Monday, September 3, 2012

Who Needs Coachella When You Have FYF

I am just blown away at how awesome the 2012 FYF Festival was this year. 2 days, 4 stages, under $100, tolerable heat, more bands I wanted to see, AND I got to go home in between. I mean, really, why go to the desert?

Let's just get it out there that I didn't arrive until 3 pm both days. The night prior to the festival's commencement, I saw Niki and the Dove at the Echo. The openers for that show (Devin) also opened up FYF and I was not impressed (NATD on the other hand were stellar).

I walked in as Two Gallants were finishing their Black Keys-ish brand of rock. I don't know them well but I liked their sound. The first act I really cared about was Chairlift. Even though I saw them in March at the Troubadour, I was eager to see them here. Their album "Something" is one of my favorites this year. Like the Troubadour show, they opened with Sidewalk Safari. Sadly, they seemed to be off from the start. As cute as the new keyboardist was in her barely-covering-panties t-shirt/dress, I don't think she had the songs quite down yet. Or the heat had gotten to her. Midway through the set, the computer broke down leaving the band without their pre-record. This left the keyboardist to pick up the slack - which she didn't seem able to. After several sloppy songs (I won't even upload "Take It Out On Me" to YouTube out of respect for the band), Caroline Polachek seemed visibly frustrated and disappointed. The other half of the duo, Patrick Wimberly, appeared to try to make lemonade out of...well, a broken macbook pro, by carrying on with the show but the mistakes coming from the keyboard made it impossible for Caroline to sing. She restarted "I Belong In Your Arms" but ultimately walked off stage at the end - leaving us without "Amanamenesia". It was unfortunate. I will see them again though. I just hope they have their act together for tomorrow's show at the Greek.

Chairlift - Frigid Spring

No matter how many times I see Warpaint, I continued to be mesmerized by their blend of psychadelic jams and gorgeousness. A group of barely-post-pubescent guys behind me were scoffing at the pretty girls with guitars on stage as having all those instruments "just for show". It only took one song for their jaws to drop and proceed to comment throughout the set "I'm having my mind blown right now" / "I want to marry all of them". IMHO, they stole the show on the main stage Day 1.

Also awesome on day 1, Purity Ring. I loved their light cocoon stage. M83 opened with a song I don't care for so...I left. I know, I know "HOW COULD YOU MISS REFUSED?????" - I already got my fix of hardcore bands reuniting this year with the At The Drive-In show in Austin. I didn't need to see a band like that at a festival. Sue me.

Purity Ring - Lofticries

The second day for me was all about Yeasayer. Their new album, Fragrant World, is perfect (as I've said in previous posts). The day began though with David Cross's comedy set. Despite being overpowered by the band playing one stage over, he was, well, David Cross. Who doesn't love David Cross and his colon cleansing jokes? I don't know if I needed to Cursive again having already said goodbye on their farewell tour in 2007. After they played, one of the coolest acts I saw hit the stage - Lightning Bolt. I was thoroughly unprepared for what was to come from this two-piece from Providence. The drummer/singer had a Frankenstein kit that neither needed nor had a hi-hat. His mic was attached to a homemade mask he wore. I wish I had known them better. And that I had worn shoes.

Lightning Bolt

After seeing a few more bands (Liars and Desperacido), it was time for Yeasayer. They opened with a reggae/dub version of Henrietta that served to set the tone for the remainder of their set. I'll let the videos speak for the rest.

Yeasayer - Henrietta

Yeasayer - Wait For The Summer

Yeasayer - Reagan's Skeleton

Beirut also delivered a knock-out set but the energy was a little less coming after Yeasayer. Still, that was one heck of a lineup.

Beirut - Nantes

There were a few other bands I couldn't see due to scheduling (i.e. Sleigh Bells - I heard someone lost a thumb in the barricade when the crowd surged) but hats off to FYF for truly making the best weekend of the summer (as they continued to remind us on the screens).

Friday, August 31, 2012

FYF. All about Yeasayer

Well, my calculations turned out to be correct. I figured with FYF on a hot Labor Day weekend, people would be ditching their tickets on Craigslist as the date neared to anyone willing to buy. I scored a pass fro a girl looking to get out of town for $60. Sorry FYF promoters. I would have totally paid full price if I didn't have that gut feeling that I could score a deal

Ok, if you read my earlier post regarding Yeasayer's single, Henrietta, in which I predicted Fragrant World would be my favorite album of the year, I may have been spot on. It. Is. Amazing. I CANNOT wait to see them Sunday. The opening and closing tracks are just beautiful. Pick up the colored vinyl now while you still can. I saw some at Origami on Wednesday.Speaking of...that's pretty awesome they're moving their whole shop to FYF for the festival.

Here's my agenda so far. If there's a gap, I'm wandering.

Saturday: Chairlift-->Warpaint-->Tanlines-->Purity Ring-->M83-->Refused

Sunday: David Cross-->Tiger & Woods-->Lightning Bolt-->Yeasayer-->Beirut-->The Faint

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Drive Tour Broke Down At the Echoplex 8/5/2012 - A Review

With a line stretching to the "lake" one would think the Drive Tour (featuring Electric Youth, Anoraak, and College) would be something special. It was not. It was mediocre electronic knob turning played to a backdrop of something I maaaaay actually be keen to use a a screen saver. France's Anoraak were good - but still, try sounded like a C-grade version of Phoenix. The saddest thing is there was a great show upstairs featuring Captured Tracks artist DIIV. I'm actually writing this while having some barley wine at El Prado across the street while I wait for that sold out show to end so I can buy some merch.

Regarding Drive...Next time I'll take the train...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Perfect eXXecution by The XX in Los Angeles 7/23/2012

I'm not going to write too much about this one. I will say it's shows like these that make me love this city. Openers Haim (who were recently seen stealing the show from underneath Geographer at The Echo) mesmerized the audience with their wild hair, perfect harmonies (they're all sisters), and primal drum finale. Seriously, check these girls (and guy) out. I can guarantee they will be playing every festival next year.

The XX came on around 10:20 and played an hour set with one encore. The entranced the crowd with a roughly equal number of the songs we know and the songs we can't wait for when their new album "Coexist" drops in September. Good luck getting in to the Palladium or Hollywood Forever when they return in a few months.


New Song


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beach House Shack Up at The El Rey

The Buildup
Before the summer concert season started, I told my friend Nicole that there really was only one band I wanted to see that I had never seen live before - Beach House. In my opinion, Bloom is so far the runaway contender for best album of the year and Teen Dream still gets regular rotation. So, when they announced the show at the El Rey, I was ready to buy tickets at 10 am Friday morning like my email from Goldenvoice said. That time came. Tickets "went on sale", and from what I've gathered, everyone who tried to get them was left scratching their heads. It turns out, to obviate the need for scalpers, Beach House had sent out a tweet and a link to their own ticket page that sold out the show before us regular schmucks had a chance.

*Side note* I was following @BeaccchHoussse at the time but hadn't checked my Twitter for a few days.

So, utterly depressed and upset, I proceeded to add Beach House to twitter alerts in the event there was any more news. I was overjoyed when they said not to buy from scalpers, that there would be more shows in LA. But I was bummed when those shows were scheduled 3 months away. I needed my fix!

So, fast forward 1 month of me checking CraigsList every day, offering to trade an XX ticket (for which I had a lot of offers), and ultimately throwing all my eggs in the KCRW ticket giveaway basket. I didn't win. I had friends calling as well with my member number (whom I would have taken). No one got through. The Los Angeles phone system was most likely brought close to failure thanks to the number of people trying to win those. My only hope was to find a poor soul at the door whose scalping deal had fizzled out who had recently broken up with their girlfriend/boyfriend to the benefit of moi.

Getting In
I got to The El Rey around 5:30 (after having stopped by an hour earlier on the way home from work just to survey the scene - no one there yet). There were rumors from an uninformed El Rey employee that there may be a few tickets at the box office. Those hopes were shattered. The number of people looking for tickets swelled. The number of people selling remained at zero. I continued to check Craiglist and emailed everyone who posted that they had an extra - albeit for an extravagant price. One seller said he had 2 for $80 which was a steal. So, of course, I wasn't surprised when he wrote back that they were sold.

I befriended a fellow ticket-seeker from Japan named Inako. There was another guy named Michael looking for a pair for he and his absent girlfriend but who didn't realize that a two-ticket, will call only show meant he would not be able to find a pair at the same time. When the sole scalper on the block came to Micheal saying he found one, Michael said to come back when he had two. Then Michale turned to Inako and I and said "Those ones are mine". The scalper came back a few minutes later saying he sold the single to some other guy for $60. Stupid, stupid Michael.

As the line was let in still no tickets surfaced, the situation was looking bleak. Inako and I had been there since the beginning though and weren't ready to give up. 9 o'clock rolled around and the openers, Wild Nothings, began to play. Then, a miracle happened. The Craiglist emailer who previously said his tickets were sold wrote me a new message asking if I still needed one and that he was already inside. I left Inako to run over to the smoking area in the hopes that this person would come dashing out and we'd do a Titanic-eque ticket exchange over the velvet rope and barricade. It didn't happen. He was sending confusing messages about having a transfer take place and I was responding with an imperiled "can't you just come out and transfer me the ticket?!?". Since he thought I initially needed two, but now only needed one, he assumed I had a friend on the inside who would pay him so that the whole transaction would be out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

Then, I remembered Inako. I ran back to where we were standing and saw the ticketmaster logo in her hand. She got a ticket! We hugged then I asked, "How much?". "$65!" she said. Which was better than the $75 Michael ended up paying just before. Then I said, "Ok, ok. There is a guy on the inside with one for me. Can you help." To which our never-give-up-hope bond came through and she said "of course!".

Two minutes later, Inako came running out to the smoking area to follow through on the aforementioned Titanic-esque ticket delivery. And that was it. Like Charlie Bucket's golden ticket, I was in!

The Review
Wild Nothings had a half dozen or so songs left. Honestly, I couldn't care less. My heart was beating so fast in anticipation. I owed Inako a huge debt of gratitude especially since my ticket was $25 less than hers. She was so gracious though and wouldn't accept any evening out of the costs. I found a spot on the left side, she found a better spot on the right in one of the El Rey's alcoves. So that's where we watched Alex Scally and Victoria Legrande, aka Beach House, take the stage promptly at 10:15.

The crowed was going wild so it makes sense that "Wild", Bloom's 2nd track, is what they opened with. Alex played his guitar sitting down, Victoria was center and rather shadowed, and Mr. Drummer Man on stage right. The backdrop looked like something out of an industrial chase scene with the giant slow moving fans, spotlight flooding through them and all.

Other People

Victoria's voice was spot on to how she sounds on the album - but not in an impersonal "i should have stayed home way" - in a "she is really fucking good" way. Throughout the hour and a half long show (unheard of for an indie band!), the band played nearly every song off Bloom, about half the tracks from Teen Dream, and a a handful of songs off thier first two albums. The lighting got more and more intricate as the show went on and Victoria really seemed to be enjoying herself. Alex stayed seated for approximately half the songs but it didn't do anything to demure the vibe of the show. In fact I felt it was very apropos for him to play seated on the songs that he did. There is something very introspective about playing a guitar while seated that you lose when you bring the rock star out to play standing.


They closed their main set with the 1st song off Bloom, "Myth". The encore began with "Turtle Island", then "10 Mile Stereo" and finally "Irene".

In closing, the journey was well worth the destination. I look forward to seeing them in September.

Set List
Walk in the Park
Other People
Equal Mind
The Hours
Silver Soul
New Year
Take Care
Turtle Island
10 Mile Stereo

10 Mile Stereo

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yeasayer Release Preview of my soon to be favorite album of 2012

For those in the know (aka signed up to the email list), Yeasayer just released the the single to their upcoming sure-to-be-masterpiece album #3 entitled Henrietta.

Download it here: Henrietta




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Thr Drums Bring Out All the Kids @ The El Rey - 5/14/2012

Do you know where your children were last night? Chances are, they were at the first of two sold out shows by New York's, The Drums. As we made friends with the kids, scalpers, and homeless people giving away peace stickers, my friend lamented "It seems like a good time to be in high school". After over an hour outside, we were let in. For how long the line was, it was surprising how few people had the fan club will-call tickets. Too bad. They could have saved on some service charges.

There seemed to be a heavy British/Morrisey theme with both of the openers. Part Time took the stage at 8:45 sharp and played somewhat crooning yet entirely-too-long songs. The packed crowed loved them. Then Part Time played a set strikingly Smiths sounding tunes. You could tell the singer of Craft Spells had been working on his English accent for a long time. While talking in between songs, his American accent cracked like many of the other high schooler's in the crowd. Nonetheless, the crowd loved them too.

When the curtains finally raised for The Drums at 10:45, you could easily pick out the teenagers in the audience were too drunk for their own good. The set began with the 3rd song on their 2012 release, Portamento. Singer Johnathan Pierce's gawky dance moves enraptured the audience as he appeared to them as a blonde messiah...err, I mean Morrisey. They played through a nearly equal number of tracks off their new record as their debut with the latter clearly being the high energy pop-anthems that the kids came out to see.

Sadly, the sound at The El Rey didn't serve well to their catchy melodies and it was at times extremely hard to hear the second guitar. I don't think anyone else noticed though. Their first single off Portamento, Money, was played at an even faster pace than the album version which created a mini mosh pit of singing youth. After a brief exit from the stage, Pierce performed his soliloquy Searching For Heaven before the rest of the band came back for two more songs.

The great music, the underage drinking, the carelessness in fashion choices (high-waisted cutoff denim shorts outnumbered just about anything else), and the ringing in the ears do bring me back to my youner years seeing shows. Which lead me to agree with my friend, it does seem like a good time to be in high school.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Guantlet Hair - Live @ The Satellite Review 5/11/2012

What happened to being musically curious? I feel like that trait diminishes exponentially as people get older. Well, by people, I mean people I know. You see, I had four tickets for Gauntlet Hair at The Satellite last night (2 purchased, 2 deeded to me by the venue) and I could not convince a single friend to come out with me. Ok, was Friday. People had things going on already. But let me tell you, Gauntlet Hair was probably better than all of them.

I first heard about GH way back towards the end of April when Liza (the Paraliza) Richardson played them on KCRW She said something akin to "That was Gauntlet Hair. They're playing The Satellite in a few weeks". That was good enough for me. As soon as I parked, I whipped out my iPhone and bought tickets.

Fast-forward to last night. Despite 2/3 of the band playinig barefoot, these guys from Colorado put on a foot-stomping show that was sort of equal to (Explosions In The Sky - the boring parts) + WU LYF. Opening up with Mop It Up - the 3rd track on their self-titled debut on Dead Oceans, they played a nearly 45 minute non-stop set drenched in reverb, delay, and 808 beats coming from the drum set. To me, that sounds like a perfect way to spend a Friday.

As one friend of mine texted back upon being invited: "Hahahaha - that's the weirdest name ever. I commend them". And beyond their moniker, they are definitely worth the commendation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Quick Catch Up

Since I feel like writing again, I figured I should memorialize all the shows I went to (aka have ticket stubs for) since the Detour Festival post.

11/6/2008 - TV On The Radio @ The Wiltern
11/12/2008 - Dungen @ The Echo
11/21/2008 - Rodriguez @ The Echoplex
12/2/2008 - Smashing Pumpkins @ Gibson Ampitheatre
12/11/2008 - CCS/Natalie Portman's Shaved Head @ The Echoplex
12/18/2008 - Warpaint @ Bordello
12/20/2008 - Warpaint @ Space 20
12/21/2008 - Buddyhead Christmas @ Hotel Cafe
2/17/2009 - Lykke Li @ The Glass House
3/24/2009 - The Spinto Band @ Spaceland
5/9/2009 - Iron and Wine @ The Troubadour
5/29/2009 - Black Moth Super Rainbow/School Of Seven Bells @ The Troubadour
7/11/2009 - Camera Obscura @ The Fonda
8/29/2009 - Modest Mouse @ The Grove of Anaheim
8/30/2009 - The Mars Volta @ Hollywood Palladium
10/4/2009 - Miike Snow/Jack Penate @ The Echoplex
10/7/2009 - Fever Ray @ The Fonda
10/15/2009 - Dan Deacon @ The Echo
10/19/2009 - The Decemberists @ Royce Hall
10/29/2009 - Built To Spill @ The Echoplex
11/4/2009 - Pixies @ Hollywood Palladium
12/14/2009 - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros/Fool's Gold @ The Mayan Theater
12/16/2009 - Zero 7 @ The Orpheum
12/17/2009 - Fool's Gold @ The Echo
1/13/2009 - Warpaint @ The Echoplex
1/14/2010 - The Builders and the Butchers @ Spaceland
1/15/2010 - Rebirth Brass Band @ The Roxy
3/9/2010 - Laura Viers @ Spaceland
3/12/2010 - The Cave Singers @ The Echo
3/24/2010 - Cymbals Eat Guitars @  The Echo
3/29/2010 - Warpaint/Moonrats/Dot Hacker @ Spaceland
4/16/2010 - Bad Religion @ Sunset House of Blues
4/30/2010 - Murder City Devils @ The Fonda
5/9/2010 - Les Savy Fav @ The Echoplex
6/2/2010 - Miike Snow @ The Fonda
4/5/2010 - The Buzzcocks @ Club Nokia
7/9/2010 - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti @ The Echoplex
7/20/2010 - Omar Rodrigues-Lopez Group @ Spaceland
9/14/2010 - Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group @ The Troubadour
9/16/2010 - Menomena @ The El Rey Theatre
9/28/2010 - The Black Keys @ Hollywood Palladium
10/5/2010 - Belle & Sebastian @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery
10/18/2010 - Foals @ The El Rey Theater
10/19/2010 - Manu Chau @ The Troubadour
11/16/2010 - Blonde Redhead @ The Fonda
4/2/2011 - Bill Frisell Trio @ Royce Hall
4/20/2011 - Paul Simon @ Kodak Theater
5/2/2011 - Battles @ The Echoplex
5/22/2011 - Yeasayer @ The Glass House
5/29/2011 - Prince @ The Forum
6/21/2011 - Jaga Jazzist @ The Troubadour
7/1/2011 - Blonde Redhead @ The Echoplex
9/29/2011 - Fool's Gold @ The Troubadour
10/18/2011 - Gotye @ The Satellite
1/16/2012 - Portlandia Tour @ The Echoplex
1/25/2012 - Alabama Shakes @ The Troubadour
2/1/2012 - Fujiya & Miyagi @ The Echo
2/9/2012 - Class Actress @ The Echo
2/23/2012 - Wye Oak @ The Troubadour
3/7/2012 - Blitzen Trapper @ The Troubadour
3/8/2012 - Crystal Antlers @ The Echo
3/20/2012 - Sharon Van Etten @ The Avalon
4/9/2012 - At The Drive-In @ Red 7, Austin TX
4/11/2012 - Charlift @ The Troubadour
4/17/2012 - Kimbra @ The Troubadour
 4/19/2012 - Wild Flag/First Aid Kit @ The El Rey Theatre
5/2/2012 - Tennis @ The Troubadour
5/4/2012 - Father John Misty/A.A. Bondy @ The Natural History Museum
5/7/2012 - Youth Lagoon @ The Troubadour

I'm back! Minus my hearing thanks to Youth Lagoon @ The Echo

Where have I been the last 3 and a half years??? I'm pretty sure I went to a show or 100. Twitter was invented too. More on that later. For now, I feel like writing about Youth Lagoon. Writing is all I can do to describe the show since the words coming out of my mouth in a verbal account would be unintelligible thanks to my new found deafness. It was LOUD. The subwoofer was like a weaponized subwoofer. My insides sloshed, my teeth rattled, my boogers dislodged, my ear drums melted.

Youth Lagoon played a late night set (only late because there was no opener) taking the stage around 10:50. I don't know his songs well enough to recall the titles but I was in a euphoric dance mood watching the young Trevor Powers layer his synth on top of some seriously awesome 80's drum beats. His friend Logan (no relation to Lagoon) provided the "real-life" instrument notes on a strat which complimented and balanced out the bedroom synthesizer feel of Trevor's part. Don't get me wrong, the music was great and I was dancing along to it whenever I wasn't protecting my ears from imminent rupture.

Coming straight from his opening set for Death Cab at Disney Hall, they played a short but sweet set to the very sold out crowd at The Echo. They played one encore and were finished by 11:30. If you know anyone who went to the show, give them a break should they constantly ask you to repeat yourself. I know I'll be doing that for a few days.