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