Desert Daze locks in The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington & Toro y Moi as headliners for 2021

Desert Daze - 2021 lineup

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
November 12th-14th, 2021 //

As the live music industry slowly returns to form this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our attention has already turned to the fall with the hope that some of our favorite artists and bands will once again be touring and performing all across California and the West Coast in the coming months.

And for almost the past decade now, Desert Daze has continued to serve as one of the Golden State’s premier boutique music festivals, even after leaving its Joshua Tree roots for the more spacious confines of Lake Perris a few years ago.

But after taking 2020 off with coronavirus cases spiraling out of control in the U.S., the three-day event presented by Moon Block and Knitting Factory Entertainment is finally ready to welcome fans back to Moreno Beach in November with a scaled-down roster that still leans heavily into psych-rock as The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington and Toro y Moi each get set to make their headlining debuts at Desert Daze’s ninth edition.

One of the big highlights on this year’s lineup is no doubt The War on Drugs with the fest representing the Grammy winners’ first and only show slated in 2021, but also Washington — a virtuosic jazz saxophonist whose hometown performance at the Hollywood Bowl last weekend for KCRW’s World Festival series saw him team up with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo to celebrate the forthcoming release of The Metallica Blacklist compilation with a nine-minute version of the heavy metal band’s track “My Friend of Misery” — and Toro y Moi following his appearance at Porter Robinson’s sold-out Second Sky Music Festival in Berkeley this September.

Of course, we would be remiss to not mention a strong undercard that boasts Tim Heidecker & Weyes Blood, Devendra Banhart, Japanese Breakfast, Ty Segall, Andy Shauf, Yves Tumor, DIIV, The Budos Band, Crumb, Moon Duo, Sudan Archives, The Black Angels, Deap Vally, Pachyman, Kikagaku Moyo and many more so make sure to mark your calendar and peep the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Three-day and single-day passes to Desert Daze will be available to purchase here for $225 and $75 during a 12-hour presale that starts this Thursday, July 22nd at 10 a.m. PT before the general public on-sale begins the next day at the same time. And with a limited capacity this year to allow for some more COVID-19 safety measures, you can bet tickets won’t be around for very long. Good luck, Desert Dazers!

Ohana Festival adds ‘Encore’ weekend for 2021 with Pearl Jam, Beck, Brandi Carlile & more on the bill

Ohana Encore - 2021 lineup

Ohana Encore //
Doheny State Beach – Dana Point, CA
October 1st-2nd, 2021 //

Well, Ohana fam … if you thought this year’s event was shaping up to be something special, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

The music festival founded by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder in 2016 has already shared an updated roster for its fifth installment in September after postponing the festivities 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s actually only half of the fun now.

Yes, that’s right. Ohana Festival has announced a second event for 2021 that will take place the ensuing weekend and follow what’s sure to be an epic three days in Dana Point. And if you happen to be a Pearl Jam fan, then you’re in for a real treat.

Leading the way will be the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band for two more days at Doheny State Beach, headlining a lineup that will also include Beck, Brandi Carlile (who is already slated to perform Sunday at Ohana Festival), Lord Huron, Sleater-Kinney, White Reaper, Margo Price, ZZ Ward, NHC (a supergroup featuring Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney as well as Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins), Pluralone (former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer’s project), Amythyst Kiah and a few more acts.

The “Encore” session, as you can see from the poster above, plans to once again lean heavily in the direction of rock ‘n’ roll but will still showcase flashes of indie folk, alt-country and even punk to round out an eclectic edition that boasts must-see sets by My Morning Jacket, Maggie Rogers, Sharon Van Etten, Durand Jones & The Indications, Mac Demarco, Wild Belle and Real Estate the week prior.

While three-day GA passes for Ohana Festival sold out months ago, weekend and single-day tickets for Ohana Encore will go on sale this Friday, July 23rd here for $275 and $138.50, respectively, plus fees. VIP, furthermore, can be purchased for $950 and $499.50 unless you’re willing to drop a small fortune of $7,000 for the Ultimate VIP+ Admission Pass. If you haven’t seen Pearl Jam before or you missed out on getting tickets to Ohana Festival, this is a great opportunity for fans of the Seattle grunge outfit to end their summers on a high note after spending most of 2020 at home.

Just Like Heaven boasts stellar 2022 lineup led by Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins & M.I.A.

Just Like Heaven - 2022 lineup

Just Like Heaven //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
May 21st, 2022 //

With California fully reopening last week on June 15th, normalcy is slowly but surely returning to the Golden State. And lucky for us, so is Just Like Heaven.

The one-day music festival put on by Goldenvoice debuted in 2019 and was an instant success — a second day was added, in fact, after tickets sold out — with Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Beach House, Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, The Rapture, Miike Snow and more taking over Queen Mary Park in Long Beach.

But after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show is ready to go on again next year and Just Like Heaven has dropped a 2022 roster that should be a dream come true for any indie music fan.

Migrating more than 30 miles north up the 710 Freeway to the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl, the fest will feature performances by Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins, M.I.A., Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Chromeo, Santigold, Cut Copy, The Hives, Wolf Parade (performing their 2005 debut LP Apologies to the Queen Mary), Peaches, !!!, The Raveonettes and more for one Saturday in May. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

Want to go? Make sure to register for the presale here before GA passes go on sale this Thursday, June 24th at 10 a.m. PT for $139 (Tier 1) and eventually increase to $159 (Tier 2) and $179 (Tier 3). VIP, Saturday Clubhouse and Saturday Clubhouse Platinum tickets, meanwhile, will also be available for $349, $599 and $899 plus fees, respectively.

And while that’s quite a chunk of change to shell out for a bunch of indie artists and bands who might have peaked more than a decade ago, we still can’t remember the last time heaven ever looked this good.

Goldenvoice

BeachLife Festival taps Jane’s Addiction, Cage the Elephant, Counting Crows & more for 2021 roster

BeachLife Festival - 2021 lineup

BeachLife Festival //
Seaside Lagoon – Redondo Beach, CA
September 10th-12th, 2021 //

What’s summer without a day at the beach?

Whether you’re a fan of the sand or not, we know that it sure wouldn’t be a party down by the shore without a weekend of live music. That’s why after a successful inaugural event in 2019, BeachLife Festival is headed back to the South Bay of Los Angeles County for a second stint after its 2020 edition last May was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic — much like every other major U.S. music festival that was supposed to take place last year.

However, a number of the same acts are still scheduled to perform this September at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach, including Counting Crows, Ziggy & Stephen Marley, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Fitz and The Tantrums, Sugar Ray, G. Love and Special Sauce, Phosphorescent, Save Ferris and more.

Joining Counting Crows and the Marley brothers as the fest’s other headliners will be LA alt-rockers Jane’s Addiction for their first hometown gig since 2017. Fronted by Perry Farrell, the band has not released a new studio album in almost 10 years — since 2011’s The Great Escape Artist — but that doesn’t mean it has forgotten how to put on a show with Cage the Elephant also serving as a Day 1 co-headliner for what should be an epic Friday night.

And even if you’re not a big fan of Jane’s or Cage, there are plenty of other exciting additions on BeachLife’s 2021 lineup with The Revivalists, Men at Work, Portugal. The Man, Silversun Pickups, Gary Clark Jr. and Thievery Corporation standing out among the pack.

Three-day GA and VIP passes are on sale here for $349 and $799, respectively, as well as single-day tickets for $125 (GA) and $299 (VIP). Of course, there’s also the three-day Captain’s pass if you’re willing to shell out a small fortune of $2,999 or $1,250 for one day so climb aboard while you still can!

BottleRock drops new 2021 lineup headlined by Guns N’ Roses, Stevie Nicks & Foo Fighters

BottleRock - 2021 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
September 3rd-5th, 2021 //

So much for 2020, right?

After releasing a lineup early last year that never got to play out over Memorial Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BottleRock will return to Napa Valley this September with a refreshed roster that includes some newly announced acts as well as some that were revealed a year ago like Steve Nicks.

Joining the Fleetwood Mac singer at the top of the 2021 poster are iconic rock bands Guns N’ Roses and Foo Fighters, creating quite a trilogy of star power for the music festival’s eighth installment over Labor Day weekend.

While BottleRock has always catered to fans of rock ‘n’ roll (just look at many of the fest’s past headliners), it has also tried to offer an eclectic mix of genres and this year’s undercard that’s highlighted by Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, G-Eazy, Run the Jewels, Brandi Carlile, Cage the Elephant, Portugal. The Man, Young the Giant, Maren Morris, Black Pumas, Future Islands, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (DJ set), Jimmy Eat World, FINNEAS, Polo G, Jack Harlow, Milky Chance, Jessie Reyez, Dominic Fike, Chromeo, Mavis Staples and Jon Batiste proves that to be the case once again. And don’t forget about Village People! After all, how often do you get to see the legendary disco group perform live these days? Anyway, peep the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

But amidst all of the music, the three-day event will have its annual live cooking demonstrations between a variety of celebrity chefs, musicians and athletes at its beloved Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage that has seen appearances over the last several years by Alice Cooper, The Avett Brothers, Big Boi, Brett Dennen, Dan the Automator, E-40, Fitz and the Tantrums, Grouplove, Halsey, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Michael Franti, Questlove, Shakey Graves, Silversun Pickups, Snoop Dogg, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Tank and the Bangas, Warren G and more, too.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday, May 20th at 10 a.m. PT here and start at $369 for a three-day GA pass while it’s $849 if you’re going for VIP. And if you’ve been saving up during quarantine, there’s always the three-day skydeck pass that will cost you a cool $1,599 or the platinum for a whopping $4,350.

BottleRock - 2021 daily lineups

UPDATE (May 24th): BottleRock has released its daily lineups for 2021, with Stevie Nicks performing Friday, Guns N’ Roses rocking Saturday and Foo Fighters closing things down on Sunday. Take a look at the daily schedules above before single-day tickets go on sale here for $187 (GA) or $211 (FLEX) plus fees each day starting this Thursday, May 27th at 10 a.m. PT.

Ohana Festival reveals updated 2021 lineup with Brandi Carlile, Spoon, Black Pumas & more

Ohana Festival - 2021 lineup

Ohana Festival //
Doheny State Beach – Dana Point, CA
September 24th-26th, 2021 //

Oh how we have missed you, live music! If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything over the past 15 months, it’s that the concert experience should never be taken for granted.

But with U.S. vaccinations increasing and summer right around the corner, music festivals are preparing to make their return all over the country, including up and down California, which has the lowest COVID-19 infection rate in the country now.

So why not escape to Doheny State Beach for a long weekend this September where you can rock out to Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder and Kings of Leon at Ohana Festival?

The three-day event founded by Vedder five years ago had already announced a 2020 lineup just days before the festival circuit was quickly shut down and now it has updated that roster, swapping in Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, indie-rock veterans Spoon, psych-soul duo Black Pumas, LA punk rockers The Regrettes, Long Beach’s very own Cold War Kids, Salt Lake City four-piece The Backseat Lovers and TikTok sensation Sky McCreery for originally announced acts like The Pretenders, Dermot Kennedy, EOB, Broken Social Scene, Gangs of Youth, Inhaler and Ethan Gruska.

As you can see from the poster above, Ohana Fest has delivered another largely rock-leaning bill after an excellent showing in 2019 headlined by The Strokes, Vedder and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but this year also boasts one of its strongest undercards with My Morning Jacket, Maggie Rogers, Sharon Van Etten, Durand Jones & The Indications, Mac Demarco, Wild Belle and Real Estate all worthy of catching down in Dana Point.

Both three-day GA and Sunday single-day passes are already sold out, but Friday and Saturday tickets can still be purchased here for $138.50 plus fees. Don’t wait before it’s too late, Ohana fam!

HARD Summer Music Festival returns in 2021 with Future, DJ Snake B2B Malaa enlisted as headliners

HARD Summer Music Festival - 2021 lineup

HARD Summer Music Festival //
NOS Events Center – San Bernardino, CA
July 31st-August 1st, 2021 //

Four months.

With so many of us forced to spend the past year at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be hard to believe that live music is slowly returning in the U.S. Yet, that’s exactly how much longer it will be before California hosts its first large-scale music festival again when HARD Summer returns this July and August.

The annual two-day event, which has long leaned in the electronic direction but has incorporated more and more hip-hop acts since 2015, has moved around the greater Los Angeles area over the last several years, occupying Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte and the Fairplex in Pomona before eventually migrating to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for the last four editions, but HARD founder and CEO Gary Richards has found a new home less than 20 miles away.

Employing the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino for its 13th installment, HARD Summer 2021 will not only see Atlanta rapper Future headline for the first time but also a rare B2B set by DJ Snake and Malaa. Plus, the fest’s undercard offers enough of its own star power with Rezz, Dillon Francis, Kaytranada, RL Grime B2B Baauer, 2 Chainz, Don Toliver, Skream, Jauz, Kayzo, Ekali, Iann Dior, Lil Durk, Hulk Gang (Valentino Khan + 4B), Maya Jane Coles, Slushii, G Jones B2B Eprom, JOYRYDE, A-Trak, SAYMYNAME, Wax Motif, Solardo and more all scheduled to perform. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

GA and VIP passes are on sale here this Friday, April 2nd at 10 a.m. PT for fans ages 18 and over, with payment plans also available for one-day or two-day tickets after a $9.95 or $19.99 deposit.

So, who’s ready to go HARD this summer?

UPDATE (May 5th): Well, it sure sounds like plenty of people are ready to get down this summer as two-day and Saturday single-day passes are now sold out! Tickets to Sunday’s festivities are still available here so make sure to grab them before it’s too late.

Outside Lands 2021 moves to Halloween weekend as Glass Animals, Kaytranada & more join the party

Outside Lands - 2021 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
October 29th-31st, 2021 //

The past 12 months have been a tense and agonizing time for musicians and live music fans everywhere. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the concert and festival circuits for months on end, many of us around the world have had to resort to livestreams and drive-in performances to help get us through the chaos until normalcy resumes.

But those days could be coming to an end soon in the U.S. as vaccinations continue to rise and for those who are looking to celebrate Halloween this year in style with both friends and strangers (if you can believe it), look no further than Golden Gate Park when Outside Lands makes its long-awaited return to SF.

While the three-day music festival made the decision in June to cancel any plans for 2020 and instead target August 2021 for its 13th installment, organizers have given us a spooky surprise by shifting the event back more than two months.

Because whether you’re a kid or an adult, who doesn’t love the spirit of Halloween? The new dates scheduled for October will mark the first time that OSL won’t occur during its usual month of August, though those aren’t the only changes that were announced with this latest postponement news.

The fest, in fact, is also giving its 2021 lineup a slight makeover with the additions of Glass Animals, Kaytranada, Lord Huron, SG Lewis, Flo Milli, 24kGoldn, Cannons, Buscabulla, JESSIA, Claud and several others while previously confirmed acts such as Beach House, Bonobo, Polo & Pan, Big Thief, Tones and I, EOB, Parcels, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and The Beths have unfortunately been removed from the poster. And for those hoping to see Tame Impala, Lizzo and/or The Strokes on the Lands End stage, don’t you worry — all three are still set to make their headlining debuts once day turns to night. See the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

Itching to get back out there and ready to don your best festival costume? Three-day GA and VIP passes to Outside Lands 2021 are on sale now with payment plans available for both so don’t forget to purchase your tickets here and check out our Outside Lands coverage over the years here.

UPDATE (March 23rd): Wow! And just like that, three-day GA and VIP passes are sold out. If you’re looking for single-day tickets, stay tuned for more details soon.

Outside Lands - 2021 daily lineups

UPDATE (April 27th): Outside Lands has released its daily lineups for 2021, with The Strokes headlining Friday, Lizzo performing Saturday and Tame Impala on Sunday to wrap up the weekend. Take a look at the daily schedules above before single-day tickets go on sale here for $165 (GA) and $375 (VIP) plus fees starting this Thursday, April 29th at 10 a.m. PT.

Outside Lands cancels 2020 edition, reveals lineup for 2021 with Tame Impala, Lizzo & The Strokes

Outside Lands - 2021 lineup

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 6th-8th, 2021 //

As most of us know by now, 2020 has been a really rough year for the music industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely wiped out the concert and festival circuits, with free live streams and drive-in performances serving as our indefinite replacement during these strange and unpredictable days, weeks and months.

So when multiple major events like South by Southwest, Ultra Music Festival and Coachella canceled their 2020 editions and the entire U.S. shut down in March, it seemed unlikely that Outside Lands would actually transpire this summer.

Now that forecast has been officially confirmed, with the three-day music festival announcing that it will not take over Golden Gate Park during the weekend of August 7th-9th this year. It’s sad news for many in the Bay Area community and beyond, but OSL organizers did their very best to lift fans’ spirits by not only releasing the fest’s 2021 dates but also unveiling its lineup.

The 13th installment, in fact, will see Tame Impala, Lizzo and The Strokes each make their OSL headlining debuts with a solid undercard behind them that’s led by Tyler, the Creator, Vampire Weekend, J Balvin, Kehlani, The 1975, ZHU and Young Thug. The undercard might even be better, though (if you can believe that).

Other notable names on next year’s roster include Khruangbin, Beach House, Bonobo, Nelly, Brittany Howard, Burna Boy, Melanie Martinez, Polo & Pan, Big Thief, Troyboi, Angel Olsen, SOFI TUKKER, EARTHGANG, Tones and I, EOB, Sharon Van Etten, Marc Rebillet, A R I Z O N A, JPEGMAFIA, Dr. Dog, Shiba San, Boy Pablo, Rico Nasty and more. Check out the poster above for the rest of the lineup.

UPDATE (Jan. 12th): As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, The 1975 have made the difficult decision to cancel all of their tour dates scheduled for 2021, including Outside Lands in August. The good news is that they’ll be replaced by RÜFÜS DU SOL, who made their OSL debut in 2016 and have swiftly climbed the festival ranks since issuing 2018’s Solace. “We have fond memories of playing the Panhandle stage at Outside Lands five years ago and we are excited to be back this year,” the Australian alt-dance trio says in a statement.

Outside Lands 2021 might feel like a long way away at this point, but it will be here before you know it so don’t forget to purchase your tickets when they go on sale here this Thursday, June 25th at 10 a.m. PT — Eager Beaver passes that were bought in 2020 will also be honored while those who choose to roll over their admission to the following year by July 24th will also have the opportunity to win exclusive upgrades and other prizes — and make sure to check out our coverage from 2019 here.

Lightning in a Bottle’s 2020 roster has Kaytranada, Sylvan Esso, GRiZ & Purity Ring leading the pack

Lightning in a Bottle - 2020 lineup

Lightning in a Bottle //
Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area – Bakersfield, CA
May 20th-25th, 2020 //

Lightning in a Bottle is back on schedule.

After a longer-than-expected wait last year to release its 2019 lineup due to new dates and a new location in Kern County, the “transformational festival” has already unleashed its 2020 roster with Kaytranada, Sylvan Esso, GRiZ and Purity Ring topping the bill.

Other noteworthy acts on the initial lineup for the fest’s 15th installment include James Blake (DJ set), Four Tet, Amon Tobin (presents Two Fingers), Nina Kraviz, Big Wild, DJ Shadow, Bob Moses (club set), Jon Hopkins, Emancipator, Noisia, Stephan Bodzin, Doja Cat, Justin Martin, Keys N Krates (DJ set), Empress of, DROELOE and more.

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - The Stacks

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - CTRL-Z

UPDATE (February 13th): The Do LaB has announced the lineups for The Stacks and CTRL-Z stages at LIB 2020 that includes sets from Joe Kay, Justin Martin, Kraddy and more. Check out the posters above for both stages.

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - Grand Artique

Lightning in a Bottle 2020 - The Compass

UPDATE (February 20th): The lineups for the Grand Artique and Compass stages have now also been announced with performances by Fantastic Negrito, Whiskerman and more slated at Buena Vista Lake. See the posters above for both stages.

LIB, which has been praised over the years as one of the nation’s premier boutique festivals, will also return to its traditional Memorial Day weekend slot when it takes over Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area for a second straight year this May. But for many West Coast music fans, it has become an excellent hangover cure shortly after Coachella’s both weekends end.

Four- and five-day passes to LIB, as well as the brand-new Patron Experience ticket, can be purchased here for $349, $419 and $999, respectively, with payment plans available. And as always, promoting the ideals of sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression through art, yoga, workshops and speakers will remain a defining portion of The Do LaB’s signature event.

UPDATE (March 13th): Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Lightning in a Bottle will not take place May 20-25 at Buena Vista Lake, with no official word on rescheduled dates or refunds yet. LIB joins Coachella as another California music festival that has either postponed or canceled this week, shortly after South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival pulled the plug on their own events. With the coronavirus rocking a lot of the world right now and in particular the live music industry, The Do LaB is uncertain if LIB will return in the near or distant future and that is certainly a sad thought to consider.

Take a peek at our past coverage of Lightning in a Bottle here.

BottleRock goes with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band & Stevie Nicks to lead 2020 lineup

BottleRock - 2020 lineup

BottleRock Napa Valley //
Napa Valley Expo – Napa, CA
May 22nd-24th, 2020 //

Coachella has predicated itself on being the first major U.S. music festival to drop its lineup at the start of the new year for quite a while, and now that the three-day, two-weekend festival in the desert has booked Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean to headline its 2020 edition, it’s time to turn our attention north as BottleRock regularly reveals its own roster around this time too.

Because if you’re a fan of rock ‘n’ roll, then the Napa Valley event might be right up your alley.

Celebrating its eighth year this Memorial Day weekend, BottleRock in 2020 will be led by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band and Stevie Nicks after putting Imagine Dragons, Neil Young and Mumford & Sons atop the bill a year ago. Of course, those are just your headliners.

The undercard, meanwhile, boasts plenty of big names as well, including Miley Cyrus, Khalid, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, Zedd, Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers, Janelle Monáe, Maggie Rogers, Blondie, Of Monsters and Men, Maren Morris, Empire of the Sun, Foals, Tegan and Sara, Jimmy Eat World, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Local Natives and many more.

As usual, attendees will also able to witness live cooking demonstrations between a variety of celebrity chefs, musicians and athletes at the fest’s beloved Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage.

Tickets go on sale this Tuesday, January 7th at 10 a.m. PT here and start at $349 for a three-day GA pass while VIP goes for $849 (before prices increase). But if you really want to splurge this year, there’s always the three-day skydeck pass for a measly $1,599 or the platinum for $4,350.

Coachella locks down Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott & Frank Ocean to headline in 2020

Coachella - 2020 lineup

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival //
Empire Polo Club – Indio, CA
April 10th-12th & April 17th-19th, 2020 //

Well, if your New Year’s resolution was to see Rage Against the Machine perform at Coachella, it’s time to start packing your bags.

After the legendary rock band posted to Instagram on Halloween that it would be performing in Indio this April and multiple reports surfaced over the last few weeks confirming the news, the California festival made the announcement official with the release of its 2020 lineup.

It marks the third time that RATM have been booked to headline Coachella, with the previous instance dating back to 2007 when Zack de la Rocha (vocals), Tim Commerford (bass, vocals), Tom Morello (guitar) and Brad Wilk (drums) reunited following the group’s unforeseen break-up seven years prior.

Joining Rage at the top of the fest’s famed poster will be Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott and enigmatic crooner Frank Ocean, both of whom will be headlining the three-day, two-weekend event for the first time (though they each have played Coachella before).

And in what was nearly an unprecedented move by organizers, 2016 headliner Calvin Harris has retreated to second-line status. It’s just the second time that’s occurred in Coachella’s 21-year history, with the only other artist being Beck when he headlined its inaugural edition in 1999. But the rest of the undercard boasts some highlights like Flume, Lana Del Rey, Run the Jewels (with a de la Rocha cameo as we once witnessed likely), Thom Yorke, Disclosure, Rex Orange County, Daniel Caesar, FKA twigs, Danny Elfman, Louis the Child, BROCKHAMPTON, Fatboy Slim, Caribou, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Charli XCX, Jai Wolf, Madeon, Yaeji, Chicano Batman, Hot Chip, Mura Masa, Duck Sauce, GRiZ, DJ Koze, Carly Rae Jepsen, Peggy Gou, Duke Dumont, Floating Points, J.I.D, IDLES, BADBADNOTGOOD, Daphni, Weyes Blood, Steve Lacy, (Sandy) Alex G, slowthai, Big Wild, TOKIMONSTA, Noname, Friendly Fires, Altın Gün, Crumb, Cashmere Cat, Sampha the Great and girl in red.

Like in more recent years, many of the acts on the bill lean in the hip-hop, R&B and electronic direction while rock continues to get phased out. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that two of Dan Snaith’s projects are listed in Caribou and Daphni, the latter of which will assuredly be a DJ set in the Yuma Tent.

Coachella’s first weekend is scheduled for April 10th-12th, with its second weekend slated for April 17th-19th. With Weekend 1 passes already sold out, tickets for Weekend 2 will go on sale this Monday, January 6th at 12 p.m. PT here.

UPDATE (March 10th): Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Coachella 2020 has been rescheduled for October 9th-11th and October 16th-18th. All passes purchased for the festival’s previous dates in April will be honored in October, with refunds available to those who are unable to attend. Coachella becomes the latest major event to be affected after South by Southwest and Ultra Music Festival were both canceled last week.

UPDATE (June 11th): As coronavirus cases continue to spike in certain parts of the U.S., the sad and unfortunate likelihood of Coachella not occurring in 2020 has now become a reality. Goldenvoice instead has marked some 2021 dates down on the calendar — Weekend 1 will be April 9-11 and Weekend 2 follows April 16-18 with all 2020 passes purchased being honored — though sadly there’s always the possibility that Coachella could be postponed until October again as we near the New Year, when the festival usually reveals its annual lineup.

Ready to take the desert by storm? Look back at our coverage of Coachella over the years here.

The prolific, often unpredictable King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard turn heavy at LA’s Greek Theatre

King Gizzard & The Lizard WizardBy Josh Herwitt //

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with Stonefield, ORB //
Greek Theatre – Los Angeles
August 13th, 2019 //

Are King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard the most prolific and unpredictable band in all of rock?

If they aren’t, they’re certainly making a convincing case for that crown right now.

The Australian septet that’s made up of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, flute), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (vocals, harmonica, keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar, bass, vocals), Joey Walker (guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals), Lucas Skinner (bass, keyboards), Michael Cavanagh (drums, percussion) and Eric Moore (drums, percussion, management) have put out 15 studio albums, including five in 2017, and two EPs since forming almost a decade ago while shifting styles and genres with each one. It’s in part why they have harvested one of the strongest and fastest-growing cult followings out there today as more new fans jump on the bandwagon (no pun intended) like yours truly.

In fact, just last year, a sold-out crowd packed the 5,000-person Hollywood Palladium to see the Gizz on a Thursday night, affirming that these guys’ popularity is no joke even if you feel compelled to laugh at their name (a colleague, who was unfamiliar, did when I brought them up recently during one of our conversations about music).

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Fast forward more than a year later to now, and King Gizzard’s popularity has only continued to rise, with their latest date in LA at the historic, 5,870-seat Greek Theatre serving as another example of how far they’ve come since their early days in Melbourne. Also on the bill for this North American tour opener were their fellow countrymen and women in ORB and Stonefield respectively, and with both supporting acts leaning in the direction of psychedelic rock upon first listen, the table was set quite nicely for Mackenzie and company to showcase their most recent sonic foray into the world of none other than thrash metal.

Yep, that’s right. You know, like, Metallica pre-1990?

Of course, with the arrival of Infest the Rats’ Nest just a couple of days away, I was prepared to have my ears pummeled while hearing a good portion of the nine-track LP that sees the group diving even deeper into heavy metal than it ever has before. This is what KG&TLW do, though. There simply are no boundaries or formulas when it comes to their songwriting. Sure, most of their albums fall under the general “psych rock” label, but 2015’s Quarters!, for instance, was inspired by jazz fusion and prog rock, and their third LP from 2017, Sketches of Brunswick East (with Mild High Club), was also rooted predominantly in jazz. So far this year, they’ve already taken their shot at the blues with the release of Fishing for Fishies and now they’ve unleashed their new doom-filled effort. Because after jazz and the blues, what could be a more respected musical genre than heavy metal?

All jokes aside, as these Aussie weirdos continue to explore other creative avenues, catching a King Gizzard show remains a fairly unique experience in its own right. You can usually expect at least one mosh pit, if not more, to form, but with the Greek only having a small floor area at the front of the stage, the lively audience that showed up on a Tuesday night could only get so rowdy with most of it resigned to the venue’s seated sections. That, however, didn’t stop these mates from delivering the goods. Over the course of a 90-minute set, they touched upon seven of their 15 albums, including opening and closing with three straight tracks off Infest the Rats’ Nest. There was “People-Vultures” from 2016’s Nonagon Infinity, plus a version of “Wah Wah” that featured a snippet of “The River” at the performance’s midway point. I’m actually a little surprised that they didn’t throw us a couple of curveballs before saying goodbye to be honest, because for as prolific and unpredictable as they’ve become lately, King Gizzard might be one of the most versatile rock bands on Planet Earth, too.

Setlist:
Self-Immolate
Mars for the Rich
Venusian 2
Inner Cell
Loyalty
Horology
People-Vultures (tour debut)
Alter Me III
Altered Beast IV
The River
Wah Wah (with “The River” snippet)
Road Train
This Thing
Beginner’s Luck
The Bird Song
Acarine
Murder of the Universe
Boogieman Sam
Cyboogie
Planet B
Perihelion
Hell

*Editor’s Note: “Venusian 1” and “Organ Farmer” were originally listed on the setlist after “Hell” but were not played.

FKJ is a one-man, groove-making machine who’s full of surprises as he demonstrates at Shrine Expo Hall

French Kiwi JuiceBy Josh Herwitt //

FKJ with (((O))) //
Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles
August 5th, 2019 //

I’ll be completely honest: I had no idea who FKJ was before this year. In fact, I had no clue who he was six months ago.

I found out about Vincent Fenton, better known by most fans as French Kiwi Juice, while watching Coachella’s Weekend 1 webcast on my couch back in April. It was there on that Saturday afternoon where I came to see how talented the French musician actually is.

Originally from the city of Tours, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is considered to be a pioneer of the New French House movement, having garnered a strong following in a short amount of time thanks to his live show that sees him incorporate live loopings through the software sequencing program Ableton while holding his own on a number of instruments, including synthesizer, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone and digital percussion.

But with 2017’s self-titled LP serving as FKJ’s only studio album to date, we weren’t sure how long Fenton would be able to entertain the sizable crowd in LA that showed up on a Monday night and braved the sauna-like conditions inside the Shrine Expo Hall. The set times, from what we were given, indicated that he was scheduled to play for 90 minutes, yet the 28-year-old must have had other ideas either before or once he took the stage.

FKJ

It’s rare to see an artist these days blow past their scheduled out time, especially on a Monday evening. In the City of Angels though, you never know what you’re going to get at a concert on any given night of the week. That’s what makes it one of the best cities in the U.S. to catch live music (we see you Austin, Nashville and New Orleans, too).

And just like we didn’t know that FKJ would go more than 20 minutes long, his snippet of “Xxplosive” from Dr. Dre’s legendary album 2001 around the performance’s midway point also came as a pleasant surprise. Sure, it would have been extra sweet to see the one-man, groove-making machine drop a few bars of “California Love” on us as well, but those who were there showed plenty of enthusiasm when Venton’s wife June Marieezy, who performs under the moniker (((O))) and served as the show’s opening act, came out to sing on their “Vibin’ Out” collaboration.

Covers and guest appearances aside, what’s almost as impressive about FKJ as his mastery of so many instruments are his improvisation skills onstage. Fenton, who went to film school as a way to study sound engineering for free, doesn’t stick strictly to a script like most electronic musicians, even those who play instruments instead of just pushing buttons. That’s probably why the show extended past 11 p.m. with FKJ performing almost two hours of material, much of which bordered at times on nu jazz, alt-R&B and naturally, French house.

2019 has already been a banner year for Venton in several ways. Besides making his debut at Coachella less than four months ago, he partnered with livestream media company Cercle to release this jaw-dropping live video that sees him performing on the world’s largest salt flat. Plus, he married Marieezy in March after previously working with the Filipino songstress. So with Marieezy by his side and fan bases in both Europe and North America now solidified, it appears that FKJ is ready to share his one-of-a-kind live show with the rest of the world.

Because for those who still haven’t heard of him yet, they certainly will soon.

The Raconteurs show all at the Santa Barbara Bowl why we need them after 11 years between albums

The RaconteursPhotos courtesy of The Raconteurs & David James Swanson // Written by Josh Herwitt //

The Raconteurs with Melvins //
Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA
July 27th, 2019 //

“Rock is dead.”

It’s one of those overused catch phrases we have clung to at a time when clickbait headlines, Twitter beefs and heartbreaking stories now dominate our news feeds and timelines.

Vice’s music channel Noisey made the case only a year ago in fact, explaining that “the genre has been eclipsed in all measures of popularity and profitability by pop, hip-hop, and EDM.”

But whatever the metrics say, this isn’t the first time that argument has been advanced before.

The Raconteurs

In Cameron Crowe’s 2000 film “Almost Famous” for those who remember it, renowned music journalist and rock critic Lester Bangs tells a 15-year-old William Miller, “It’s just a shame you missed out on rock and roll.” That didn’t stop Miller from chasing his dream, though. After all, his character is based off of Crowe’s real-life experience covering rock bands like Led Zeppelin as a teenager in the early 70’s, and if anything, Miller proves over the course of the movie that the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well, that it hadn’t died by the end of the 60’s like a lot of the counterculture had after Altamont.

Much like then, there are plenty of examples today that make us question the current zeitgeist surrounding rock music and The Raconteurs have the distinct honor of being some of the best in the business right now to dispel this notion after landing at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

With the release of its third studio effort Help Us Stranger in late June after more than 11 years between albums, the four-piece consisting of Jack White (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Brendan Benson (vocals, guitar), Jack Lawrence (bass) and Patrick Keeler (drums) is finally back in the spotlight where it belongs — and for good reason.

While there are still a few months to go, we can say with confidence at this point that Help Us Stranger will most likely be one of our five favorite LPs from 2019 (see our 2018 picks here). At 41 minutes, it’s another gem from The Raconteurs and especially for White, who continues to put out music at a prolific rate — he just dropped his third solo LP Boarding House Reach last year on his own Third Man Records — that rarely seems to fall flat or short.

The Raconteurs

Led by “Sunday Driver” and “Now That You’re Gone” as its first two singles, Help Us Stranger is one of those albums you can pop on and listen to from start to finish. Its most abrasive cut “Don’t Bother Me” struggles at the onset but recovers midway through thanks in large part to White’s virtuosic guitar work. There are plenty of other standouts, though, including “Bored and Razed”, “Help Me Stranger”, “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)” and “What’s Yours Is Mine” across the record, and it’s impressive how tight The Racs sound despite the long layoff.

On a Saturday night at the picturesque Santa Barbara Bowl — which we’ll argue is the best music venue in Southern California and where we caught White’s first-ever show there last year — The Raconteurs brought those songs to life as they stormed onstage and unleashed total sonic bliss on our ears with a 90-minute performance highlighted by Consolers of the Lonely tracks “You Don’t Understand Me” and “Carolina Drama”, the latter of which came during an extended encore that was capped off by the quartet’s biggest hit “Steady, as She Goes” and what ultimately inspired White and Benson to form the group back in 2005 as a couple of longtime friends from Detroit. All of this, of course, without having access to our mobile phones after locking them in a Yondr pouch and Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, The Dead Weather) assisting on keyboards and guitar as a touring member.

So hey, maybe this will be the year rock rebounds. For this music writer, it’s starting to feel that way with the return of new Raconteurs material after more than a decade and another one of our favorite rock bands releasing its first album in 13 years later this month (we’ll let you take a guess). Plus, we didn’t even mention that garage-rock duo The Black Keys issued their first record in five years this summer.

Yet, even if rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t attain the same commercial success it once had, those of us who are still giving it our time and ears at least have The Raconteurs (or “The Saboteurs” if you live Down Under). And that, my friends, should be a blessing in and of itself.

Setlist:
Bored and Razed
Level
You Don’t Understand Me
Old Enough
Broken Boy Soldier
Only Child
Together
Now That You’re Gone
Live a Lie
Don’t Bother Me
Sunday Driver

Encore:
Consoler of the Lonely
Help Me Stranger
Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)
Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness) (Donovan cover)
Carolina Drama
Steady, as She Goes

In times when we need it most, COMMON continues to spread worldwide love at Apogee Studio

COMMONPhotos by Brian Lowe // Written by Josh Herwitt //

COMMON //
Apogee Studio – Santa Monica, CA
July 25th, 2019 //

There’s something about the way Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn looks at the world that can give even the biggest cynic a slight glimmer of hope. It’s not just the sense of wonder, but a tranquility in his eyes that makes you contemplate what he’s thinking about amid all of the chaos and daily distractions we have created for ourselves.

Most people know Lynn as COMMON, the Grammy-winning rapper who got his start back in the early 90’s and has since collaborated with everyone from Lauryn Hill to Kanye West, but he’s simply much more than that. An Oscar and Golden Globe winner, the Chicago native is also an actor, writer, filmmaker, model, activist, philanthropist and entrepreneur. First and foremost though, he’s a lover at heart.

For COMMON fans or those who have at least seen him perform live before, this is probably nothing new. Yet, it couldn’t have been more evident than during his private show in Santa Monica last Thursday for KCRW’s Apogee Sessions while currently on tour in support of his 12th studio album Let Love, which drops August 30th. So much so, that at one point during the performance, he rather spontaneously invited a female audience member onstage and serenaded her with a couple of songs. And while it made for a few awkward moments, you could tell that COMMON had the best intentions. Sure, Cynthia felt more than a little out of place up there with embarrassment written all over her face, but she’ll certainly remember those 15 minutes for the rest of her life now while others can see and hear it for themselves when the session premieres Friday, August 23rd on KCRW.

COMMON & Anthony Valadez


COMMON & KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez (right)

That’s what COMMON does — he spreads love to each and every person his music reaches. As KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez pointed out during his sit-down interview with the emcee midway through the evening, COMMON has lots of songs about love, and you could quickly find more than enough evidence to assert that fact by looking at the setlist alone. Of the seven tracks he showcased off Let Love, five had the word “love” in its title, starting with “Show Me That You Love” that opened his set. The album, which is inspired by COMMON’s new memoir “Let Love Have the Last Word”, remains a departure from the political deliberations that dominated his 2016 LP Black America Again and spawned out of our most recent U.S. presidential election. I don’t think we need to revisit that moment in history right now, so let me stick to the script.

When he returned to the stage with his full backing band, COMMON made sure to turn things up another notch with a cover of West’s “Get Em High” that had most in the small, yet vibrant crowd rapping and grooving along to the beat. After almost three decades in the game, the 47-year-old still knows how to command a room’s attention whether he’s debuting new material or falling back on some old favorites like “Go!” from 2005’s Be and “The Light” on 2000’s Like Water for Chocolate.

But on this night inside the 180-person Apogee Studio, COMMON’s overarching message to us stood clear: let love rule today and every day. And to that we say, “Amen, Lonnie … amen.”

Setlist:
Show Me That You Love
South Side
The Corner
The Food
Memories of Home
I Used to Love Her
Take It EZ
Her Love
Love of My Life
Come Close
The Day the Women Took Over
Fancy Free Future Love
Get Em High
Hercules
Go!
Good Morning Love
God Is Love
The Light

Outside Lands delivers its 2019 schedule

Outside Lands

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival //
Golden Gate Park – San Francisco
August 9th-11th, 2019 //

The 12th edition of Outside Lands is only two weeks away, and the three-day music festival has dropped what many fans often clamor for in late July … that’s right, set times!

Ready to start planning your weekend at Golden Gate Park? Make sure to check out the 2019 schedule here.

But much like every year, there are some noteworthy scheduling conflicts. Friday will see Lil Wayne and Masego performing 15 minutes apart, blink-182 overlapping with Counting Crows, and Flying Lotus (3D), The Lumineers and headliner Twenty One Pilots all closing down their respective stages on Day 1.

Outside Lands 2019 - daily lineups

Saturday, though, is where things really start to get hairy with Santigold pitted against Tierra Whack, Alina Baraz playing at the same time as Phosphorescent, Better Oblivion Community Center starting 10 minutes before Flume, and headliner Childish Gambino vs. RL Grime — of course, that’s without mentioning Ella Mai and Hozier also have their own evening slots.

The Day 3 slate, meanwhile, offers some more challenges, beginning with Mavis Staples vs. Cherry Glazerr in the early afternoon. Catching both DJ Koze and Kacey Musgraves could be tough with their sets only separated by 30 minutes, as well as Leon Bridges and Toro y Moi. Sunday’s biggest conflict, however, could be choosing between Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals (7:30 p.m.) and legendary headliner Paul Simon (7:35 p.m.). Plus, there’s Kygo on the Twin Peaks stage less than an hour later at 8:20 p.m. For those of you going to OSL, just remember: whoever you decide to see, it’s sure to be a good time! Download the mobile app here, and oh, wear some comfortable shoes, too (nobody likes blisters anyway).

If you can’t wait for Outside Lands now, look back at our coverage from 2018 here.

Outside Lands - 2019 lineup

Jim James, The Claypool Lennon Delirium take us on a psych-rock roller coaster at The Wiltern

Jim James


Jim James

By Josh Herwitt //

Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium with Uni //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
July 3rd, 2019 //

Ever since he launched his solo career more than five years ago, Jim James has been trying to bring people closer together.

The frontman and primary songwriter of My Morning Jacket frequently preaches peace, love and equality on and off the stage, but at a time when technology continues to dominate our way of life and our political divides grow bigger by the day, unity has become a challenging proposition to achieve no matter how famous or popular you are — unless you’re Oprah.

It’s not for a lack of effort from James (born James Edward Olliges Jr.), though.

Claypool Lennon Delirium


Claypool Lennon Delirium

The Louisville native remains steadfast in his commitment to doing and saying the right things, whether it’s helping to get out the vote or raising awareness and funds around a number of important environmental, climate and humanitarian issues.

Because when James sings “No use waiting and wondering why / Better get together while we still got time” on his third solo album Uniform Distortion that dropped last year, it’s a message that many of us could learn from. After all, actions speak louder than words, and a songwriter with as much talent, insight and creativity as James certainly knows that.

Embarking on a 33-date North American tour that included festival stops at Shaky Knees and Bonnaroo in support of the 11-track LP, the 41-year-old multi-hyphenate was back in LA — the city he now calls home since moving there in 2016 — on the eve of Independence Day for only one night at the always-beautiful Wiltern. The last time we caught James in the City of Angels, he was headlining another historic SoCal venue just a few miles down Olympic Blvd. after the release of his second solo effort Eternally Even. And boy, was that a lot of fun at the Orpheum Theatre as celebrity fanboys like Christopher Mintz-Plasse (aka “McLovin” from the 2007 film “Superbad”) showed their appreciation for one of rock’s last remaining guitar heroes.

Jim James


Jim James

But things were a little different for this occasion, in large part because James would be billed as a co-headliner alongside his psychedelic counterparts in The Claypool Lennon Delirium for much of the tour. Even so, with Primus bassist and lead singer Les Claypool being a legend in his own right and guitarist/vocalist Sean Lennon conceived by a couple himself, we had quite the pairing for a Wednesday affair. Heck, the duo even covered Pink Floyd, King Crimson and The Beatles among cuts off 2016’s Monolith of Phobos and its stellar follow-up South of Reality that arrived in February. So if you like psych rock with an extra dose of weird, then these guys are probably for you.

That said, one could argue fairly easily that James’ songs are a bit more accessible than The CLD’s, and with that in mind, it wasn’t hard at all to understand why the man who has also put out music under the pseudonym Yim Yames assumed the closing duties for this tour. It became even more evident once James took the stage, shredding his way through tracks on Uniform Distortion like “Over and Over” and “You Get to Rome” before going to an acoustic guitar for “A New Life” from 2013’s Regions of Light and Sound of God. James would end up performing almost all of Uniform Distortion, but the real standouts of the show were in fact slightly altered versions of the Marvin Gaye-inspired “Here in Spirit” and the ever-haunting “Same Old Lie” to close what felt like a roller-coaster set full of peaks and valleys — and of course, plenty of screeches and squeals emanating from his Gibson ES-335, too.

James didn’t break for long before beginning a three-song encore with one from My Morning Jacket’s catalog in “I’m Amazed” and then dueting with Amo Amo’s Lovell Femme on “Of the Mother Again”. While it may have been somewhat predictable for him to offer us “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” as a parting gift, it wasn’t as if it came unwanted. If anything, it was a strong reminder of how powerful music can be as a unifying force and a gateway to a more positive and promising future, especially with someone like James serving as a guiding light.

JIM JAMES

Setlist:
Over and Over
You Get to Rome
A New Life
Out of Time
Just a Fool
Throwback
No Secrets
Here in Spirit
No Use Waiting
All in Your Head
The World’s Smiling Now
Yes to Everything
Same Old Lie

Encore:
I’m Amazed (My Morning Jacket song)
Of the Mother Again (with Amo Amo lead singer Lovell Femme)
State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM

Setlist:
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd cover)
Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons / Movement II, Too the Moon
Little Fishes
Cricket and the Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)
Cricket and the Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket)
South of Reality
The Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson cover)
Easily Charmed by Fools
Boomerang Baby
Breath of a Salesman
Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part 1, Ask Your Doctor – Part 2, Psyde Effects
Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles cover)
Third Rock From the Sun

The Chemical Brothers give fans at Shrine Expo Hall the electronic show they desperately need in 2019

The Chemical BrothersBy Josh Herwitt //

The Chemical Brothers //
Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles
May 15th, 2019 //

When former childhood classmates Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons burst onto the scene in the mid-to-late 90’s as The Chemical Brothers, electronic music for most was still a relatively new phenomenon — even in their home country of England.

Sure, some of the UK duo’s counterparts such as The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim were attracting more mainstream appeal around the same time, but that commercial success at the height of the big beat movement doesn’t hold a candle to what many of the biggest EDM stars today are amassing in the social media age. Just look at what Calvin Harris, Diplo, Skrillex, Zedd or The Chainsmokers are bringing home if you don’t believe me (hint: it’s well over eight figures). Of course, those Las Vegas hotel residencies sure do help their cash flow.

The Chemical Brothers, nevertheless, have managed to maintain a loyal following for three decades now and that was evident by the sold-out crowd that welcomed them to the Shrine Expo Hall last Wednesday for the first of two dates in LA. It’s not often that an artist or band books two different venues in the same city while on tour, but that’s exactly what Rowlands and Simons did with their other LA show taking place up the road at the Greek Theatre only one day later. That said, the Shrine Expo Hall’s open floor plan proved to be perfectly suited for the pair’s dance-ready tracks.

The Chemical Brothers

Leading off with “Go” from their 2015 LP Born in the Echoes, The Chemical Brothers delivered a 24-song set that covered all nine studio albums, including their newest effort No Geography that dropped in April. They seamlessly transitioned from one banger to the next, keeping our spirits high and leaving us not a minute to rest our feet. The onstage production, meanwhile, was next level. With an arsenal full of lights and lasers as well as a massive projection screen mounted behind them, Rowlands and Simons created a scintillating audio-visual experience to remember and one of the best we’ve witnessed in a while.

At a time when electronic music has become relatively predictable and almost formulaic, The Chemical Brothers are still experimenting with new sounds and breathing some fresh air into their live sets. Case in point on this night was a cover of New Order’s 1982 single “Temptation” and a rendition of Come with Us cut “Star Guitar” that wrapped up with a snippet of “Gravity Drops” from No Geography. But the Brothers saved what we all had been anticipating for last, uncorking “Block Rockin’ Beats” off 1997’s Dig Your Own Hole before their encore break.

When they returned, Rowlands and Simons gave us a few more before waving goodbye — not that we needed anymore to feel satisfied. Because if this was what an electronic show in 2019 is supposed to feel like, then we can safely say … mission accomplished, boys.

Setlist:
Go
Free Yourself
Chemical Beats (with vocal sample from “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted”)
MAH
EML Ritual
Swoon
Temptation (New Order cover)
Star Guitar (with “Gravity Drops” outro)
Got to Keep On
Hey Boy Hey Girl
Eve of Destruction
Saturate
Elektrobank
No Geography
Escape Velocity
Hoops / Get Up on It Like This
Under the Influence / Dig Your Own Hole
Wide Open
Galvanize
Leave Home / C-H-E-M-I-C-A-L / Song to the Siren
Block Rockin’ Beats

Encore:
Got Glint?
Catch Me I’m Falling (with “Hold Tight London” intro)
The Private Psychedelic Reel

Modeselektor return to U.S. soil & pound our ears with their new material at a sold-out Echoplex

ModeselektorBy Josh Herwitt //

Modeselektor //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
April 4th, 2019 //

As electronic music continues to evolve in 2019, it appears as if the EDM craze that once was has started to fade. Sure, dance-centric festivals such as Ultra, EDC and Electric Zoo continue to thrive, but the amount has slowly tapered off over the last few years with hip-hop and R&B grabbing more of the mainstream spotlight lately.

So, where does a veteran electronic act like Modeselektor fit into the equation these days?

We’re not quite sure to be honest, but after making music together for more than two decades, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are still selling out clubs with their dark, pulsating beats and brash, in-your-face sounds.

The Berlin IDM (short for “Intelligent Dance Music”) duo is a favorite of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s believe it or not and yet, has only released four studio albums to go along with a handful of EPs since forming in 1996. Although to be completely fair, their side project with fellow German electronic musician Apparat (born Sascha Ring) under the name Moderat has also been quite the success in recent years as we have witnessed on more than one occasion, including the 2016 edition of Lightning in a Bottle (read our festival review here) and a stellar performance at The Mayan (read our show review here) in 2017 after playing Coachella’s first weekend (read our review here).

Modeselektor

One of those four LPs is Who Else, the eight-track release after a nearly eight-year layoff that dropped in February on Modeselektor’s own Monkeytown Records as the follow-up to 2011’s Monkeytown, which earned them a closing set in the Mojave Tent at Coachella a few months later where Yorke surprisingly joined them onstage for “Shipwreck” during Weekend 2.

At LA’s Echoplex last Thursday, we didn’t have the fortune of getting another surprise cameo from Yorke, but it was intriguing to see a sold-out crowd welcome Bronsert and Szary back to the City of Angels under the Modeselektor moniker for the first time in a long time (and on a school night no less). And considering they were only stopping through two U.S. cities — LA and NYC the night before at Elsewhere in Brooklyn — on this tour, the show felt a little extra special for those of us in attendance due to the circumstances.

Bronsert and Szary made mention of the jet lag that they were experiencing more than once, and with both now being of a certain age, it’s not quite as easy as it once was for them to get onstage night after night and do their thing. They certainly overcame it, as Szary jumped on top of their DJ booth several times while performing to engage an audience that conveyed its appreciation for his efforts (he even took a cigarette break onstage later on, too).

Who Else runs only 34 minutes long, with “Wealth”, “I Am Your God” and “Who” serving as its three singles, which meant that Modeselektor had time to sprinkle in some of their older material throughout a 17-song gig lasting roughly 90 minutes. One of those tracks was “The Black Block” off their 2007 sophomore full length Happy Birthday!, while even two remixed covers — Shed’s “Dark Planet” and Headhunter’s “Prototype” — were on the setlist. But the finale is what stuck out most, as Modeselektor showed Yorke some more love with an Atoms for Peace cover of “Default” on the supergroup’s lone record Amok that came out more than six years ago. It was a fitting choice given the connection Yorke has had with the outfit, and one that proved Bronsert and Szary, nevertheless, have what it takes to keep us right on our toes after all these years.

Setlist:
Grillwalker
Dark Planet (Modeselektor remix) (Shed cover)
WMF Love Song
Kalif Storch
German Clap
The Black Block
I Am Your God
(Unknown)
Prügelknabe
Wealth
Prototype (Modeselektor’s Broken Handbrake Remix) (Headhunter cover)
One United Power
Who
Wake Me Up When It’s Over
Berlin

Encore:
Blue Clouds
Default (Atoms for Peace cover)

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Modeselektor