Goldenvoice unveils 2019 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2019

Valentine’s Day is back, and even if you don’t have someone special to celebrate the occasion with this year, Goldenvoice is still giving you a reason to love live music in 2019.

As the 20th anniversary of Coachella approaches in less than two months, the famed concert promoter has once again revealed its latest list of April sideshows that will take place across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County, Santa Barbara County and the desert. There are even a few new venues — both big and small — that are hosting for the first time: Zebulon in the gentrifying LA neighborhood commonly known as “Frogtown,” La Santa Modern Cantina (or “La Santa” as locals call it) as well as the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, Chain Reaction in Anaheim and The Forum in Inglewood.

California punk rockers The Frights kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at The Glass House in Pomona on Saturday, April 6th before the action really ramps up just a few days later. That’s when the following acts will take the stage either inside or just outside of LA County:

Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala, Clairo, Blood Orange, Dennis Lloyd, Pusha T, Iceage & Shame, Yellow Days, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas), Smino, FKJ (with Ross From Friends), Jaden Smith (with SG Lewis), SALES, Mr Eazi, Charlotte Gainsbourg (with Steady Holiday), Playboi Carti, Bob Moses, Ross From Friends (billed, in this case, as the headliner), Ella Mai, The Messthetics, The Garden, BLACKPINK, HYUKOH, Turnover (with Turnstile), PARCELS (with Cola Boyy), KAYTRANADA, CHVRCHES, Mon Laferte, Khruangbin (with The Marías & Steady Holiday), Superorganism and Perfume. See the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Much like last year’s sideshows, there won’t be a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend as there was back in 2017. Nonetheless, there are still two TBA gigs scheduled for April 10th and 17th at The Roxy that we’ll have to await further word on.

Since 2012, Goldenvoice has made a point of capitalizing off its signature event by putting on more shows in and around Coachella — though the volume has started to drop more recently, with the number of sideshows this year down to 34 in comparison to 53 in 2018 and 62 in 2017. With 19 less in 2019, we can only surmise that Goldenvoice is still trying to find a “sweet spot” when it comes to the amount it organizes and promotes in support of the world-famous three-day, two-weekend music festival.

That said, Paul Tollett and company have still managed to give Southern California an eclectic roster that offers a little bit of everything, from lo-fi and indie rock to hip-hop and even K-pop. In fact, at first glance, here are the 2019 sideshows that stick out the most to us: Mac DeMarco at The Echo, Tame Impala at the Fox Theater Pomona, Blood Orange at The Roxy, Pusha T at The Novo, Hop Along & Soccer Mommy (with Las Robertas) at the El Rey Theatre, Bob Moses at The Glass House, PARCELS (with Cola Boyy) at The Fonda Theatre, Khruangbin (with The Marías and Steady Holiday) at Pappy & Harriet’s and Superorganism at The Roxy, which will have a show practically every night during the eight-day run.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 15th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 22nd at Noon PT or Friday, March 1st at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Goldenvoice announces 2018 Coachella sideshows

Goldenvoice Presents: April 2018

It’s Valentine’s Day, so what could be a better way to celebrate love — or least your love for live music — than with a whole slew of newly announced shows?

Well, with Coachella’s 19th edition just a couple of months away, Goldenvoice has done it again, assembling another massive list of April sideshows at various venues all across the greater Los Angeles landscape, including some in Orange County (at The Observatory and Constellation Room), Santa Barbara County (at the Santa Barbara Bowl and The Arlington Theatre) and the desert (at Pappy & Harriet’s).

Sister trio HAIM kick off the festivities with their headlining performance at arguably our favorite Southern California venue, the Santa Barbara Bowl, on Saturday, April 7th before things ramp up the ensuing week with Kali Uchis, Chromeo, Tyler, the Creator, St. Vincent, Portugal. The Man (with Cherry Glazerr), Perfume Genius (with Big Thief), Princess Nokia, PVRIS, Marian Hill, Fleet Foxes, Carpenter Brut, Tash Sultana, The Drums & Alvvays (with Fazerdaze), alt-J (with BØRNS), Migos, The Bronx, Greta Van Fleet, A Perfect Circle, Yaeji, Angel Olsen, Jessie Ware, BROCKHAMPTON, First Aid Kit, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail), Kelela, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Buscabulla (with The Marías), Priests, MØ, Jorja Smith & Tom Misch, ODESZA, Miguel, Boogarins (with B Boys & Señor Kino), Ron Gallo, Moon Boots (Live), The War on Drugs, Jungle, Soulwax, Petit Biscuit, 6lack, Aurora, Motor City Drum Ensemble (with Talaboman), Los Ángeles Azules, The Drums, Hayley Kiyoko and Elohim all playing — some even more than once — inside and/or outside of LA’s city limits.

Unlike last year’s sideshows, which included a special showcase at the Palm Springs Air Museum the night before Coachella’s first weekend featuring several artists from British independent record label Young Turks, Goldenvoice has opted not to go down that route again. The two gigs that mirror that mini festival the closest both take place on Thursday, April 19th, as Motor City Drum Ensemble performs at the Palm Springs Air Museum with Talaboman and Los Ángeles Azules invades the Riverside County Fairgrounds with Cuco, Helado Negro and Ocho Ojos just one day before Coachella Weekend 2 commences at the Empire Polo Club. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

Year after year, Goldenvoice seemingly continues to outdo itself with more and more shows in and around Coachella, and this April the renowned concert promoter has done its best to give music fans in Southern California a little bit of everything, from electro funk and indie folk to hip-hop and alternative R&B. But at first glance, the 2018 sideshows that stick out the most to us include the following: Chromeo at the El Rey Theatre, St. Vincent at The Orpheum Theatre, Perfume Genius (with Big Thief) at The Mayan, Fleet Foxes at the Warner Grand Theater, Tash Sultana at the Fox Theater Pomona, The Drums & Alvvays co-headlining (with Fazerdaze) at Pappy & Harriet’s, alt-J (with BØRNS) at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Migos at The Observatory, A Perfect Circle at The Arlington Theatre, Japanese Breakfast (with Snail Mail) at The Roxy, The War on Drugs at the Fox Theater Pomona, Jungle at Pappy & Harriet’s, Soulwax at The Fonda Theatre, 6lack at The Novo and Portugal. The Man (with Chicano Batman and Deap Vally) at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, February 16th at Noon PT with the rest of them available on Friday, February 23rd at Noon PT or Friday, March 2nd at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

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

Bag Raiders turn the El Rey into a pseudo dance club

Bag RaidersBy Josh Herwitt //

Bag Raiders with Plastic Plates //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
April 1st, 2016 //

Long after meeting in the Cranbrook School orchestra practice room, Australian disco-pop outfit Bag Raiders found commercial success with their 2009 hit “Shooting Stars”. The radio-friendly song reached as high as No. 62 on the ARIA Singles Chart in the duo’s home country, propelling their self-titled debut album all the way to No. 7 on the ARIA Albums Chart and earning a nomination for Album of the Year at the J Awards.

But more than five years have passed since Bag Raiders released their lone LP on Sydney label Modular Records, which also reps such Australian groups as Tame Impala, Cut Copy and The Presets. And while Jack Glass and Chris Stracey haven’t necessarily put out a new full-length record since then, dropping only a handful of singles and EPs over the past two years, their return to LA last Friday was met with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm.

Bag Raiders

After selling out The Independent up in San Francisco earlier in the week, Glass and Stracey managed to do the same thing in a larger venue 300-some miles away. The 80-year-old El Rey Theatre, which holds almost 300 more people than The Indy, was packed with fans who were invigorated and ready to dance their way into the weekend.

Meanwhile, joining Glass and Stracey onstage to play drums was Sydney-born/now LA-based songwriter, producer and DJ Felix Bloxsom, who also opened the show under his solo project Plastic Plates. Layering electronic beats with his array of live percussion, he warmed up the sold-out crowd up with a steady groove before Bag Raiders’ ensuing hour-long performance.

Although it hadn’t been that long since Glass and Stracey last played in LA, having headlined The Echo in September, it’s only been a month since they dropped their single “Checkmate”, which they played at the El Rey toward the end of their 15-song, “fuck encores” set along with newer tracks “Waterfalls”, “Vapour Trails”, “Friend Inside” and lastly “Nairobi”. If that recent output is any indication, there might be some more fresh material on the horizon from these two Aussies soon.

Setlist:
Waterfalls
Vapour Trails
So Demanding
Friend Inside
Golden Wings
Not Over
Snake Charmer
Nairobi
Way Back Home
Checkmate
Footprints
Sunlight
Wonderland (“fuck encores”)
Fun Punch
Shooting Stars

Goldenvoice announces 2016 Coachella sideshows

Coachella 2016 sideshows

Each and every April, Goldenvoice puts on a number of sideshows all around Southern California in support of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

2016 will be no different, and the renowned concert promoter has unveiled its list of shows that will take place at various venues in and out of the greater Los Angeles area, one of which includes the rustic, Westernized Pappy & Harriet’s in little-ole Pioneertown near Joshua Tree.

The sideshows will kick off on Friday, March 25th in LA at the El Rey Theatre, where London electronic music producer Sophie will take the stage, and will continue through Monday, April 25th with Years & Years headlining The Fonda Theatre. In between those, Goldenvoice will welcome performances by Goldroom, Courtney Barnett, Silversun Pickups (with Foals), Mbongwana Star, Bob Moses, Savages, AlunaGeorge, The Kills (with The Big Pink), Skepta, Rhye (with Ibeyi), AlunaGeorge, M83, The Arcs, Rancid, The 1975, James Bay, Beach House, Museum of Love, Christine and the Queens, Death Grips, Miike Snow, The Heavy, The Front Bottoms, The Last Shadow Puppets, Deerhunter (with Unknown Mortal Orchestra), Matt & Kim, Of Monsters and Men, Lapsley, St. Germain, Ex Hex, Snakehips, Grimes, The Damned, Nosaj Thing, BADBADNOTGOOD, Parov Stelar and more. Check out the full list of sideshows in the poster above.

As in past years, these sideshows will extend outside of LA’s city limits, with The Glass House and The Fox Theater in Pomona once again playing host to quite a few of them in addition to the aforementioned Pappy & Harriet’s. April 14th’s pairing of Silversun Pickups and Foals on the night before Coachella Weekend 1, for example, looks particularly appealing, while The Kills’ April 18th date at the Mayan Theater with The Big Pink and LA Witch stands out as one of our other must-see shows on Goldenvoice’s lineup. Of course, there’s also Miike Snow at The Fonda Theatre on April 20th and BADBADNOTGOOD, one of our favorites from FYF Fest (read our review here) last year, hitting The Roxy Theatre on April 22nd. Much like Coachella and its own lineup, there’s a lot to choose from here, though that’s not exactly a bad problem to have if you’re a live music fan in Southern California.

Tickets for most of the sideshows go on sale here this Friday, January 29th at Noon PT or next Friday, February 5th at Noon PT.

Goldenvoice

Django Django are still their own kind of weird

Django DjangoBy Josh Herwitt //

Django Django with Beat Connection //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
August 6th, 2015 //

What is it about Django Django that makes them such an intriguing band to see live? Is it their hand-clapping melodies or their strange, unconventional way of writing songs?

Those were the questions I was left pondering as I walked out of the El Rey Theatre just before midnight last Thursday following an exhilarating performance by the London four-piece and a feel-good opening set from Seattle electropop outfit Beat Connection (read our interview with the band here). On a night when a large percentage of LA music fans could be found at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to see Australian neo-pysch rockers Tame Impala play the first of two sold-out shows, the boys in Django Django were winning over fans with their own brand of neo-psychedelia less than four miles away.

Django Django

Formed at Edinburgh College of Art in 2009, Django Django have captivated U.S. audiences in a relatively short amount of time, but more interestingly is the way they’ve done it. The band, for all intents and purposes, is really led by drummer and producer David Maclean, who is the brother of musician and director John Maclean (formerly of The Beta Band) and the cousin of singer/keyboardist Lindsey Leven (member of the Scottish band Gulp). While lead singer and guitarist Vincent Neff may be the face that fans most often connect with due to his onstage charisma, it’s Maclean who has served as the leading force and backbone of the artsy band, producing its self-titled debut album, which was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2012.

Fast forward to 2015, and Django Django were finally back in LA for their first appearance in more than two years, this time touring in support of their sophomore LP Born Under Saturn. The album, with five of its 13 tracks becoming singles, reached No. 15 on the UK Albums Chart this past May, ultimately serving as a strong follow-up for Maclean, Neff, bassist Jimmy Dixon and synthesizer operator Tommy Grace, who also spent several songs behind Maclean’s drum kit assisting with the band’s percussion.

Django Django

It’s no secret, after all, that Django Django are a heavily percussive act, with a large number of shakers, scrapers, cowbells and other hand percussion instruments in their arsenal. Maclean, meanwhile, had essentially two drum setups on stage, with one being a wooden box — almost reminiscent of a cajón — that he played during acoustic versions of “Love’s Dart” and “Slow West”, a track the band wrote for the indie Western film that came out earlier this year. A few minutes before, the crowd had let out a collective roar as it heard the opening notes of “First Light”, the initial single from Born Under Saturn, and the energy returned to peak level when it was time to hear “Default”, still arguably the group’s most popular song to date and maybe no better indicator of the weirdness that Django Django exhibits sonically both in a recording studio and in a live setting.

With the last six songs of their set coming from Django Django, the band walked off stage for a brief moment, only to return for a two-song encore that was quite unique after a closer look. Wrapping up with the final tracks from both of their albums, Django Django left the crowd yearning for more, even if there wasn’t a whole lot remaining in their catalog to play at that point. While they’re not expected to perform in California again anytime soon, especially with the band members in the next phase of their lives after declining an appearance at Coachella this year, it may be a while before Django Django are back performing in The Golden State. And if so, it certainly felt good to at least catch them this time around.

Setlist:
Introduction
Hail Bop
Storm
Shake and Tremble
First Light
Reflections
Love’s Dart (acoustic)
Slow West (acoustic)
Firewater
Waveforms
Skies Over Cairo
Default
Life’s a Beach
WOR

Encore:
4000 Years
Silver Rays

Beat Connection are embracing their next challenge

Beat Connection


Beat Connection (from left to right): Tom Eddy, Mark Hunter, Reed Juenger and Jarred Katz.

Photo by Avi Loud // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Reed Juenger isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.

Ever since he started Beat Connection with his fellow dormmate Jordan Koplowitz at the University of Washington, it has been one challenge after another to keep the musical project alive, let alone see it blossom into what it has become today.

“It’s certainly gone through quite a few changes,” says Juenger, who also oversees the graphic design and marketing for Capitol Hill Block Party, a three-day summer music festival over in Seattle’s hip Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Juenger was born and grew up in the greater Boston area before his parents moved cross-country to Washington when he was 12 years old. But it wasn’t until college, when he met Koplowitz on the first day of school and the two eventually began DJing house parties, that he considered making music for a living.

As Juenger illuminates, he and Koplowitz at the time were trying to learn how to “write music naïvely and spirited in a way,” an idea that the producer/keyboardist still believes remains paramount to Beat Connection’s identity (the group’s name serves as a direct reference to the LCD Soundsystem song) despite Koplowitz no longer being a part of the equation.

“A large part of Beat Connection is having an attitude of ‘I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I’m going to do it anyway,'” Juenger says. “That has been our guiding force.”

By the time Koplowitz had left the group in early 2013 to pursue other interests, Beat Connection had released 2010 EP Surf Noir and 2012 LP The Palace Garden while expanding to a four-piece band with Tom Eddy on guitar/vocals and Jarred Katz on drums. But Koplowitz’s departure left Juenger, Eddy and Katz with a crucial decision to make: should they continue as Beat Connection in their current iteration or should they start from scratch as a completely new project?

With little doubt in their minds, the three remaining members continued to work on new music while bringing in Mark Hunter, who had performed with Juenger and Koplowitz when Beat Connection was strictly an electronic music duo, to play bass. The shakeup signaled a major turning point for Juenger, but also one that he has no regrets about as he looks toward the future.

“To me, that’s when this band really started, which is counterintuitive because we have this body of work from the past under the same name,” he explains. “It’s a different thing now, and I feel like it’s what it was meant to be the whole time.”

Even with Koplowitz out of the picture, Beat Connection is still very much a college band — not when it comes to describing their sound per say, but simply in tracing their formation. All four members met at the University of Washington, and it’s at least in part why Juenger refers to his bandmates as his “best friends” now.

“Those guys, we’re a team,” he adds. “We are always trying to be the best version of a band that we can be and the best version of us that we can be when creating art.”

But for all the challenges that Juenger has endured since forming Beat Connection in 2010, he can finally breathe a sigh of relief after months of uncertainty regarding the band’s record label status. That’s because the group, despite releasing The Palace Garden through Moshi Moshi imprint Tender Age almost three years ago, had remained independent until late last month when it struck a deal with ANTI- Records, a sister label of Epitaph that will release Beat Connection’s forthcoming album this fall.

In the meantime, the Seattle quartet has already debuted four songs from what will be its second full-length record, including the synthpop-heavy “Illusion” and the funk-flavored “So Good” most recently. The new material has been a long time coming for Beat Connection, which has been writing and recording much of it since 2012. But despite finishing the album in November, there has been no rush by the band to put it out until its 100 percent ready.

“We are trying our best to deliver a work of art to an audience, which sounds pretentious — and it is,” says Juenger, who doesn’t mind calling himself a perfectionist when it comes to the creative process. “But we’re trying our best to make sure we have everything fully in line.”

What excites Juenger just as much as the prospect of releasing a new album, though, is the chance to finally get back on the road. Outside of performing at South by Southwest this past spring, it has been quite a while since Beat Connection has toured, with their last appearance in California coming in October at Culture Collide Festival (read our review of the festival here).

“I can’t believe it has been that long,” Juenger admits.

They’ll end that nearly 10-month drought on Thursday night in Los Angeles when they open for British art rockers Django Django at the El Rey Theatre amid an 11-date tour that saw them play Lollapalooza last weekend and includes upcoming festival appearances at MusicFestNW and Austin City Limits with an ever-important hometown date sandwiched in between.

And with those opportunities in place, the band knows now is the time to seize the moment and take its game to the next level.

“We have everything we need,” Juenger stresses. “There’s always a fear that there’s something better out there, but part of figuring things out is knowing that we are a team and these are my best friends.”

Moving Units celebrate rise of dance-punk in their hometown

Moving UnitsBy Josh Herwitt //

Moving Units (10th anniversary show for Dangerous Dreams) //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
December 5th, 2014 //

As the days count down to 2015, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the early 2000s marked a seminal time in the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll. But for fans of dance-punk, a subgenre that fuses punk rock, new wave and disco all into one cohesive sound, there may have been no bigger year than 2004.

A year after the Yeah Yeah Yeahs broke into the scene with their first full-length record, the Grammy-nominated Fever to Tell, dance-punk exploded into mainstream pop culture as young, emerging bands like !!!, Liars and Death from Above 1979 all released albums to predominantly positive reviews.

Yet, that same year, there was another dance-punk outfit — a much-lesser-known one by way of Los Angeles — that was also leaving an imprint on the dance-rock landscape.

Moving Units, a four-piece fronted by lead singer and guitarist Blake Miller, would end up playing a key role in the post-millennium renaissance of dance-punk thanks to their 2004 debut Dangerous Dreams.

Moving Units

The album, which embodies the dance-punk spirit as well as any studio recording to this day, would eventually find its way into more traditional media, including a television spot in 2007 for the deodorant brand Secret. But for those who were already fans of Moving Units, TV commercials weren’t necessary to justify the respect and admiration they had for Dangerous Dreams.

So, when the band announced that it would be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dangerous Dreams by performing the album in its entirety, there were plenty of Angelinos who knew where they would be on the evening of December 5.

At the El Rey Theatre, Moving Units did exactly what they said they would, playing the 12-track LP from start to finish, as Miller let it all hang out, leaning into the microphone to deliver his lyrics with passion and force. The songs may have been more than a decade old, but you would have never known by how tight the band sounded.

For their encore, Miller and his three sidekicks — bassist Mike Delgado, lead guitarist Boz Bosgieter and drummer Danny Deleon — dipped even deeper into their catalog, going back to the start of it all by playing three songs from Moving Units’ self-titled EP. It was a nice surprise to see, considering the group dropped its third full-length Neurotic Exotic just a little more than a year ago.

Because these days, in this go-go-go world we find ourselves living in, it’s OK for a band to celebrate the past once in a while.

Setlist:
Emancipation, Between Us & Them, Available, Going for Adds, Unpersuaded, Anyone, Scars, Submission, Birds of Prey, Bricks & Mortar, Killer/Lover, Turn Away

Encore:
X and Y, I Am, Melodrama

Galactic unveil a new bag of tricks at El Rey

Galactic_postBy Josh Herwitt //

Galactic with Brushy One String //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
March 20th, 2014 //

One of New Orleans’ very best returned to Los Angeles last week, as Galactic paid its annual visit to the El Rey Theatre on Thursday night.

Over the last few years, the band has made a habit of playing the historic art deco venue whenever it comes to LA, but that doesn’t mean Galactic’s recent gigs have lacked energy or enthusiasm.

In fact, this year’s performance had just as much as last year’s — if not more. The only difference was, this time there was no Corey Glover.

The Living Colour frontman started touring with Galactic back in 2010, and it appeared that the quintet may have finally found the perfect replacement for Theryl “House Man” DeClouet, who was forced to leave the band in 2004 due to health concerns.

But with other projects currently on Glover’s plate, Galactic has had to go back to the drawing board in its search for a singer — something it’s become quite accustomed to after spending the past decade touring with numerous guest vocalists, including former Meters member Cyril Neville and Rebirth Brass Band trombonist Corey Henry. Through it all though, Galactic has failed to skip a beat.

At the El Rey, the five-piece — guitarist Jeff Raines, bassist Robert Mercurio, drummer Stanton Moore, saxophonist/harmonica player Ben Ellman and organist Richard Vogel — sounded just as tight as they ever have before. They took the stage and opened their two-hour set with a couple of instrumental tunes right off the bat, proving that with or without a vocalist, their sound still holds up after roughly 20 years. And when it came time to honor the opening act — in this case, Jamaica’s Brushy One String — with a guest vocal spot midway through the show, Galactic served as more than just a backing band for the YouTube sensation whose song “Chicken in the Corn” has amassed over four million views by now, believe it or not.

Galactic

Yet, what proved to be the real eye-opener on this night was the addition of New Orleans-based singer Maggie Koerner, who joined Galactic for its 28-date, bicoastal tour after recently contributing vocals on the band’s single “Dolla Diva” two months ago. While it was no surprise to hear the song amid a setlist that featured other gems like “Shibuya” and “From the Corner to the Block”, it didn’t stand a chance in topping the band’s cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” — thanks largely to Koerner’s unlimited range. At the ripe age of 25, the Louisiana native’s career is only just beginning. Sure, she may not have DeClouet’s on-stage charisma or Glover’s star power yet, but with the way she can hit those high notes, Galactic may have found its next piece to the puzzle.

The Crystal Method take over El Rey

The-Crystal-MethodBy Josh Herwitt //

The Crystal Method (Live) featuring Richard Fortus, Danny Lohner, Bryan “Brain” Mantia & special guests //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
January 16th, 2014 //

With the release of their new self-titled album just two days prior, electronic music pioneers The Crystal Method took over the El Rey Theatre to celebrate the latest accomplishment in its impressive 20-year run.

Sporting a star-studded band consisting of former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Richard Fortus, former Nine Inch Nails bassist Danny Lohner and former Primus drummer Bryan “Brain” Mantia, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland made sure to do it up big for their hometown fans — and that meant having a few surprises up their sleeve, too.

With vocalists Dia Frampton, Franky Perez and Ryan Maginn making guest appearances over the course of the night, the two-time Grammy Award nominees pulled out all the stops to keep an older, yet passionate EDM crowd on its toes.

But in the end, there was no bigger surprise than when Filter frontman Richard Patrick stepped on stage for the show’s final song and belted out the lyrics to “Trip Like I Do,” the original version of the song he remixed with The Crystal Method way back in 1997.

Front and center, Josh Herwitt was there to catch all the action from the LA-based duo.

Karl Denson’s boogaloo dance party at the El Rey with Anders Osborne

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe


Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Photos by Josh Herwitt // Written by Pete Mauch //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Anders Osborne, Zach Deputy //
El Rey Theatre — Los Angeles
October 24th, 2013 //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe rolled into LA on the “Soul Spectacular” tour, covering funked-out staples from the legendary Ray Charles at the El Rey Theatre. This boogaloo dance party featured Zach Deputy on vocals and as Karl D. put it, the crowd got “Deputized”. Deputy started things off with his one-man jam band that he has coined “Island-Infused Drum n’ Bass Gospel Ninja Soul”, and he warmed up the night quite nicely with that tasty concoction.

After getting “Deputized”, the crowd was treated with a rare LA appearance by New Orleans rocker Anders Osborne. Osborne invited guitarist Neal Casal, best known for his work with Ryan Adams and with The Chris Robinson Band, to sit in on his entire set. Recently, Osborne and Casal have been frequent collaborators at Phil Lesh’s venue Terrapin Crossroads, so we can probably thank good ‘ol Phil for this great pairing of guitar slingers.

Anders Osborne


Anders Osborne

Osborne and his band ripped through a ferocious 90-minute set filled with brand-new songs off his recently released album Peace and old goodies like “Burning on the Inside” and “Love Is Taking Its Toll”. One of the set highlights included the title track off his most recent LP that showcased Osborne’s heart-wrenching lyrics, which he bellows out with reckless abandon. Osborne is truly inspiring with his words, and he’s no slouch on the guitar either. The man just plain rips.

KDTU promised a Ray Charles-inspired boogaloo dance party, and that is exactly what they gave. About halfway through his set, Denson welcomed Deputy on stage to belt out the Ray Charles cuts with near-flawless execution. Hammering through classic songs like “Got Me a Woman” and “Hit the Road Jack”, Denson led his group with blistering sax solos. He even flexed his muscles on the flute.

Denson is no stranger to covering artists. He has played sets covering the Rolling Stones’ album Sticky Fingers, and he even covered the Beastie Boys for a select number of dates in the past. This is the first time, however, Denson has gone on a lengthy tour extensively covering one artist, so I recommend finding a show near you.

A family affair with Little Feat

By Pete Mauch //

Little Feat //
El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles
September 16th, 2014 //

On a warm Sunday evening in LA, Little Feat took the stage at the El Rey Theatre and played an energetic, diverse set. Little Feat has been on tour supporting their brand-new album Rooster Rag, and the LA-based band closed the tour out on its home turf. You could definitely feel the family vibe in the crowd, and that added to this very special homecoming show.

Little Feat started things off with “Rocket in My Pocket”, which is a song off their 1977 album Time Loves a Hero. It was a perfect fit as the opener because of its groove-oriented jam that seems to build throughout the song. Little Feat wasted no time, playing a new song titled “Just a Fever”, which was written by Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere. Barrere delivered this song with great passion as he belted out the lyrics with a powerful grit.

The next song showcased the new writing duo of Bill Payne and Robert Hunter, best known as the lyricist for the Grateful Dead. “Rag Top Down” is a nice, bluesy song, and its lyrics invoke the feeling of a long road trip up the coast of California. After the band played two new songs, they treated the crowd with an amazing version of the fan favorite “Fat Man in the Bathtub”. This version was a monster. It incorporated the Captain Beefheart cover “Abba Zaba”, which was sandwiched in between verses, and the song included a very noticeable “Scarlet Begonias” tease, which was most likely a nod to Hunter.

Little Feat then decided to invite the Texicali Horns on stage for a very memorable “Spanish Moon”. This has always been one of my favorite Feat songs, and it did not disappoint, especially with the added horn section. Little Feat then slowed it down and played “One Breath at a Time”. This new song showcased Fred Tackett for the first time of the show. Tackett is a multi-instrumentalist; he plays guitar, mandolin and trumpet for Little Feat. During the song, you could sense the family vibe as Tackett seemed to be serenading his granddaughter in the audience. It was a very touching moment, and it just proves how special a Little Feat show can be.

The next three songs felt like a full-on singalong with a triple-song segue of “Willin” into “Don’t Bogart That Joint” and back to “The Weight”. This was a really fun combo of songs that had guest Jimmy Vivino sitting in on guitar. Sticking to the family vibe, Little Feat then invited Tackett’s son, Miles, from the band Brakestra to the stage to play cello on his dad’s tune “Church Falling Down”.

The band also invited Robben Ford to play guitar. Ford is the uncle of the Little Feat’s new drummer Gabe Ford. Gabe replaced the late great Richie Hayward two years ago after he passed away. Fred Tackett has four songs on the new album, and “Church Falling Down” is my personal favorite. This particular version with Miles Tackett on cello, Robben Ford on guitar and Fred Tackett on mandolin was truly remarkable. The song has a dark feeling to it that makes you think of an old haunted church that is decrepit and ready to fall at any moment, and the cello added to that gloomy feeling.

They ended the set with two powerful songs: the crowd favorite “Dixie Chicken” and “Let It Roll”. Both songs came to life with the horns, and the scene would have given the late Little Feat founder, Lowell George, a smile.

The encore was the icing on the cake. The crowd was treated to a a beautifully wild rendition of “Oh, Atlanta” that capped off a really great night of music. Little Feat played a show full of classic hits, choice covers, fun singalongs and fresh new songs, which proves that they are still pushing the limits after all these years.

Setlist:
Rocket in My Pocket
Just a Fever
Rag Top Down
Fat Man in the Bathtub
Abba Zaba (Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band cover)
Fat Man in the Bathtub
Spanish Moon*
One Breath at a Time*
Willin’
Don’t Bogart That Joint#
The Weight# (The Band cover)
Church Falling Down@
Rooster Rag*#
Way Down Under
Dixie Chicken#*
Let It Roll*

Encore:
Oh Atlanta*

* – with Texicali Horns
# – with Jimmy Vivino (guitar and vocals)
@ – with Miles Tackett (cello)