Imagine a world where you can watch amazing bands on a desert oasis just an hour from Los Angeles? It’s possible at Desert Daze. Phil Pirrone and Co curated an incredible lineup of psych rock acts including Stereolab, Khruangbin, DIIV and many many more. I went this weekend to cover the fest for MXDWN, and fully intended to see as much as humanly possible. It wasn’t always easy – the heat during the day left me feeling woozy and the cold night air was hard to withstand (note to self, bring a thicker jacket!) and there were times I was just ready for it to be over. “You know what’s underrated? Arriving to festivals late” one of my friends said. And I felt that, but what I got to experience by being on the festival grounds all three days from open to close was nothing short of magical, and those moments in which I found myself feeling particularly grateful – listening to a band I love like Crumb while watching the sunset – made it all worthwhile.
This past weekend, I headed to San Pedro’s waterfront to watch two whole days of live music. Although I’ve been to a few major festivals this year including Desert Daze and Music Tastes Good, I was most excited for this lineup, mainly to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the B-52’s, Beach Fossils, Cigarettes After Sex and some of my favorite smaller acts like the Paranoyds, Billy Changer, and La Luz. I was also excited to re-live my high school punk days by catching FEAR and Bad Brains. Continue reading
There was literally something for everyone at this year’s Music Tastes Good Festival at the Marina Green Park in Long Beach, CA. Dance/EDM? Check. Hip-Hop? Check. Indie Rock? Check. Dad Rock? Check.
Long Beach pride simply ran through this festival. From the local chefs and restaurants to the liberal use of “what up, Long Beach!” to hype up the crowd, it was clear that people were both surprised and delighted to be there. Continue reading
This past Memorial Day weekend while everyone was brunching and BBQ’ing (and apparently in Lake Tahoe!), I headed to the Echoplex on a Saturday afternoon on my own to celebrate a Birthday of a beloved institution – Play Like A Girl!
Headliners Kitten and Smoke Season drew me into the show, but I was just as excited to listen to a new lineup of female-fronted bands I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing. I was greeted by friendly faces upon arrival around 4:30, just in time to catch the second band of the day, Stars at Night. Amongst the modest crowd of hard-rock enthusiasts, I spotted a table I had missed with only a handful of swag bags. I snagged mine and immediately noticed the Urban Decay lipstick package, which I promptly put on! I also stopped by the raffle table filled with impressive prizes and with proceeds going to the trans alliance, and I gladly made my $5 entry.
Spare Parts for Broken Hearts was the first full set I was able to experience, and they got me really excited for what was about to come. They were an alt/garage-rock group with a lead singer who was quite impressive. Between the setups, I headed out to the smoke filled patio that featured several eclectic vendors and a food truck. I got myself a Black Flag button that said “Black Coffee” instead, the iconic lines taking the shape as coffee cups in their place.
The Bedroom Witch had an elaborate setup – the trans woman walked around the stage placing styrofoam heads and wigs atop three pillars and a string of purple lights. She wore a fierce all-black outfit, complete with a crop top and witch’s hat brim. Her set took the shape of a performance art piece, as electronic music played while she sung or spoke and a film of her in her bedroom played silently in the background.
Twin Temple was one of my favorites from the night. I was looking forward to their set after seeing their “satanic” (more like witchy) merch table, complete with palo santo sticks and magic candles for sale. The front woman was small yet fierce, donning all black with a black veil and leading all-male bandmates also sporting black outfits and satanic necklaces. They started the scene with an altar ritual and played an impressive set of psych and surf rock with a satanic twist (think “Oh Lucifer” instead of “Oh Baby). They were backed by a sax and trumpet player, and boy could she sing! I later discovered she’s a trained violinist. Go figure.
The charming Viaa took the stage next, and played some soulful indie-pop. Iress was a powerhouse of an act, bringing in a Chelsea Wolfe meets Slowdive vibe to the stage. The lead singer sang over a wash of sound with such might, she moved the entire crowd.
Blimes Brtixton added the hip-hop element to the fest, and Sisu played a short but sweet dreamy indie set. Smoke Season took the stage, and performed their indie-pop all out. Singer Gabbi has such a confidence about her on stage, and moves and sings with such precision and grace. Big balloons were tossed into the now-crowded room, raining confetti when they finally popped.
But the crowd really went nuts for Kitten – her voice shimmered and belted over indie-pop tunes with an ’80’s vibe, and she simply couldn’t stop moving. At one point, she even climbed up the stage and jumped into the crowd and just crowd surfed for a while. It was quite a show! Vagina balloons were eventually tossed into the crowd, and PLAG was officially one!
Between the bands, I did my best to be social and the concert-goers were delightfully interested! I’d talk about my blog, they’d share about their band or project and it really gave the night a community feeling vibe. A lovely hilarious couple even bought me my first Irish Carbomb (which I regretted in the a.m.), but it was just that kind of night! I even sat myself in the meme photo booth and had a blast finding that my facial expressions matched the meme generator to perfection.
PLAG did a stellar job with this lineup of impressive female-fronted acts, even giving GIRLSCHOOL a run for it’s money! (not that it’s a competition…) PLAG hosts events every month for just a small entry fee. If you’re in the L.A. area, come out and support the girls (who run the world!)
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.
This past weekend I headed to the Smell in Downtown L.A. to attend the annual Women Fuck Shit Up Fest. Over 50 bands from all over the U.S. came out in support of the Alexandria House, a non-profit transitional residence for women and children.
The festival opened at The Smell, a narrow DIY venue that appeals to the all-ages crowd as there’s not a drop of alcohol in sight. Around 9 p.m., the neighboring Five Star Bar hosted comedy, zine reading, and several additional bands, several of which were not included in the lineup—which was just as well, since some of the bands that were on the lineup never took the stage, which was consistently about 30 minutes behind schedule. But with a massive lineup like that and a DIY style event, I can assume that cancellations and running behind just comes with the territory.
This 3-day music festival invaded the Bootleg Theater in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, January 27-29, 2017. This year, Girlschool LA teamed up with Play Like a Girl (PLAG), NastyGal, and Lyft to put together a lineup featuring all female-fronted bands including headliners Chelsea Wolfe, Deap Valley, and the Bird and the Bee along with speakers including Shirley Manson from Garbage. All of the proceeds for this $45 a pop event will go toward the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls, encouraging young women to empower themselves through music.
I arrived on Friday night just in time to catch Shirley Manson’s interview with Eve Barlow in which the Garbage singer shared about sexism in the music industry and gold nuggets of wisdom including, “Women’s sexuality is the most powerful currency in the world,” so be careful who and where you show your body to.
“Women have to have each others’ backs.” –Shirley Manson, Garbage
She was also asked about the influence of celebrities in this political climate, to which she responded that change is more likely to happen at the grassroots level, and how the older she got the more she stopped trying to change people, and instead decided to be the change. Continue reading
I was pleased to hear about this show for the first time this year, “Midnight Mass,” which caters to the DIY punk scene in Long Beach. With headliners like The Garden and The Spits, and a lineup featuring some of my faves, Feels, Walter, and The Buttertones, and taking place at an artist colony venue “The Packard” on Anaheim and Long Beach Blvd., this Christmas-themed festival was sure to be a huge draw for locals of all ages.
When I arrived a little past 2:00 p.m., the Nectarines were onstage outside to a fairly empty venue. Right away, I noticed that I’d probably be one of the eldest attendees (even though apparently I look 21 ;-)), but I didn’t let that deter me and just made a mental note to step aside from the riff-raff because, let’s face it, my moshing and crowd-surfing days are well behind me. Continue reading
This past weekend I headed down the dusty trail en route to the Institute of Mentalphysics in Joshua Tree for Desert Daze—a long weekend filled with great music, amazing humans, lots of drinks and dust.
Driving down 29 Palms itself could be considered a spiritual experience. As the heatgrew hotter and scenery grew browner, it was clear that we were not in L.A. anymore. We sent good vibes to the campsite, setting the intention for a prime camping spot and speedy entry. Yeah, it worked.
This past month I headed to the Echo and Echoplex for the first night of Echo Park Rising, a free community event centered around local music, art, and businesses. This was the 6th year of this free event, and many L.A. residents come out each year to take part in a weekend of live music exploration and celebration of the eclectic neighborhood of Echo Park.
Thursday, August 18, was the first night of live music, as bands began to take over multiple Echo Park venues including the Lost Knight and the Echo and Echoplex. I arrived at the Echoplex just in time for The Frights‘ set, a ghoulish surf-rock group from San Diego. Frontman Mikey Carnevale’s voice was quite impressive, and he was not shy about belting over the punk-rock sounds with a copious amount of freight-inducing vibrato. And with what appeared to be the entire audience engaging in stage diving, moshing, and crowd surfing, they would be a strong act to follow.
Upstairs, The Echo opened for business shortly after, featuring experimental girl-punk group Sloppy Jane. Lead singer, Haley Dahl, donned a a red cloak with almost nothing underneath, unkempt hair, and smokey eyes. Her attire and attitude matched the baffling stage props, which included an old television featuring Teletubbies and several stuffed animals hanging around the amps. If what they were going for was creepy childhood memories, I’d say Sloppy Jane definitely succeeded. While the performance was quite captivating, would I listen to Sloppy Jane on their own? Probably not, unless I’m looking for a Halloween soundtrack.
Numb.er took the Echo stage next, and changed up the mood from noise-rock to dark wave sounds that had the crowd swaying. Lanky, baby-faced frontman Jeff Fribourg sings in a soft baritone over classic post-punk chords just so charmingly. They were one of my favorites of the night.
Downstairs, a dance party began with POMPEYA, a Moscow based indie-pop group in the vein of High Highs and Poolside. They played danceable tunes, reminiscent to what one would enjoy hearing on a breezy day at the beach.
The act that truly took my breath away was goth-pop duo, Pale Blue. This duo played what I imagined would be the perfect soundtrack to Ryan Gosling’s next L.A. 80’s inspired movie. Singer Liz Wight donned impressive vocals and dressed straight out of an 80’s film with a short bob, all black, kitten heels and red lips. Together with DJ Mike Simonetti, this electronic dup had me in a trance, leaving me wanting to listen to more. And as I headed to the desert the very next morning, you can bet that Pale Blue was the soundtrack I chose.
I was on such a music high by the time legendary DJ Egyptian Lover took the Echoplex stage, completely in awe of the amazing performances I had witnessed that night. With an impressive kick-off like that, I could only imagine the Echo Park Rising weekend would be just as stellar.
Were you at Echo Park Rising this year? What were your favorite acts? Comment below!