RÜFÜS DU SOL are on top of the music world after selling out three straight shows at Shrine Expo Hall

RÜFÜS DU SOLBy Lindsay Alamillo //

Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles
November 1st, 2018 //

RÜFÜS DU SOL came through LA a week ago for three sold-out nights at the Shrine Expo Hall. We have caught the Australian alt-dance trio before in both LA (read our review here) and San Francisco (read our review here) while on tour in support of their 2016 LP Bloom, and fresh off the release of their third album Solace last month, they came out in full force and opened with “Eyes” from their newest studio effort.

From there, it was a lovely wave of old and new with a surprising cover of Portishead’s “Glory Box” thrown right in the middle. RÜFÜS played all the favorites, from “Treat You Better” and “You Were Right” to “Underwater” and “Innerbloom” before breaking for a two-song encore. We couldn’t help but dance during the show as everyone who packed the room seemed to be in great spirits throughout the night.

Like an Animal
New Sky
Treat You Better
Glory Box (Portishead cover)
Say a Prayer for Me
All I’ve Got
You Were Right

Lost in My Mind
No Place

Dirtybird Campout 2017: Here’s why you don’t want to miss this year’s festival

Dirtybird Campout 2017Photo courtesy of Daniel Zetterstrom // Written by Lindsay Alamillo //

Dirtybird Campout //
San Antonio Recreation Area – Bradley, CA
October 6th-8th, 2017 //

Festival season is coming to an end, but we can’t think of a better way to close out 2017 on a high note than with a trip to Dirtybird Campout. If you need a heavy dose of house, techno or bass, look no further — this camping party is getting a whole lot bigger and better.

One of the best things about Dirtybird events is the San Francisco record label’s loyalty to their fans. The artists always take time to hang out with fans and connect with those who bring the heat to the dance floor.

This year, don’t miss Brooklyn house duo Walker & Royce as they do their best to provide all the answers to life’s questions. You can also visit the Dough Lab to catch the pizza godfather himself, Justin Martin, and take a chance spinning the Wheel of Pizza (no dough needed).

There have been several special performances over the last couple of years, including an annual late late night/early morning drum ‘n’ bass set by the Martin brothers (Justin and Christian), and 2017’s lineup is bigger and better than ever before with some great b2bs.

For instance, don’t miss Dirtybird favorites Kill Frenzy and Will Clarke b2b or Ardalan and Worthy b2b on Friday night. On Saturday, there will be a special Soulection showcase at the Bass Lodge where the Los Angeles-based collective is sure to play its silky-smooth and sexy house sounds. And then on Sunday night, don’t miss the festival’s final performance as the entire Dirtybird family takes the stage.

But don’t worry — when you need a break from the action and want to entertain yourself with something different, there are a number of alternatives to choose from. The campout crew has amped up the activities this year just in case they hadn’t done enough already. Yoga, lectures and open archery will all be offered, and there will be a special science lab from BrainScratch where festivalgoers can dive into discussions about inter-connectivity and the complexities of nature. Pretty heady, right?

Also, when you need a break from the dance floor at night, head over to the great late-night Bingo Revival. It’s a 70’s-themed game show, so come dressed to impress or ready to win (or just come hang out). None of these tickle your fancy? There’s more, including timeless camp activities like tie dyeing, potato sack racing, water balloon tossing, volleyball, kickball and Simon Says.

If you need a little more convincing or another reason to sway your decision on a last-minute ticket purchase, listen up. On Saturday, different teams of our favorite artists will compete in Giant Jenga games to raise money for a cause. Proceeds from the games will go to Give a Beat in hopes of building a bigger bridge between the dance community and those who have been impacted by incarceration. The non-profit organization is aiming to provide education to the community, DJ workshops for youth and mentor programs. Be sure to stop by and check out the games, which will take place on Saturday between 2-6 p.m.

Let’s also not forget to mention that Claude VonStroke was crowned “America’s Best DJ” last year, and this year, Dirtybird was named the decade’s No. 1 label by Mixmag. So, to state the obvious, it has been a great few years for the Dirtybird crew and we honestly can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this October. Passes to Dirtybird Campout are still available to purchase here, but don’t wait because this is one party you don’t want to miss.

Dirtybird Campout - 2017 lineup

Toro y Moi keeps moving forward at The UC Theatre

Toro y MoiBy Lindsay Alamillo //

Toro y Moi //
The UC Theatre – Berkeley, CA
November 10th, 2016 //

As Chaz Bundick continues to tend to his main musical endeavor better known as Toro y Moi, the music is not the only thing growing. The singer-songwriter originally from South Carolina took the stage at Berkeley’s newly reopened UC Theatre with a bigger band than ever before.

Not only did he bring the chillwave vibes to the Bay, but attendees were also gifted with a free poster from the sold-out show — a nice treat and ode to The Fillmore’s signature sendoff!

What You Want
Still Sound
So Many Details
The Flight
How I Know
Half Dome
Empty Nesters
High Living
Grown Up Calls
You Hid
New Beat
I Can Get Love
Rose Quartz

Say That
Yeah Right (with The Mattson 2)

Tory Lanez ebbs and flows at The Warfield

Tory LanezBy Lindsay Alamillo //

Tory Lanez //
The Warfield – San Francisco
November 7th, 2015 //

When Tory Lanez (born Daystar Peterson) visits the Bay, his live performance embodies the versatility that he has displayed as an artist. The Canadian-born singer/rapper’s show at The Warfield on a Monday night ebbed and flowed from wildly energetic to smooth and soulful, much like his musical style.

Peterson knows how to lift a crowd, and apparently, his fans understand as well considering he crowd surfed all the way from the pit to the balcony. And when the 24-year-old dropped his beloved singles “Say It” and “LUV”, the audience’s infectious energy was undeniable.

Here’s why you shouldn’t have missed Brett Dennen at Great American Music Hall

Brett DennenPhotos by Tom Dellinger // Written by Lindsay Alamillo //

Brett Dennen with Firekid //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
June 1st, 2016 //

Northern California native Brett Dennen put out his sixth album Por Favor last month and is supporting it with a nationwide tour that will last well into the fall. The 36-year-old singer-songwriter and his band stopped by the Great American Music Hall for a sold-out show on a Tuesday night. For those who missed out, an additional show was added for the following evening.

The show began with a performance by three-piece band Firekid from the infamous Muscle Shoals, Ala. They added a funky twist to their Americana vibe and covered a compilation of different songs with a little help from an old Game Boy and its cartridges. Their unique sound and upbeat energy held the crowd’s attention and kept the bodies moving until Dennen took the stage.

Brett Dennen

The first time I watched Dennen perform live was several years ago when he opened before Colbie Caillat during a John Mayer concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre. I would applaud him on how far he has come since then, but to be completely honest, he hasn’t grown drastically. He was, at that time, a hidden gem and is finally getting the recognition that he so deserves.

Dennen is not the kind of artist who demands a crowd’s attention. Instead, the audience seems to voluntarily surrender their attention as voices fade and whispers turn to silence quickly in anticipation of his set. He walked onto the stage barefoot, as he often does, and began playing with a sort of comfort and ease that made you feel like you were guest in his home.

The microphone that emitted the vocals seemed to be a bit low, but even so, Dennen’s voice managed to fill the room and all the hearts within it, which could have been measured by the smiles that appeared within moments of hearing his first song. He mixed up his old and new material perfectly, satisfying all of our ears. Near the end of his set, he remembered that his amplifier had broken the night before and continued to play “Make You Crazy” the way it used to be played, with his guitarist playing both parts on Dennen’s behalf.

Very few people left the spots they solidified at the beginning of the show because Dennen’s presence was so contagious. It seemed like no one wanted to leave where they were posted up because the spot they had attained was like scoring gold.

Brett Dennen

Dennen is an artist through and through. His talents can be recognized as soon as he strums his acoustic guitar and the words leave his lips. The lyrics he sings tells stories and provoke feelings, leaving just about every girl in the room wishing that he was serenading her. When you watch Dennen perform live, it makes you feel grateful that talent of his kind is still alive and well, reminding you to appreciate the art of songwriting in its purest form.

If you have yet to familiarize yourself with the sounds of Dennen, check out his newest LP Por Favor or any of his other albums before he makes his way back to California to play with the Avett Brothers this September.

Boogaloo Mountain Jam 2016: A family affair

Boogaloo Mountain Jam 2016By Lindsay Alamillo //

Boogaloo Mountain Jam //
Oak Canyon Park – Silverado, CA
April 29th-May 1st, 2016 //

Boogaloo Mountain Jam celebrated its second year last weekend at Silverado’s Oak Canyon Park. The venue, which has hosted beloved events like Lightning in a Bottle, Woogie Weekend and Dirtybird Campout, did not disappoint. The park was turned into a small, intimate burner oasis for a weekend with famed playa art cars Charlie the Unicorn and The Dirty Beetles Bus taking the place of stages.

Because this festival was small in comparison to most others (with an attendance of less than 1,000), it gave off a much more personal feel. This could also be due to the fact that it’s put on by a bunch of Burning Man camps and affiliates. The festival itself was started by The Dirty Beetles. What began a few years ago as a fundraiser to fuel an art installation for the burn has turned into a wonderful family affair. People of all ages were in attendance, from the old shirtless man feeling the bass to the cute little baby in the onesie with his face painted and aviator headphones to match. It’s fair to say that spirits were soaring at an immeasurably high rate as a result.

Walking through the entrance gates, attendees were greeted with a picturesque scenery filled with lush trees, green grass, sunny skies and a tranquil lake. The stages were all placed fairly close to each other; you could easily walk the perimeter in less than 10 minutes. Surprisingly, this did not affect the sound quality as the crisp and clear sounds of each stage pierced the air around it. Vibrant colors surrounded the open space as vendors set up shop to offer attendees sparkling gems and crystals, essential oil blends and serums, handcrafted jewelry and leather goods. Canvases and other art pieces seemed to be perfectly placed around the park like they were treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Boogaloo Mountain Jam 2016 - Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

The lineup did not boast big multi-million-dollar DJs but did have several popular artists who have strayed away from the mainstream. DJ Dan, Stylust Beats, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Funk Hunters and a few of the acclaimed DirtyBird cast — Worthy, J. Phlip and Christian Martin — all made the trek out into the mountains for a weekend of dancing and good vibes.

Favorites within the LA community were also in tote. Venice local Marques Wyatt, Josh Billing (resident DJ of Orange County’s Focus Nightclub) and KCRW’s own Jason Bentley all worked to keep the smiles big and the bodies moving.

The music didn’t stop at the end of each night’s scheduled acts. The campgrounds were filled with renegade camps offering after-hours sounds and activities for everyone who wasn’t ready for the night to end. The Dirty Beetles hosted their own after-hours party lasting until 6 a.m. Saturday morning with DJ Dan. They were just getting things started, after all.

Boogaloo Mountain Jam 2016 - DJ Dan

DJ Dan

But the weekend was not just about the music. In true burner spirit, art and creativity were flowing heavily throughout the three-day extravaganza. Oak Canyon Park was flooded with outlandish costumes all outstanding in their own right. Hoop dancers, LED knickknacks, steampunk-inspired headwear and live paintings could be found scattered anywhere within the park or its bordering campgrounds. Along with their leave-no-trace-behind philosophy, the promotion of radical self-expression was alive and thriving. It was wonderful to watch these basic principles of Burning Man be both graciously and voluntarily embraced without question or explanation.

Everyone in attendance seemed to be in better than great spirits, showing love, admiration and respect to whomever crossed their path. It seemed like every introduction came with a hug, and smiles adorned the faces of everyone around. It was the kind of place that you visit with your friends and leave with a newfound family. The positivity was powerful, and people had nothing but great things to say about the weekend.

The music, art and people of Boogaloo worked together to create a synergetic energy that was felt by anyone who set foot on the park’s campgrounds. This intimate affair is still a hidden gem, but don’t be surprised if this little party gets a whole lot bigger by this time next year.