by Brad Roberts
Culture Collide and Beirut in the same week! This is gonna be fun. I haven't put in the amount of research necessary yet to make more than random recommendations for the festival. But, needless to say, this is always a head-spinning event as bands from all over the world compete for your attention. And I've always found unpredictable buried treasure at Culture Collide.
It's been a long four years since the last album from Beirut, but the new release, No No No is so good that the wait was worth it, more cohesive than The Rip Tide, it signals a nice maturity and focus, still with that vaguely European/Balkan style that made Zach Condon's band famous, but with a refreshing simplicity. The tunes are lush and memorable, while the orchestrations clear and concise. Already one of my favorite albums of the year, I look forward to the live experience. I'm going on Wednesday to the Hollywood Palladium for the first night of a two night engagement. I'll probably wish I was going on Thursday after the show on Wednesday.
Ariel Pink are also doing two nights in town at Teragram Ballroom on Monday and Tuesday. And there are some nice locla shows tucked in between all the hubbub of festivals and big bands. Northern American play The Echo on Wednesday, Geronimo Getty are are El Cid on Thursday, and Taste of South Lake Pasadena takes place on Saturday and offer a feast of talent.
Culture Collide the complete line up is below.