La Roux @ the El Rey 10.19.09

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Just a warning that Elly has been feeling ill and can only perform a short set give it up for La Roux!"


I was really looking forward to dancing it up tonight...especially after all that free champagne and dessert we consumed at Capitol City (Monday night sports bars, guys just wanna buy you drinks after their team wins).

I had a lovely "plot of real estate" to the left of the stage and was rarin' to go. Alas, Elly Jackson, with her signature red peacock hair and enlarged cameo necklace, announced after the cheers and hollers that she "flew all the way to Los Angeles and can barely sing" ....but put on a great show regardless.

La Roux is a duo band (tonight there were 4 on stage) with singer Elly Jackson and synth player Ben Langmaid. The band's name originates from Elly's red hair and French heritage (roux is the French male form of "redhead"). Their music is a total 80's flashback, folks...a real guilty pleasure. Who doesn't like to wear sparkles and dance to synthpop?

She opened with "Quicksand"...then went to "I'm Not Your Toy"..."Saviour"...."Colourless Color" and ended with her two hits "In For The Kill" (in which she experienced her first "dance randoms" on stage) and "Bulletproof" in which a little girl dressed in a green and blue bubble unitard sang along - and knew all the words!

Little girl in bubble outfit singing "Bulletproof"

San Francisco's Treasure Island Music Festival (Day 2)

Treasure Island Music Festival was a perfectly sized music festival. The two stages took turns with the featured bands, making it easy to meander between the two and not miss a set. Other than the music, the festival hosted a wide variety of entertainment: Mister Gnogiurzauchshoff's Traveling Midway of Curiosities and Delights (an old fashioned carnival setup with a twist), a ferris wheel, odd characters roaming about (pirates on stilts, monsters, etc) and even a hair salon – just to name a few.

Initially, we were planning to attend both days of TIMF, but a scheduling conflict prevented us from making Day 1 (we heard MSTRKRFT stole the show). Here are highlights from Day 2:

Thao Nguyen & the Get Down Stay Down impressed us. They are great musicians...and Thao can really get down!

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes once again blew us away (see earlier post from their 9.22.09 show at the El Rey). This is what live music is about.

Grizzly Bear sounded ah-mazing.

Beirut sounded different. Great, but different. You can tell that Zach Condon is collaborating more with band members and changing things up (Beirut started as a solo project).

Explore more:

Dr. Dog @ the Fonda. 10.2.09

The crowd was rowdy and impatient on Wednesday night at the Fonda while waiting for Dr. Dog to take the stage. Leading up to this moment, we lounged on the rooftop area, not paying much attention to our fellow Dr. Dog fans.

Now on the GA floor awaiting the band's set, we begin to look around and realize that the crowd's comprised mostly of bros in flannel – hence the loud chanting and foot stomping.

"They're definitely classic rock inspired...but with beautiful harmony like the Beatles," we overhear one fan describing the band to a newcomer.

As the curtains pulled back, a jungle appeared! The band was immersed in a garden of tall grasses and foliage, some members wearing goggles and peeping from behind picket fences. It was a fairy nursery that meets a Vietnam movie set.

They opened with a song we weren't familiar with, which got us thinking maybe we've been too wrapped up in their 2008 album, Fate…(but how could you not)? The bros love them some Dr. Dog! Throughout the show, they made hand gestures and even started a “Bro Train” when the band played “The Breeze,” putting their arms around each other and swaying to the music.

Dr. Dog brings out a bro's sensitive side.

Amadou & Mariam. Henry Fonda Music Box. 10.2.09

After listening to Amadou and Mariam for over 5 years, we were incredibly excited to see "the blind couple from Mali" live. We were surprised to see the Fonda as empty as it was when we arrived. Amadou, Mariam and Co. were fantastic and kept the crowd moving with their upbeat tunes. Although the crowd was small, they were one of the most enthusiastic and dance crazed bunches. We hope it doesn't take us another 5 years to see these guys perform again.

Blitzen Trapper. El Rey. 9.28.09

So many things go right at Bon Iver Sunrise Concert

Special Guest Bloggers Ian Chili & Erin Gogger cover the Bon Iver Sunrise Concert at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (9.27.09)

At 6:04 am I received this text from an East Coast friend: “You live the most random life.” This was of course after I told her that Buddhist Monks were blessing me as I sat in a cemetery. Yeah it was random, and it was very LA, but it was also one of the best things that I have ever done. For those of you who were not lucky enough to get tickets I would hate to say you didn’t miss anything, but ya did. -Erin

It’s not very often that the perfectly advertised evening goes perfectly as advertised. I was psyched for this concert from the moment I read about it in my friend’s Facebook status update. I ended up hanging with people I knew, but not intimately. At least not in a “let’s hang out in a cemetery, drink and smoke” kinda way. But it didn’t matter. This night was about experiencing something new. – Ian

Justin Vernon, tried his best to mastermind the evenings’ events as to maximize his morning performance, but he got an assist when Mother Nature decided to add her two cents to an already eventful evening. The gates opened at midnight and shortly after a DJ set composed by Mr. Vernon himself either lulled you to sleep amongst the others taking their eternal rests or primed you for what would be a night you would not soon forget. The fog rolled in at 0 dark 30, right after the screening of Bottlerocket, during the second DJ set and shortly before the moment I realized I needed to start drinking water (for the record, the latter never actually happened but should have…the discount beer from Trader Joe’s and red bull vodkas were just hitting the spot).

The next 2 hours were spent discussing what to do for the next 2 hours, getting more alcohol and finding inventive ways to drink it. The final solution was Asshole. We ended up telling more stories than playing cards, but we somehow managed to drink just as much with every story ending in a social. We also managed to make our way through the mist to the port-a-potties, glo sticks and bird calls were involved, and if you had forgotten for some reason that you were in a cemetery the security guard yelling please keep off of the headstones, brought it right back to you.

At 5:30ish Buddhist Monks came to bless the crowd and the stage. At first we thought that this was going to be weird, and the kung fu jokes began, but after a few minutes their chanting just mesmerized us and set the stage perfectly for Bon Iver. At this point, we had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment though we were too far gone to know what we actually did. It wasn’t til B.I. was setting up that it finally hit us. All that matters is that we’re here.

The concert was flawless. There was a special appearance by Justin’s old band Megafaun and Bon Iver perfectly delivered every song in their repertoire; the sun came up as best as it could with the marine layer blanketing us and everyone finally got a chance to see who had been camping around them the whole night. It was a sea of flannel, American Apparel hoodies and beanies in case you were wondering. As we headed for the exits, the only thing left on anybody’s mind was a pillow. Or perhaps a bloody mary, depends on whom you talk to. (We get 500 BLOG points for using “whom” correctly!)

You can try to recapture the magic on if you want. Videos are already popping up. I’ve watched a half of one and it’s hard to capture the scope of the event on a crappy video camera from the back row. Luckily our friend Cam took some pictures.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes @ the El Rey 9.22.09

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes were everything we expected and wanted their show to be. The nearly dozen strong band had such zeal for each song and the crowd could not have encouraged them more. The El Rey was packed and the energy high.

Lead singer Alex Ebert, in his classic white jeans, jumped and danced around the stage, his voice unfaltered. Jade Castrinos was absolutely adorable and had a childlike excitement for every song. The band as a whole moved around the stage with ease and excitement while being orchestrated by Ebert.

After the encore and the band clearly wanted to call it a night, Ebert did not want to leave the stage. Nico (the guitarist) came back out on stage for “Brother.”

The posse were closing their first tour and happy to be back home in Los Angeles. There was even an onstage proposal (not within the band)! It was a superb homecoming!

The LA Ladies Choir opened

Mayer Hawthorne @ the Roxy 9.10.09

Mayer Hawthorne swooned as at his record release party. It was an Ann Harbor invasion with most of his band hailing from the area - all mighty fine musicians.


The audience was amped up - like a flock of vampire victims under the influence of a maenad! And no, not because the opening band had a drummer who wore loose, grey sweatpants where you could see his junk whirling around. Maybe because some caught the noon show at Third Man Records pop-up store at the Regent Theatre. Either way, no matter how many times one sees Jack White, Allison Mosshart, Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence on stage, their addiction worsens...

First time at The Mayan; the venue looks like the set of Nickolodeon's "Legends of the Hidden Temple." We parked upstairs behind the sound booth for the best view, then headed to the floor for the 3-song encore where Jack White proposed, "Is music in L.A. alive and well? Or are you just EMI employees and shit?" A little bit of both...

Our first time seeing The Dead Weather was a couple months ago at The Roxy. This show amped up the lighting and heavy guitar, even some dramatic acting on behalf of Jack and Allison who violently shoved one another and were egged on by the crowd to kiss, right before their sultry duet of "Will There Be Enough Water."

The humble ending to this hot-ass rock & roll show was when the band joins hands and thanks the audience. We appreciate musicians who are also humble.

One day I will take the band down as my screen saver, but not any time soon.


The line was down the street for the opening band, Band of Skulls, who have recently gained loads of popularity due to the vocal duelings of Emma Richardson and Russell Marsden. (A mention as "band to watch" in Entertainment Weekly and Vanity Fair, and an exclusive song in the upcoming soundtrack to New Moon). Richardson has been compared to Karen O and Patti Smith, and keeps getting better as the band plays around town.

Leila Moss, lead singer of The Duke Spirit, kept the energy going with songs like "Into The Fold" and "The Step and the Walk." She jumped barefoot on stage with a sparkly top and leather mini-shorts. Those who did not attend the Mew show at the Troubadour were all at the El Rey to support both Shangri-La Records bands (kudos to the label for throwing a free after party at HMS Bounty). Overall it was a fun concert-going experience.

Andrew Bird, White Rabbits & Grizzly Bear - oh my!

...And that's not all! The past few months we have seen some pretty amazing shows. We apologize for being BMIA (Bloggers-Missing-In-Action). Enjoy a brief photo recap of the shows we not only liked, but loved:

Band of Skulls @ 3 Clubs. June 4, 2009.

The Dead Weather @ the Roxy. June 17, 2009.

Jack White & Allison Mosshart. The Dead Weather @ the Roxy. June 17, 2009.

The White Rabbits @ the Troubadour. June 18, 2009.

Grizzly Bear @ the Troubadour. June 20, 2009.

Phoenix @ the Wiltern. June 29, 2009.

Andrew Bird @ the Greek Theatre. July 10, 2009.

Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). The El Rey. May 11, 2009.

The El Rey was swarming with music industry insiders for Cat Stevens' invitation-only showcase - his first Los Angeles performance in about 30 years. We were clearly the youngest people in the audience. I envisioned Stevens to be wearing 60's garb - a beaded headband, a frayed buckskin jacket, chest hair showing underneath a linen button up and a full beard. The only thing that came to fruition was the full beard. He walked on stage, humbly picked up his acoustic guitar and gave the adoring audience a thumbs up. "It's beautiful in here," Stevens later commented.

His voice sounded exactly the same. I suppose it is possible for musicians to keep their youthful voice/talents..that is, if they drop the drugs and alcohol and convert to Islam like Stevens, ahem, Yusuf. On the 3rd song of the night, Don't Be Shy, he already had commanded a standing ovation. The show was great and transported us to another time for the hour and a half. Our only disappointment of the night was the exclusion of Moonshadow from the set list.

Set List: Welcome Home Lilywhite Don't Be Shy Where the Children Play Thinkin' About You The Rain (newish) World of Darkness Be What You Must The Wind Wild World Road Singer All Kinds of Roses Boots & Sand Ruins Father & Son (encore) Peace Train (encore)

Dark Was the Night. Radi City Music Hall. May 3, 2009.

Special Report from NYC!

If you haven't yet purchased the compilation Dark Was The Night, buy it now. Not only do the proceeds benefit the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS, but it has 33 kick-ass songs from both new and old artists: like Talking Heads' David Byrne, Bon Iver, Beirut, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Feist, Cat Power, Grizzly Bear...the list goes on. The compilation and benefit concert, held at Radio City Music Hall, was put produced by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.

OBVIOUSLY worth flying to New York for, the show featured performances in this order: The Dirty Projectors, David Byrne, My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (the best voice I've heard in years), The National, Feist (just her and a guitar), Bon Iver (who brought Shara out to harmonize on "Flume") and finally Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

The finale featured the whole lot, who came out to sing a version of "This Land Is Your Land." The group huddled around one mic like it was a campfire. Some held pieces of paper with the lyrics and began a lifeless rendition of "this land is your land" until Sharon interrupted: "Hold on a minute! I like that version, but I got a new one...hit it!" It sure felt like a cheesy benefit concert at that point. It was that and the "sex advice" videos that played in between songs, showing female artists like Courtney Love and Luscious Jackson speak candidly about sex and encouraging safety even within the world of rock & roll. "If he tells you not to use a condom, you might as well use one cuz it won't be good anyway" tells Gabby Glaser of Luscious Jackson.

I definitely geeked out seeing some of my favorite musicians together, but it wasn't as great as expected. It doesn't feel right to be seated during a show like that. I felt disconnected to the performances, but glad to know music still brings people together and can raise money for a good cause.

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

FINALE: "This Land Is Your Land" with The National, My Brightest Diamond, The Dirty Projectors, Feist, David Byrne, Bon Iver, St. Vincent.