Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Sounds @ Hollywood Palladium

I was excited to see the Palladium after renovation. The last time I had been there was to see No Motiv, Reggie and the Full Effect, and Alkaline Trio. The only thing I could remember about the Palladium was that the sound system was horrific and it pretty much ruined those bands for me. I haven't been able to listen to those bands since. I was praying the sound would be better. I don't understand how they don't notice how bad the sound system is there. It was apparent that they hadn't changed the sound too much. It wasn't as bad as I remembered (even though that was years ago), but that might have also been due to the fact that there had been a few drinks involved and I was too excited about seeing The Sounds. K said that they sounded rusty from not having toured in awhile. The venue looked nicer than it did before. They played a few new songs that were alright. I liked one out of the 3 or 4 new songs they played. Makes me a bit worried about what their new album is going to sound like. They played their most popular songs, which was great. The show was shorter than expected and I was disappointed that they didn't play an encore.

New songs:



Monday, November 24, 2008

Val Emmich, Alyssa Suede, Keaton Simons @ Hotel Cafe

I've been wanting to go back to Hotel Cafe again ever since the last time I was there to witness Grandaddy's last performance in LA.

Val Emmich

I arrived a bit late and missed his first song. I guess 7:30pm isn't a peak hour for the Metro. :\ The rest of his set was good though. He has a really good range and his voice was loud and clear even when he wasn't that close to the mic. He was very entertaining on stage and shared stories and he was appreciative of his fans who showed up to talk to him and take pictures. Here's his myspace.

Alyssa Suede
was pretty bad. She was a blond who took off her wig to reveal hair that wasn't any better than the bad wig. I had to admire the large amount of people they were able to fit onto the stage, but no matter how many instruments they had, it didn't improve their sound. The sound system was also a bit off, but so was her voice and some of the lyrics were really corny.

Keaton Simons
was too country for me. I wasn't really into it. A kind of liked it though. Not sure why she did.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kaki King, The Mountain Goats @ Troubadour

Troubadour has to be one of my favorite venues. I love the size of the place and the intimacy it provides and best of all, no kids!

Kaki King
was good, just like she was when I saw her at the Roxy. It kind of sucked that she was the opener, so she didn't have as much time to interact with the audience or do any encores, so her set seemed a little more rushed than the last time. Her performance was still great and I loved hearing about her youtube fears. Her show was pretty similar to the last show, but this time instead of the Fashion Tattoo cover at the end, they did a cover of Dogs and Horses by the same band, which wasn't nearly as good.

Mountain Goats
had a great funny intro to the tune of New Edition's Candy Girl. I thought, "OK, good intro. Maybe this won't be so bad." I didn't really have very high expectations with a name like Mountain Goats. W thought they would sound like Band of Horses. I WISH they sounded like Band of Horses. The singer was pretty dorky, but he was amusing. The singing style reminded me a bit of Silver Scooter with the nasally voice that kind of talked through the songs, which wouldn't be so bad if the lyrics were really clever, but they weren't in particular. The lyrics didn't really stand out and I THINK he was singing about everyday things, but I couldn't tell because it was so boring after awhile, I kind of zoned out a bit. They were talented, but not catchy enough for us to stay and enjoy it, but not so bad that we could leave. They were just really bland. I've never seen such a bland band. So, we just stayed because we kept hoping Kaki King would come back out because they collaborated on an album together. Every time she came out, we perked up because they have great chemistry together. The music they played together was infinitely better than anything Mountain Goats played alone. One of their best songs was Supergenesis.



That was the last song they played together. People were actually bobbing their heads and genuinely enjoying the Mountain Goats. I just didn't get it. I didn't find the music appealing at all. We left during their encore. I couldn't take it anymore, especially after I realized drinking didn't help, instead it made me almost fall asleep through one of their songs. I wouldn't actually slept through it if W hadn't woken me up by poking me and telling me that she just slept through 3 of their songs. I regret that we didn't leave sooner.

Sophie Milman @ OCPAC

She performed at Orange County Performing Arts Center: Samueli Theater, which was much nicer than I thought it would be. It was set up kind of like an intimate little jazz club, except the seating arrangements weren't that good. At Catalina Jazz Club at least all the seats are set up facing the stage. There were a few empty tables. I think they should've had 2 people per table because they were so small, but I understand that people want to be closer. They should have offered the option of sitting closer or at an empty table because 4 people to a table seemed pretty crowded and inconvenient with 1 person's back facing the stage.

So, I had only seen one youtube of Milman singing before I had gone to the show. It was a gift for my friend, so I didn't really know what she sounded like. F said he really disliked how she was singing through her teeth. I thought it sounded a little weird and I really couldn't understand much of what she was singing, but I was so used to not really hearing bands' lyrics that I didn't pay too much attention to that. I did like her Russian jazz song and her cover of "It's Not Easy Being Green." The jazz band was really really good. I thought the drummer was really unique and used things I haven't seen too many drummers use.

Check out some of her music at myspace.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Bloody Valentine @ Santa Monica Civic

I went to the show, so W wouldn't have to go alone and just to say I saw My Bloody Valentine live.  It's like saying you saw Radiohead live.  Anyways, I hadn't really listened to the CD until I got back from Austin.  I've been listening to the CD nonstop for about 2 days to prep for the show.  I was surprised that I've actually heard some of their music before.  From the CD (mostly songs from the Loveless album, which W says is their most popular album), it sounded like ambient vocals with shoegazey guitar.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  When Z said that I should double up on earplugs and that they tend to play at 132 decibels (apparently that's like having a jet engine near your ear), I thought he was overexaggerating...until I got inside and heard the opening act (I'm not sure who it was, but I think he was called Spectrum).  It was already much louder than expected and MBV weren't even up yet!  I felt especially bad for W because all she had was Kleenex for her ears.  She had forgotten her earplugs.  Her ears were still ringing the next day.  There goes a decibel of hearing.  I've never been so thankful for earplugs, but even my hearing felt muffled after the show (luckily, no ringing) and I woke up the next morning still slighlty muffled. 

Spectrum?
He had heavily distorted guitar and extended experimental pieces.  They sounded good, but they all melted in together after awhile, but the last song he played, wow, it hit such a high loud note.  He hit a decibel I didn't even know still existed in my hearing. 

My Bloody Valentine
So, the first half of the set list was pretty catchy and everyone knew the songs.  I enjoyed them and then I'm not sure, but it seemed to get progressively louder and more abstract as the night went on.  The last song, wow, was like nothing I've ever experienced.  It was just this mind numbing constant guitar and drum breakdown that went on for what felt like 20 minutes.  Everything was vibrating and I could actually feel wind even though we were indoors!  I felt like all my organs were being rearranged and my legs started getting wobbly.  It was like a rocket was trying to take off in front of our faces to escape the nuclear attack was occurring right next to it.  This guy standing next to me was telling his friends earlier that he was going to take out his earplugs for his favorite songs, but even by the end, he looked like his head was going to explode. 

I've never been to a show where I was afraid for an encore.  And where everyone cheered at the end about SURVIVING.  I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the show, but I think I enjoyed it.  It was definitely one of the most memorable shows I have ever been to.  I just don't understand why they felt the need to torture their fans. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Silversun Pickups, Okkervil River, Gnarls Barkley, Band of Horses, Foo Fighters @ ACL

Silversun Pickups
were pretty good live. The sound was terrible though. It made me wonder if I'd forgotten how outdoor concerts were supposed to sound like. The singer's speaking voice was SO different from his singing voice. I had always wondered if there was studio work done on it, but apparently not.

Okkervil River
They didn't sound bad live, I just think they're not really a large audience type of band. Their music is too mellow and not singalongable, which taught me that maybe I shouldn't see a band live unless they have music that's easy to sing along with. But then again, Ratatat has no lyrics and they were still amazing live. So, I guess sometimes my choice in live bands will be hit or miss. I just haven't missed in a really long time, which made me really question my choice in live bands.

Gnarls Barkley
I wasn't THAT excited to see him, but I'm glad Z wanted to see him so badly because that forced me to go. He was surprisingly good and really got the audience going. He's a really good frontman. He had a great bluesy voice and DJ Dangermouse looked totally badass even in a sequin jacket! They ended with a GREAT cover of a Radiohead song, which was really cool because I just saw Radiohead live doing same song a few weeks ago. Gnarls Barkley is definitely a stadium band and he seems to have an affinity for the F-word.



Band of Horses
There were too many people there. We couldn't really see them, so we just sat in back and listened. They still sounded good live. I loved hearing The Funeral and No One's Gonna Love You live. I must thank T for introducing me to this band. That last song always makes me so sad. I regret not being able to catch the last song because we had to leave early. Luckily, we could hear it as we made our way to Foo Fighters.

Foo Fighters
It was already really crowded even though we got there early. I have to see this was the best show I had seen all day. The sound was really clear and sounded just like a CD. Huge difference compared to Silversun Pickups earlier. I didn't realize they had SO many singles and it's funny to think about how you hear some of their singles SO much that you actually learn all their lyrics without even trying. I feel like their most popular songs were Everlong and My Hero. Sounded SO great live and I loved how they got everyone to scream along to My Hero's chorus. I was shouting at the top of my lungs. I love that song! and I was really surprised I was able to sing along with almost all of Everlong and I've never even tried it before! And then there was a triangle solo, which trust me, is more complicated than you would think. And they kept pausing near the end of their songs and then starting up again, so after awhile, I would just wait until I was sure they were completely done before I started clapping. They were on for almost 2 hours! I think they were just slotted for one. I loved how at the beginning they pretty much said they were going to play until the cops shut them down. And then they kept saying "Do you want to hear one more song?!" They did that several times. So, I wasn't sure if they were going to come back out for an encore, but they did. I'm sure they would've satisfied everyone if they had just played one encore song, but they did a couple.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Richard Swift, Cold War Kids @ Henry Fonda

I must warn you that my review may be affected by being worn out from:
1. work
2. one too many shows this week. Hopefully, I'll recover in time for ACL
3. lack of sleep

First Band

Ok, so I have no idea what the name of this band is. All I know is that we were extremely lucky to have arrived late and miss all but their last song. I didn't get them AT ALL. It was like they all decided to play at random and hoped for the best. Everything just sounded so noisy and off key. They were completely out of sync.

Richard Swift
He started out sounding really good, but I think it was just due to the horrid aftermath of the previous band because after awhile it started dragging on. He would stretch out his songs forever with lyric repetition much like the musical stylings of Robin Thicke (first album. Not sure what his new stuff sounds like now). He was talented and some of the music, probably because of the piano, sounded old timey, but got tired eventually. Couldn't wait for it to be over.

Cold War Kids
I hadn't listened to their new album at all, so I was a bit disappointed that they played so many new songs. Also, the new songs didn't have as much piano. They sounded more radio friendly and didn't stand out as much in my mind. The old songs they played were great, but came out near end. I was eagerly anticipating hearing St. John, which they played at the end.

Cold War Kids took way too long time setting up. I have no idea why. I don't think there should ever be 3 bands playing on a weeknight. It's just too many bands and it gets really late and tiring. Otherwise, they should start the show much earlier.

Hot Chip @ The Wiltern

So, I went a bit show crazy this week and was crazy enough to want to go see Hot Chip 2 days after Beck, but couldn't find anyone to go with. Miraculously, my sis' friend was also a fan and decided to round up some people and I ended up going, which I'm glad I did because the show was beyond what I imagined.

So, I haven't really been to The Wiltern since Death Cab played there a few years ago back when I was in college. Maybe my memory fails me, but I totally don't remember it being sectioned off into 3 tiers of exclusivity in the general admission area. The mobility restriction sucked.

They played all their catchy songs except The Warning, which was a bit disappointing because I really like that song. It was an older crowd, which made a huge difference in comparison to the seemingly all ages crowd at Henry Fonda for Ratatat. I prefer older crowds over the kids. Sometimes kids can be so obnoxious in their immaturity.

There were giant white balloons that got smacked around up to the stage and strobe lights, which gave it a nice club party atmosphere that went well with the music.

The lead singer's voice was so great. I loved the reinterpretations of some of of their classics. They still sounded great in their own ways. I thought it was really cool that for one of the songs people in the crowd started climbing onto the stage and the band actually let them stay. Eventually, they filled up half the stage and were dancing around the band members. It was so awesome. I wish we could've gotten on stage, but we were in the 3rd level and couldn't get past security. The group of people I went with made the show more fun because they all liked to dance. I think the music would be really enjoyable to someone who has never heard their music, but loves to dance. We saw one guy who seemed to think he was in a rave, but his dancing was so great, we started imitating him, which made the show more fun. Dancing ALWAYS makes shows more fun. I wish I didn't suck so hard at it, but it's still fun, especially after drinks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MGMT, Spoon, Beck @ Hollywood Bowl

MGMT
played about 5 songs. It really wasn't enough for them. I was hoping they would play for much longer. I loved hearing Time to Pretend, Kids, Weekend Wars, and Electric Feel live. I wish they played Pieces of What though. They were fantastic on stage and sounded even better than on CD. They seemed like they weren't that used to playing in front of so many people because they messed up a bit on one of their songs, but it was cute. And they did some awkward dancing to go along with it, heh. I really regret not seeing them earlier on in the month when they were playing at a much smaller venue.

Spoon
was kind of loungey. They're just not really a good stadium band. I remember seeing them at Henry Fonda awhile back and they rocked the place. At Hollywood Bowl though, I'm not sure what they were thinking. They pretty much played all the songs from their new album, which really isn't as good as their old stuff. I guess they felt like the venue was just a good place to advertise their new album when they really should have used it to their advantage and sucked them in with their good old songs and have the people come across the new album. On the new album, there really aren't a ton of catchy songs, so they were also playing really slow music, which isn't very good with such a large crowd. I'm a huge fan of Spoon and I even I was getting sleepy after awhile.

Beck
He played all his greatest hits: Girl, Loser, Nausea, Devil's Haircut, E Pro... He sounded great live, as good as the CDs. He also played with the LA Phil string orchestra (David Campbell as the conductor), which was amazing. Too bad they were mostly slow songs, but they still sounded good. Beck had this amazing female guitarist. She was extremely talented. I'm always impressed with female guitarists because I so rarely see them. As Beck ended the show I said he just couldn't leave without playing Where It's At, and then he came back out and did it as part of his encore. He got the entire Hollywood Bowl to sing along with him. I've never heard so many people singing the same lyrics at the same time in my life. It was surreal.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

E*Rock, Panther, Ratatat @ Henry Fonda

E*Rock
Everyone seemed surprised when he came out on stage wearing sunglasses over a black t-shirt on his head, but he won them over by being really energetic and entertaining. He seemed talented (I say seemed because I'm not really into that kind of computer noise electronica, so I can't really say how good he was. After awhile it all gets kind of repetitious) and, curiously enough, integrated a Wiimote into his act. I did love the end though where he used the Wiimote to (it sounded like) fight off a bad in Contra and he got attacked by all these explosions. Great last song.

Panther
Not many guys can pull of a gold lame cap in the pattern of a Louis Vuitton bag and Panther definitely isn't one of those guys. That was probably one of the reasons why he got heckled, on top of the lack of singing skill, and Justin Timberlake wannabe dancing. I felt kind of bad for him, but then he started making weird jokes about the crowd being mostly jocks or something. He was a bit of a douche. I didn't think he deserved to be heckled, but in the end, he was far worse than I had originally thought. I couldn't wait for him to get off the stage. It just got worse as the show went on. And he had this weird video playing in the background of this fake burning head. It was all so weird. I didn't get it.

Honestly the crowd was kind of crappy. There were a lot of kids there (high school kids can be so obnoxious. They always think they're the sh**. Wait until you get to college or get a real job. Jeez) and surprisingly, a large number of frat boy types. They were really rude. This Asian guy actually pushed me aside and stood in front of me. I was thinking "Are you serious? I've been standing by the front of the stage since the first act! You're TALLER than me, you ass!" I've actually taken to asking tall people, who seem to think they can just stand in front of short people about 5 minutes before the show starts, to please move aside so I can actually see. It's really unfair and completely rude to just move in front of someone, especially when you're so tall. Look around before you decide to stay. Luckily, this usually annoys those tall movers so much that they eventually leave. His dumb friend actually had the tenacity to try to shove his way to the front. I stood my ground and didn't let him through. Luckily, there were some nice (or just stubborn) people around me. I almost got knocked over by the jerk and the guy next to me made sure I was ok and didn't let him through. The guy behind me started blocking the same pushers from getting in front of him. So, that was helpful and very unusual to find such nice people at shows.

Ratatat
Finally, the big moment came. I had always thought they group just had two people, but they also had this keyboardist with crazy hair who was bobbing his head so hard to the music that I thought he would bash it into his keyboards! I never realized how much guitar was involved in their music. I always thought it was a lot of keyboard. The guitar playing, I thought, was amazing! It was like hearing an electronic symphony. I was just blown away. It was like he was doing these ridiculously long solos that went on forever. I don't know how he had the stamina to keep going for so long, but all of it sounded as good as the CD.


High Note: Hearing Shempi (my fav Ratatat song) live
Low Note: Having to waste my hearing on Panther, dBag frat boys, pushy high schoolers

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Library Bar

So, we tried to go to The Standard on Labor Day. C said we could get in for free with RSVP. So, we get into the elevator to get to the rooftop. The elevator already looked pretty shabby and rundown and the floor was bright red plastic. J says it makes it easier to clean up all the vomit, which is probably true. Then we get off on the 12th floor to take the stairs to the roof. I thought this hotel was supposed to be really swank, instead it smelled rank, like old cigarettes mixed with something else disgusting. It was like walking through the corridors of Circus Circus. We took the stairs to the roof and the guy at the door kind of gave us attitude and told us we had to get a wristband at the parking lot. We took the dingy elevator back down and walked through a colorful modern lounge area to get to the parking lot.

We were told the rooftop was filled to capacity and to wait in line. We were at the front of the line and saw about 5 groups of people get wristbands. Apparently, you have to be really skanky or dirty to get in right away. The line was getting a bit long. After awhile, the rude hostess started charging people $20 per for wristbands. We took that as a sign to leave. I didn't need to see the rooftop badly enough to part with $20 that was obviously going into her pocket. The Standard was a pretentious craphole.

We ended up walking across the street to the Library Bar, which was a hip little bar with walls lined with books and good music (heard 80s, 60s rock, and The White Stripes. Just glad it wasn't the typical Hollywood pop / dance music). The bartender was friendly and they had nice leather couches. Their website says it's "the perfect escape from the Hollywood bar scene", which was definitely true. It felt like it would be a cool place to get drinks and hang out with your friends.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jack Johnson @ UCLA

It was kind of like a green festival, which I thought was cool. There were booths set up to tell you about the environment and a photo booth (they displayed the photos on the big screens right before he came on) and food booths (disappointed that there was no grilled corn). For some odd reason they didn't allow blankets into the area (which was a giant field, so I don't know why they did that). My sis has a theory that Jack Johnson has a fear of blankets. Maybe a bad experience with a kidnap attempt? Some people suck them in anyways. Once we got to the merch booth, I found out they were selling Jack Johnson towels, so the restriction was probably to motivate towel sales. Also, maybe he doesn't have a fear of towels.

Culver City Dub Collective
Paula Fuga, a Hawaiian songstress who has been touring with the jazz band on the Jack Johnson tour, has one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard. Her voice is so big and full. You would never imagine that to come out of her when you see her. Seemed like the type of music Jack Johnson likes. I love love the duet they did called Country Road. I find her singing style very interesting. It's a mix of jazz and Hawaiian.





Rogue Wave
Their background and shirts were really cute: Stars and parachutes or a keyboard with marionette strings of the letters spelling out their band's name. They have a very good designer...and that's about it. I was THIS close to buying a t-shirt because it looked so cute, but after I heard them play, I'm extremely glad I didn't. They played mellow Keane-like music, but not as catchy or as talented. They seemed really into their music though. I have to give the band members credit for acting like they were playing punk rock even though it was actually slow and Travis-ish. They were playing the singer's favorite song and I thought it was going to be fast and catchy and they started out, and it was like the slowest song of the bunch. Why is that your fav?! And they were jumping in the air and running around on the stage. My sis said that the girl standing next to me (who looked like she was 15, but she was dating a college student. Gross!) said that was her favorite song too. I was thinking to myself "Seriously? Someone actually knows who this band is? Not only that, they actually LIKE this music?!" And the singer came off as kind of cocky to me, like he thought he was playing the best music in the world. Then he said it was their last song, but he LIED! He started getting political and singing "Bust Them Out" of the white house as soon as their supposed last song was over! Ugh. It was torture. I was so glad when it was over. All their songs kind of sounded the same after awhile and they would've blended in together if he didn't stop in between all of them to say something or make a joke.

Jack Johnson
OK, so a lot of people seem to be surprised that I like Jack Johnson. I don't know all the words to all his songs or anything (like my sis, heh. The show was mostly for her), but I must admit, I'm a total sap when it comes to his songs. I absolutely adore the In Between Dreams album. There are soooooooooo many sweet songs that appeal to the hopeless romantic in me (which I think has been growing due to watching too many episodes of How I Met Your Mother). My fav songs he played off this album:
- Better Together (merged with the end of Angel played during the encore. Even though I think Angel has some silly lyrics, when I heard it live with Better Together, I almost cried because it was so heartachingly romantic. Made me wish I had a guy who could write me songs like that!)
- Banana Pancakes
- Good People
- Sitting, Waiting, Wishing (1 of my all time fav Jack Johnson songs, but even I admit that a lot of his songs sound similar, so I couldn't even tell he was playing this song until it got closer to the chorus)
- Staple It Together (1 of the few distinct songs he has)
- Breakdown (great chorus)
- Do You Remember (which also pokes at my heart. It just reminds me of college crushes)
- Constellations (because I love looking at the stars in the sky)

That album is so fantastic. That's the only Jack Johnson album that contains songs that have 5 stars in iTunes. Anyways, I'll stop gushing about this album now. Other songs he played:
- Sleep Through the Static (the first song)
- Flake (which was fantastic live)
- Bubble Toes
- Fortunate Fools (love this song too. A bit disappointed he didn't play F-Stop Blues, but I guess it's too depressing)
- Gone

He had Zach Gill sing backup vocals for him, who had an amazing voice, and he played a mean piano and accordian. You should've heard him play Devil Went Down to Bavaria. It was so awesome and that will be the only time I think you'll ever hear me saying the accordian is awesome, ha.



I was a bit worried about how Jack Johnson would be live because he tends to just do acoustic music. I was afraid he'd be the only one on stage, but he was fantastic. His voice is even better live and Zach Gill provided great support.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Radiohead @ Hollywood Bowl

Liars
W called them 'noise' and I'd have to agree. They were loud and screaming and their stuff sounded like some sort of mix of goth, metal, punk rock. Their drums were catchy and I liked that another guy was also playing drums, but other than that, I just didn't get their music. I got so bored after awhile. W said it resembled early The Rapture stuff, but maybe I blocked out their early music because I barely recall it resembling anything like that besides the screamy singing style.

Radiohead
So, I'm not as obsessed with Radiohead as W and S are. Luckily, K wasn't either. She was listening to In Rainbows up until the show started. :P I was mostly there to be a part of history and say I saw Radiohead live. Don't get me wrong, I still like their music, I just don't know all the words like they do. I prefer the early albums like Pablo Honey and I love The Bends, so I was really excited when they played quite a few songs from The Bends. And OK Computer kicks ass too, so it was great hearing those songs. Hearing Talk Show Host and Karma Police were definitely highlights of the night. They put on a fantastic show. I'm so glad we sat as close as we did because onscreen they just played these abstract images of themselves on stage and you couldn't always see them. Since we were sitting so close, we got a chance to see Thom Yorke get really into the music and I loved his exciting dancing. And ok, hearing In Rainbows live was pretty damn good. The stage looked great. It had these gigantic wind chime-like things that set the mood really well for each song and displayed the lighting perfectly and made rain look quite realistic.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cicada Club

So, I was reading The Best of Los Angeles Downtown and what immediately caught my eye was Cicada Club http://www.cicadanightclub.com/main.asp under the category of something like "Best Flashback." I went to the website right away and I just knew I had to go there. The building looked amazing and they do a swing theme almost every Sunday and LIVE swing music. I LOVE swing music! and I love watching people dance. I knew I'd be in heaven there. Here's the description off the website:

With the grandeur of a classic Hollywood musical from the thirties, famed showman and impresario Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club is a most unique experience that transports you back in time to the glamorous days of Hollywood's golden age of nightclubs.

Featuring the finest vintage dance orchestras and entertainment, Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club is unlike any night on the town you have ever experienced.

Situated in the famed Art Deco Oviatt building, downtown Los Angeles' historic Lalique palace, the Cicada Club is a place fitting for experiencing an elegant romantic evening.

Originally built as a top-of-the-line haberdashery in 1928, The Cicada Club retains much of the original design that the French designers and artisans of the time created. This spacious nightclub features fine dining on the main floor as well as the mezzanine that overlooks the entire club, an Art Deco mezzanine bar and lounge plus patio seating in the forecourt lobby.

No setting in the entire city is more spectacular. The opulent dining and showroom, with giant old-growth oak columns that feature pairs of angels holding bells and gold-leaf ceilings, compliment the fine vintage entertainment and patrons dressed in their elegant evening attire.

Jennifer Keith was going to perform. I had heard some of her music on the site and I really liked her voice, which is rare for me because I tend to dislike female vocalists. Something about that high pitched screaming really annoys me. I don't know how people tolerate it.

Anyways, I mentioned the place to my sis and managed to gather 6 people total to get dressed up and head over there last Sunday. I was so excited. I've never had a chance to dress up for anything since I never went to prom. Plus, this is my favorite time period.

So, we pulled up to the building and saw the lobby, which looked gorgeous. People were taking pictures before they even went into the building. We looked around as we were being led to our table. The interior was beyond my imagination. It did look a lot bigger in their online gallery, but it was still just as beautiful AND there was an old fashioned mic on the stage.

A few couples were on the dance floor before the singer came out. I loved watching them dance and it's always nice to see dancing that doesn't involve some sort of pseudo sexual act. *shivers* And we were some of the youngest people there besides kids. :\ I loved seeing some of the outfits, but this couple wearing a polo shirt and sundress almost broke the whole illusion for me. I don't even know how they got in. Pfft. They stood out SO much. What they were thinking. Pretty much everyone there knew how to dance except for us and the little kids, but it was still fun.

Jennifer Keith was sooooooo glamorous when she came out to sing. Her voice was amazing live. All the music was fantastic. AND I got to dance to one of my favorite songs, "Bei Mir Bist du Schoen", LIVE. I never thought that would ever happen. We stayed for both her performances. We decided to have dinner there, but you can just go there to dance and listen to the music. There's a full bar on the mezzanine and no cover. It was a really fun and memorable night. I never thought I could find a place so anachronistic in LA. It was like being in the Bradbury building. I love thinking about what it was like to be alive during the the these buildings were at the peaks of their usage. And now I can say I've gone out for dinner and dancing.

Bombaster and Big Lovin' Panda @ Universal Bar & Grill

I was a bit concerned when we got there early and saw guys wearing cowboy hats outside and chatting with southern drawls. The bar wasn't at Universal Citywalk like Wing kept claiming. Instead it was across the street from the studio, right next to the LA River. It was a bit more rundown than I thought it would be and the inside resembled a dive bar.

Bombaster
It was the first show where they had a bassist. I wasn't sure if it was the sound or not, but it just sounded really muffled on some of the songs and on others, the bass filled out the songs very nicely, especially on their last song "Love is for Lovers." Oddly enough, this is the loudest and clearest I have ever been able to hear the vocals. I could actually hear all the words in the songs!

My sis and contributed some clapping to "Tick Tock" when we could (Wing had trouble teaching it to us even though she's played the song so many times!). It has a cool beat to it. It's one of my fav songs. And my sis' friend has a mancrush on Ryan and thinks he's an amazing singer and guitarist. :P I'd say they put on a pretty good show that night.

Big Lovin' Panda
I had only heard them play a bit once at a party and the singer was sick that day. Even then, his voice wasn't too bad, just raspy. This time his voice was very clear and good. He does put on a good show. Although, he got really into their last song (which I have no idea why they chose that as a long song because it wasn't as good as the previous) even though it didn't seem fast enough for him to get THAT into. It's really obvious that they are all very talented, which really makes me wonder why they're playing stuff that sounds like old Incubus. Even the singing style was similar. All they needed was a DJ and they were pretty much retro Incubus. With their expertise their music could be so much more intricate and unique, but instead they sound a bit recycled. It was catchy; it's just that it felt like I had already heard all of it before.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bombaster and Siamese Guns @ Unknown Theater

Uknown Theater was much larger inside than it appeared outside. Inside there was a modern area w/ a red coach and some matching artwork and a well lit bar. The guy taking the money at the door was really shady. He tried to charge me twice and then tried to charge one of J's friends extra. He was kind of a jerk. I was surprised to see a bar in there at all, judging by the outer appearance and the large stage in the back was completely unexpected.

Bombaster
It was the biggest stage I've seen Bombaster perform on, so it was cool that they were able to move around more freely and the sound was really good and crisp. I could actually hear the lyrics and BOTH vocals, which I'm sorry to admit, is kind of rare for a lot of their songs when I attend their shows. They played a new song, which sounded great live.

Siamese Guns
They had a ton of people in their band. J says they sounded a bit like Mono and Le Tigre, which I kind of agree with, the Mono part anyways. I JUST started listening to Mono, so I could hear it. It was very spacey and had a lot of distortion for some of the songs and then some were really catchy in a mellow kind of way. I liked the catchier stuff. I can only tolerate some post rock bands. Siamese Guns were obviously talented, especially for being so young. They seemed like they were in high school. The drummer was amazing. For one song, he was doing this ridiculously fast drumming on the sides. I loved the use of the extra drum by the singer and the keyboardist, who was good at apparently every instrument there.

I was a bit distracted by one of their groupies, this guy who didn't stop dancing until the end of their set. He just had all these crazy dance moves, it was amazing how long he was able to last!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Morning Benders & We Are Scientists @ El Rey

I think El Rey has to be in my top 5 music venues. I just love that it's made for short people. Well, sort of. If you stand in the middle of the floor, there's always a chance that some ridiculously tall person will stand in front of you, but you always have the option to stand on the steps or on the raised platforms on the sides.

Blood Arm
I wonder why they chose this name. Is it because after listening to their music makes you want to rip your arm off? They started off sounding kind of typical. The singing style was a bit Hot Hot Heat and a bit Pixies, but nothing really unique that made them stand out. They were just imitating other bands and not doing a good job of even that. I have to admit the lead singer, Nathaniel Fregoso, was really energetic, but his dancing style seemed really strange. It looked like he had previously taken belly dancing lessons because he kept swinging his hips from side to side. It was a bit effeminate. Made me wonder if he was overcompensating to cover up the fact that he was a closet gay or if he was just a douchebag.
Ok, I love a guy who looks good in just a plain button shirt (makes it look like he put slightly more effort into his outfit than just throwing on a random t-shirt) like Chris Chu of The Morning Benders or Chris Cain (even though he had a Weird Al look going on with that hair and mustache. I know he's not a badlooking guy) of We Are Scientists that night, but Fregoso was wearing a button shirt so tight, he needed to wear a bro for those puppies AND he had his shirt practically unbuttoned down to his belly. :X W says he was just a douchebag because he was commenting on how pretty the girls were that night, kissing female hands, dancing with them, dedicating bad songs to them, and then pulling them onto the stage. And then he did a cover of a JayZ rap. It was sooooo bad. Before he started, I thought he might have had an interesting take on it, but no, he did a horrible cover and the singing was horrendous. I really can't remember much about their music that night besides the fact that they were bad at imitating their influences.

The Morning Benders
I was really skeptical when they came on stage. I was praying they wouldn't suck as bad as Blood Arm. We were sitting and people started crowding to the edge so we couldn't really see the stage. Then they started playing and it was surprisingly good. I heard a Brit accent in their Beatles inspired music. Even though you could hear the influence, they totally made it their own. It was really refreshing to hear something so simple and so good without having lyrics that are overly complicated lyrics or trite and cheesy. It was just perfectly mellow, catchy, summer music. Soon after, we got up to watch them and and I was shocked that they were mostly Asian. The lead singer, Chris Chu, is mixed and had a Beatles mop top (which is really difficult for Asians to pull off without looking like a total nerd, but somehow he made it look good); the drummer looked mixed (there's no way a full Asian could grow a beard that thick of a beard without being mixed, or Japanese); the bassist looked like he was in the math club (I don't know much about playing bass, but he looked like he was good at it. I just kind of didn't like that he looked like he didn't want to be there and didn't look excited at all during their entire set); and the guitarist, Joe Ferrell, was actually Caucasian, looking like he was part of the NY scene (white afro with a plaid shirt). I loved how into the music Chu and Ferrell were. I had to have their CD after the show. I was amazed at the quality I got for only $10. The artwork on the cover was amazing and the CD was genius. It was designed to look like a record. I loved the entire package. They could totally sell that CD for more than $10. I've been listening to their album nonstop since I bought it and it's fantastic. Almost every song on that album is great and catchy without being too loud. The Morning Benders are really catchy, but not as danceable as We Are Scientists.

We Are Scientists
Ok, I've always wanted to see them live and I've always thought their stuff was really catchy. I actually didn't get their tickets until about a few days before the show. I had forgotten about them until I saw them on VH1's Best Week Ever. Then I remembered they had a show coming up. I hadn't even listened to the new album in its entirety before I had gone to the show. I know, that's bad, but everything was so last minute. It was alright though because they played all the good songs off their new album with their old super catchy stuff sprinkled throughout. It was a fantastic show. They sound even better live. You could tell when they were playing their old songs and their new ones because the old songs were much more danceable and the new stuff was a bit more mellow and a bit 80s. It's still good, but definitely a departure from their dancey, poppy goodness. They're great live performers. They had this really witty, nerdy banter, which I guess was to be expected when their band is called We Are Scientists. They're one of the most intelligent bands I've ever seen live. Keith Murray's voice was so good live. And he interacted with the audience really well. I loved how he said thanks after almost every song. It was really cute. And he actually went into the crowd during one of the slower songs (he probably had to do it because it was the least danceable), which I thought was really cool. People were crowding around him and singing along. Unfortunately, he didn't get close enough to us, but he was only a few feet away. The show was fantastic and I think I made a new fan out of W. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Boston

Apparently, Boston has a big indie rock scene; seafood, Italian, and Chinese is really popular there (some of my fav kinds of food); and old cool looking architecture. One of the best things: a music venue called Great Scott. How awesome is that? I almost want to live there if it wasn't for the snow in winter. Cali weather has totally spoiled me. I can't handle the cold very well. Oh well, I would still love to visit.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Random Ninjas @ Key Club

Let's just say I'm kind of having a dry spell for June and July. I don't know what it is about these months, but I guess most bands take vacation around this time? Anyways, if anyone has ANY recommendations for bands I should check out (hopefully, you can tell what my taste in music is like according to some of my past entries...), then please PLEASE list the bands in my comments.

It was my first time going to Key Club. For some reason it doesn't seem like many bands play there even though I've heard of it, and it seems like a major place to perform at. Perhaps it's because it's a smaller venue and seems to cater more to older audiences (there's a restaurant on the balcony. What kid would ever want to eat up there?). The place was much nicer than I thought it would be. So, there was some sort of showcase going on that night for some major record labels. I went to see W's friend's band, Random Ninjas. I didn't realize there was a showcase until I got inside, so I didn't bother to record the names of the other bands that were on that night. Maybe it's better for those other bands that I don't know their names because I must admit that most of them were pretty bad. We got there around 9pm. We saw 5 bands perform before Random Ninjas got on stage.

Band #1 (The Worms?):
I just don't understand why people insist on playing mid-90s rock. I hate that 30 Seconds to Mars brought that fad back. I admit to listening to it back in the day, but back then it was new! Now, it's just getting tired. And 30 Seconds to Mars isn't even THAT good. I'm sure they got on the radio because they have a pretty frontman, ahem Jared Leto. Anyways, all I have to say about the first band we saw is "Fuel called and they want their songs back".

Band #2 (Laz something):
It was this this band who's named after a person, probably the lead singer. Admittedly, he wasn't THAT bad. His music was kind of funk/jazz/pop. Sort of Maroon5, Jamie Cullum type stuff. It could be radio friendly. The only thing holding them back would probably be the lead singer. He was a keyboardist who also seemed to think he was Elton John. He threw on a silly hat, Slash style, and proceeded to play and dance around.

He was entertaining, but not the best looking guy and he had some really scary wide-eyed facial expressions when he got really into his singing. It made him look kind of creepy or like he was possessed. I think that band would have a better chance of getting signed if they had a more attractive singer...who didn't look like the devil...in a silly hat... Also, they apparently are so bad that they need a gimmick like 3 half naked girls in sequined bikinis, dancing with angel wings and later (after they put on some clothes) stripping and handing out merch.

Band #3:
Were these poor, slightly overweight, high school brothers. They were pretty young and obviously inexperienced. It was as if they were in the garage playing air guitar, it was so bad. The singer looked really nervous, couldn't sing loud enough (or the mic was too low), paced back and forth, and kept almost tripping over the wires. I have to give one of the brothers (the one with the shortest emo cut) some credit for getting really into the music and jumping around. But the rest of it looked kind of rehearsed, especially at this one moment where all 3 of them converged. Also, their lyrics were really unoriginal and so was the singing style. Well, the style was typical of mid-90s rock, but his voice definitely wasn't strong enough. It was like he thought he was just singing along with the radio in his room, what Simon Cowell calls a "bedroom voice". They were so bad that I really couldn't stop laughing at them at certain points. At one point, W said "Didn't P.O.D. already write this song?" I had to turn away from the stage towards the rail because I would've keeled over from laughing so hard because it was so true. They were so bad I almost felt embarrassed for them. It probably didn't help that we were standing in the back cracking up at the awfulness of it all. Also, he probably had the smallest crowd on the floor. Seemed like it was 5 members of his family cheering them on. The only good thing about them was that they probably made the next band sound really really good. It really made me question how bands got into this showcase.

Lady Fox:
Ok, the previous bands didn't advertise their band names that well or they didn't mention it enough or it sounded really weird, so I couldn't really understand what they said, but this band mentioned their name and website over and over again. So, the lead singer was attractive at least. She was dressed in few clothing (daisy dukes, knee high boots, lowcut tank, at least she wore a long sleeve shirt over it, but unbuttoned very low), so she came off as a late 20something-year-old, but I couldn't really tell because of the lighting. I'm hoping she was that age because she was dancing like Fergie. It was pretty R-rated and there was a lot of booty-shivering. But she had a pretty good voice (or maybe it sounded really good because the previous act was SO bad), a bit Joss Stone like and her music was catchy enough. Sort of R&B-ish soul. I also found one of her dancers pretty entertaining, he was so flaming. She really knew how to work the audience and was definitely much more professional than the previous band. I felt kind of bad or her though because she was about to start her last song and she did her intro for it and then some other band's music came on and it was just like the Oscar's. Everyone looked a bit confused and they packed up and left without a word. I guess they were running a bit late with the schedule.

Band #5:
So, these hardcore death metal looking guys (wearing Dickies, black shirts, one guy had a long goatee, another guy looked like a greaser, they were all big tough looking guys) come out on stage to set up. I was thinking "Oh gawd, not another mid-90s rock band." We joked about how funny it would be if all of a sudden they broke out into acoustic folk rock. As soon as they started playing, we were amazed because they started out on acoustic electric and they were playing FRIGGIN COUNTRY. You could see the look of shock on everyone's faces, but I thought it was so punk rock that they defied convention like that. They weren't bad as a country group, and it was kind of cool that they looked so mean that no one could really make fun of them anyways because they could totally kick your ass in a second.

Random Ninjas:
The only band to proudly display their name on a giant banner above the stage. They definitely brought the most energy (and people) to the floor. They worked the crowd pretty well. Got them to participate in the songs. The last time I heard their stuff, they sounded more like anime music, but this time around, I thought they sounded much better. They're starting to lean more towards a kind of rap rock style with Japanese female vocals. The sound on the mics was really bad, but otherwise, they put on a good energetic performance.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie

How I wish you could see the potential, the potential of you and me
It's like a book elegantly bound, but in a language that you can't read - just yet
You gotta spend some time--love, you gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find--love, I will possess your heart

There are days when outside your window, I see my reflection as I slowly pass
And I long for this mirrored perspective, when we'll be lovers, lovers at last
You gotta spend some time--love, you gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find--love, I will possess your heart

You reject my advances and desperate pleas
I won't let you, let me down so easily, so easily

You gotta spend some time--love, you gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find--love, I will possess your heart


I like the lyrics in this song, especially the first verse. And I love how ballsy it is because if you say this in the wrong way, you can totally sound like a stalker. :P

Monday, June 9, 2008

Stereolab

Stereolab is so ambient. I don't even know what they're singing about
half the time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Presets @ El Rey


Walter Meego

opened for The Presets. It was a three-man band. The lead singer was wearing a grandpa cardigan and another member was wearing a Chicago Bears sweatershirt. It was kind of odd to see guys dressed like this playing electronica. W thought the singer looked like Cillian Murphy. I think not, more like the lead singer from Phantom Planet, but he was still pretty nonetheless. The singing was hard to hear. His voice wasn't exactly strong, but it wasn't bad. I liked that the guy doing the mixing was really into the music. He was dancing and bobbing his head and singing along. And it was interesting to see guitars being used even though they were kind of faint. The beats were just WAY too loud. Seemed like all I could hear was THUMP THUMP THUMP DA DA THUMP THUMP THUMP. Some of the songs were good though, the ones that had catchy guitar riffs. They didn't really do any talking in between sets and when they were done talking, they kind of just thanked everyone, mentioned their name, and left the stage. They weren't that memorable.

It was a sold out show. I was kind of surprised at how empty it was when we got there. There were less than 20 people standing at the front of the stage before Walter Meego came on. We had time to get 2 drinks and sit at the steps and chat. There were still barely any people standing near the stage and we arrived a bit late. However, after the first act, the floor started to fill up a bit more. When The Presets came on, it was crazy. I could barely see where the floor ended, there were so many people crammed into there. As soon as the first song started, I could tell someone was lighting up in the back. I was a bit surprised because it was an all ages show.

The Presets
I hadn't seen The Presets since they opened for The Rapture. The crowd didn't really know who they were, but they were still good and you could tell people were liking them by the awkward indie head bobbing they were doing. You know, where they're kind of afraid to dance, but the music is so good, they can't stop, so all they can do is stand in one place, cross their arms, and bounce a bit. Anyways, I was blown away when I first saw them. I went to buy their CD as soon as the show was over. The album was SO good. This time around, they definitely expanded their fanbase. They were headlining AND the show was sold out. Also, it made it a lot more fun this time because everyone knew the lyrics, and the handclapping was infectious.

I must say, at first I didn't like their new album as much because it sounded more like typical techno. I preferred the more indie rock/pop/techno of the first album. But the more I listened to the new album, the more I started to like it. Even though it's more techno, there are a lot of good songs on there that are really catchy. I still prefer the older album because it sounds atypical of techno, but the new album is still really enjoyable for that genre.

I loved how into the music everyone was. They were all dancing, fistpumping, ravedancing, any dancing, it was fantastic. I haven't danced so much since I saw The Rapture when I fought my way to the front. We were also at the front this time around and broke out the glow sticks (2 sticks for $1 at Target, baby! As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to have them for the show!).



We were the only ones with glow sticks, but we also saw someone with a blinking red bracelet and some people wearing glowing bracelets. So, I'd say this is probably the closest I'll ever get to being at a rave. It was incredible. And I know the music will NEVER be this good at a real rave.

They started off with "Talk Like That", which was perfect because it has the dramatic organ playing in the intro. One of my favorite songs from their new album, "Apocalypso". They played all my favorite songs from both albums. You could hear EVERYONE singing along to the songs from the first album. My favs:

Beams:
- Are You the One?
- Down Down Down
- Girl and the Sea - which I normally find kind of slow going, but it was way better live than on CD and they managed to make it much more danceable live.
- Girl (You Chew My Mind Up)
- I Go Hard, I Go Home
- Steamworks

Apocalypso:
- Eucalyptus
- Kicking and Screaming
- My People
- A New Sky
- This Boy's in Love
- Together
- Yippiyo Ay - sounds really 80s, but super catchy.

It was so great to hear all my favorite songs and they ended with "My People" before the encore, which was PERFECT. I had been waiting to hear that ALL night (I'm sure everyone was waiting to hear that), so all the anticipation made that song even better. It was soooooo good. Everyone was jumping around, hands in the air. The Presets rocked it so hard and then when the song was over and they left the stage, you could practically hear this collective sigh from exhaustion. No one left, of course, and then they came back out for one last song and it was AMAZING. It had these ups and downs and then this great climax near the end, in which we threw our glow sticks onto the stage. Impeccable timing and then it was over. I love when bands end the show with this amazing last song that leaves you wanting more and thinking "DAMN, that was one of the best shows I've been to in a LONG time." and it's true!

High Note: Hearing "My People" live, waving glow sticks, and seeing people actually DANCE at a show. Also, people were surprisingly polite. One guy moved in front of me and then turned around to ask if he was blocking me. Another guy let W stand in front of him and accidentally stepped on my foot while he was dancing and actually apologized.

Low Note: This girl next to us was dry humping her man, making out with him, and falling all over the place. She was totally gone. Luckily, she didn't fall on me because I would've been pissed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bombaster @ Cranes Tavern

I didn't even know there was a bar so close to Henry Fonda! It's pretty small and doesn't stand out that much, but it's a cool little place. Very small performing area (the corner of a room), two booths inside, a DJ area, bar and more booths outside. I liked that it was so small, that you could hear the music flooding outside too. I also liked the tiki decor.

The sound needed some adjusting because sometimes the keyboard was low and the rest of the instruments were louder than the vocals. Bombaster was still good. They played a new song, which had a bumpy start. Carlyn forgot how the song started on the keyboards, but it was amusing and added to the witty banter. Their last two songs (one of them being "Love is for Lovers") were really catchy as usual and got some people dancing. One couple was dancing so hard, I was afraid they were going to run into me!

Elbow @ The Avalon

We got there a bit late. Let's just say it was due to an oyster pancake and a car battery. We missed the opening act, but we did make it with plenty of time to spare before Elbow got on stage. I haven't been to The Avalon in YEARS, not since it used to be called The Palace. I don't know if it was just because of my memory, but it seemed like the venue looked much nicer than it did before.

I hadn't really heard of Elbow until W bought tickets and asked me to go. They're in her top three favorite bands in the past five years, she says. I hadn't really heard their music much besides the mix that she made me. I thought their music sounded kind of like late 80s/early 90s contemporary rock. I knew the crowd would be a little older than us, but I wasn't expecting the band to be so old. They were all in their late 30s+. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised though, W said they've been around for 10 years. That's not the oldest band I've seen live. One time I saw two members of The Monkees and another time I saw Echo and the Bunnymen, which was pretty wild. The lead singer's still a rock star after all these years. Anyways, it was kind of nice that the crowd's age ranged from late 20s to early 30s, people closer to our age. There wasn't any crazy moshing or shoving. Although, there was a guy there with a super long lens who kept getting into everyone's faces to take closeup portraits. It seemed pretty rude since I didn't see him asking for permission. Talk about invasion of privacy. And there was one guy who climbed up onto the stage. It was surreal. The song was really mellow and the guy was up there singing with him in slow motion, did two thumbs up, and slowly walked off the stage. It was a HUGE difference compared to The Cribs show where they would violently throw people back into the audience or yank them off the stage within a minute.

Most of the songs were really mellow, which is their style. Seeing "Grounds for Divorce" live was fantastic. It's my favorite Elbow song. It was a lot of fun to sing along to that. And he sounded great. They were just as good live as they were on CD. I enjoyed the singalong for one of their songs. He told us these two lines and I couldn't understand what he was saying AT ALL for the second line because of his heavy English accent, but everyone got it once he started singing. I loved all the talking he did in between the songs. He was very energetic, even when he was singing really slow songs. Sorry, I can't really remember the names of the songs, since I just listened to them really recently. The few catchy songs Elbow DID play were pretty rocking. I was surprised though, that they didn't play Powder Blue. I was also surprised that when they came out for the encore, they played 2 veeeerrrrrryyyy slow songs. One of them sounded kind of gospelish (S said it sounded like a church song) and the other was even slower. I thought the encore songs are supposed to get you really pumped and amped and thinking "Man, that was SUCH an awesome show! The encore songs were GREAT!" These kind of had an opposite effect. Maybe older people prefer to just wind down at the end of a show?

I was very impressed by the sound engineering. The vocals were really crisp. The instruments were all perfectly even so as not to overpower the singing or any of the other instruments. I hate when the sound is so bad that it doesn't matter how good the band is, the music is completely ruined. Luckily, that didn't happen at The Avalon. Everything sounded great.

High Note: A friend said "I never pictured you as the type to go to The Avalon." I'm so glad that I have a reputation of NOT clubbing. :D

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good Luck Bar


Stereotypical decor, but good selection of music on the jukebox.

My choices:
The Rapture
The Damned
The Cure

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fuck Buttons and Caribou @ Emo's in Austin, TX

Emo's is MUCH bigger inside than it actually looks outside. It's on a corner and looks pretty boarded up and rundown, but when you get inside, there's a pretty roomy bar area. Then you step outside and it's the biggest outdoor area I've ever seen at a bar. There's a picnic area (I say that because there actually are picnic tables out there), where people hang out and smoke, then stairs lead you to the outdoor stage. There was lots of seating on bleachers and benches. We sat in this sort of porch area because I didn't really know the band that well, so I didn't really care to go stand that close. Also, the bands were kind of electronica (or so I thought before I saw them perform), so I figured they wouldn't really be doing much anyways.

Fuck Buttons
Which I must admit is a pretty awesome name for a band. They came on stage and brought with them all this distortion and noise that seemed to go on forever, but eventually progressed into these really catchy beats that blended taiko drumming styles with other unique sounds that I never thought could ever be appealing, layered with heavily distorted vocals that took me on a nonstop hour-long journey of rough, mesmerizing instrumental sensations. Ha, I think that about sums up how I felt when I was listening to them. I really liked how they were really into their music and bobbing their heads. Made it seem kind of shoegaze because they never looked at the audience, but they were also really experimental. Turns out their music is also considered 'shoegaze/indie drone'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_music#Shoegaze_and_Indie-Drone
One description of them from last.fm "Tribal beats and subtle beautiful melodies weave amongst contorting Technicolor drone-scapes while preaching distorted-vocals scream for dear hope herself..."

Caribou
I had heard some of their stuff on myspace and I thought they were electronica with mellow beats. Live, however, they had more distortion. I don't know if it was because they were playing with Fuck Buttons and trying to go along with that music or what because their CD sounded MUCH cleaner than they did live. They were more interesting in stage though. The drums were in the front, which I've never seen before. The guitarists were in the back. The lead singer played guitar AND the occasional recorder, which again, I've NEVER seen on stage before. I mean, really, who would think of using the recorder in their music. That alone convinced Z to buy their album. Caribou seemed to have actual breaks in between songs, but their music seemed dragged out. I kind of lost interest after awhile. They just didn't seem as creative as Fuck Buttons. I couldn't really hear what he was singing about because the mics were kind of noisy. And after awhile, the music seemed to all sound the same. The drummer was amazing. I can see why he was in the front and the recorder stood out in the songs, but the rest of it, not so much.

Low Note: because it was an outdoor stage, everyone was smoking. :X
High Note: cheap beers ($3!!!), areas to sit down (you don't have to stand up the entire time like at The Roxy), the scene was really different from the LA scene (which usually seems more pretentious. LA kids tend to take Indie fads to the max. Everyone tries to look different, but end up looking the same with their white afros, blazers, beards, striped everything, thrift shop anything. In Austin, people looked more relaxed. It was cool to just see people in jeans and T-shirts, not worrying about whether their emo haircuts are flipped out enough).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phantom of the Opera @ OC Performing Arts Center

I've only been to Pantages, so this theater was much bigger and the stage was round. We were sitting off to the right side. I don't know if it was the seating arrangement or because I'm too short, but the head of the woman sitting in front of me obscured the middle of the stage. During the first half of the musical, I all the action seemed to take place at the center of the stage. I struggled to peer around her head or over it, but after awhile I gave up. So, I ended up zoning out a bit because it was like I was just sitting there listening to a soundtrack. Also, the music was more operatic than I'm used to, which is understandable because of the name of the musical. I think I need to be able to see people's gestures and see what's going on to keep my attention. I liked the stage effects like the chandelier, the fire, the guns, and the boat scenes. During the second half of the musical, I switched seats with F, which wasn't much better because the woman in front of me was constantly moving around to see past the head of the person sitting in front of her. At least the first woman, sat still most of the time. Fortunately, most of the characters were running back and for on the stage and the action wasn't so much in the center. I enjoyed the second half much more. It kept my full attention and the music was good. I'm considering renting the movie just to see what I missed during the first half.

I was debating what I should wear to the musical, but I guess I had nothing to worry about because I saw some people who looked like they were dressed to go clubbing: mini skirts or dresses that looked like they should be tops. And I saw a guy wearing shorts!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Cribs @ El Rey

It was interesting how none of the opening acts remotely resembled The Cribs. The El Rey is perfectly designed for short people. There were platforms on both sides of the stage and stairs leading down into the standing area. We were able to find a great spot near the front of the platforms and we were still pretty close to the band without having any giants blocking us. It was great! I liked the old fashioned theater look of the El Rey. It was in between Wiltern and Henry Fonda: not as new as the Wiltern, but not as shabby as Henry Fonda and it was larger than I thought it would be. I was surprised that The Cribs were playing somewhere that big.

Jeffrey Lewis & the Jitters
They sounded like Moldy Peaches with the quirky storytelling lyrics, but Jeffrey & the Jitters had better singers. The female singer looked really awkward to me, but W tells me that's just the NY look. Apparently, the NY look also includes guys wearing tight pants and plaid shirts because that's how Jeffrey was dressed and the guys in Ra Ra Riot (also from NY). J seemed to find the band very amusing, but S, W, and I were in agreement that it just wasn't our kind of music. Frankly, we were kind of bored a few songs into it. His short films were kind of funny (well, one of them anyways). Otherwise, I'm not sure how people get away with singing this kind of music. I mean, they're like poems you make up in elementary school and they don't even have to rhyme and apparently no one (like Jeffrey or Kimya Dawson) really needs any singing experience whatsoever.

Ra Ra Riot
I've never seen an electric violin or electric cello before. I didn't even know they made them! I hadn't heard of them, but W said they were alright. I was a little concerned when they 1st came out. They looked like they were all 16 and all the guys had afro-y hair and tight pants and plaid shirts. The girls were in nice matching dresses. They ran out on stage and started playing right away. They were really energetic and bouncy the entire time. Very catchy music. W keeps calling it frat rock. I have no idea what that means, but apparently they are in the same genre as Vampire Weekend, which I've heard of, but haven't really listened to much of their music. I think RRR sounds kind of like indie dance pop rock. They would sound pretty typical without the classical instruments, but you throw them in and the sound is much fuller, like there's an orchestra backing them up. The cello and violin definitely make the music stand out much more. All their songs were really catchy and danceable. Makes me wish I could actually dance instead of just bobbing around. And I noticed a bit of 80s influence in their music.

The Cribs
I was surprised by how many people were at El Rey. I didn't know The Cribs were so popular and the tickets didn't seem to sell out that quickly at the time that I had purchased them. They were much more punk live than they sounded on their latest album "Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever". I know their older stuff was more punk, but live they sounded so different. They sounded fantastic live. Their songs were still recognizable, but sounded totally different live. They sounded better! All of them were really into the music. I just got into The Cribs recently, so I didn't realize they had 2 singers in the band. I prefer the sounds of the less punkier, raspier brother, but they both added to the music. There was an older gentleman standing by us who brought his fam (wife and son, who looked about 13) and he was TOTALLY into the music. You could tell he was a hardcore fan. He was headbanging so hard. I felt kind of bad that his son didn't seem to appreciate the music at all. W said he had headphones on the entire time. He must've had to turn up his iPod really loud to hear over The Cribs because they were raucous. And I was a little bit embarrassed to be standing near these skanky groupies who were yelling at the singers to take their shirts off. You're at a punk show, really? REALLY? I mean, yeah, the drummer was really good looking and the twins were attractive in a Billy Zane kind of way, but still. It's not a boy band up there on stage. Although, there was a ton of crowdsurfing. Fans got on stage, surprisingly, mostly guys. Some of them ran up to the guitarist and tried to hug him, which I thought was weird behavior for male fans. Some of the guys got on stage more than once. They were quickly removed, but it was weird. I'm used to seeing that kind of behavior from females. They ended the night like total rock stars. The guitarist started shredding his guitar against an amp and made this long loud speech (I couldn't understand what he was saying through his thick Brit accent, but I'm sure it involved anarchy of some sort). Then the drummer jumped over his drum set, knocked over his high hat, and they all ran off the stage. No encore. That's a first for me, but maybe they were annoyed that so many people got on stage? Also, the guitarist went crowd surfing, but was quickly pulled back and thrown on the ground by security. Surprisingly rough treatment for the headliner.

High Note: hearing some unexpected music and falling in love with it all over again.
Low Note: hearing the screams of a skanky girl and occasionally getting bumped by her purse that was bigger than her empty head.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Amar Collective @ Downtown LA Loft

Wing's band was going to play at this loft downtown. It was originally supposed to be a vinyl/lasagna party, but then they decided to have these bands play there as well, which I thought was pretty cool, but I was surprised that they would be playing music at night in an apartment. Then I saw the loft. It was HUGE. At first I was thinking, "Is this an apartment or some kind of lounge area?" It had this big warehouse kind of feel, but it was full of kitschy things like there were all these stands that were filled with wacky hats, there was an old fashioned cigar room w/ green leather furniture and things, a roomy living room area that was actually a good size for all the bands to play in, and some office space, and other areas to chill out in. That didn't even include the bedrooms! I wonder how much rent was there.


Big Lovin’ Panda:
First band up. They were playing kind of old school early to mid-90s sort of rock.
The guitarist and drummer are very talented. I loved some of the guitar solos.

Bombaster:
Wing's band. They play catchy, fun, indie type music. "Love is for Lovers" is always great. They used to be more shoegazey, but I'm liking the newer, faster songs.

Ana Caravelle on harp & Alina Cutrono on acoustic guitar:
They made a good duo. The harp sounded beautiful and Ana had a very pretty, low, jazzy kind of voice. Reminiscent of Feist. Alina also had a good voice. Her singing complemented Ana's very well.


Brothers Landau:
Ended the night, for us anyways. There were still a ton of people there when we left and I don't think we stayed for the entire set. I wish we had though because they were very unique. One brother was on acoustic guitar and the other on cello. They started off with "Intercontinental". I didn't know cello could be so catchy. The acoustic guitarist had a good folky kind of voice. Then they got the party started by doing this fantastic rendition of Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do it". Everyone joined in for the chorus. It was so great! Then they did a bossa nova song and we were about to leave when all of a sudden they started playing (last thing I expected) King's of Convenience's "Homesick"!!!! We were practically going to open the door when that song literally stopped me in my tracks and I begged my friends to let me listen to the rest of the song. Beautiful cover and kind of awesome that some of the people knew all the words to the song.

Kaki King @ The Roxy

Matt Sheehy opened for Kaki King last Wed. His voice wasn't bad, but I think his music is too slow for me. It was acoustic guitar with drums. I thought the drums overpowered his voice and guitar playing. Plus, I couldn't understand anything he was singing, he mumbled through his songs. I tried my best to listen, but I had no idea what any of his songs were about, so then I would start zoning out.

I thought I had never seen Kaki King before until F reminded me that we had previously seen her perform at MOCA and it was really long and boring. She did have a ton of fans though, but she came off as being very quiet. I had already told W that I would go with her, so it was too late for me to get out of it. I went to the show as kind of a n00b since W hadn't bothered to give me any of her music or her new album. So, I was dreading the show a bit because my only impression was of her at MOCA. Luckily, the show was extremely different from what I thought it would be.

She came out on stage with her acoustic guitar, as expected. Then she started playing, and I was in shock when the rest of her band came out. What?! She plays with a band?! So, things were looking up then. She started off with several very catchy songs, of which the names I do not know since that was my first time hearing them. She's got a nice Lisa Loeb-ish type voice. Not that strong, but it fit well with her music. Sometimes she would start out with this really catchy guitar tapping and then it seemed to get overwhelmed by the drums.

Some of the highlights of the night:
- "Montreal" started off with her playing then the rest of her bandmates came out one by one and as soon as the drums started, the song became one of the catchiest songs she played all night. Totally made me want to dance.



- She started playing this spacey music and quoting something about spice that sounded extremely familiar. Then it turned out she had been doing this whole monologue about DUNE. It was pretty geeky, but totally ep-to-the-fing-ic! I was like 'no friggin way is she talking about Dune ON STAGE in front of all these people!' And she was really passionate about it!



- Stories about Amy Tan dressing as a dominatrix in her band.
- The cover of Fashion Tattoo by Bubonix. AMAZING. It was like she was being ironic because she sings all these indie, folky songs and then all of a sudden she was singing this punk song and she did some emo screaming. I didn't know she had it in her. It was impressive!



Overall, she put on a great show. W told me that on this album she started singing and having a band, which totally deviated from her previous albums. I think it's a good direction to go in. It gives her a fuller sound and makes her a bit more radio friendly. Like the song "Pull Me Out Alive" reminded me of The Cranberries.

She had A LOT of male fans. They must realize she's gay, but I guess they don't care.

Why is it that any time there is a short person standing around at a show, a tall person MUST stand in front of them? I will call this Connie's Law. Guaranteed at every single show I've been to a tall person has stood in front of me at LEAST once. And at this show the law escalated because these 2 ridiculously tall people stood right at the front of the stage. Kaki King is already short enough as it is, but with this tall, balding, old man standing in front of her, you couldn't even see her at all! I mostly saw his bald head for half the night! He must've been like mid-fifties. What was he even doing there?! ESPECIALLY, at the front of the stage?! There should be a height limit for people who stand at the front of the stage.

High Note: In reference to the tall guys and one girl behind me said "Tall people need to die."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

High Fidelity on mix tapes

"You can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Everybody Else @ Art Institute of CA, OC

So, I drove all the way to OC to see them even though I was trying to recover from a pretty bad cold. I really like the band and the show was free, come on, there was no other choice! Also, I heard there was supposed to be a fashion show and free food. They did not disappoint!

So, me and my sis pull into the parking lot and we see this sea of bright colors. We both immediately knew we were underdressed. It was like half art students and half Indie kids. We were planning on dressing a little crazier, but the weather got really cold, so we toned it down to stay warm. Well, my sis was doing alright since she was wearing green stripe socks and gold flats. btw, why is it that the larger you are, the tighter you think you can wear your pants? I know Indie kids like their skin-tight jeans, but I saw some people who were 3x my size and wearing skinny jeans 3x smaller than my size. I was impressed that they could even get them on! So anyways, you can imagine the scenery with so many crazy looking art students and Indie kids. It was like everyone was trying so hard to look different, but they all kind of ended up looking kind of homogeneous.

First thing we do after parking is take a stroll around the area. There's some artists trying to sell their wares, a skateboard ramp, runway with a band playing, and a long line. We immediately get into the line and it turns out it's for free drinks and tacos. The tacos were pretty good for free. As we were waiting in line, we did some people watching. We saw one guy who had big bright pink sunglasses on (it was cloudy that day) and a very fitted feminine jacket. I said "That guy looks like a rock star," and my sis said "Wouldn't it be funny if that was the lead singer?" Turned out it was. I'm sure he dressed like that to attract attention. I wonder if he got any because we saw him wandering around by himself. I know, I should have recognized him, but I'm usually there to just listen to the music. I never remember what he looks like besides that he's very attractive. He has the same lanky body and shaggy haircut that every other Indie kid has. It's hard to tell the difference! It's funny how they've replaced Phantom Planet for me. I remember back in the day when I used to go see Phantom Planet any time they were playing free somewhere. So, now that they're bigger, I don't even go to their shows anymore because I've seen them for free so many times. I have paid for Everybody Else's shows before, but they usually play for really cheap. :)

Then we wandered into the school to look around and eat some little sweet hors d'oeuvres that they're carrying in trays for the press fashion show. Those were delicious. I wish I knew what they were. They were like small dollops of custard on top of small pieces of pie crust. They were really good and naturally ran out of supply quickly. The school had some interesting student art on display.

We watched a fashion show outdoors that had some pretty nice clothes: Cali style w/ an Indie edge. Good enough to please the people there. I don't know if it was because the crowd had a lot of young girls there (an unfortunate side effect of liking a band who plays poppy catchy music and has a really good looking front man), but every time a male model came out there was a ton of screaming and hollering. Yeah, some of the guys were attractive, but really? They know they're good looking, just seemed kind of immature, but it did make them act a bit more cocky (and some of them a little bit embarrassed), so that made it a bit more interesting.

After the show, Everybody Else played on the same runway. We started out sitting by the runway this far:

It was surprisingly tame and controlled, then he wanted everyone to get a little bit closer and people started bumrushing the stage, so then we were this close:


Yep, about an arm's length away from him. The lighting was really weird and I did use a cameraphone, so the pictures do no justice to his good looks. It was a nice intimate show. Not as crowded as their other shows have been and I was a bit disappointed that they didn't play one of my fav songs "I Gotta Run", but the other songs were still good. They played a new song and "Wake Up" off their first album, which I've always liked. So, overall, it was a good day and I ended up with a set list and a guitar pick. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cursive

OMG, you came up randomly on my last.fm player. Why do you even exist? I hate you and your horribly scratchy voice. How can people even like your music?!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2 Guys 1 Guitar



Been listening to Antoine Dufour lately. I find his music really moving and some of it is pretty catchy too. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wicked

FINALLY got to see this at F's urgent request since he said one of the actors was leaving. Surprisingly, I was able to get decent seats when I bought them just a few days in advance, Orchestra Left Center Row P. We were MUCH closer than I thought we would be. Makes a huge difference. The last time I was at Pantages was to see Les Mis and I was sitting in the Mezzanine. Anyways, Wicked was MUCH funnier than I thought it would be. I knew it was a different take on the original book, which was great btw, but all the changes worked well on stage, I think. Plus I liked all the twists with the other characters like the Scarecrow and Tinman. All the lines were pretty good and I heard that the original Broadway actress, Kristin Chenoweth (who is currently on Pushing Daisies), pretty much defined the role of Glinda. Knowing this definitely affected how I felt about the performance of the current Glinda actress, but she was still good in her own way. I just wish I could've seen Chenoweth on stage. I've listened to her singing on the soundtrack and it's amazing. So, fantastic show. The actress playing the Wicked Witch has an amazing voice. And F, there is no way that the singing is prerecorded. People wouldn't pay that much money to see people lip syncing on stage.