Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sunset Dysfunction or SXSL or Echo Park Rising....

Whatever you want to call this past weekend that came from the ashes of the cancelled Sunset Junction it was a lot more fun than I would have had this weekend if the regularly scheduled festival went on. The consensus from all the bands I talked to this weekend was that this was better than Sunset Junction should have been. So onto my review or reliving of what I preferably liked to call SXSL (South By Silver Lake)....

So I am finally able to make it out to Sliver Lake area after working in the morning and resting through the early afternoon it is just after six p.m. when I roll up to what I believe is the house where the house party on Edgecliff just off of Sunset that I was going to see some live music. I know this is it as I immediately run into people I know like Lord Growing from The 704 and Brad from Feed Your Head and many friends from bands I go see too often. Also going on while I walked up to this shindig was a man dressed up at first what I thought to as a brown bear but the costume had floppy ears so he was some bear/bunny hybrid and rapping. As far it goes it wasn't half bad but I didn't give it much thought as it seemed more gimmicky than something real.

Next up was one of the bands that made me want to come to this party, One Trick Pony. This is only my second time seeing them and liked what I heard the first time to buy their debut album at their record release show at Casey's a while ago, but this performance blew that one out of the water. The sound was great and it was easy to get into the groove of their music. One Trick Pony is a folk indie rock band that is top notch in their songwriting. That was just unbelievably great performance from a band that more people need to take notice and go see if you have the chance.

The next band on the night is The Damselles & TC4 who put on a really fun show that had the crowd dancing. While their music wasn't exactly my thing, they definitely know how to put on a show and their version of the 70's era R&B girl group sound translates well to a live performance.

And then came the headliner's of the first and hopefully not last Edgecliff Hog Roast Manhattan Murder Mystery who came in and nailed it in a way that is hard to describe. Their is something absolutely magical about the chaos of a MMM show. On top of the band their is the ever-growing cult-like fandom that is following them around that knows the songs just as well as the band and are singing their hearts out for every song. The band and the crowd melt into one throughout the show as Matthew Teardrop, the frontman, will leave the confines of the stage to join the crowd mid song. On 'Honda Prius' he found me and we sang the whole 3rd verse of the song with the mike between us while embracing each other with our arms around the others neck. If anyone has pictures of this I would love to have photographic evidence of this. But nothing tops the best show closer I think I have ever heard, 'Parking Lot'. Everyone knows it's coming and knows it means this bit of magic is coming to an end which gets the crowd ever more hyped and the pit really gets going. And during the chorus the crowd is shouting "In the Parking Lot, she pulled out her gun" so load and in unison you could swear they are playing to a sold out crowd at a big venue. And the end of the song devolves into complete and utter madness highlighted by the fact that their are about 3 times the amount of people playing in the band tonight than usual and more joining in never wanting this feeling to stop. What to do after this one might ask well why not follow Manhattan Murder Mystery to a warehouse just outside of downtown LA.

There were some other bands that played one that I recall was called The Outerlys who had a really polished alternative rock sound with very nice work on guitar and bass. But really I came here along with many others from the party on Edgecliff for one thing only and that was to keep it going with Manhattan Murder Mystery. And right away it was back to the same sort of chaos and magic that is a Manhattan Murder Mystery show. It didn't matter that the sets were very similar and they played most of the same songs only hours before this night was truly something special that I will never forget for the rest of my life. This time for 'Parking Lot' closing it out everyone was pulled up onto the raised stage they had to fill it to the brim as crowd and band become one to end the best night of music I can think of.

So onto night two of SXSL which again because of other obligations was not able to make it out til late. Which is another reason why this worked out so much better than the actual Sunset Junction festival would have for me this year as I would have missed all the bands I wanted to see as they were playing in the day. So about 10 o'clock I roll up to Silverlake Lounge with perfect timing because Davis Fetter was just starting and I was really blown away by the power and passion in his voice. His original songs were catchy and filled with emotion. I would like to hear these songs live with his full band instead of just him and his guitar which was nice but his voice demands for more to go with it.

Next came an absolutely adorable performance by Sadie & The Blue Eyed Devils. They were a sweet fun time that had you moving and clapping along to their brand of folk music. Just a sweet performance with fun songs that I could see again no problem.

Next came The Lexingtons who I made the trip to Lot 1 for. This was my second time seeing them after loving them close out the night last Monday at Silverlake Lounge and that first performance was no fluke I absolutely love seeing this band. The Lexingtons have such style and panache to their music and their performance that is so uniquely them and they make that sound so much fun that you can't help but want to dance and groove with the music. No one of their band more so than front-man Finn whose voice and energy make you want to pay attention. I don't really know what else I can add to this other than really go check out this band.

Lovers Drugs, the last band of the night was a rocking good time. They were up on stage playing their asses off and just having a grand ol' time that rubbed off on the crowd. Lovers Drugs play pretty straightforward brand of rock music that is lead by terrific play on the guitar, bass and drums. The song that stole my heart on the night was the improvised punk rock "I Wanna Be Joseph".

This weekend was better than I imagined it could be and I want to thank all the bands that I saw play over the weekend for making and sharing amazing music with me and everyone else that still made it out despite all the shenanigans that had to with Sunset Junction and I hope next year something else this natural and DIY of music gathering can happen again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday Aug. 25, 2011

This show review coming from a taco stand in Los Feliz....

So up first was The Family Bones who played a solid set of mellow pop fair consisting of a guitarist and a piano player for this date. There was something about the songs that when he got to the chorus it felt automatically familiar. The Family Bones were a great way to start the night as I was not sure what I was in for and was pleasantly surprised with some expert guitar work and some catchy little tunes.

Next up Coyote, which I did not know that Jessi Williams from The Lonely Wild had her own project that she was heading before now and man am I glad that I went to Best Fish Taco because of the invite of an old friend from high school. Coyote had a definite country influence too it and if you have heard The Lonely Wild you know that Jessi has an amazingly beautiful singing voice.

The last act of the night are The Dylan Trees and from the first song they had me hooked. Through their whole set and up until I started writing this I have been trying to identify their sound and just cannot do it. The cop out is to call it indie rock and leave at that, but I want to say their is more to it than that I just can't properly put it into to words. Their were lots of things to love about Dylan Trees music but I think what stands out foremost is just how much fun it is and you can tell the band is having fun while playing. Also their is a great dynamic between the singing voices of Jeremy and Monica that really compliment each other and their music. This was a great way to end the night and I am looking forward to seeing Dylan Trees again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A little video of The Lexingtons

This is courtesy of craiggordonhasaniphone's blog so go over and give him some love for capturing this from their show at the Silverlake Lounge this past Tuesday performing their song "The Last Ones"....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday Aug. 23 2011

There was no getting around it, I needed to be at the Bootleg Tuesday night because College Kids were playing but there will be plenty to come on them later first a ton of love spread about the rest of the bands playing that night.

I come strolling in late as usual and the bands playing first keep making me want to be more punctual. Well this time was the singer/songwriter Kevin Earnest who made some beautiful music but the stage presence was lacking. I think it came along with how they setup, because everybody on stage was there clearly as a compliment to his piano playing and wonderful voice and yet they were all clearly visible while he was tucked away back in the corner on the piano. What was lacking in stage presence was more then compensated in a strong vocal performance and seriously talented songwriting with just the right amount of pop and folk and blended together.

Next came Auditorium who were minus a drummer but after listening to them not sure there was anything missing. It took a couple of songs for them to really get into a comfort of playing without that steady presence behind them, but once they got going the songs were engrossing and I could listen to the lead vocalist sing all night long. His voice has such a great tone that compliments the songs in a way that makes you want to get lost in The Auditorium's music and never get out again. It is such simple indie/pop/rock guitar lead music nirvana.

Next came The Sanglorians which after a night of pop fun came in rocked the place out while being lead by a vocalist and guitarist who could really tear up the guitar with inspiring work on his fretboard. To go along with his playing they were also two pretty girls singing backup and rocking out expertly on violin and keyboards. The rest of the sound was filled out with a rhythm guitar, bass and drummer and while their was a lot of elements going on stage it never felt cluttered or muddled each instrument complimented the songs and created a sound all their own while rocking out never lost the melody that ties the sound together. Two songs in particular stuck out to me in the middle of their set "Selfremember" and "The Lightspeed of Love" (I could be wrong in the exact title of these songs) and highly recommend checking them out.

And with the most adorable nightcap came College Kids who are made up of Kim on piano and Mike on acoustic guitar with both of them sharing vocal duties. The songs are so endearing and lovely that you can't help but have a smile on your lips while listening to them sing their tales of the fresno police or whatever else their want to sing about. It is such simple fun light pop fare that is completely sold on the Mike and Kim's harmonies and catchy songwriting. They ended the night on "Let's Always Be Friends" which perfectly encaptures everything I love about College Kids with it's personal story that you can immediately connect to that is carried throughout by their hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies and Kim's lovely piano. My only problem with College Kids is that their is not enough of their music to get enveloped in.

Monday Aug. 22 2011

So after getting started late and venue change to down the street and left The Satellite to make my way over to the Silverlake Lounge on the advice of a friend I found myself into a night of music that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately I missed the only band I have already seen Rumspringa and came in for the last for songs of The Breakups. From what I heard of The Breakups they play a very enjoyable brand of guitar driven indierock/pop.

Next came the residency headliner's The Ross Sea Party who had the place grooving the whole time. You couldn't help but want to move your feet and dance while listening to them play. They was nothing too fancy about most of their songs just great rhythms on the guitar that stick with you. Plus what too really take away from Ross Sea Party is that energy and fun of their music never stops. I might make it back for the last week of their residency just so I can sing along to a couple of songs I might manage to learn between now and then.

And with night cap and stealing the show for me was The Lexingtons. There was a great showmanship that you don't get from most local bands. Plus never once did I think that The Lexingtons were more gimmick then great music which can happen. I love the simplicity to their music their drummer was rocking out with only I believe a floor tom, snare drum, a cymbal, and a hi-hat; they didn't have bassist sometimes had two guitars others only one and a keyboardist but it only added to the fact that you only heard what they wanted you to hear and really had rocked out while doing it. It was all about the lead singer whose voice had such a unique quality that I loved every note whether singing a light melody or crooning out a note. This was good old fashioned sourthern style rock and roll that makes you want to sing and dance along. I was thinking throughout their set this is just old-timey fun and that lead singer dance moves reminded you of what you would see out of a frontman on band being featured on the Ed Sullivan Show. If their was one thing I took out of tonight was I want more of The Lexingtons and you should too...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friday Aug. 19th

Well I decided to make a short post for this night even though the level of intoxication went well beyond my ability to know what happened there the whole night so I will talk about what I was sober for. Well George Glass kicked the night off and I ended up being glad they opened the night on reflection as I don't remember the last two performances of the night. Well they were minus Nathan on drums so Nick and Pete pulled out a stellar acoustic set that really showcased how strong their songwriting is that even strippeddowned the songs were captivating. In an acoustic set let the beautiful melody of Nick's voice really carry day that can sometimes get lost in a normal set of them rocking out.

The only other band I remember playing was the Health Club and they fucking brought it. There is something great just about the energy a (garage)punk band can put into a venue and Pehrspace makes for an ideal venue for an intimate punk rock show. Their was a lot of talent coming through from the performance and I know I will see this band again and might have more coherent thoughts and ramblings on their music....

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday Aug. 18, 2011

So the night starts with a lonely drive up to Echo Park from Orange County but doesn't stay that way as I now meet what is a familiar sea of faces at these shows. The first band of the night is Gentle Hands which the most memorable aspect of the band was the 2 girls fronting the band playing lead and rhythm guitar and lead and backup vocals respectively. There was nothing wrong with their brand of rock that they were playing and maybe with a little more polish and work on their stage presence especially between songs could be a very enjoyable band to go see.

The next band playing is Dirt Dress and I was really digging the groove that the bassist and drummer had going but just could not get into the lead singer/guitarist. His lack of energy or stage presence didn't help his cause any either. Other than that they had some solid music but just like the band before them never had that one song in there that really grabbed you and made you want more.

Next came The Happy Hollows and what a long wait it has been since to see them play. They made a lineup change and it looked so strange not seeing Chris up on stage but the band really didn't miss a bit with Richy back there. You could really tell when Lieutenant was it's same amazing self and just everything you could want out of a Happy Hallows song. The new stuff, and there was a lot of it, was super fun and dance-able. The use of keys or some sort of background beats really add an extra texture of sound that has a reminiscent sound to the Brooklyn indie dance rock scene. But it still had Sarah being Sarah and finger-tapping and just destroying on the guitar in parts that simply amazing to witness. Sometimes you forget about the rest of the band because while performing live Sarah's personality and love just shines so bright that you can't help but be mesmerized by her in her hot rocker goddess stage presence. And charlie laid back presence fits as he will really fill the song with some skillful bass-lines. All in all just a fantastic show that never disappoints, if you can the next time they play I better see you there.

The last band of the night was Pek Pek and I don't know if it was them or the sound for this show but it was hard to differentiate out the distinct chords of everyone through all the feedback they had going. Sometimes it seemed to much of a solid cacophony of sound but there was more of a glimmer of something special that I would be willing to delve into a further listen then the first two bands, maybe it was just the fact that they had a mandolin player who was rocking it the whole time which was unique but definitely would like to hear more from Pek Pek maybe in a little bit of a better setting.

So that did it for the night, had good times with cool people listening to some local music, now for tonight I do have some choices I believe I will be going to Pehrspace to see the show The 704 is putting on and George Glass will be there so that is hard to resist. Or there is Le Switch last show ever at the Satellite which is tempting as they have a few tunes that I really love. Or going none local there is Bomb The Music Industry playing Five Stars Bar in downtown LA someplace let me know which one you think I should be at....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday Aug. 8, 2011

Well only two days into this and it is going to look like I will be writing all the damn time, as a ventured out to the city of angels to go to the one and only Pehrspace. As I walked up, I immediately ran into people I know, like Lord Growing who runs a much more substantial and enjoyable blog over at The 704. So I made my greetings and listened to this dancey "Depoche Mode light" sounding band, Gnarbaby from outside the door and didn't here anything that piqued my interest so I decided to stay outside and be social for most of their set. I was able to wander in to see them perform there last song and was not terribly impressed. While their keybordist was making some fun beats that had a majority of the crowd dancing with them, I just did not care for the lead singers voice and was ready to move on.

And then came the reason for the trek out to LA, Manhattan Murder Mystery who you will undoubtedly here me talk about this band and their live shows ad nauseum if I continue to do this. Well for tonight's show we had the added pleasure of Todd McLaughlin joining the usual threepeice on guitar. I love trying to pick up what he wonderfully adds to these songs all the while having notes on the chord progressions of the MMM tracks they might play that night on the ground by his feet makes these flourishes all the more impressive. They started off with two songs that I didn't immediately recognize, and allowed me to really just let the music encompass me as I listened to it. But once they kicked into Ambulance the energy in the room was palpable and there was no turning back afterwords. It was time to move, dance and sing with the music and there was no stopping until the end of the set. Their is an explosiveness to a Manhattan Murder Mystery show that is unique and the whole thing is being propelled by an amazing rhythm section of Katya and Laura on bass and drums, respectively that just do not let the momentum of the show slow down. And through it all Matt is at the center putting everything he has of himself into that performance, so you can feel his pain and anguish and joy and everything else that he is putting out to the universe. The show just continues to build momentum and you don't want it to stop and as it reaches a crescendo Matt drops his guitar and exits stage left leaving a knowing finality to their set and a longing for more that you know can't come that night...

The Next band to play was The Seizure and after how much I have already said and rambled about on this post I want to try to keep this quicker and more on point. The Seizure played a really tight set with just topnotch musicianship especially some of the lines the bass player put out there just blew me away. Vocally I wasn't blown away but they are definitely a band I want to see again at least as to a time when I have some extra cash so I can pick up their record because I could invest some time into listening to their songs.

I don't really want to say much about the next band because they really just weren't for me. The Myonics are the only band I have seen featuring an electric autoharp and really just didn't get their brand of noise rock or Psychedelic Experimental Pop or whatever they want to call it...

The last band of the night was Fancy Space People and I am not going to lie I was not expecting to like this band anymore then the one before it just on looks alone. As I walked and saw the band in their glam rock get-ups and with this crazy intro going on my first thought was I am not on enough drugs to fully grasp what is happening onstage. Then the music started and their songs had these awesome chugging guitar chords that reminded me of my favorite old Marilyn Manson tunes back in day. And the singer had this hauntingly beautiful voice that sucked you in. I dug the fact that Fancy Space People went all in on their showmanship they were rock goddesses(some cross-dressing) from outer space. So by the third song there was no stopping and I had to join the crowd in dancing and just moving to the music. Fancy Space People put on a show that hooks you in, I might not want to listen to them regularly or seek them out for another show but I enjoyed the shit out what I saw and would welcome the experience again if happened upon another of their shows.

And thus ended a beautiful night of drinking and music in Echo Park at my favorite shitty little venue...

Chuck Ragan

So I am taking a break to sleep while writing my review for last night's show at Pehrspace, but let me regale you with a new tune by Chuck Ragan while you wait for my ramblings. Now this is in no way local music but I seriously love me some Chuck Ragan and has one of the best gritty voices in folk music...

Do yourself a favor and check this out like now...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday Aug. 7th 2011

Last night was crazy fun, went to LA to see some bands at the Satellite.  First up was Torches in Trees who I only got to hear the last two songs which only made me sad and want to hear more of them because they were very fun.  Got a free EP from the band that I still need to listen to. Next up came The Lonely Wild who were marvelous.  Just completely had a sound that I could hear all over the radio. They had a nice use of full band vocal harmonies without overdoing it or trying to sound like Fleet Foxes or Local Natives or what not.  They are pretty straight forward rock band with a little catchy poppiness to them, but there is definitely a little bit of country to their sound more like Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band country than straightforward country. I could not leave without purchasing their debut EP and so far I am loving it just sad that I only have five of their songs to listen to because it leaves me wanting more.

And then came the band I went to see, the lovely Radars to the Sky. Whenever I see Radars play live it feels like such a treat, and they never disappoint. We got to hear three new songs and the one that sticks out the most of the three was the one that Andrew called their "Clash" song which really had a rollicking energy through the whole thing that you couldn't help but move to. Plus Kenny on drums was destroying on that one.  They also had some help from a trumpet player on a few songs that really added to the songs he played on and sounded like those songs were always meant to be played that way. But reflecting on their set it is really kind of bittersweet that the first show I am blogging about is the last show for two of their members, Rob and Kate. I wish both of them the best of luck in their future pursuits and hopefully this means more shows to be played by Rob's band Death to Anders.  Last night's show didn't feel like an ending though especially because of introducing us to new material made it known that Radars to the Sky will continue writing music and amazing local crowds with it. I can't wait to hear what Andrew, Pete and Kenny have in store for the future and anyone else they might decide to add into their group.

I did not stick around for the last band as Manhattan Murder Mystery were playing a house party not too far away and as of that moment had not yet gone on.  Unfortunately getting there was a little more difficult then I wanted and only was able to make it for the last 2 songs.  But those last 2 songs of the night were well worth the trouble. I do not know if there is a better setting to witness a MMM show then crammed into a tiny living room, I suppose that was what that room was.  As always their set ender of Parking Lot was about a 10 minute epicness that had the whole room into a fervor from start to finish with everyone singing, shouting or crooning the lyrics along with Matt or even without Matt when he ventures away from the mic while pushing his way into the crowd and going insane on his guitar. There really is no experience like going to a Manhattan Murder Mystery show in LA right now and they always seem to be playing one if not two or three nights a week. The rest of the night consisted of lively conversations with some new friends, and a longing to have been there the whole night as a live show at the F house seems like something not to be missed, but that could just be how I feel about every Manhattan Murder Mystery show is that it is something not to be missed....


So I suppose I will start off by saying why I am starting this. Well mainly it is just a way for me to ramble on about music and all the local LA shows that I have been going to, so if you want the opinion of a fan who loves music but has zero musical talent (if you have ever heard me sing karaoke then you have first hand knowledge of what I am talking about) then I am your source. I will mainly be sticking to the Silverlake/Echo Park LA music scene as that is where I try to go out to every week to see bands that I love such as George Glass, Radars to the Sky, The Happy Hollows, The Henry Clay People, and of course Manhattan Murder Mystery.  Plus their are so many more interesting and talented folks playing out in that area that I want to know more of.  So I will blog my exploits out into the nights of rock n roll and some feelings on new albums that I hear and just what I am listening to as a way to keep an active blog most likely. I will soon post my first show review from last night...