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