by Brad Roberts
This year's Echo Park Rising was a huge success from what I could see. Big crowds at all venues, a wide variety of music and entertainment choices, restaurants full, and even impromptu stages popping up all over the neighborhood. Even the weather was sublime, especially contrasted with last year's over 100° temperatures.
Over the course of four days, one could drop in and out at random and pick up three or four bands or stay for hours and see ten to twenty bands. I think I saw 0ver 30 performers in over 13 venues, some of them just set up on the sidewalk, and stayed at least four hours one day and seven hours or more the other three days.
I intended to see as many bands I had never seen before as I could, and I think I succeeded. Some of the stand outs were Pompeya (above), a band from Moscow who play a peppy uptempo indie pop that is totally ingratiating, Ghost Lit Kingdom, who charmed with intricate four part harmonies, and legendary local band Dios reuniting for another beautiful show. And this was just Thursday.
The rest of the weekend brought Sand Babes, Broadcast Station, Send Medicine, Korey Dane, Banta, Golden Animals, and a sterling performance from Manhattan Murder Mystery (at left), who have reached something of a creative peak recently.
Monday, August 22
Tuesday, August 23
Nina Diaz, of Girl in a Coma, has an intimate show at Hotel Cafe tonight and has invited Haunted Summer to participate. Doors are at 7 for this early show. Bones Muhroni, My Hawaii, Nightgown and The Absolute have a date at The Hi Hat.
Wednesday, August 24
Thursday, August 25
The Album Leaf have transported me to semi-conscious states during ,most of their shows I have seen, and his latest album, Between Waves, is available at a free in-store this evening at Amoeba Music, before being officially released tomorrow.
Friday, August 26
Back in the day, ten years ago, when I was easing my way back into the world of rock music, I was a fan of Wolf Parade and saw them at The Wiltern, ten years ago this month as a matter of fact, but tonight they show up at The Echo. My passion for Arcade Fire was leading me to any band that came from Canada. They are still a popular band and sold out this show almost immediately.
Father John Misty, in town to play FYF FEST has a regular show at El Rey, with Tess & Dave tonight, and the equally theatrical, classic new-wave band Culture Club land a two night gig at Hollywood Bowl.
Saturday, August 27
Sunday, August 28
by Brad Roberts
This is one of my favorite weeks of every summer because Echo Park Rising tends to fall right around my birthday. And with this year's festival extended to four days, I've arranged to take all four days off of work, plus Monday (for recovery). The most up-to-date schedule I could find appears after the Low Down. I've starred (*) the bands I know are worth seeking out and I'll update it daily as I sample more and more of the unknowns.
It's also interesting that this year The Eagle Rock Festival falls on the same Saturday. If you get tired of Echo Park, you can jump over to Eagle Rock for all, or part, of the day, for variety. Over the years The Eagle Rock Festival has become a more neighborhood-centric event and can't really compete musically with Echo Park. I recall some of the past ones that got pretty wild after the sun went down so the city seems to have gone for a more traditional, family-friendly day fair. This year's musical performers include Orgone, Dengue Fever, Boogaloo Assassins and Leftover Cuties, so there's definitely some prime acts playing. My focus will be on the Echo Park Rising festival this week.
by Brad Roberts
Kind of a quiet week, probably a prelude to next weekend's Echo Park Rising and Eagle Rock Music Festival collision. Though the EPR festival runs for four days (Thursday thru Sunday) the Eagle Rock event is plunked down right in the middle on Saturday.
Big names in town this week include Silversun Pickups at Hollywood Palladium on Saturday, who sold out before I could get a ticket, Indigo Girls on Thursday at The Fonda Theatre, and Rodrigo & Gabriela at Hollywood Bowl on Sunday.
Pioneering folk singer Judy Henske, who was a contemporary of Mary Travers, and has influenced everyone from Beverly Bivens of We Five and Mama Cass to Jefferson Airplane's Signe Anderson and Grace Slick. She's still performing and turns up at McCabe's this Friday night.
I'll have a big feature on the Echo Park Rising festival next week. I took all those day off from work so I'll be there every day.
Monday, August 8
Wednesday, August 10
Thursday, August 11
Friday, August 12
When I first heard her voice it was on the soundtrack of the 1963 M-G-M/Cinerama super-spectacle How The West Was Won. Composer Alfred Newman wanted to use some authentic sounding folk singers who could conceivably have been in the American West in the pre- and post-Civil War era and found what he needed in Dave Guard and The Whiskeyhill Singers which included Judy Henske among it's members. Her voice stood out like a sparkling gem with its confident power and control. It was years before I found out who the voice belonged to, but it's easy to hear why she was such an inspiration for so many singers. With Jerry Yester at McCabe's.
In other highlights The Donkeys, Two Sheds and The Pesos have a show at The Hi Hat, and there's An Acoustic Set by Dawes with Joe Purdy at Hotel Cafe, along with sets by Lincoln Durham and Ryan Sheridan.
Saturday, August 13
Sunday, August 14
by Brad Roberts
Giant stars have giant shows this week as August festival season kicks in. Modern legends Radiohead (at right) play the Shrine Auditorium on Thursday, with Shabazz Palaces, and superstars Barbra Streisand on Tuesday at Staples Center and Gladys Knight, with Tower of Power at Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday. Friday night offers Ryan Adams & The Shining and Nice As Fuck at The Greek, and HÆLOS have a show with Golden Daze at Teragram Ballroom. Kansas play a free show downtown on the Downtown Stage at Pershing Square on Saturday with Blitzen Trapper. On Sunday night Sufjan Stevens takes over the Hollywood Bowl.
Local shows of the week include Dawn of Sequins at Lot 1 celebrating the 15th anniversary of Mary and Eli Charkoff on Thursday night. Joining in the festivities will be The Do-Its, Matt Teardrop playing solo and Andy Creighton of The World Record (also solo). Also at Lot 1, on Saturday I have my Feed Your Head and Vert Ventures show featuring Psychedelic folk acts.
Bones Muhroni brings I See Hawks In LA to the Hi Hat on Tuesday, and there's three terrific local bands at The Roxy on Wednesday including Dear Boy. On Friday, Draemings are holding an Album Release Show, with VOWWS, Psychic Love and Brass Box to help then celebrate at The Echo. Many other favorite locals are sprinkled throughout the week as well.
Last week's concert at The Greek with The National (at right) was another sensational show. This band really knows how to deliver a superb audio/visual experience. Throughout the fantastic, all-encompassing light show experience was a selection of many old favorites while they liberally sprinkles an intriguing sampling of some new tunes off their next album.
by Brad Roberts
With The National (right) only set to play a few dates this year, both here and abroad, we in Los Angeles are lucky they have selected The Greek for one of their summer concerts. Though not set to release a new album this year, lead singer Matt Berninger promises to debut some new material. I've never seen a show by this band that was not top quality, so I didn't hesitate to get a ticket, making this my only trip up to the historic Griffith Park venue. Now in their seventeenth year as a band, I've seen then seven times since 2007, though most recently was already nearly three years ago at Hollywood Forever, and I'm ripe for another dose. The Lone Bellow will open the show.
BUSted! is back for a second gig Live at Comedy Central Stage after the first one sold out a couple of months ago. I attended that one and it was one the most enjoyable hours I have spent this year so far. This one takes place Tuesday and you should come so you can say you saw BUSted! before it exploded onto a national stage. Starting as a monthly event at Stories Books and Cafe in Echo Park three years ago, it has grown and grown to now include Webcasts, a Youtube channel, and shows at Comedy Central. As a lifelong bus rider I so enjoy hearing real people recount real experiences that can be funny, informative, embarrassing, smelly, and even moving. It's a special kind of spoken word event.
It's too hot. This column will be brief this week.
by Brad Roberts
Another week when it's difficult to keep everything that's going on around you in perspective. The world looks like it's turning upside down before our eyes and I can't remember any other time that reminds me so much of what it felt like to live through the 1960s, when one had to deal with a new reality daily. The trick is to keep your head, try to look at the big picture, and don't let things get too out of proportion. And this is the week of the fabulous Republican Convention as we watch this once proud party squabble in the dirt. They've earned it. It looks like a powder keg ready to explode.
What is this thing called Dirty Penni Fest on Saturday? Actually it's an all day event presented by Dirty Laundry TV and Penniback Records at The Echo & Echoplex starting at 12 noon. Cherry Glazerr, No Parents, Guantanamo Baywatch, Mike Watt & The Missingmen, Death Hymn Number 9, Winter, Lovely Bad things, So Many Wizards, and many more will be participating. Lots of good bands in a variety of indie-genres.
Manhattan Murder Mystery are, again, part of one of the week's best shows. This time they're showing up at Harvard & Stone for the Stars At Night Tuesday residency night with the wonderful Psychic Love to round out a spectacular night.
Last Thursday's show at The Satellite with Lady Low, Ultra Violent Rays and Alright Alright was a very special event in my book. Such vocal splendor was on display I felt a bit overwhelmed. It had been ever so long since I'd even been to The Satellite that it felt a little like a homecoming. Nice old friends were present and it was a heady atmospheric evening with lots of fog and swirling lights and psychedelic music. I felt quite at home. Alright Alright have a two part vocal dynamic that the two trained voices bring to multiple orgasmic crescendos that melt your insteps.
by Brad Roberts
I'm looking forward to this Saturday's show at El Cid with the super groovy indie pop band Dutch Party, for Bebopalula (at right) are playing too, and this brand new band is already making waves, and who bring a great big dose of fun to their music. Also appearing, Sure Sure who I don't know much about but any band compared favorably to Grizzly Bear and Field Music by Deli Magazine has to pique my interest.
Thursday night offers a triple bill at The Satellite that is possibly the best line up of the week. Lady Low always dazzles with their flowing melodic anthems and powerful vocal performance, together with a rich string sections, and they headline this show with stirring support from psychedelic band Ultra Violent Rays and more soaring vocals from Alright Alright, who have enriched a couple of my nights at Lot 1.
Bunch of interesting sets all over town all week as well. On Wednesday Derde Verde and The Pretty Flowers are at Silver Lake Lounge, and Jenny O. is at Hotel Cafe. Friday The Dead Ships are hosting a Record Release Show at The Hi Hat. On Saturday Sego, Francisco. The Man and NONA at Bootleg Bar. On Sunday Pearl Charles graces the Grand Ole Echo with a headlining spot at Echoplex.
Had the most fun at the Manhattan Murder Mystery, Seasons show at The Viper Room last Wednesday. I was right, this was the first time MMM (at right) had ever played this fabled club, and it was perfect for them. Best sounding set I've ever heard from them and kudos to The Viper Room sound guys. Seasons (at left) played about seven songs and each one topped the previous one. They also benefited from the great sound.
by Brad Roberts
Interesting to celebrate the Fourth of July this year with everybody hating everybody else and the appearance that our nation's fabric is pulling apart at the seams. Anyway let's drag out the BBQ, grab a beer and forget about it all. The Hollywood Bowl Fourth of July Spectacular stars the legendary band Chicago who wrap up a three day run with Monday's finale.
The week springs back to life on Tuesday with a bunch of good shows like Max Cady at The Viper Room and Emily Gold playing the Stars At Night residency night at Harvard & Stone. Wednesday, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Seasons, Blackwater Jukebox and Eleven Dollar Bills bring the East Side to the Sunset Strip at The Viper Room. And Duniven has a Video/Album Release show that night at The Hi Hat.
Other highlights include De Lux at the Echoplex for a show with Fartbarf on Friday, The Bird and The Bee back out on tour and landing at Teragram Ballroom on Saturday, and Grand Ole Echo with The Lemon Trees, Christy Hays, Dylan Luster and the Ben Reddell Band on Sunday afternoon at The Echo.
by Brad Roberts
Dead Meadow cast such a dreamy spell over their audiences, it sometimes feel more like a seance than a concert. I've seen this band seven times already in venues as varied as The Troubadour, Hotel Cafe and The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery where, by the end, people were just laying around on the floor, vibrating , as we let the music just sweep over us. A most memorable night. I last saw them when they opened for Super Furry Animals at The Roxy in February (above) but they're back at The Satellite on Friday, and I hate to let any chance to see them slip by. They are one of my favorite live bands.
The psychedelic-drenched, psycho-rock of Death Valley Girls has been committed to their first album, Glow In The Dark on Burger Records which they celebrate with an Album Release Party at The Echo on Thursday. Also on the bill, back from a tour, Peach Kelli Pop bring their sunny vocals offset by dark punk undercurrents, and Frankie and the Witch Fingers, who capture a sixties acid rock sound most honorably, make this a bill that's hard to top.
I was happy to hear that The Smell has been given a one year reprieve from the wrecking ball and that there will be help in finding a new location when the time comes. A celebratory spirit should infect their shows on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday this week.