Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sunstock Solar Festival @ the Autry - Saturday, June 18

The weather will finally be warming up this weekend in LA, perfect for enjoying an outdoor music festival.  Sunstock Solar Festival at the Autry in Griffith Park will feature some great bands like Cults, Wavves, Kaki King, The Big Pink, and more.  

The festival is completely solar-powered and all profits will help fund the installation of a solar roof for Kids Cancer Connection.  Not only will you be enjoying some amazing music, but you'll also be helping the environment and a local charity.

For you music-loving parents out there, there will be activities for kids.  For those of you who come thirsty and/or hungry, there will be a full bar and food trucks.  

Tickets are $20 through Eventbrite and $25 at the door.  The festival will be located in a secluded corner of Griffith Park at the Autry Museum of the American West, 4700 Western Heritage Way. A bike valet and free parking will be available in the Los Angeles Zoo parking lot.

Doors open at 4pm and music starts at 5pm.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Little Mermaid @ Hollywood Bowl

I was so jealous of everyone who got to see The Little Mermaid at Hollywood Bowl on Monday because the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, headlined that night.  At least we got a small taste of her still-amazing-after-30-years voice at the show we attended on Saturday, where she was the surprise guest.  She's an infinitely better singer than Sara Bareilles, who at least looked the part of the Little Mermaid, with her long, wavy tresses colored red halfway down and wearing a sea foam green dress.  I even overheard a little girl yelling "Look, it's Ariel!"

What we didn't miss on Monday was Alan Menken's pre-show (in Monday's show he was replaced by Brad Kane - original voice of Aladdin - and Susan Egan - voice of Meg from Hercules).  On piano, Menken performed a career retrospective with songs from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies, and Enchanted, just to name a few.  I almost teared up a little, listening to the man who penned so many soundtracks from Disney Animation's golden age, when not only were the films great, but so were all the songs.  During that era, animated films saw success at the box office and on the radio.

The celebrity guests also impressed, from Rebel Wilson's sassy turn as Ursula (in an amazing black shimmery dress that I could definitely picture Ursula wearing) to Titus Burgess' exuberant performance (I didn't know he had originated the role of Sebastian in the Broadway show.  No wonder he was so good!).

Sadly, John Stamos' badly placed microphone prevented us from getting the full experience of his song, Les Poissons, but, amazingly, the audience stayed respectfully quiet so that everyone could hear him.  His hilarious stage antics made up for the misplacement of his microphone.

I hope the success of this show convinces Disney to have more of their animated films in concert.  I'm hoping for Aladdin next summer.  However, they really ought to do Beauty and the Beast to promote their new live action film.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nightmare Before Christmas Live with Danny Elfman @ Hollywood Bowl

The dreams of every Nightmare Before Christmas fan came true last weekend at the Hollywood Bowl when, for the first time ever, the movie was shown with the original singers performing live and accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  When we bought the tickets, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was just excited to hear the Danny Elfman (hello every amazing Tim Burton movie soundtrack!) sing the NBC songs live.  So, it was a treat to see and hear special guests like Paul Ruebens, Catherine O'Hara, and Ken Page (who sounds even better live, belting out Oogie Boogie's Song).  Everyone sounded great, especially Danny Elfman, and it was fun to see how expressive they were on stage while performing during the movie.  It was like getting a behind-the-scenes look at how the soundtrack was created.  

Elfman must have been on a high from all the singing and audience cheering because he ended the night with the Oingo Boingo song, Dead Man's Party, which sounded unplanned, but was a wonderful surprise.

Another surprise was Sandy Cameron, who played violin during the intermission and was an absolute badass.

The Hollywood Bowl also made that Halloween Day extra fun with candy stations for kids, and adults, to trick-or-treat their way up to their seats and a costume contest before show.  I loved seeing all the Tim Burton and Nightmare Before Christmas themed costumes.  


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Glass Animals @ The Wiltern

Favorite moments from Glass Animals show at The Wiltern, first night:
  1. Loved the palm trees and vertical lights on stage.  It was like a luau at a rave. 
  2. Seeing Wing's reaction when she heard singer Dave Bayley's speaking voice for the first time.  I guess it's hard to imagine such chocolatey vocals coming out of him. 
  3. The only white people I've ever seen dance like Bayley are ravers and DJs.  It took some getting used to, but he was good and his moves were mesmerizing.  
  4. Their cover of Kanye's Love Lockdown is infinitely better than the original.  Although, it did get me interested in Kanye's 808's & Heartbreak album.  People complain about his voice on the album and all the auto-tuning, but it takes balls to sing on an album when you know your voice isn't great.  I really like the concept, and you can't deny the songs are damn catchy. 
  5. I don't usually like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but Glass Animals' cover / mashup, Gold Lime, actually made them sound appealing. 
Besides the odd dim sum din in the crowd during Cocoa Hooves (which was pretty rude if you ask me.  Everyone was talking so loudly, I'm pretty sure the band noticed.  But props to them for getting through the song without faltering), the rest of their set was solid.  They turned The Wiltern into their own sexy Hawaiian dance club. 

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Friday, September 4, 2015

FYF Fest 2015

FYF was back again at Exposition Park, this time with a new walkway, an extra stage, and some new food options.  Here are the highlights. 
  • The New Walkway really cut down on the time it took to get from Main Stage to The Trees.  This took about 7 minutes of walk time for me.
  • The Lines to get in were constantly moving, although a bit long on Day 1.  Day 2 was much better.  Still, getting in was a vast improvement over Day 1 last year. 
  • It was a bit sad that FYF didn't sell out all their tickets, but I was glad it wasn't as packed as last year.  Guess the previous year's logistics really did a number on this year's attendance.  
  • ID Check was conveniently located right after security. 
  • Perrier Greenhouse offered nice cold cans of sparkling water...and free bubbles.  
  • BADBADNOTGOOD was an interesting choice for The Arena, but they sounded great live.  I enjoyed their modern jazz version of hip hop. 
  • Caught a few of Goldroom's songs at The Trees.  Wish I had stayed for the entire set because he got me dancing even though I was sitting on the grass in the back.  Till Sunrise was the perfect song to hear at sunset. 
  • The Trees stage was fancier this year, which was really noticeable once the sun set. 
  • On the way to the Flying Lotus DJ set, I got distracted by the lights and music of Shlohmo.  His music paired really well with my tasty lavender and orange blossom donut (aka Joyce Lavender from Donut Friend.  Love their punny band names btw). 
  • The twice fried Korean chicken wings from Status Kuo were probably the messiest things you could eat at FYF, but they were also some of the tastiest.  Note to SK:  add moist towelettes to every order.  We went through several napkins and a few moist towelettes that I luckily had.     
  • Chet Faker's live show was much more energetic than his sometimes mellow songs on his albums.  No Diggity attracted people to the stage and the rest of his set kept them there.  
  • As a last minute replacement, Kanye West only had bright lights and smoke as his stage setup, but he still had the crowd going wild over every song.  It was fun to see him try to do 10 hit songs in the last 10 minutes of his show.  Surprise guest Rihanna sang with him from the pit and then later on stage.  
  • Flume turned the Main Stage into a giant dance club.  Did anyone find it strange that Lorde came up on stage to dance with him, but didn't actually sing?  I was surprised that he was actually kind of polite and undouchey for a DJ.  He kept thanking everyone after his songs and seemed genuinely excited about performing there.  
  • It was my second time seeing Belle & Sebastian, but my first time actually being close enough to see them on stage (the last time I saw them was at Hollywood Bowl forever ago). I can't believe that even after 9 studio albums, they're still considered indie.  Singer Stuart Murdoch was wearing a nautical shirt and a hat, which I feel like is the exact same thing he wore at Hollywood Bowl.  I like to imagine he has a closet full of striped shirts.  During The Stars of Track and Field, they showed this amazing old footage of the opening ceremony for the 1984 Summer Olympics that took place in the Coliseum at Exposition Park.  Jetpack = epic. 
  • D'Angelo & the Vanguard were having a sexy dance party at The Lawn stage.  We could feel his James Brown-like energy all the way from the beer garden.  He put on a great show including costume changes and him playing multiple instruments.  
  • Morrissey sounded good live and I even got to hear a Smith's song, but I pretty much lost interest in the rest of his set after he launched into the preachy Meat is Murder and played the accompanying bloody animal slaughtering video.  I do admire him for playing past his set time for his fans.  And I hope people listened to him when he urged them not to vote for Trump. 

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