This Valentine’s Day, I opted to spend the night basking in the sultry sounds of one of my favorite bands right now, The Marías, who sold out the OC Observatory. The María’s first came on my radar when I heard them perform at the Long Beach festival, Topicalia, and I’ve been in love ever since. They released a two-part EP, Superclean Vol. I and II, just last year and it’s been in my heavy rotation this year. I was fortunate to snag a copy on vinyl, which features Vol I on side A, Vol. II on side B, and had María sign it during the meet-and-greet after the show.
Their set dazzled from start to finish, with María absolutely mesmerizing the audience in a stunning red dress as her ethereal voice carried across the audience. To set the scene, a table was set at the front side of the stage, and two women sat and were poured wine. The band took the stage, with the men donning white suits with black tops. The vibe was straight out of a ’20s flapper lounge. They opened with “Cariño” and the crowd grooved along right away. “Self-love is most important… and I’ve struggled with it,” María shared with the crowd of lovers. For “Over The Moon,” María said, “this song takes pace in outer space,” and they had everyone take out their phones and shine their flashlights, casting a glittering glow across the room. We were also graced with a couple new songs, not yet available to stream including “Out For The Night” and “Catalyst.” Seductive trumpet solos in songs like “Ruthless” got huge cheers from the crowd. But the cherry on top was a cover they had teased on their social media the day before the performance, one of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Their take on the song was in true María’s fashion, slow and seductive with some jazzy chords thrown in for good measure. They came out again for a three-song encore, starting with one of my favorites from them, the airy “ABQ.”
The opening acts were solid, with performances from Nashville’s Dreamer Boy and Tijuana’s Vanessa Zamora. Dreamer Boy had the crowd going “yee haw!” and grooving along to their fresh, hip-hop, R&B fusion. Vanessa Zamora charmed the crowd with her synth-heavy indie pop. Songs like “Solegrande” really had the crowd moving. All of her songs were in Spanish, and she threw out copies of her CDs which the crowd leapt at. Definitely acts to keep an eye on!
At the end of the night, fans lined up for a meet and greet with the band, and I got to have my record signed and fan girl a bit with a photo. 10/10 for this Valentine’s Day.
- Only In My Dreams
- I Like It
- Over The Moon
- Out For The Night (new song)
- I Don’t Know You
- Hit Me Baby (Britney Spears cover)
- Basta Ya
On a Saturday night in Santa Ana, I caught a sold-out punk show with The High Curbs, Goth Babe, The Side Eyes and Moss at the Constellation Room. I was most excited to check out Goth Babe, a dreamy chill-wave act sandwiched between punk and hardcore madness. To my surprise, this $10 show was sold out and the venue was fairly packed. It was clear that there were two separate crowd, as an EDM act performed in the Observatory that night. Continue reading
On a Friday Passover night in Hollywood, a sold out show of bands not many have heard of took place at the famous Roxy theater. A sea of brown-haired, Vans-wearing young concert-goers packed in the small venue for a night of fresh indie sounds.
Opening act L. Martin had quite an audience at 9pm. Complete with trombone, the five-piece indie rock outfit from Wisconsin really had the crowd engaged. I watched from the steps to the bar to give myself a better height advantage. Continue reading
On Saturday, February 24 I caught a sold-out show at the Glass House in Pomona: a triple-threat act including a Hand Habits solo act (Meg Duffy), Bay-area rising indie artists Jay Som and Brooklyn-based indie pop group Japanese Breakfast. This female-fronted lineup drew quite a crowd, as Pomona would be the final leg of their tour. I was personally excited to see all three of these acts, as each of their albums released in 2017 made my list of top 20 indie albums. Continue reading
This past Wednesday, December 13, I had the pleasure of catching a sold-out Grizzly Bear show at the Wiltern theater in Koreatown. By the time I arrived around 7:30, the GA bottom floor of the theater was filling up at the pit, so I spotted an opportunity to secure a prime viewing spot on the third riser level, which I quickly grabbed before the opening act started.
Opening act Serpent With Feet was a bit of a wild card. The solo electro-poetry act engaged the audience with word play, reality checks and kindness. “Leave softer than we came,” was his challenge to the audience, along with his love for “adult playtime.” Continue reading
It had been so long since I’d been to the Hollywood Bowl I’d forgotten just what a magical place it could be. I didn’t need to think twice, however, when I had the opportunity to snag a ticket to see two incredible bands: Beach House and Fleet Foxes.
Beach House I had seen a few times before, so I was already prepared to be blown away by them once again. I was excited to also catch my first live Fleet Foxes show because Robin Pecknold & Co. are musical geniuses.
I arrived early before the sun went down to have a picnic with friends overlooking the city. The show started promptly at 7:45 with Beach House as the opening act. They were backlit during the entire performance, their classic starlit backdrop sparkling on early in the set. They started with “Levitation,” allowing the music to start on a soft note. Singer Victoria Legrand hid behind her hair, singing softly at first, but exposing her full range later in the set. While they’re usual set ending song, “Elegy to the Void” wasn’t quite as dramatic in the open space, it’s still one of my favorites to see live. They also played “Chariot” from their latest B-Sides and Rarities release. This time they ended the set with “Myth,” the first track on Bloom, which was just as fitting to close the set. Legrand rarely spoke to the audience, but when she did it was about love, gratitude and appreciation for being able to perform again with Fleet Foxes.
After Beach House’s hour-long set, Fleet Foxes took the stage. Robin Pecknold’s voice was solid throughout the set, and the harmonies were simply magnificent as well. They really played up the dynamic contrasts, utilizing the Bowl’s full capacity, ranging from belting to whispering from dramatic effect. While they played many songs I recognized like “Ragged Wood” and “Mykonos,” I was blown away by several of their newer, more epic-scale tracks I had not yet heard. “On Another Ocean (January / June)” started off delicately and then went into an indie rock beat. While it was one of the more straightforward tracks in a set laden with tempo and time changes, it was stunning. Another breathtaking performance was of “The Shrine / An Argument,” an 8 minute track that featured an angsty Pecknold melody and built up into a cymbal-crashing, driving chorus. It was one of those sets that was welcomingly long. And just like that the night was over, and we were forced to come to terms that each of our cars were blocked in as we ventured down the hill to our cars.
Beach House set list:
10 Mile Stereo
Elegy to the Void
Fleet Foxes set list:
I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar
Cassius, – Naiads, Cassadies
On Another Ocean (January / June)
He Doesn’t Know Why
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
White Winter Hymnal
Third of May / Ōdaigahara
The Shrine / An Argument
Blue Ridge Mountains
Blues Run the Game
(Jackson C. Frank cover)
Set lists from http://www.setlist.fm, Photo from Sub Pop
On the 15th of June I caught a sold out show at the Echoplex with opener Cende, Japanese Breakfast, and Alex G.
Japanese Breakfast performed some new songs, sharing that their new album would come out next month. The singer was perfectly charming, even stepping out during Cende’s set to sing a song with them. Highlights from their set included their dreamy opening track and “Everybody Wants to Love You.”
(Sandy) Alex G, if you haven’t seen him live, is really something special. Their set was long without feeling over extended, and they played mostly tracks off their latest album, Rocket. Alex G switched from guitar to piano smoothly with a mild power interruption, and while I was happy to hear “Guilty” live, they were missing some key players on stage to round out the song like their sax and violin players. But regardless, Alex G’s intense talent and cool factor, even the way he quickly sways constantly while playing guitar had me in a star-struck trance. Their performance of “Sportstar” sans auto-tune made me a believer in the song, requiring me to go back and listen to it in the car with even more enthusiasm and respect.
(Sandy) Alex G
(Sandy) Alex G
Upon completing their jazz jam session in “Guilty,” Alex G said casually, “well, that was our set….what do you guys wanna hear?” This was so refreshing, as most bands these days aren’t quite as quick on their feet or even as cool to allow the crowd to shout out some requests. But they took the requests and played them, even the older more rusty ones, with ease. I was especially delighted when they played “Mis,” a particularly beautiful but depressing track with lyrics like “My baby’s all right / she just doesn’t wanna see me tonight / not for a minute / not for a second / she says there’s nothing here for you to make right.” Crying yet?
I was walking on air on the way out, and the only thing that added to my elation was a Zachary Cole Smith sighting (of DIIV) leaving the show – band members, they’re just like us!
Last night I caught a sold out show at the Echo with co-headliners No Vacation and Bilinda Butchers and opening act Tim Atlas.
There was a line awaiting me at the Echo, and standers-by awaiting an extra ticket. I walked into the crowded room to the groovin’ sounds of Tim Atlas. Atlas had apparently gained some fame by being selected on Gwen Stefani’s team for the Voice! It wasn’t hard to see why – his vocals and jazz-influenced yet danceable tracks had the crowd wanting more.
But the stars of the night were San Francisco-based indie band, No Vacation. This female-fronted act brought a range of dreamy indie and psych rock sounds that at one point had an audience member exclaim, “why am I crying at the club?!” They also played a couple brand new songs including one with a placeholder name “Tired,” which had everyone looking forward to hearing more new music. “Yam Yam” was my favorite song they played that night, which was one of their slower, dreamier tracks and was simply stunning live. For their final song, they encouraged the audience to get wild, which they did (to my dismay, as I was smack in the middle of the pit!) I kindly got out of the way and the crowd surfing commenced.
The Bilinda Butchers
After what seemed like an eternity, the Bilinda Butchers, or the bbs as they’re going by now, took the stage after removing the drum set. They started with a series of electronic sigh-worthy songs, and I was a little disappointed at their lackluster performance of my favorite song of theirs, “Tulips,” but the crowd came alive when they performed “Sigh” with a real shoegazy-electro edge to it. The Frontman shared awkwardly between songs, sharing that they normally have a drummer so the current setup was still new. A drummer might have been nice! Their set seemed quite short, as they started after 11:00 and ended just around midnight, thanking us for coming out on a Wednesday (even though most the attendees looked like they had just finished high school.
All in all, it was a decent show!
This past Thursday was a real special night in L.A. Mac Demarco, who’s on his way to Coachella this weekend, announced that he was playing a “secret” last-minute show at The Echo for a mere $22 a ticket! I heard the announcement first on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic Facebook Live video of Mac and friends in their studio.
This past Thursday I headed to the Glass House in Pomona for the first time to catch a powerhouse of a lineup featuring Boyo, Sadgirl, Slow Hollows, and Surf Curse.
I arrived in time for the last few songs of Boyo’s set and then headed upstairs to view the rest of the show at a safe distance where I could actually see since the floor was already packed and I fully expected the moshing to break out during Sadgirl’s set. And I was not wrong! They delivered an impressive, high energy surf rock set complete with jangly guitar solos and ’50s rock vocals. Next Slow Hollows took the stage, this time featuring a sax and trumpet player on several of their tracks as well. They played mostly songs from their new album, Romantic, which features mostly mellow indie styles with deep vocals. Continue reading