Protomartyr @ Moroccan Lounge

Detroit post-punk arrives in LA with precision

October 17th, 2017
David Fisch
Category: Review, Staff Pick

My initial appreciation of Detroit post-punk rockers Protomartyr came upon an album download of Under Color of Official Right and seeing them at the small but hearty Bootleg Theater in Silverlake in 2014, where the musicianship on display was a thing of beauty and leader Joe Casey was drinking beer and wallowing in his precise rants about everyday life. Much was the same at the Moroccan Lounge Monday night, perhaps with an extra case of beer and a few more people, but with two new albums released since then and an even tighter edge and studio-like clarity, the band has sounded better, performed as ferociously, or felt as meaningful as this very moment in time in their existence.

Continue reading…

Flying Lotus 3D & Thundercat @ Hollywood Forever

The Brainfeeder labelmates raise eyes and the dead

October 16th, 2017
David Fisch
Category: Lead Story, Review

This past weekend saw a lot of big music events happening in the Southern California area. It’s that mid-October surprise when the masses of music greats come together and perform before the looming winter arrives and there is considerably much less of it around (though SoCal can hardly be called an area with seasons).

Of these events, one of the most anticipated was having Brainfeeder’s founder and LA’s electronic golden boy Flying Lotus officially premiere his 3D tour (it technically debuted for the first time at this year’s FYF Fest) as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival Los Angeles. Along with the bass maestro and labelmate Thundercat and some comedy bits from the great Hannibal Buress, the night of artists who made 2014’s You’re Dead! and purveyors of that imagery performing on the Fairbanks Lawn of Hollywood Forever Cemetery sounded like the best and most conceptual mashup music and visuals since I don’t know when – and it pretty much was.

Continue reading…

Blue Hawaii @ Moroccan Lounge

Canadian duo hits the Arts District’s newest venue

David Fisch
Category: Review

The owners of the recent movie-house-turned-concert-space Teragram Ballroom in downtown turned another small space into a venue called the Moroccan Lounge, and with its neatly placed staging area next to its low-lit and vibey dining/bar area, it felt like the right spot to showcase the electronic Canadian duo Blue Hawaii. After a four-year gap between albums, they released Tenderness earlier this month, and they are out touring in support of it.

Continue reading…

The Flaming Lips & Mac DeMarco @ The Shrine

Both play up psychedelia in their own ways

October 9th, 2017
David Fisch

All photos by David Fisch

It might seem odd at first to pair a guy who often sings acid-tripped songs in their purest and simplest ways with another guy (and band) who often sings about battling robots and warding demons in sings at their most gargantuan, but their quest for love and continually morphing forms of psychedelic rock easily tie them together. Mac DeMarco and The Flaming Lips on the same bill, in hindsight, makes so much sense, and though they didn’t necessarily share the stage together, the wavy flows of their energy were combed together across three hours at The Shrine Saturday night.
Continue reading…

Perfume Genius @ The Glass House

Mike Hadreas performs at the top of his game

September 27th, 2017
David Fisch

Mike Hadreas, aka Perfume Genius, has slowly come into his own and built an audience for his brand of provocative chamber pop and folk throughout the 2010’s. It’s weird to say he’s “broken through” multiple times, but with each successive record, a new, bursting Perfume Genius is born. This year’s No Shape continues this streak without question with tracks like “Slip Away” and “Valley,” and with its expansive instrumentation and propulsive flow, his confidence is firing on all cylinders, and it’s undoubtedly one of the year’s best records for it.

Continue reading…

Festival Recap: Riot Fest 2017

A hot and heavy weekend in Chicago

September 20th, 2017
David Fisch

All photos by David Fisch

It’s been an interesting year for music festivals, in which most have made headlines for their follies and their corporate handlings rather than the music actually performed at the festivals themselves. It’s humbling to know that this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago went off without a hitch and was all about, you know, the music.

Additionally, it was one of few festivals so far this year that didn’t have the feeling of “festival fatigue,” in which most lineups tend to blend together as acts perform on a festival circuit. No, Riot Fest didn’t cozy up to that, but rather set out to provide thousands of people with fan favorites like Built To Spill, Ministry, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Jawbreaker, Wu-Tang Clan, Danzig, and Bad Brains.

Then again, there were the majors like Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age, and “hardly” smaller acts Death From Above, TV On The Radio, M.I.A., Action Bronson, and Vic Mensa. Just in typing out all of those bands, this year’s Riot Fest might have had the best curated sets among festivals this year.

The three-day festival over the Sept. 15th-17th weekend was generally void of issues, with some exceptions in sound for certain acts. Otherwise, the power of these bands drove a generally hot weekend and gave every rioter in the audience reason to crowd surf.

Photos from the festival can be found below.

A Love Letter to Sound and Fury Fest 2017

Sorry it took so long.

September 6th, 2017
Lex Voight

Dearest Sound and Fury,

Its has been months since I have seen you. In the intervening time I have traversed another continent, climbed volcanoes, wound my way through mountains and hills and rainforests, and nearly been trampled by a (baby) elephant but you have never strayed far from my thoughts…
Continue reading…

Show Review: OneRepublic at The Forum

Pop rockers bring soaring songs, light show

Mary Bonney
Category: Review

Last Thursday, OneRepublic took over The Forum as part of this summer’s Honda Civic Tour and brought a side Los Angeles fans haven’t seen in their decade-spanning hit career. The quintet performed their infectious pop tunes and wildly popular emotional ballads with musical perfection, but the moments in between the music truly showed the band’s passion for music and connection to their fans.

Opener “Stop and Stare” immediately demonstrated the band’s ability to craft dramatic, infectious songs and the following “Secrets” and “Kids” showcased OneRepublic’s diverse, well-crafted discography of four successful albums. Ryan Tedder’s impressive vocals were on display as his belts stretched dizzyingly high, well past the recorded vocals of songs like “I Lived” and “Let’s Hurt Tonight”.

OneRepublic effortlessly transitions between stadium-filling epics and intimate tracks. Tedder performed piano, guitar and drums (briefly) throughout the night as the pyramid-shaped stage displayed a stunning light show, which shone best during the Alesso-remixed “If I Love Myself”.

Tedder is well-known as OneRepublic’s lead singer, but is also one of our generation’s most prolific songwriters and producers, which he briefly discussed after warning the audience, “some of you may not care.” He explained his history and desire to perform songs on this tour that he originally penned, including Ed Sheeran’s “Happier” and Beyonce’s “Halo”, another opportunity for Tedder to perform falsetto acrobatics.

During the stripped-down portion of the evening, however, Tedder confessed to fans his fear of this tour. After touring non-stop over two years off their third album Native, Tedder said the band hit the wall and wanted to quit music, but this tour had reinvigorated them. “Now we release music when we want to,” he explained, and thanked fans for reminding them what a strong, supportive following they have.

While the band was touring in support of their most recent release, this year’s Oh My My, I of course heard young fans laugh in the lobby about wanting to hear their hit debut “Apologize”. Tedder announced the band’s debut single was celebrating the ten year anniversary of its release that week, also noting that may have been when some audience members “were like seven years old”.

The encore made use of the packed arena as Tedder demanded cell phones light up to “Counting Stars”. The Tedder-written Adele track “Rumor Has It” nearly brought the house down as opener Fitz and the Tantrums returned to the stage. The pulsating “Love Runs Out” ended the evening, a performance packed with wall-to-wall hits and unforgettable musical talent.

For more information on OneRepublic:

Official Website

Festival Review: It’s Not Dead Fest

It’s still very much alive.

August 30th, 2017
Lex Voight
Category: Review, Staff Pick

Every time I head out to San Bernadino, I tell myself it’s the last time. The ride is too long, the traffic too brutal, the parking too difficult, and, despite the invariably amazing lineup, no lineup could be good enough to be worth it all. And every time I am proved wrong.

It’s Not Dead Fest 2 is case and point.
Continue reading…