This past Saturday I ventured to East L.A. for my second Broke LA experience. I had attended last year when the festival was held at the Los Angeles Arts District, and at $20 a ticket (presale) with a full lineup of local and non-local indie bands, going again seemed like a no-brainer!
Truthfully, I hadn’t heard of the majority of the bands listed on the lineup. I knew I wanted to see BOYO again after hearing them open for Sadgirl and Surf Curse last month, and I also wanted to see James Supercave. Surprisingly, there were a couple bands I did end up knowing, such as Emerson Star and Ugly Sweaters. My objective was to see as many of the acts as I could and really take in the whole experience.
I felt so cool donning my Hinds T-Shirt, which I quickly swapped for a Sunstock Solar shirt to support my friends at the Ball Stage, which was 100% solar powered! Pretty rad. The venue was in the El Sereno neighborhood of East Los Angeles, by some questionable train tracks with graffiti everywhere. There were about 4 large indoor warehouses to accommodate each of the main stages: Jungle Gym, Ball Pit, Swings, and Bounce House—fun themes to channel everyone’s inner child.
I mostly hung out between the Jungle Gym main outdoor stage and the Ball Pit—where the most indie rock was being played. The Bounce House was all DJ sets and the Swings were Hip Hop and R&B. On the other side of the indoor stages and by the train tracks, a small stage was also set up for comedy acts. It seemed to be a popular area, especially since there was ample seating. Drinks and beers were provided by Lagunitas and Angel City Brewing, and food trucks were scattered about ready to satisfy everyone’s snacking needs. One indoor warehouse was filled with vendors galore with clothes, jewelry, and much more!
The first act I caught was a solo guitarist performing to his own background music—Candy Cigarettes. Despite the small audience for his 3:15 set, he played his electro-indie rock with much enthusiasm and vigor. I ventured into the Swings after that and briefly saw Marko Penn, an R&B artist with a pretty decent voice. I caught one of my favorite sets of the day, Emerson Star at the Ball Pit Stage at 3:40. They played some dreamy indie rock that was right up my alley, and I realized that I knew their song, “La Dolce Vida” already. So far, we were off to a good start. Some of my other favorites from the Ball Pit Stage included funky-soul group, Iconique, and later the female-fronted Velvet, who’s sound was a cross between Cherry Glazerr and Chelsea Wolfe. I also really enjoyed the indie sounds of Raener and BOYO who took the stage after sundown. Over at the Jungle Gym Stage, some of my favorites included Fellow Bohemian, the energetic Ugly Sweaters, and Bloodboy.
Towards the end of the night, my head and feet were growing weary, but I was determined to stick through James Supercave. I caught some of Brasstracks, but their brassy hip-hop/pop covers were a little over the top for me. The seemed to be quite the crowd pleaser, though! I opted for Dream Machines, who had the crowd grooving in a more classic funk way. After that, things got a little freaky with the closing band at the Ball Pit stage, Tickle Torture, who seemed more interested in putting on a scandalous show than actually producing good music. Finally, James Supercave took the stage and closed out the show with some new and old tracks. It was great, but my feet were DONE!
There was still some action to be had at the Bounce House stage, but most people started to filter out. Did I mention puppies? Bark LA had a presence again at the festival, hopefully setting up some puppers with new forever homes. And that’s a wrap! Check out my awkward video below and a short and sweet Spotify playlist of some of my faves from the day!