A sold-out crowd at Hollywood Palladium propels Local Natives to new heights in their hometown

Local NativesBy Zach Bourque //

Local Natives with Middle Kids //
Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles
June 22nd, 2019 //

Hometown indie heroes Local Natives packed the Hollywood Palladium to its capacity while on tour in support of their fourth studio album Violet Street. Selling out the venue is a pretty rare achievement that’s often reserved for more popular acts such as LCD Soundsystem and Nine Inch Nails, but low and behold, the local boys made it happen with Middle Kids on the bill as the evening’s opener.

A brand-name indie show on a weekend night normally draws a big crowd in LA, but this one proved to be even grander. By the time Local Natives took the stage around 10 p.m., there was nary a space to stand unless you were camping out through Middle Kids’ exceptional opening set. The Aussie rockers have been making a name for themselves on the festival circuit of late, and they did a fine job filling up the Palladium’s expansive floor. With Hannah Joy cementing the power trio’s sound on guitar and vocals, it was a performance that seemed to catch many spectators off guard. Middle Kids’ songs possess the perfect amount of 90’s nostalgia to keep things catchy while remaining unpretentious and accessible, so expect big things from them in the future.

Middle Kids


Middle Kids

Local Natives, subsequently, began with “Vogue” off Violet Street before cranking up the heat during fan favorite “Sun Hands” from their 2009 debut LP Gorilla Manor. Midway through the tune, Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar) launched himself into a sea of arms in what appeared to be a joyful exercise, which apparently didn’t bother the ecstatic crowd that was pressed up against the barricade. The harmonies didn’t stop with the quintet’s vocals either, as fans experienced a 21-song set that ebbed and flowed between old hits and new sounds with relative ease. Even more, material from all four Local Natives records coalesced into one fluid live experience that put the exceptional musicianship of Rice, Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keyboards, percussion, guitar), Ryan Hahn (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Matt Frazier (drums) and Nik Ewing (bass, keyboards, vocals) on full display.

The band’s subdued lighting setup let the music do the talking and echoed its simple formula for success. Sometimes three amazing vocalists singing in harmony is all that you need to sell out a 5,000-person theater. While Local Natives haven’t taken a whole lot of risks over the last decade, including on the 10-track Violet Street, they still know how to hit you right in the feels every time. Nonetheless, time will tell which room they can sell out next. Here goes nothing …

Setlist:
Vogue
Sun Hands
You & I (extended intro)
Shy
Ceilings
I Saw You Close Your Eyes
Coins
Megaton Mile
Someday Now
Heavy Feet
Past Lives
Fountain of Youth
Café Amarillo
Airplanes
Wide Eyes
Garden of Elysian
Dark Days
When Am I Gonna Lose You

Encore:
Gulf Shores
Tap Dancer
Who Knows, Who Cares

Deafheaven continue their evolution at The Wiltern

DeafheavenBy Zach Bourque //

Deafheaven with Drab Majesty, Uniform //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
August 18th, 2018 //

Bay Area black metal genre benders Deafheaven stopped through The Wiltern last Saturday in support of their latest album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. Echoing the band’s newly evolved sound were two unique openers that each brought something fresh to the table.

New York industrial-punk duo Uniform took the stage first, with the band’s striking logo of a crucifix intersected by a sickle serving as its backdrop. If that’s not “goth,” then I don’t know what is. The two-piece act composed of guitarist Ben Greenberg and vocalist Michael Berden belted out fast, energetic punk with an industrial twist. Adding to the overall experience was a live drummer who did his best imitation of a drum machine. What a time to be alive. While the venue was still mostly empty at this point in the night, Uniform undoubtedly made their mark on everyone in attendance with a startling sound that left a mark — even if it wasn’t to everyone’s liking.

Drab Majesty couldn’t have been more of a tone shift from the aggression of Uniform. Donning white face paint and platinum blonde wigs, the LA duo made up by Deb Demure and Mona D filled The Wiltern with a dense, 80’s-inspired new wave sound that remained dark and gothic. Drab Majesty were shrouded by giant flumes of fog throughout most of their set, which fueled an already dream-like atmosphere that felt at once out of place and right at home opening for Deafheaven. Slower tracks like “39 By Design” off their 2017 sophomore LP The Demonstration sounded particularly incredible live with The Wiltern’s high ceiling.

Uniform


Uniform

Few bands have evolved with the confidence of Deafheaven. What began as a twosome consisting of vocalist George Clarke and guitarist Kerry McCoy has grown into a nearly undefinable force in heavy music that has gained popularity and notoriety worldwide. Deafheaven’s second album Sunbather in 2013 made many throughout the black metal community blush with its trademark bright pink cover art and quite a few unorthodox elements sonically, including post-rock ambience and emotional lyricism.

Fortunately, Deafheaven haven’t bowed to convention or criticism. Their fourth studio album Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, which ANTI‐ released last month, is their arguably their most experimental to date, spanning more than an hour over seven songs. There’s a sense of angst and nostalgia in the music that leans far more positive and hopeful than their previous work. There are still echoes of black metal at times, but you can feel this is a band that’s embracing its differences instead of defending them.

Seeing Deafheaven live reinforces that notion. While vocalist George Clarke still dresses the part in all black with black gloves, sunflowers were placed carefully all across the stage and home movies played in the background. Clarke himself appeared liberated onstage as he ran around and banged his head with a newfound energy in sharp contrast to his rigid and stoic look from years past.

Drab Majesty


Drab Majesty

A headlining show at The Wiltern is nothing to sneeze at, and this particular one most likely marked Deafheaven’s biggest LA show to date. Fortunately, the venue’s early vacancies were filled by the time Deafheaven stepped onstage. The fans were just as eclectic as the opening acts, with a mixed crowd ranging from goths to hipsters and everyone in between.

Furthermore, it’s hard to call an eight-song setlist short when each song is nearly 10 minutes long. Fortunately, Deafheaven spread the love evenly across their catalog on this night before the quintet capped things off with a monster encore that concluded with fan favorite “Dream House” off Sunbather.

Few artists or bands could pull together to create such a unique lineup like this one, and it was refreshing to see a metal outfit such as Deafheaven take a chance on Drab Majesty and Uniform. It was a gig that had something for everyone, one that stood as a metaphor for the band’s evolution and the scope of its fan base. With an upcoming show at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown on October 19th, Deafheaven won’t be making their Southern California fans wait too much longer for another taste.

DEAFHEAVEN

Setlist:
Honeycomb
Canary Yellow
Sunbather
Brought to the Water
Worthless Animal

Encore:
You Without End
From the Kettle Onto the Coil
Dream House

DRAB MAJESTY

Setlist:
Induction
Dot in the Sky
39 by Design
Kissing the Ground
Not Just a Name
Too Soon to Tell
Cold Souls

The unusual pairing of Glassjaw & Quicksand at the Observatory OC proves to be fruitful for both bands

Glassjaw


Glassjaw

By Zach Bourque //

Glassjaw & Quicksand //
Observatory OC – Santa Ana, CA
July 20th, 2018 //

Last Friday, fans flocked to the Observatory OC for a night of legendary post-hardcore with Glassjaw and Quicksand co-headlining. The unusual pairing seemed odd on paper, but the more you look at the two side by side, the more you start to see their important similarities.

And though Quicksand reached peak popularity in the mid-90’s while Glassjaw’s rise came later during the mid-2000’s, both bands were trailblazers within the genre, with Quicksand virtually inventing it and Glassjaw redefining it.

Both outfits also hail from New York and were inspired by the local hardcore scene in their own unique ways, shaped largely by the music of their perspective times. While Quicksand took cues from the grunge scene, Glassjaw found inspiration in the emo scene that came to prominence in the 2000’s.

Glassjaw and Quicksand, furthermore, were in town fresh off the release of their newest LPs from 2017. Quicksand’s Interiors stands as arguably their finest record yet, marking 22 years since their last full-length effort. Glassjaw’s powerhouse return entitled Material Control, in the meantime, was released quietly and without fanfare but quickly built hype as one of the year’s best releases. For both acts, the albums were fantastic reminders of their own unique styles that remain unprecedented to this day.

What the groups didn’t share in common on this warm evening in Santa Ana, though, was a fan base. There was a very noticeable age gap between audience members, one that was felt the second you entered the parking lot. A crowd of late 20-somethings could be seen — and heard — tailgating and blasting Glassjaw while Quicksand got into their hour-and-a-half set around 8 p.m.

Inside the venue, unenthused Glassjaw fans lined the walls as they waited for the band’s 10 p.m. set time. It was certainly a disappointing sight considering how influential Quicksand were to the post-hardcore genre and because of how truly incredible their performance was when looking back at it.

Quicksand


Quicksand

Glassjaw and Quicksand have alternated headlining spots on this tour, and while Quicksand played first for this particular show, it didn’t seem to affect their spirits. The quartet sounded incredibly tight and full of energy. For every Glassjaw fan who was waiting it out with a beer, there were two Quicksand fans surrounding the packed stage.

Quicksand played an eclectic set from their catalog that spans nearly 30 years, including plenty of tracks off Interiors such as “Illuminant”. As the group kicked into their final few songs, vocalist/guitarist Walter Schreifels shouted “get ready to bang the fuck out of your heads,” and with that, the crowd immediately followed orders. Schreifels, toward the end, even took a seat behind the drum kit for a final jam session with Quicksand/Deftones bass player Sergio Vega.

As the sea of Glassjaw fans started to fill in the various levels of the Observatory’s floor, you could feel the room’s energy building. Everyone appeared to be pretty psyched for what they were about to witness. In general, few bands have as much of a passionate cult following as Glassjaw, and their two-year hiatus from 2004-2005 only increased the enthusiasm that was emanating from inside the venue. As lead vocalist Daryl Palumbo came out of the shadows and grabbed the mic, the floor erupted.

Glassjaw’s show covered their entire discography, and very few fan favorites were left off the setlist. While it was to be expected that newer tunes like “Shira” and “New White Extremity” would rock, it was staggering how well their older songs held up in a live setting. Palumbo’s voice, though slightly less manic than it once was, is still unmatched in its vocal range and shear intensity.

Older Glassjaw tracks like “Tip Your Bartender” and “Two Tabs of Mescaline”, meanwhile, sounded as sharp as ever. The instrumentation was similarly top-notch with bassist Travis Sykes serving as the catalyst for the group’s evolved sound on Material Control, which was released in December. But to close out their 17-song set, these Long Islanders delivered an explosive performance of “Siberian Kiss” from 2000’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence.

Having the chance to see Glassjaw and Quicksand share the stage is something that we’re likely never going to get again. And for those of us who drove down to Orange County from LA, we can only hope and pray to see more from both after what proved to be one hell of an experience for us.

GLASSJAW

Setlist:
Cut and Run
Tip Your Bartender
You Think You’re (John Fucking Lennon)
Pink Roses
Jesus Glue
Mu Empire
The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports
New White Extremity
Shira
Citizen
Strange Hours
Two Tabs of Mescaline
Bibleland 6
El Mark
Closer
My Conscience Weighs a Ton
Siberian Kiss

QUICKSAND

Setlist:
Freezing Process
Head to Wall
Brown Gargantuan
Omission
Backward
Illuminant
Warm and Low
Fazer
Blister
Shovel
Cosmonauts
Too Official
Multiverse
Unfulfilled
Thorn in My Side
Dine Alone
Delusional
Landmine Spring
Delusional
Jam (Sergio Vega on bass with Walter Schreifels on drums)

Soulwax make up for lost time with a wild LA show

SoulwaxBy Zach Bourque //

Soulwax with Rory Phillips //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
April 19th, 2018 //

Soulwax have always been an elusive force in music. The Belgian electronic group, led by brothers David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele, has remained relatively hush over the past decade or so, particularly in North America.

Fabled performances at both the 2008 and 2010 editions of HARD Summer Music Festival in LA helped Soulwax’s live instrumentation and unconventional style stand out amid a sea of standard rave acts. The Dewaele brothers would occasionally stop by performing mashup DJ sets under the guise 2manydjs, but for the select few that caught one of those early Soulwax shows, it was the stuff of legends.

In 2016, the group debuted a new live setup, which went by the name of “Soulwax Transient Program for Drums and Machinery”, and this month it returned to the U.S. for two weekends at Coachella (read our festival review here). Fortunately for us (and San Francisco), Soulwax decided to bless our cities with side shows in between festival weekends. Last Thursday they invaded The Fonda Theatre for a sold-out affair that would further cement their live legacy in Southern California.

Their mammoth stage setup looked in part much like a mobile recording studio, engulfing the stage with more metal than a “Transformers” movie. But it actually starts to make more sense once you realize that their new album From Deewee was recorded in one 48-minute take using the same live stage setup. Given the entire rig’s sheer size, it was hardly a surprise that opener Rory Phillips was relegated to a nook off to the side due to the shear lack of space available.

Soulwax

Phillips’ upbeat and unpretentious set provided appropriate background music while the rabid crowd awaited Soulwax, and what a crowd it was. With the majority of the audience members looking like they just stumbled out of Coachella’s Sahara Tent, it was a notably inebriated collection of folks that broke new ground for a Thursday night.

Yes, in fact, we’re talking public nudity, incessant vomiting and more people stumbling to the exit than a San Andreas earthquake. For those who actually remembered the show though, it was one for the books.

While Soulwax’s recorded music has always been perfectly enjoyable, in person it becomes something else entirely. Their new, three-drummer lineup was the ideal format to hear new tracks like “Is It Always Binary” while giving older tracks such as “KracK” a newly textured and complex sound. Sitting stage right, drummer Victoria Smith, for one, offered the group some serious personality thanks to her animated facial expressions.

Soulwax capped things off with “E Talking” from 2005’s Nite Versions and “NY Excuse” off 2004’s Any Minute Now before snapping fans back into reality for their journey home. While their return to LA proved to be a highly memorable experience for those fortunate enough to share a spot inside the packed venue, we just hope that it won’t be another years-long hiatus before they return to the states.

Setlist:
No Drums (intro)
Do You Want to Get Into Trouble?
Essential 3
KracK
Is It Always Binary
Missing Wires
Conditions of a Shared Belief
Heaven Scent
Transient Program for Drums and Machinery
Essential 5
Another Excuse
Glass
The Singer Has Become a Deejay
Here Come the Men in Suits
E Talking
Inward
Miserable Girl
NY Excuse

Encore:
Goodnight Transmission

Beach Slang make good on their promise in LA, punching us in our ‘big, dumb heart’ at Echoplex

Beach SlangBy Zach Bourque //

Beach Slang with Dave Hause & The Mermaid //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
November 16th, 2017 //

“Hi, we’re Beach Slang and we’re here to punch you in your big, dumb heart.”

Philly punks Beach Slang cut a unique cloth within the genre. Their music is tinged with shades of country and Americana without going full-force Stagecoach. They’re emotional without the emo, angsty without the anger and loud without the shouting. They’re punk music at its most authentic: raw, real and full of life.

Echoplex on a Thursday night appeared to be an ideal and logical location for Beach Slang’s return to LA as part of their “A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings” tour. While most shows at the Echo Park venue border on claustrophobia, the lighter-than-usual crowd was both a pleasant surprise and a head-scratcher. Was this really the extent of the band’s fan base in LA? Finding a place close to the stage was refreshingly easy, which made the evening’s opening course all the more enjoyable.

Dave Hause & The Mermaid


Dave Hause & The Mermaid

Doubling down on the Americana trend this night was fellow Philly punk rocker Dave Hause. Backed by his band The Mermaid, the singer-songwriter who is now based in Santa Barbara had a surprisingly robust fan presence, many of whom provided backing vocals throughout his set. With a fantastic cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” serving as a standout track from his set, Hause put on a great show and certainly gained a few new fans within the less-than-packed house.

Despite getting their gear stolen in Austin just days before, Beach Slang arrived ready to rock. With his now-ubiquitous ruffled suit and shag of hair, frontman James Alex remains a unique figure onstage. Crooning into a microphone wrapped in flowers, Alex’s vocals filled the room with his trademark gruff energy. The group tore into an eclectic set with nary a hiccup despite their new, unfamiliar instruments. Highlights included “Wasted Daze of Youth” and “Punks in a Disco Bar” along with … wait for it, a rousing rendition of Santana’s “Smooth” featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty.

While the show wasn’t sold out, those who made it out definitely got an intimate fix of Beach Slang. With their unmatched energy and peerless sound, they will undoubtedly be a favorite of many for some time to come.

Touché Amoré bring it back home to LA, headlining two intimate nights at Teragram Ballroom

Touché AmoréBy Zach Bourque //

Touché Amoré with City of Caterpillar, Thou //
Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles
October 18th, 2017 //

Los Angeles post-hardcore native sons Touché Amoré returned home to play two nights of deep cuts at the Teragram Ballroom as part of their first club tour in years. Despite several local appearances supporting Thursday and Rise Against at larger venues like The Wiltern, the band hasn’t done a small headlining tour in quite some time. With no barricade at the front of the stage and a wide-open floor plan, the Teragram Ballroom proved to be a fitting location for Touché’s return to LA last Wednesday.

While Tuesday’s show (and the other tour dates) featured support from Single Mothers and Gouge Away, the following night’s bill was a rather unique one. Opening things were Baton Rouge metal act Thou as well as recently reunited, screamo cult favorites City of Caterpillar, the latter of which were back on the road after nearly 15 years removed from the stage.

With their slow, calculated doom metal, Thou were a heavy and fulfilling first course. The group was shrouded in a suitably dim stage setup and managed to capture the attention of everyone in the room despite many seemingly unaware of where this beast crawled in from. Drawing from 10-plus years of material, they filled their set time with ease, though that only amounted to a handful of songs when you factor in the band’s particularly long songs.

Touché Amoré

A decade and a half away did little to dull the sound for City of Caterpillar, as their remarkable set certainly lived up to the hype. While they have more than 15 years of studio material at this point, the foursome tore through a nearly hour-long set that featured tracks off their self-titled 2002 LP and a few other albums, including their newly recording epic Driving Spain Up a Wall. The jury is still out as to whether we’ll have to wait another 15 years before CoC tours again, so needless to say, this was a special one.

Over their relatively brief existence since 2008, Touché Amoré have amassed an impressively rabid fan base. This is due in large part to the band constantly touring, but also because of its frenzied, intense live shows. Frontman Jeremy Bolm is a force to be reckoned with, and it only becomes that much more apparent when Touché perform in a small venue like the Teragram. The band wasted no time plowing through three songs from their debut LP …To the Beat of a Dead Horse in rapid succession. Bolm noted that smaller venues have offered the band more freedom with its setlists, and Touché tapped into plenty of older songs while mixing in some newer songs like “Palm Dreams” and “Flower and You” off their latest album Stage Four. The audience rarely stopped moving throughout their set, and many fans were eager to get up as close to the stage as they could to be a part of the action.

When you tour as broadly and universally as Touché Amore have over the past couple of years, a pair of small hometown shows means something. Factor in Wednesday’s special support from City of Caterpillar and Thou, and it was all the makings for a truly once-in-a-lifetime show. Bolm was well aware of this fact, and appeared to be both humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to be a part of something so special. Looking around the venue after the dust settled and the show ended, I think everyone in the room shared that same sentiment.

No matter what their band’s name is, JR JR are still a well-oiled, indie-pop machine

JR JRBy Zach Bourque //

JR JR //
The Echo – Los Angeles
May 25th, 2017 //

The band that at one time went by the name of a retiring NASCAR driver headlined The Echo for an intimate performance in LA last Thursday. Although its genre can be hard to pin down as it floats somewhere between electronic, indie and pop, it’s difficult to dispute JR JR’s shear power of infectious charm, which was on full display inside the packed Echo Park venue.

Formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr., Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein made a name for themselves back in 2011 with their debut full length It’s a Corporate World on Warner Bros. Records. Their fresh sound drew attention from the indie scene and LA public radio station KCRW but never seemed to find the mainstream audience that their music deserved. When it was announced back in 2015 that they had downsized (besides the capital letters) their name to JR JR, a move that coincided with the release of their third album, the Detroit duo managed to crack the charts and gain some radio play on stations like KROQ with its single “Gone”.

The crowd inside The Echo, which was packed to nauseating claustrophobia, was a wonderful melting pot that represented the band’s broad appeal. Hipsters brushed elbows with industry executives as they attempted to make their way to the bar. Closer to the stage, 20-somethings danced and sang along to “Gone” as did a few old-timers who we imagine might have been related to some of the band members.

JR JR

Zott and Epstein are both wonderfully eccentric figures onstage, as Zott’s side ponytail afro jives perfectly with Epstein’s auto-tuned vocals that are performed via a telephone receiver. Plus, the two have no shortage of charming banter in between songs, and you can tell they have been playing music together for quite some time.

While the short set was used to essentially “focus group” new material from their upcoming album, JR JR were able to sneak in a few oldies like “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dancefloor)”. The group also donated a portion of each ticket to a non-profit named JED, which helps bring light to the emotional health of teens and young adults. Epstein had several stories regarding his own struggles with anxiety and depression, but none of them that we heard ever shifted the tone off too far away from the group’s ubiquitous positivity.

It’s hard to imagine JR JR’s momentum letting up anytime soon. It’s been a slow crawl for the group, but it appears that the word is finally out and we anticipate big things from their next LP. And to think that all along, the biggest detriment to the group’s success might have come from Dale Earnhardt himself. Long live JR JR.

Pallbearer, Gatecreeper fill Echoplex with plenty of doom & gloom in their return to LA

Pallbearer


Pallbearer

By Zach Bourque //

Pallbearer with Gatecreeper //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
May 18th, 2017 //

Doom-metal giants Pallbearer stormed into LA’s Echoplex last Thursday in support of their latest album Heartless with support from Gatecreeper. If the names listed on the bill didn’t already scream “metal night,” the pit of black in front of the stage certainly sealed the deal.

Not everyone seemed to have gotten the message, however. A couple donning formal business attire wandered in off the street, leaving shortly after the doorman was unable to break a $100 bill. “You do realize this is metal night, right?” the doorman asked the couple as it swiftly left the venue under the cover of darkness.

With the notable exception of seeing someone in a three-piece suit at a heavy metal show, the night’s biggest surprise came from Arizona’s Gatecreeper. Vocalist Chase Mason was every bit the death-metal archetype, complete with black, waist-long hair and a guttural howl that hits you right in the plums. The group’s speed paid dues in the pit, which erupted midway through the set for periodic fits of moshing.

While many in the crowd were there exclusively for Pallbearer, Gatecreeper surprisingly had their own robust group of fans in attendance who never missed a chance to let everyone else know precisely who they were. The four-piece may not be breaking new ground in the genre, but nonetheless, it was incredibly solid live and certainly scratched the death-metal itch for those willing to indulge.

Gatecreeper


Gatecreeper

Hailing from Little Rock, Ark., Pallbearer took the stage shortly before 11 p.m. and couldn’t be more of a 180-degree turn from Gatecreeper. The band takes great pride in its doom roots and fully embraces the slow pace and clean vocals that the subgenre rewards.

As good as Pallbearer’s material sounds on their records, especially with the near-perfect production on Heartless, seeing them live is something else entirely. Despite only having seven tracks, the new album runs nearly an hour long, taking listeners on a sonic journey from one minute to the next. Pallbearer’s staid doom sound has continued to grow more mature and varied, and you can really get a sense of that seeing them perform live.

Pallbearer’s technical chops pair very nicely with lead singer/guitarist Brett Campbell’s killer voice, which sounds familiar and fresh. Meanwhile, the group’s collective sound really feels timeless — one that pays tribute to the doom bands that inspired them, and at the same time, one that remains accessible for a wide swath of metal fans.

Whether you dig your vocals screamed or serenaded, there was something for everyone at a packed Echoplex on this night. With an upcoming tour in support of Gojira, Pallbearer will return to Southern California soon to play the House of Blues Anaheim on August 5th.

On a night full of metalcore, Every Time I Die upstage Beartooth at The Regent Theater

Every Time I Die


Every Time I Die

By Zach Bourque //

Beartooth with Every Time I Die, Fit for a King, Old Wounds //
The Regent Theater – Los Angeles
October 12th, 2016 //

Metalcore veterans Every Time I Die dropped by The Regent Theater in support of their new album Low Teens, which they released in September. Despite their extensive résumé and massive fan base, ETID was actually not the headliner. Instead, marquee duties were left to Columbus metalcore outfit Beartooth, whose disparate appeal was reflected dramatically throughout the course of the night. Opening sets came from Old Wounds and Fit for a King.

If you randomly showed up at The Regent without any knowledge of who was performing, there was a good chance you would have assumed that Every Time I Die was the headliner. My own completely unscientific survey showed at least one in three attendees were donning ETID shirts, an overwhelming number that was highlighted in the massive pit that formed in front of the stage.

With the exception of ETID’s recent appearance on the Warped Tour, it’s been years since the Buffalo band last played in LA. And the excitement in the room was tangible as Keith Buckley (vocals), Jordan Buckley (guitar), Andy Williams (guitar), Stephen Micciche (bass) and Daniel Davison (drums) hit the stage around 8:30 p.m.

With nearly 20 years of material to dig through, the rambunctious five-piece wasted no time running through the hits during their 45-minute set. Classics like “Ebolarama” and “The New Black” were coupled with Lower Teens tracks like “The Coin Has a Say” and “It Remembers”, the latter of which featuring Panic! at the Disco vocalist Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.

Beartooth


Beartooth

It was a loud, fast and intense set that made fantastic use of The Regent’s lack of a barricade between the crowd and the stage. Fans stage dived non-stop throughout their performance in what made for an interesting night for those close enough to experience the wrath of it.

While ETID’s set was nothing short of phenomenal, no moment defined the night quite like the second they left the stage, which seemingly saw two-thirds of the entire crowd dissipate the floor and walk out the venue’s doors.

Needless to say, it was a different story for Beartooth. The collective age of the crowd was reduced at least 10 years, with many looking like they just came from band practice in high school. Beartooth’s set was polished, produced and worthy of being included in a Hot Topic playlist. Fans appeared to dig it, though vocalist Caleb Shomo noticed a distinct drop-off in energy compared to ETID’s explosive show.

Given their huge following, it’s a head-scratcher why ETID decided to be on this tour. At any rate, we’re thrilled they’re still with us and amazed that their music continues to improve at an almost alarming rate. Let’s just hope for a headlining set next time.

EVERY TIME I DIE

Setlist:
Glitches
We’rewolf
Ebolarama
Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space
Thirst
Decayin’ With the Boys
Petal
Bored Stiff
C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)
The New Black
Floater
It Remembers (with Brendon Urie)
The Coin Has a Say
No Son of Mine
Map Change

Foals unite all walks of life at Hollywood Palladium

FoalsBy Zach Bourque //

Foals with Bear Hands, Kiev //
Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles
September 27th, 2016 //

Of all the seven days in a week, Tuesday might be the least exciting. We go to work, grab a bite to eat and go to bed.

But when UK rockers Foals come into town, things change. Bros get stoked, beers get drunk and fans get pumped. This exact course of events went down last Tuesday at the Hollywood Palladium for the band’s return to Los Angeles after a raucous performance in Oakland the night before (see our photos from the show here).

Few bands bring out such an eclectic cross section of a city like Foals. While the majority in attendance seemed to be irresponsible USC students, old-timers, high schoolers, hipsters and average Joe’s all made an appearance despite the fall heat. The variety was no fluke. Foals are a band that transcend expectations — a commercial indie-rock band whose appeal is equal parts KROQ and KCRW.

Opening duties came from Orange County’s Kiev, who were missed due to traffic, followed by Brooklyn’s Bear Hands. Instead of telling you what genre Bear Hands’ music fits under, it’s probably more efficient to tell you what they’re not. They’re not metal, they’re not country and they’re definitely not gospel.

Bear Hands


Bear Hands

Needless to say, Bear Hands were all over the map on this night. Rap vocals? Check. Catchy keyboards? Check. Each song sounded different than the next, which proved to be equally refreshing and infuriating. It was like they set out to chronicle the musical progression of today’s culture starting with Limp Bizkit and ending with Imagine Dragons.

This “throw everything at the wall and see what fits” worked to a certain degree for Bear Hands. Their music remained genuinely interesting to hear throughout their set, and the foursome definitely had the chops to handle a venue the size of the Palladium. Ultimately though, Bear Hands never coalesced into something extraordinary.

If the line outside the venue after Bear Hands was any indication, many skipped the opening acts entirely in anticipation of the main course. Around 9:50 p.m., Foals took the stage and quickly got everyone’s feet moving with an instrumental prelude and the hard-rocking track “Snake Oil” off their latest release What Went Down. The band’s range was exhausted in full effect throughout their set as they transitioned into catchy, dance-friendly tracks such as “My Number” and slower tracks like “Give It All”.

Foals closed out their rambunctious set with a killer take on the title track “What Went Down” that brought lead singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis diving into the crowd, giving fans one hell of a selfie and proving their rock credentials for good. After all, any band that can unite 20-something bros with 50-something grandparents gets a gold star in our book. Rock brings people together, and those who made it out to see this unicorn of a band won’t live to regret it.

Setlist:
Prelude
Snake Oil
Olympic Airways
My Number
Providence
Give It All
Mountain at My Gates
Spanish Sahara
Red Socks Pugie
Late Night
A Knife in the Ocean
Inhaler

Encore:
What Went Down
Two Steps, Twice

Taste of Chaos closes out its 2016 tour in SoCal offering a sweaty, giddy blast through the past

Taste of Chaos - Saosin


Saosin

By Zach Bourque //

Taste of Chaos //
San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, CA
July 16th, 2016 //

Fans of all walks of life packed into San Bernardino’s San Manual Amphitheater last Saturday for the final date on Rockstar’s 2016 Taste of Chaos Tour. For the uninitiated, Taste of Chaos is an internationally recognized brand that garnered huge popularity throughout much of the late 2000’s, making a name for itself with live tours that spanned the globe from Australia to America. With lineups featuring some of the biggest names in emo, hardcore and punk, the festivals quickly gained a reputation as something of an alternative Warped Tour, giving fans across the globe a chance to see acts they’d otherwise never get the chance to experience.

Though the tour called it quits in 2010, Taste of Chaos returned in 2015 for a one-off, sold-out festival date at San Manual featuring genre stalwarts like Thrice and The Used among others. It was a resounding success. One year later, the tour has now grown into a gargantuan, 37-city trek for 2016. The exponential growth speaks volumes to the rekindled interest in the genre, not to mention the prospect for some serious cash money for all parties involved.

Last Saturday was a special date on the tour. Not only did it close out Taste of Chaos for 2016, but it gave organizers the chance to expand the tour into a proper festival, much like the year before. Half a dozen additional acts were added, all keeping in line with the brand’s ambition. The end result was a sweaty, giddy blast through the past celebrating all the music we’re still ashamed to appreciate.

Taste of Chaos - Taking Back Sunday


Taking Back Sunday

This year’s touring lineup of Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, Saosin and The Early November was joined by a variety of acts that ranged from 90’s post-hardcore pioneers Quicksand to pop-punk poster boys The Starting Line. Despite only having one stage for the entire roster of artists, festival organizers virtually eliminated changeover time with a unique lazy Susan-type setup that allowed the stage to rotate 180 degrees between sets, ensuring that a band was primed and ready to rock at all times.

Anytime you get a bunch of has-been bands together for a reunion show or tour, the results can be a bit unpredictable. Fortunately, nearly all of them sounded tight and well-rehearsed, with some bands like Saosin sounding the best they’ve ever had. Featuring its original singer Anthony Green of Circa Survive fame and fresh off the release of its latest studio album Along the Shadows, the post-hardcore outfit hailing from Newport Beach were incredible live, with Green possessing a manic energy onstage that other bands on the festival bill simply couldn’t compete with. Other notable highlights included a fan-favorite set from Taking Back Sunday and a refreshingly gritty performance from founding fathers Quicksand, who gained many new fans on this particular day.

While we’ll argue that charging $5 for a bottle of water is nothing short of appalling and that San Bernardino itself is a bit of a sweaty cesspool, the 2016 edition of Taste of Chaos was an undisputed success. You may not dig all the bands — and here’s looking at you Dashboard Confessional — but for fans of the genre, it’s tough to beat the total package that Taste of Chaos puts together. Here’s looking forward to 2017.

Moderat are the cure for the common DJ

ModeratBy Zach Bourque //

Moderat with Telefon Tel Aviv //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 26th, 2016 //

It’s difficult to accurately describe Moderat without dipping into superlatives. The innovative, groundbreaking Berlin-based supergroup has proven to be a modern antidote to EDM, with a fresh take on electronic music that reminds you why you started enjoying it in the first place.

The three-piece outfit hit The Fonda Theatre for a sold-out performance last Thursday ahead of its appearance at Lighting in a Bottle this past weekend. Support came from New Orleans-derived electronic music act Telefon Tel Aviv, now made up of former Nine Inch Nails touring member Joshua Eustis after the accidental death of bandmate Charles Cooper in 2009.

It’s no surprise that Moderat have made waves in the genre given their well-established roots in Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sascha Ring). What has been surprising, however, is their ability to step outside the conventions of both parent acts and craft something truly their own.

Much of this appeal stems from the ethereal vocals of Ring, whose presence stands to further elevate the group over the current crop of watch-me-press-play DJs in the EDM world. Coupled with the trio’s trippy, layered sound, Moderat are an electronic act that sound spectacular in a recording studio but become something else entirely when they perform live.

At The Fonda, the group wasted no time diving into a wonderfully varied setlist that featured old favorites like “Rusty Nails” and “Bad Kingdom” that were mixed in with newer tracks like “Running” off its 2016 release and third full-length album III.

Moderat

Moderat’s initially dark and subdued visual setup, meanwhile, shifted directions halfway through their set, exploding into a sea of light and color before finally giving the group the psychedelic backdrop it was born to play in front of.

Any sold-out show at The Fonda can be a daunting experience, but the eclectic crowd seemed surprisingly well-behaved, especially considering the show’s proximity to a holiday weekend. Credit goes to a refreshing lack of tank-topped EDM bros and a collective sense of appreciation and excitement for the event at hand, which speaks volumes to the merit of the group.

While we’ll stop short of calling all EDM music garbage, it’s certainly been an embarrassing blemish on electronic music as a whole, which makes it all the more refreshing to witness a live electronic set that puts the focus back on the music instead of the party.

Moderat can’t offer you bass drops, celebrity cameos or goofy costumes. What they can offer, though, is something way more valuable — electronic music that not only sounds awesome live, but would also be a great addition to your vinyl collection at home.

Take that, David Guetta.