Ummmmm. Arcade Fire has started streaming their highly anticipated album “Reflektor” on youtube with a monster lyric video suddenly. This is unexpected twist in the saga that has been hype and promotion for this album. It was leaked in Ireland due to an early release so it looks like the band has taken it upon themselves to make sure fans hear the record directly from them before it becomes available for purchase next week.
It was a fancy LA night with some fancy LA bands over at The Palladium on Sunset BLVD. I got a couple comps so my buddy Adam and I decided to go check out the show. I had heard of all three (two of which I was there to see) bands before. I wasn’t quite sure why they were all on the same bill, but free music’s good enough for me.
At this same venue I have seen acts like the Sound City Players concert (Foo Fighter’s backing people like Stevie Nicks and John Fogerty) as well as the legendary Elton John and the original line up of pop titans The Cars. The lines for those shows were NOTHING compared to the line I faced on Friday night. The sidewalk was littered with used sticks of face paint, subway sandwich paper and garbage left by a ‘Walk The Moon’ army who must have been waiting all day for doors. When I entered the Palladium it was friggin packed to the gills. Soon after Smallpools from New Jersey took the stage. They are babies in the music scene establishing themselves as a band this year and releasing a four song EP. Their hype mahcine “hit”, ‘Dreaming’ was a highlight of the set as well as a pretty awesome cover of The New Radicals “You Got To Get What You Give”.
All in all I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of Smallpools. Their sound fits right in with Passion Pit an other pop/ synth rock songs. It was hard for me not to draw comparisons as they played Passion Pit’s “The Reeling” over the PA as the band exited the stage to make way for The Mowglis.
All 8 members of The Mowglis took the crowd by storm and tore through much of their recently released album, “Waiting for The Dawn”. With the crowd already amped up by Smallpools, Mowgli’s benefitted and were by far the stand out band in a night where generic pop music stood tall. Mowglis have a bit of an acoustic hippy vibe about them and the energy of 8 people running around the stage quickly won over the crowd. They are one of the breakout bands this year from LA and they sounded great establishing themselves on one of LA’s bigger stages. Closing their set with “The Great Divide” and the single “San Francisco” i was glad I was finally able to see them live after many attempts.
Walk The Moon was the headlining band. It took them close to 30 minutes to take the stage following the Mowgli’s and I’m pretty sure the stage hands tuned the same guitars like eight times. I waited, saw one song and bounced out of frustration/ I needed to get some sleep. Their break out single “Anna Sun” has been hammered down our throats on alt radio here in LA and hilariously enough was playing in the car as I drive home, I’m sure it was great, but I just didn’t care.
Seeing these small bands at a big venue was really refreshing. It was good to know that there is still power left in new music and witnessing the energy of unknown bands conquering thousands of people was inspiring. For more information on all of the bands check out their respective websites below.
For those who don’t know for my day job I work for AEG. An entertainment mogul of a company that seems to have its hand in just about anything as far as shows, venues, music and sports. Working for such a large company has it’s perks. Often times we get discounted or even free ticket offers to shows that didn’t sell so well and they want to put more butts in seats. I received one of those offers a few days ago for last night’s Avett Brothers show at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown LA. It was wasted on me because I already had a ticket in hand because in my opinion The Avett Brothers are one of the best touring outfits on the road, but it made me wonder why they show didn’t sell as well as I thought it would. After two hours of one of the most energetic and heart warming shows I have seen in a while I still don’t know why there we’re still some seats available. Sitting here writing this I am truly baffled.
Just after 9pm The Avett Brother’s took the stage and greeted the crowd with a monster version of ‘Live and Die’ from their most recent record called “The Carpenter” and they didn’t look back. For two hours the band played twenty two songs off just about every record and tossed in a few acoustic traditional covers for good measure. Songs like ‘Down With The Shine,’ ‘February Seven,’ ‘Distraction #74,’ and ‘Pretty Girl From Chile’ were all set highlights and definite crowd pleasers, but it wasn’t until Seth Avett stepped out from the carpeted portion stage where a single mic and single spot light was waiting for him to sing ‘The Ballad of Love and Hate’ about midway through the show did I realize that tonight was going to be special. I’ve probably listened to that song 100 times and the message is clear. Love beats hate… whatever. It was the raw emotion put into the song as the audience in the 1000′s quietly experienced a little bit of magic which garnered a true standing ovation once it was all over and the spot light faded out. We all love music and we all love going to concerts and we have heard a lot of love songs and a lot of ballads but never in my life have I come closer to tears than last night at that moment. It was inspiring.
From there on out there wasn’t much the band could do wrong in my opinion. They had proved they could make the entire place dance, jump and clap on one song and then sit them down for a quiet lullaby the next. At the end of the set Scott Avett took to the upright piano as the band ripped through an awesome version of ‘Kick Drum Heart’ sending the Shrine into a frenzy and finished off with the touching ballad ‘I and Love and You’ with each brother seamlessly transitioning to and from the piano duties. As the set ended with Scott Avett front and center on his knees while the audience sang the title of the song back to him. Clutching his heart with a big “thank you” the band left the stage. The spot light reappeared and this time it was Scott’s turn to play alone. As the crowd fell completely silent as he tuned his guitar to play my favorite Avett Brothers song of all time called “Murder In The City”. A song about brotherhood and family was an amazing way to start the encore although if they had ended there I would have been very very pleased. ’Head Full Of Doubt/ Heart Full Of Promise’ and ‘Life’ rounded out the night and left me pretty speechless as I exited The Shrine.
Walking out I looked up toward the balcony and saw some of the empty seats and I just couldn’t believe that was the case. I’ll never know why more people weren’t there last night and I don’t care in fact I don’t think anyone who was there cares because there is one thing about the Avett Brothers that I know. They are sincere performers and musicians. On their live release (Vol. 3) I just listened to they say “It’s hard to sound sincere over a microphone but…”. I left feeling like they would have played that level of a show to anyone and anywhere at anytime. To them it’s about the songs and about the music and about the experience of being in a room with other people who are on the same page. So here’s a call to action and I know I say this about most bands I have seen but if you want a live music experience that leaves you breathless, excited, thoughtful and energized do yourself a favor and go see an Avett Brothers concert. They always seem to be on tour and on the festival circuit so don’t miss them. In the meantime to hold you over you can hear their newest record called “Magpie and The Dandelion” over on NPR now.
Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
You ever buy concert tickets months in advance for a show that you are completely stoked about only to have the day come and not feel like going at all? That was me yesterday. Rarely do I find myself not wanting to attending anything that is potentially fun let alone a concert that already has that guarantee attached. It was a Monday, sue me. I paid the money so of course I went like a trooper thinking that I would just “make the best of it.”
Walking up to the historic Wiltern theater on the corner or Wilshire and Weston the emerald green marquee was bright with the letters of one band responsible for selling out three nights in a row. Alex Turner, Jamie Cook, Nick O’Malley, and Matt Helders are the members of British rock sensation Arctic Monkeys and I had no idea what I was in for.
Sold out shows are awesome in LA. Yes, they happen all the time but when they do bands rise to the occasion. On top of that the band made it known their new album called “AM” was recorded “just down the road” as if it wasn’t going to be enough for the sold out crowd alone. Opening the show with a flood of strobe effects, a curtain reveal of giant LED A and M letters which exploded with light to the beat and the brooding opening song from “AM” called “Do I Wanna Know?” was a perfect way to kick off the night. The new song followed by “Brainstorm” from 2007′s “Favourite Worst Nightmare” and my favorite Monkey’s song “Dancing Shoes” from their debut album literally sent the crowd into a frenzy. I have seen this happen before, but last night I wasn’t expecting it at all. Alex Turner donning a red sequin jacket had the entire Wiltern in the palm of his hand starting from song 1. The floor was on fire with the mass of people jumping dancing and screaming (I’ll get to the screaming part in a minute.) As the set progressed and the band moved through over half of their new record with a sprinkle of their other 4 full length releases (my only complaint). They leaned a little too much on the new material and with a back catalog like theirs I under stand it’s hard to play everything/ it’s nearly impossible, but still. Come on no “Fake Tales of San Francisco?” There were glimpses of the old with a monster rendition of “I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor” and “Crying Lightning” from their 2006 debut album and 2009′s “Humbug” respectively. Aside from the songs I mentioned my two favorite moments of the night we actually the two least upbeat songs of the whole night. Midway through the set the Monkeys played a track from ‘AM’ called “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” which has a slow almost hip hop groove. It’s dark and awesome. Then toward the end of the show they played another slow one this time with Turner on acoustic guitar called “No. 1 Party Anthem” which is by far my favorite song off the new album. Both songs combined with the high energy that the Monkeys are known for made for a very well rounded show.
Now let’s talk about the crowd. Holy S-Word. I had ear plugs with me and honestly I didn’t need them for the band. I was up in the balcony and the sound was crisp and well balanced. I was extremely impressed. It was the crowd that drove me to popping them in. They were completely nut’s. It was one of the loudest LA crowds I have ever been a part of. That’s why sold out LA show’s work 9 times out of 10. The people wanted to be there on a Monday night and the band whether they wanted to be there or not had no choice but to give the energy right back to the maniacal crowd. I have been following Arctic Monkeys since day one back in 2006 and have seen them a couple of times at a couple of festivals. They always put on a good show, but I had no idea the fan base that this band has gained over the last 7 years. Hats off to them and their rabid fans. I am now one of them and I can’t wait until they come back.
Here’s the full on set list for those who are curious:
Do I Wanna Know?, Brainstorm, Dancing Shoes, Don’t Sit Down Because I Moved Your Chair, Teddy Picker, Crying Lightning, Snap Out of It, Evil Twin, Old Yellow Bricks, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?, Arabella, Pretty Visitors, I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, Cornerstone, No. 1 Party Anthem, Fluorescent Adolescent, Knee Socks Encore: One For The Road, Do Me A Favor, R U Mine?
Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
Friday night Los Angeles was invaded by the Zombies. Led by original members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone the small Satellite in LA was packed up and shipped back to classic rock’s hey day with hits such as “She’s Not There,” Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up” and the timeless classic “Time of The Season”. Those tunes and a few choice covers led to what was an awesome night of notalgia for those old enough to remember and awe inspiring for those experiencing it for the first time. It was a night of classic rock they way it was meant to be heard. A small club. Keys, guitar, bass, drums and a couple still very very awesome singers.
The original Zombies formed in 1962 and it’s 2013. I’ll let you do the math but the fact is bands like this just don’t last this long and sound as good as they did. Colin Blunstone led the band vocally with his classic tone for most of the night with key moments of Rod Argent who played keys for the entire set lending a hand on a few choice songs. They opened the night with “I Love You” and “Breath In Breath Out” which is their most recent release off of their new album (yea you read that correctly). Mid way through the show Rod Argent told us they would like to play a few selections from their debut album called “Odyssey and Oracle”. This is where the magic happened. As the band moved through Zombie’s staples such as “Rose for Emily,” “Care Of Cell 44,” “I Want Her She Wants Me” and then finally capping off the mid set album cover with “Time Of The Season” I was pretty hooked. I got to be honest I was skeptical at first about paying 40 bucks to see this show. They have been around 50 years after all, but in the end that was the reason I went. After 50 years if a band like this is still at they have to be doing something right.
After The Zombies played an Alan Parson’s project song as well as a Smokey Robinson and the Miracles cover the cover fest continued but this time with a cover of Rod Argent’s from his solo band of the same name. The extended key board jam of “Hold Your Head Up” was a highlight of the night and in tasteful fashion Blunstone let Argent have the stage to himself as he lit the place on fire with his keyboard work. Closing out with the aforementioned “She’s Not There” which is the bands first hit ever was a suiting way to end the night. The unexpected encore featuring a rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” was just icing on the cake.
I love writing article like this. I love going to see bands that have stood the test of time. These songs and hits have been around for decades and hearing original members perform the songs live was a treat. After the show the band had signed a slew of posters and CD’s of which I definitely imbibed. All in all it was a fantastic night. You can’t beat a small club show with rock royalty gracing the stage. Nostalgia is a funny thing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it really really doesn’t. Friday night at the Satellite in LA I felt like I was a part of something that had been kept secret for 50 years and I loved every minute of it.
Here’s the set list from Friday:
I Love You, Can’t Nobody Love You (Solomone Burke), Breath Out Breath In, I Want You Back Again, What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted (Jimmy Ruffin), Tell Her No, I Don’t Believe In Miracles (Blunstone), Show Me The Way, Any Other Way, A Rose For Emily, Care Of Cell 44, This Will Be Our Year, I Want Her She Wants Me, Time Of The Season, A Moment In Time, You Really Got A Hold On Me (Smokey Robinson and The Miracles), Old And Wise (Alan Parsons Project), Hold Your Head Up (Argent), She’s Not There
One of my favorite artists touring today just released their second full length album titled “Essential Tremors”. Raw energy rock and roll is what has driven this band since day one and with their new single “Heavy Bells” leading the way this new album is pretty awesome.
Usually a four piece band with Roddy leading the way on keys with drums bass and guitar this album, still very key heavy, shows a different side to The Business with a lot more emphasis on guitar and keys being lower in the mix. It’s a different stroke from those who are used to them playing songs like “Don’t Break The Needle” or “Full Grown Man”, but even with this minimal difference the band has not strayed to far from their original sound. Other songs like “Marigold” and “Black Light” are not just awesome rock songs, but they are the bridge between J Roddy’s first album and “Essential Tremors”. This album is a great step in the right direction.
Being known for great hooks and piano tunes J Roddy and his band have been touring the states for the last few years making stops at all of the major festivals. With this new release they add eleven more songs to their already stellar arsenal. With a full tour planned and a stop at LA’s famed Troubadour in West Hollywood on the books I am beyond excited. Whenever J Roddy comes to town my buds and I pull out the Jack Daniels and have our selves a good night of rock and roll. Check out all of the tour dates HERE and do youself a favor and buy this album!!
Exciting new music out of Australia. Boy & Bear’s breakthrough new album, Harlequin Dream, is a metal lovers worst enemy. The easy going melodies and mellow guitars make this album one of the best I’ve heard this summer.
Fronted by Dave Hosking with amazing support from Killian Gavin, Tim Hart, Jon Hart and Dave Symes Boy & Bear delivers on all fronts. The album opens with the song ‘Summer Sun,’ which you just heard. The one thing that caught me off guard was the vocals. At times Hosking sounds like Thom Yorke with his haunting tonality on songs like Karma Police and even more recently on tracks like ‘House of Cards. Vocals aside the backing vocals are the perfect support with interesting and well placed harmonies. My favorite song on the album is called ‘Harlequin’s Dream’, the title track. The back beat and the bass line make a song for me. The old school folky textures fit really well with their modern take on folk music.
It doesn’t look like Boy & Bear have made their way stateside yet, but with a few Australian Music Awards under their belt and an opening spot for Mumford and Sons Australian tour it seems like they are ready to take it to the next level. Please do youself a favor and pick up Boy & Bear’s new album HERE.