Friday, May 31, 2013
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The Avalon was sold out for the co-headlining tour of The Presets and Dragonette. Along with electronic producers Classixx, it was a synthesizer fueled dance party. I had missed Dragonette on prior tours and was intrigued to catch them. The Presets have long been a favorite of mine dating back to when I saw them at Spaceland in 2006.
Classixx also have come a long way since I saw them back in 2008 opening for Cut Copy at the Echoplex. Michael David and Tyler Blake have added more live instrumentation to their engaging live set instead of hunkering behind a laptop. While their list of remix credits are impressive, Classixx recently released their own full length debut album Hanging Gardens.
Billed as a co-headline tour, Dragonette are still on the road touring in support of their latest release Bodyparts. Their popularity has surged due to the ever present song "Hello" by Martin Solveig that features Martina Sorbara's vocals. Dragonette got the dance party whipped up into a frenzy early on as Sorbara danced around the stage like an energetic cheerleader while nailing her vocal parts.
It was impressive to see Joel Stouffer rock a Roland electronic drum kit while Dan Kurtz handled an accoutrement of synthesizers and some bass. The audience were throwing their hands up in the air as they danced frantically to "Pick Up The Phone". Other highlights include "Live In This City", "Run Run Run", "Untouchable" and "I Get Around". Dragonette are finishing up their run of US dates and will probably be back soon.
The Presets have never let me down in the live department. I caught them earlier on this tour at Club Nokia and was excited to see them again. Julian Hamilton was stationed behind his Dave Smith Instruments Prophet '08 and Korg MS-20 keyboards while Kim Moyes manned his drum kit for some live drumming for most of the set.
Pacifica is their third album and "Push" kicked things off with its glittery chirping synthesizers and Moyes steady beat. Hamilton would occasionally pull away from his keyboard to get the audience stirred up. "Girl And The Sea" is still one of my favorite tracks from their debut album Beams and sounded pristine.
The Presets knew how to keep the audience grooving as they whipped through "Promises", "Ghosts", "This Boy's In Love" before dipping back into "I Go Hard I Go Home". Things really heated up when they played "Youth In Trouble" and closed out their main set with "My People". The encore featured a slamming "Are You The One?" and a closing salvo of "Talk Like That". It was a great synthesizer night.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Saturday, May 25, 2013
After shooting the Rolling Stones at Staples Center, I bolted down to the Echo to catch Nightmare Air. It has been a few years since I last saw them at the Echo back in December of 2009. Co-fronted by Dave Dupuis (Vocals/Guitars) and Swaan Miller (Vocals/Bass) along with the thunderous drumming of Jimmy Lucido, Nightmare Air were even louder than I remembered.
It was a storm of feedback and noise floating above a fuzzed out bass lines and syncopated drums. Dupuis's ability to construct walls of noise and sound isn't surprising given his pedigree of playing guitar in the dearly missed Film School. "18 Days" was monumental with Miller's swooning vocals and Dupuis's contrasting vocal screams complementing his blasts of guitars.
High in the Lasers is their debut album and it is as intoxicating as their live performances. Some of their other highly recommended tunes include "Escape" and "Icy Daggers". Nightmare Air will be back to blast your eardrums on May 30th at the Silverlake Lounge and I recommend you go and don't forget to bring your earplugs.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Check out my photos of the KROQ Weenie Roast 2013 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre over at OC Weekly.
My review is also over at OC Weekly.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Monday, May 13, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
It is hard to believe that it has been almost five plus years since I first caught A Place To Bury Strangers at the Viper Room along with traveling to Texas to see them open for Nine Inch Nails. They tour tirelessly and consistently produce albums that will blow your mind as well as your eardrums. It was Cinco De Mayo and the Yost Theatre had a huge line up of psychedelic bands dubbing the day Psycho De Mayo which had A Place To Bury Strangers hitting the stage a little after 10:15.
Unfortunately, I was really sick at the beginning of the day and was questioning my ability to go to even attend the show but rallied after a few doses of medication and lots of fluids. A Place To Bury Strangers recently released an album of Dead Moon covers for record store day release entitled Strange Moon. I made it to the Yost Theatre maybe ten minutes before they were scheduled to play and got a spot in front of fuzz and feedback specialist Oliver Ackermann.
Under a cloak of darkness and a shroud of noise, A Place To Bury Strangers proceeded to destroy Santa Ana. Ackermann was pulverizing his white battered Fender Jaguar while Dion Lunadon's Fender bass was missing a chunk from the headstock probably due to the abuse these instruments receive every night. "Deadbeat" simply shredded with its fantastic sheets of white noise and feedback. Lunadon took over the vocal duties for "Drill It Up" as Robi Gonzalez tirelessly slammed at his drum kit while sporting a fashionable METZ t-shirt. "Mind Control" was another face melting proposition as I heard a few audience members asking for the volume to be turned up.
The climax of the show occurred at the end for "I've Lived My Life To Stand In The Shadow Of Your Heart". It was a ferocious moment as Ackermann ripped the strings off his guitar and wildly swung it around producing a hurricane of noise and feedback. Your senses were also assaulted by the unrelenting strobe light that would illuminate the band members for a fraction of a second as it seemed to be coordinated with the torrential amount of unleashed noise. It turns out that A Place To Bury Strangers show was the exact medication I needed and a full dose of fuzz and feedback does wonders for the soul.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
The Viper room was absolutely packed when I arrived shortly before 11:00 to see Helmet. I managed to get a good spot at the front of the stage when the previous band ended and was ready for another pulverizing dose of Helmet. After seeing them at the Griffin in San Diego, I knew Helmet was ready to rip it up. Seeing that it was a "hometown" show, I figured Helmet would give the crowd a few extra songs. Little did I know that Helmet would stretch their set to a mind blowing twenty-two song set that included hits, rarities and deep cuts.
The crowd immediately started to swirl upon hearing the knife sharp riff of "Give It". I've failed to mention that Page Hamilton and Dan Beeman drop their guitars down to drop "C" tuning and transpose the riff accordingly. Since a majority of the recordings are in drop "D" tuning, it makes tracking how to play some of the riffs a little more difficult but the songs sound tremendously heavier.
Another standout of the evening was "Better", which had Hamilton digging deep on the screams sounding pretty close to those of the recording which are brutal. Hearing the insane time signature shifts of "Vaccination" was worth the price of admission alone. "Wilma's Rainbow" and "Tic" were also flawless as the crowd was still moshing relentlessly. The curtain had closed after "Exactly What You Wanted" and it seemed like Helmet would end the evening with a few more songs.
Good thing I was wrong as Helmet would play a nine song encore. Although this generosity may have been fueled by the free alcohol being gifted to the band, I wasn't complaining. I could tell Helmet was in a good mood because they even honored the request to play "Unsung" which I haven't heard live in quite awhile. Closing the night in perfect fashion was an earth shattering take of "In The Meantime". Definitely one of my favorite Helmet shows in recent memory.
Helmet setlist at the Viper Room (5/4/13)
"Welcome To Algiers"
"Seeing Eye Dog"
"Exactly What You Wanted"
"See You Dead"
"Crashing Foreign Cars"
"Just Another Victim"
"In The Meantime"
Pedalboard of Page Hamilton of Helmet
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Helmet embarked on a mini-tour of the West Coast in preparation for some big gigs down in South America. As I detailed in my Last Shot column, Helmet is one of my favorite bands. I was pretty exhausted from a busy week and recovering from chemotherapy but was determined to make the drive down to San Diego to see Helmet destroy.
As always, Helmet delivered a super sharp set. The last batch of Helmet shows have found the band reaching far back into their catalog and playing a number of songs they don't normally perform. As an example, they dusted off "Impressionable" which I can't even remember seeing them play that live in my twenty years of seeing Helmet shows. The song that blew me away though was "Vaccination" from Betty. The riff is incredibly difficult to play and Page Hamilton and Dan Beeman crushed it on their guitars.
Since I was stationed so close to the stage, I heard Hamilton's vocals cutting out on the monitors which potentially could wreak havoc on a less seasoned performer. The sound guy kept coming up front to diagnose the problem but never was able to get the monitors to work. It didn't affect the overall performance of Helmet, but I can only imagine it must have been frustrating. The San Diego crowd was much rowdier compared to other Helmet shows and a mosh pit did end up formulating knocking down quite a number of people.
Helmet really revved things up at the end of their set with a slew of my favorite songs by knocking out "Milquetoast", "Iron Head", the highly overlooked awesome "Crisis King", "Give It" and "Just Another Victim". The last batch of songs gave me the boost I needed to make the late night trek home. Can't wait to see them again at the Viper Room.
Helmet setlist at the Griffin (5/1/13)
"Crashing Foreign Cars"
"Welcome To Algiers"
"Everybody Loves You"
"Seeing Eye Dog"
"Just Another Victim"