Strange Darling” to more bombastic like “Trouble Adjusting,” Folick looked to be soaking in the moment as she shared these very personal songs with a devoted audience. She closed with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” whom she most certainly owes a debt to in regards to her vocal style.

Miya Folick will no doubt be taking to bigger stages as she has a voice and presence that can take her pretty much anywhere, but as experienced at the Moroccan Lounge at this very moment, to see and hear her in the small, beloved rooms will be the most surefire way to get her music into your head and heart.

For more info:

Miya Folick

Hundred Waters @ El Rey Theatre

The indie trio debut a new visual show in LA

December 4th, 2017
David Fisch
Category: Lead Story, Review

The music of Hundred Waters is hard to pin down. It’s at one point art rock, with breathtakingly organic instrumentation and unusual structures, and then electronic at another, rhythmically tying together moments of repetition and manipulative effects. They make music that doesn’t fit neatly in any category, which that’s perfectly fine with me. It’s their unique blend that makes them devilishly attractive, and that which you would think might translate into an equally unique live experience when they perform.

You would be right because their performance at El Rey on Friday night was as such: truly unique. Continue reading…

Warped Tour Announces Its End Next Year

2018 will mark the festival’s final treck

November 16th, 2017
Mary Bonney
Category: Lead Story, News

After over two decades, the iconic Vans Warped Tour will end it will its run next summer. The annual festival traveled from coast to coast and featured alternative acts stretching across genres like punk, rock, pop, rap, indie and emo. Founder Kevin Lyman took to Warped Tour’s official site to reminiscence on some of the tour’s most memorable acts and the festival’s lasting impact on communities and fans nationwide.

Speaking with Billboard, Lyman reflected further on some of the contributing factors to the tour shuddering. He cited dwindling attendance for younger fans who prefer to stay indoors with their technology, and the public’s general fear for their safety after an uprise in violent incidents like last month’s mass shooting at the Route Harvest 81 Festival in Las Vegas or the bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester earlier this year.

Hayley Williams of Paramore at 2011’s tour

Some of my fondest memories of music intertwining with summer come took place during Warped Tour. I saw bands like Paramore, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy for the first time before they sold out giant venues. I researched fashion trends for Hot Topic, my summer job at the time. I competed (and lost) with my pop punk group for a coveted spot on the festival stage. 2011’s Los Angeles stop marked my first assignment writing for the LA Music Blog.

Ryan Key of Yellowcard performing in 2014 at Vans Warped Tour

Lyman hinted that Warped Tour may continue in some form in the future, saying, “The enduring spirit of the Vans Warped Tour remains as bright as ever, continuing to inspire creativity and ambition in new and exciting ways as we prepare for a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.” A quarter of a century may be a new dawn for the tour in some iteration, but for now fans will look to 2018 for one last farewell sing-a-long with friends in the hot summer sun.

For more information on Vans Warped Tour:
Official website

Rhye @ Moroccan Lounge

The debut of new songs to swoon to

November 9th, 2017
David Fisch

The downtempo R&B stylings of Rhye were something of an enigma back in the early 2010’s, releasing singles of androgynous vocals and soulful chill with underground raves before finally releasing a full-length LP in 2013 in the form of Woman. With the exception of touring in the following year, Rhye has been fairly quiet – that is, until this year, when the band resurfaced with a similar release strategy that once again began the hype machine of high anticipation, leaning on superb singles that hinted at a brighter energy and expanded scope.

While information of a new full-length follow-up is pending, Rhye will be back on the road with a formally announced tour heading into 2018. In the meantime, though, the LA-based band made a sold-out stop to test new material and perform older songs at the Moroccan Lounge, which is rapidly making the case for becoming LA’s best venue for intimate settings, devoted crowds, and outstanding acoustics.

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Featured Artist + Contest: FOXTRAX @ The Roxy

Listen to new single “Everything’s Changing”

November 3rd, 2017
David Fisch

The NYC-bred, LA-based alternative rock trio FOXTRAX have been busy at work and touring for the past year, continuing to release new material in the vein of singles and EPs. Their latest single “Everything’s Changing” from their upcoming EP Nothing Lasts Forever continues the anthemic and cinematic strength of its previously released singles, and you can listen to it below. Most importantly, the band will embark on a tour along the west coast in support of it, and you can catch them at The Roxy November 9th or enter our contest to win a pair of tickets!

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M. Ward at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Minutiae ruled the night

October 30th, 2017
Kyle B. Smith
Category: Lead Story, Review

There was something of an underlying nautical theme at M. Ward’s show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Wednesday night. As the story goes, in designing the building, Frank Gehry found aesthetic inspiration in his love of boats. So when M. Ward got things cooking during second song “Poison Cup,” his trademark bow legged shuffle made it look like he was losing his balance and bouncing around the galley of a ship battling rough waters.

But this was the storm after the calm. The set began with distinguished gentleman Ward’s “Lullaby + Exile,” a song that goes for the heart’s jugular with the gentlest of ease.

M. Ward is a musician’s musician, one who moves to make every last drop of a solo or a lyric coherent and meaningful. Set him down in the Disney Hall, and suddenly it felt like you were sitting in Studio A of Capitol Records with control room headphones on.

As he sang “Well a trance is a spell, with a thrill wrapped up inside it, and try as you might to fight it, love will get you in the end,” there was infinite musicality packed in to his utterance of “spell.” And that was just one word of one song. The night unfolded beautifully from there.

“Slow Driving Man,” another slow song about slow things, was slowed down even further on this night. It was subdued af, yet totally entrancing in its deliberate pace. In “Time Won’t Wait,” the headliner flirted with the front edge of the stage during a solo that took the shape of a signature Matt Ward solo where angular sections are cobbled together with a touch of magic to create a whole that is fluid and groovy.

Similarly, in the sneakily sordid “I Get Ideas” or solo acoustic jam “Duet for Guitars #3,” Ward effortlessly snuck in harmonics as easy as if they were blinks. In “Duet,” Ward’s spidery right hand opened and closed like a fan, as he alternated between pluck and strum, bounding about the stage.

A two-song run on the piano included the melancholy “Vincent O’Brien,” and wrenching take on Daniel Johnston’s “Story of an Artist.” In introducing the cover, M. Ward dipped his toes in political waters with the edict “Now is the time to defend the artists.”

With an attentive audience and the acoustics of the room so dialed in, minutiae continued to rule the night.

Ward strapped on a harmonica for “Fuel for Fire,” but added only a requisite pinch in favor of unnecessarily gratuitous servings. In “One Hundred Million Years,” he stood with sly posture, his body shielding a guitar that was turned away from the front of the room.

“Rave On” started solo, and ended with digital looping that welcomed the band back to the stage finish off the song. Towards the end of “Chinese Translation,” M. Ward brought the band to a halt, leaving only he and the warm tones his Gibson electric to make any noise.

After a brief respite, the band faded back in to the proceedings with such evenness and precision, it sounded like someone reached to turn the room’s volume dial up.

Although the Hall was shamefully(!) undersold, those who did venture to DTLA caught one of the stronger local double bills in recent memory.

Rhiannon Giddens opened the evening with a hell of a set of music that drew from a variety of genres and instrumentation, and one that never turned a blind eye to difficult chapters of American history. Instead, her music took them head on, sharing with the audience stories of from where certain songs came, and injecting them with vibrant new life.

“At The Purchaser’s Option,” lead track off of Giddens’ 2017 LP Freedom Highway was a prime example. After a slow creep percussive intro, her voice soared through verses that told the haunting tale of an African-American slave, a mother forced from custody of her own child. For the tune, Giddens aimed for period authenticity, plucking a banjo that is a replica of one made in 1858.

The barefoot Giddens had a divine and commanding presence that matched her musicianship. On “Fiddle Tunes,” she provided a glimpse of a rare musical high wire act: playing the violin and singing lead vocals at the same time.

Giddens’ propensity to change things up from one song to the next was shared by her band. The group – the same crew that recorded Freedom Highway – swapped out their instruments on nearly every song. Album producer Dirk Powell shape-shifted from keys, to guitar, to impressive lead vocals, to the squeezebox – or something just like it.

Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You” proved to be the centerpiece of the set. The timeless kiss off tune provided Rhiannon Giddens an opportunity to showcase her far ranging vocals, and for drummer Jamie Dick to relentlessly work his cymbals to amass a whooshing wall of sound.

M. Ward Setlist

Lullaby + Exile
Poison Cup
The Sandman, The Brakeman and Me
Slow Driving Man
For Beginners
Time Won’t Wait
I Get Ideas
Vincent O’Brien
Story of an Artist
Duet for Guitars #3
Fuel for Fire
One Hundred Million Years
Rave On
Chinese Translation
Never Had Nobody Like You
___________________________________
Moon River (with Victoria Williams)

Rhiannon Giddens Setlist

Spanish Mary
Fiddle Tunes
The Love We Almost Had
At The Purchaser’s Option
(unknown)
We Could Fly
Jack O’ Diamonds
Creole Tunes
Children Go Where I Send Thee
She’s Got You
Freedom Highway
That Lonesome Road/Up Above My Head