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

With CyHi the Prynce on the bill, Big K.R.I.T. shows fans why his moniker is much bigger than him

Big K.R.I.T.By Joseph Gray //

Big K.R.I.T. with CyHi the Prynce, Childish Major //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
April 19th, 2018 //

Big K.R.I.T. feels like an uncle.

Even though we are nearly the same age, the ambitious Mississippi rapper has always been unafraid when it comes to detailing his grief, mishaps and the veteran-like wisdom that he has soaked up along the way. And with the hope that his heartfelt vulnerability and growth can produce some good energy for his fans, the “King Remembered in Time” displayed why his moniker is much bigger than him.

Freed from his major-label frustrations after leaving Def Jam Recordings in 2016, Big K.R.I.T. appeared to be at ease when he took the stage in LA at Echoplex last Thursday as part of his “Heavy Is the Crown” tour that spans six weeks and 29 U.S. cities.

The show began with feel-good, Southern sets from emcee/producer Childish Major, who co-starred with energetic hip-hop duo EarthGang, and CyHi the Prince, who took us on a lyrical trip to the streets and the tabernacle.

CyHi the Prynce


CyHi the Prynce

But the sold-out crowd knew this was Big K.R.I.T.’s night, and he showed why the same uncle who will pull you aside for guidance is also often the same one dancing, smiling and serving as the life of the party whenever family gets together.

This duality is fitting coming on the heels of his 2017 LP, the double-sided 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time. While the first half of the album (entitled Big K.R.I.T.) brims with trunk-rattling confidence, the other (named Justin Scott) soulfully touches upon his battles with anxiety, contradictions and fame.

At Echoplex, we were treated to the “rapper” and the man himself as bass-heavy party starters like the title-track opener and “Confetti” from 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time got everyone hyped, while Atlanta’s T.I. came out to perform his verse on “Big Bank”. After singling out one excited fan, who was wearing a shirt with a giant picture of his face, during the easygoing “1999” and paying homage to Southern rap pioneers UGK, Big K.R.I.T. took the latter half of his hour-long set to connect with the crowd.

From his battles with alcoholism (as heard on “Drinking Sessions”) and inconsistency (from “Mixed Messages”) to his contrasting thoughts on religion (“Higher Calling”) and newfound clarity (“Bury Me in Gold”), a completely drenched Big K.R.I.T. painted a picture of his royal advancement — a positive one that he explained is not only meant to be a reminder for him, but also for us.

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.

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.

Goldenvoice reveals 2017 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2017

We’re already six weeks into 2017, and for many music fans residing in California, that means Coachella isn’t all that far away. But while much of the talk around this year’s lineup has been centered on Beyoncé’s debut and more recently her pregnant-with-twins news (the jury is still out on whether it will put a wrench in her plans to perform both weekends), Goldenvoice has turned a good portion of April into a long stretch of top-notch shows, similar to what Red Bull Sound Select has done in November with its month-long “30 Days in LA” series that last year included artists like Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), YG, Jhené Aiko, AlunaGeorge, Pusha T and Isaiah Rashad (look back at our coverage here).

Much like in 2016, Goldenvoice has once again released a list of sideshows that will take place at venues in the greater Los Angeles area, with a select few extending into Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Florida emcee Denzel Curry will kick off the festivities on Friday, April 7th at The Glass House before LA outfit Chicano Batman close things out at the same venue on Saturday, April 29th. In between those gigs, Sampha, Banks, Jack Garratt, Crystal Castles, Francis and the Lights, Bishop Briggs, SOHN, Oh Wonder, Future Islands, Little Dragon (with Sophie Tukker), The Head and the Heart, Joseph, Kaytranada, Banks & Steelz, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Nicolas Jaar, Car Seat Headrest (with Preoccupations), Bonobo, Mura Masa (with Kamaiyah), DJ Shadow, Breakbot, Blossoms, New Order (with Poliça), Hinds (with Twin Peaks), Bonobo, Galantis, Local Natives (with Tennis), S U R V I V E, The Avalanches, Glass Animals (with Little Dragon and/or Jagwar Ma), Empire of the Sun (with Broods), Tacocat, Bastille, Roisin Murphy, Whitney, Lil Uzi Vert, Mitski, Röyksopp, Future Islands, Pond (with Ezra Furman), Moderat, Swet Shop Boyz, Floating Points (Live), HONNE (with Arkells), Daphini, Jai Wolf, Guided by Voices and Phantogram will all perform — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Furthermore, British independent record label Young Turks will host a special showcase for its roster of artists with performances by Ben UFO, Four Tet, Francis and the Lights, Jamie xx, Kamaiyah, Sampha and special guest PNL in Palm Springs on Thursday, April 13th. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

It’s hard to believe that Goldenvoice has found a way to top their efforts from a year ago, but the renowned concert promoter has managed to do just that. This year’s Coachella sideshows are jam-packed with alternative-electronic and indie-rock acts, with Nicolas Jaar’s headlining performance at Pappy & Harriet’s alongside Floating Points (Live) and Pond as well as Future Islands’ date at The Glass House featuring support from Car Seat Headrest as two of the bigger highlights — and no doubt there are plenty on this bill. Yet, one of the most enticing pairings has to be the Glass Animals-Little Dragon-Jagwar Ma one that’s slated to take over the Santa Barbara Bowl, arguably our favorite venue in Southern California, on Saturday, April 23rd.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 17th at Noon PT with the rest of them available Friday, February 24th at Noon PT or Friday, March 3rd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Skipping FYF Fest? You can still see all these shows

2015 FYF sideshows

FYF Fest returns to the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park this August for its 12th edition with an amalgam of trending indie in tow. It’s also one of our eight music festivals taking place in California that you won’t want to miss before the end of 2015.

But if you’re not keen on catching headliners Frank Ocean and Morrissey yet still want to see sub headliners like Bloc Party or The Jesus and Mary Chain without shelling out $175 for a two-day GA pass (single-day passes have already sold out, by the way), well then, you’re in a bit of luck.

FYF and Goldenvoice have announced a series of sideshows around the festival’s August 22nd-23rd dates, which include performances by Toronto experimental hip-hop/post-bop trio BADBADNOTGOOD, Northeastern legendary alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. and even NorCal industrial hip-hop group Death Grips, who, if you can remember, broke up not all that long ago, reneging on an opportunity to tour with 90’s rock heavyweights Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden last summer.

The sideshows start later this month, with LA’s own HEALTH kicking things off at The Echo before London-based post-punk revival band Savages finish the run off with a headlining gig at The Roxy on August 26th. It’s worth noting, however, that none of the sideshows will take place over the weekend of FYF, much like what Goldenvoice does in April by booking high-profile shows in and around Coachella’s two weekends.

Tickets for the sideshows go on sale at FYFpresents.com this Friday, July 10th at 10 a.m.


Here is the schedule for the festival’s upcoming sideshows with links to purchase tickets:

July 24th: HEALTH at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 19th: Bloc Party at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: The Jesus and Mary Chain with A Place to Bury Strangers at The Fonda Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: Bloc Party at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 20th: METZ at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: BadBadNotGood with Show Me the Body at The Regent Theater // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: NAILS at Echoplex // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: The Drums with Froth at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Lower Dens with Empress Of at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

August 21st: Dinosaur Jr. at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 25th: Death Grips at Glasshouse // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: Savages at The Roxy Theatre // BUY TICKETS

August 26th: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at The Echo // BUY TICKETS

2015 FYF Fest lineup

Culture Collide Festival invades SF, LA with talent far and wide

Culture CollideBy Marc Fong and Josh Herwitt //

Culture Collide Festival //
Various venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles
October 14th-15th in SF; October 16th-18th in LA //

Culture Collide Festival stopped off in SF for the first time ever before making its way down to LA last weekend, bringing bands from around the globe to celebrate music, food and well, culture, of course. With U.S. headliners Cloud Nothings and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah leading the way, the festival also boasted plenty of international talent, from Israel’s SKYROADS to Colombia’s Quantic. Marc Fong hit up the festival in SF and Josh Herwitt was in LA to give their own takes on a dozen different acts.

Rock N Roll Radio


Rock N Roll Radio

Rock N Roll Radio (Korea): Though the vocals were a bit muffled and its English was rough, this Korean band communicated fun in the most basic of ways — through catchy, poppy riffs.

Go Back to the Zoo (Netherlands): The lyrics were a little repetitive, but their melodies were strong and soulful. Think early Kings of Leon.

Kamp! (Poland): Kamp!’s synth-heavy songs were fun, yet mellow, making for a slow ride into the night at the Elbo Room.

SKYROADS (Israel): Of Monsters and Men meet Freelance Whales. A little rough around the edges, this band has a strong radio sound, plus an amazing performance. Don’t be surprised to see and hear more from SKYROADS in the near future.

Everyone Is Dirty (USA): Gritty tunes from a gritty band by way of Oakland. They sound like garage rockers but with a lot of flare, great vocals and most notably, some kick-ass violin playing.

Cloud Nothings


Cloud Nothings

Cloud Nothings (USA): Cleveland pop-punk outfit Cloud Nothings brought a grisly sound to The Chapel with catchy hooks and fun, crunchy riffs. If you haven’t checked out their latest album Here and Nowhere Else (read our review here) yet, you should.

Nervous Nellie (Sweden): This four-piece out of Stockholm brought some fun indie-rock tunes from its Scandinavian homeland.

Beat Connection (USA): Reminiscent of early M83, these four guys from Seattle offered a fun way to fade into the night and close out the SF edition of the fest.

De Lux (USA): Fans of this burgeoning LA act got their weekend started early in Echo Park, moving and grooving to a funky set chock full of post-disco, dance-punk cuts that have drawn comparisons (and rightfully so) to Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. After releasing their debut LP Voyage in April to much fanfare, Glendale natives Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco appear to have a promising career ahead of them.

(Denmark): Dropping their debut album No Mythologies to Follow in March, Karen Marie Ørsted and her sidekicks electrified the Echoplex with one electropop hook after another during their nearly hour-long show. It should be only a matter of time before the 26-year-old singer-songwriter is selling out venues all across the country. Her growing popularity, in fact, could very well skyrocket following her performance with Iggy Azalea on Saturday Night Live this month.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (USA): After revolutionizing independent music in the mid-2000s thanks to the interwebs, the Philly-based group has endured quite a few changes. Frontman Alec Ounsworth remains the only original member still in the band, and for all intents and purposes, it is clearly his band at this point. But the recent release of their fourth full-length album — and a relatively lackluster one — Only Run has CYHSY living off many of their earlier hits that once earned the attention of legends like David Bowie and David Byrne back in 2005.

Quantic (Colombia): Multi-instrumentalist, DJ and record producer Will Holland may be one of music’s biggest hidden talents. As one of Holland’s most prolific projects, Quantic pulls from a variety of styles, including cumbia, salsa, bossa nova, soul, funk and jazz, while the UK native works his way from one instrument to the next (his current arsenal includes guitar, bass, double bass, saxophone, accordion, piano, organ and various percussion instruments). Inside the diminutive and sweaty Echo Park United Methodist Church, Holland and his ensemble got some eager fans out of their seats just seconds after taking the stage. Though Holland said it would be Quantic’s last show for some time, they won over at least a few new fans that night, too.