The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2021

Best of 2021 - Olivia Rodrigo, Quicksand, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Moses Sumney, Caribou, Outside Lands

The past 12 months have been interesting to say the least. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world after almost two years, 2021 did prove to be a little better than its predecessor on the calendar and a big reason for that was undoubtedly the return of live music during the second half of this year. For so many of us after being locked down at home, just having the chance to attend a concert or festival in person again provided some sense of normalcy to our everyday lives.

But as we look forward to hopefully better days in 2022, it’s time for us to unveil our annual “Best of” lists like we have done since this blog first began (see our 2020 picks here). No, we didn’t have time to catch every show or hear all of the albums released in the last 365 days, but forcing ourselves to make difficult decisions can be a fun exercise that helps us reflect on the year in music before turning the page.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2021.

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2021:

My Morning Jacket (Jim James) at Santa Barbara Bowl


My Morning Jacket at Santa Barbara Bowl // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2021
1. My Morning Jacket at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – September 23rd
Almost six years had passed since the last time Jim James and company performed at one of Southern California’s best music venues, but after surviving 18 months without witnessing any live music, the wait for MMJ’s return to the stage felt even longer. Fortunately for us, the Louisville-bred quintet brought its A game to kick off a string of West Coast dates and powered through a collection of 23 songs at the Santa Barbara Bowl that included the emotive “In Color” off the band’s new self-titled album as well as “Where to Begin” from the “Elizabethtown” soundtrack. MMJ have earned a reputation over the years as one of the best live acts still out there, and they certainly validated that claim with a 2.5-hour performance that made the 90-mile drive from LA on a weeknight totally worth it.

2. Modest Mouse at The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles, CA – September 25th
3. Caribou at Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – November 15th
4. Lord Huron at Hollywood Forever – Los Angeles, CA – September 30th
5. Primus “A Tribute to Kings” at Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – October 17th

Top 5 Albums of 2021
1. The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore
What can we say about Adam Granduciel that hasn’t already been said? After composing and producing The War on Drugs’ best material during his previous two trips into the studio with the latter effort winning a Grammy, we knew it would be tough for the Philadelphia native to match that same level of excellence attained in 2014 and 2017 with Lost in the Dream and A Deeper Understanding. And though I Don’t Live Here Anymore doesn’t quite get there, it marks another LP from Granduciel and his cohorts that you can listen straight through from start to finish without skipping a track. Because in an era when our attention spans have been shrunk thanks in large part to technology, that’s something we should all applaud.

2. Modest Mouse – The Golden Casket
3. DARKSIDE – Spiral
4. My Morning Jacket – My Morning Jacket
5. Royal Blood – Typhoons

Top 5 Songs of 2021
1. Royal Blood – “Boilermaker”
The English alt-rock duo comprised of lead singer/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher shared “Boilermaker” in the lead-up to releasing its third full length this year, and the promotional single certainly stands out from the pack as one of the best songs on Typhoons. Produced by Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme, it opens with Kerr’s fuzzed-out riff and quickly builds into a head-banging anthem over the course of three and a half minutes. If you haven’t heard it before, just make sure to also check out the badass music video that’s directed by and stars Liam Lynch. Enjoy!

2. My Morning Jacket – “In Color”
3. Modest Mouse – “Walking and Running”
4. The War on Drugs – “I Don’t Wanna Wait”
5. Bonobo – “Rosewood”

Favorite remix: Four Tet – “Never Come Back” (Caribou)


Quicksand - Distant Populations

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2021
1. Kowloon Walled City at The Golden Bull – Oakland, CA – November 30th
Regardless of the fact that I didn’t go to many shows this year, this would have likely been my No. 1 even if I went to more. I had only recently been turned on to Kowloon Walled City, but I was immediately drawn to their heavy sound and they proved to replicate that sonic fury live. The Golden Bull is a nice, intimate setting for live music, and the fact that KWC were able to dial in such a balanced sound at a small club made a huge difference given how BIG they sound on their studio albums. Everyone was fixated on the band throughout its entire set, and I barely noticed anyone looking at a phone — one of the modern-day signs of a great show.

2. Quicksand at Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA – October 15th
3. Bad Religion & Alkaline Trio at The Masonic – San Francisco, CA – November 24th
4. The Slackers & The Aggrolites at Cornerstone Berkeley – Berkeley, CA – December 9th
5. Lagwagon with Red City Radio & Decent Criminal at Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA – November 4th

Top 5 Albums of 2021
1. Quicksand – Distant Populations
During a turbulent time like what we’ve all been collectively experiencing since last year, I think this album resonated with me so much because Quicksand has always been such a solid standby. Distant Populations is heavy in all of the right ways without being abrasive while also effectively showcasing Walter Schreifels’ dynamic song-crafting abilities. Quicksand aren’t necessarily breaking the mold here, but they’re a band that had already set the bar high with their earlier albums and this LP is an excellent continuation of their contribution to the hardcore scene.

2. Turnstile – Glow On
3. IDLES – Crawler
4. Kowloon Walled City – Piecework
5. Snail Mail – Valentine

Top 5 Songs of 2021
1. IDLES – “The Wheel”
I love how IDLES have the ability to take a song about a heavy subject like chemical dependency and turn it into an absolutely infectious banger. “The Wheel” is a perfect example of this, leaving you drawn in and tapping your foot while giving you something to ponder. The way that it can make you feel equal parts uplifted and uncomfortable is part of the appeal to me, and this was easily one of my most played songs of the year.

2. Decent Criminal – “Reap”
3. The Dirty Nil – “Doom Boy”
4. Kills Birds – “Rabbit”
5. Snail Mail – “Valentine”


Adam Schatz


Adam Schatz at The Gold Room // Photo by Rochelle Shipman

Rochelle Shipman // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2021
1. Adam Schatz at The Gold Room – Los Angeles, CA – November 18th
The Landlady frontman actually served as the opener on this night, but armed with little more than his saxophone, keyboards and loops, it’s safe to say Schatz stole the entire show. Fresh off a tour playing with Japanese Breakfast, he stepped onstage and quite literally let loose. It was the most refreshing, freeform, organic set full of wit and wonder, offering a sharp reminder why we need to protect the live music space (and to buy the killer album Landlady put out this year, too).

2. Foxx Bodies with Suzie True & Lando Chill at Resident DTLA – Los Angeles, CA – November 7th
3. Islands at Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA – September 9th
4. Spoon at Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA – September 28th
5. Armand Hammer & The Alchemist at Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA – September 19th

Top 5 Albums of 2021
1. Foxx Bodies – Vixen
The raw emotions that come through Foxx Bodies’ debut on indie label Kill Rock Stars grabbed me by the ankles and knocked me off my feet the first time I heard it. For an album that explores everything from mental illness, sexual abuse, eating disorders, gender fluidity and beyond, it’s equally shocking how upbeat and uplifting it comes off. It’s part empowering riot grrrl and part rollicking surf punk, full confessional. Trigger warning: it will change your life.

2. Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
3. Tyler, the Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost
4. Backxwash – I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES
5. Noga Erez – KIDS

Top 5 Songs of 2021
1. Hiatus Kaiyote – “Red Room”
This song is the antithesis to 2021. It’s so warm and beautiful, so intimate as though it was conceived in a world where social distancing doesn’t even exist. Nai Palm’s soft, raspy vocals envelop you, and the uncharacteristically subtle sounds (for Hiatus Kaiyote) deliver perhaps the most consistent semblance of peace felt this year.

2. Olivia Rodrigo – “Brutal”
3. Foxx Bodies – “BPD”
4. Yaya Bey – “fxck it then”
5. Little Simz feat. Cleo Sol – “Woman”

Favorite remix: Kari Faux feat. J.I.D – “While God Was Sleepin’… (Remix)”

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

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

After more than 30 years, The Flaming Lips are still one of music’s most wildly entertaining live acts

The Flaming LipsBy Josh Herwitt //

The Flaming Lips with Klangstof //
The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles
May 9th, 2017 //

Say what you want about The Flaming Lips’ music. You might call it strange, humorous or even childish. I guess that’s to be expected when one of your most popular songs is called “She Don’t Use Jelly” and another goes by the name of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”.

But not too many rock bands have been able to say they put on a show quite like Wayne Coyne and company have for more than three decades now. When it comes to live performance, The Flaming Lips are one of those bucket-list bands every live music fan should see at least once. Even as Coyne nears the age of 60, the Lips haven’t forgot how to entertain a crowd, whether it’s at a music festival or at one of their own stand-alone gigs.

I had caught The Flaming Lips live a handful of times prior to their show at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in LA, but never had I watched them perform in a theater, let alone one with a capacity of only 1,600. The show, not surprisingly, was sold out, and for a weeknight, it was impressive to look around the venue’s lobby and see a number of audience members dressed in costume for the occasion. And maybe it was only fitting considering this latest tour was named “There Should Be Unicorns” after the band’s Oczy Mlody track featuring Reggie Watts.

The Lips, of course, made sure to play that song, and even though it was without Watts, it still proved to be an unforgettable moment due to the fact that Coyne rode a life-size unicorn from one end of the stage to the other as he belted out lines like “Yeah, there should be unicorns / The ones with the purple eyes / It should be loud as fuck / Hope the swans don’t die” to open the tune while wearing a big smile across his face. If that’s not psychedelic to you, then I don’t know what is.

The Flaming Lips

At any Flaming Lips show, there are always an array of theatrics. From confetti cannons and balloons to rainbow visuals, there’s a lot more to the performance than simply just the music. But that doesn’t mean the music comes second to the rest of the “show.” Halfway through the set, Coyne and his fellow bandmates — Michael Ivins (bass, keyboards, vocals), Steven Drozd (guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, vocals), Derek Brown (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals), Jake Ingalls (keyboards, guitar), Matt Duckworth (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals) and Nick Ley (percussion, drums, samples) — unleashed an apropos cover of David Bowie’s 1969 hit “Space Oddity” considering it felt like we could have been living on another planet inside The Theatre at Ace Hotel.

Though the setlist hasn’t changed much since the Lips embarked on their tour in support of this year’s Oczy Mlody, they’ve assembled a collection of songs that any fan can get behind. In addition to dialing it back to the late 90’s with tracks like “Race for the Prize” and Waitin’ for a Superman” from The Soft Bulletin, the Oklahoma City sextet also worked in “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)” and “The W.A.N.D.”, two of my favorite cuts on the group’s 2006 studio album At War with the Mystics.

With the show extending past midnight, the Lips returned to the stage for one last hurrah, a three-song encore that made us feel young again (even for those of us who aren’t anymore). Yet, as they put the finishing touches on the night with “Do You Realize??” off their critically acclaimed 2002 LP Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, I couldn’t help but think that after almost 35 years on the scene, The Flaming Lips — unicorns and all — still throw one hell of a party.

How’s that for a Tuesday night?

Setlist:
Race for the Prize
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1
There Should Be Unicorns
Pompeii Am Götterdämmerung
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power)
What Is the Light?
The Observer
How??
Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
The Castle
Are You a Hypnotist??
The W.A.N.D.
A Spoonful Weighs a Ton

Encore:
She Don’t Use Jelly
Waitin’ for a Superman
Do You Realize??

After making Coachella history, Klangstof are blazing a trail for other Dutch indie bands

KlangstofPhoto by Jack McKain // Written by Josh Herwitt //

Those of us who have been attending Coachella for a while know how difficult it is for artists filling early-afternoon slots to draw large crowds at the Empire Polo Club. The sun, for one, is usually scorching hot by then, and most of the acts performing between the hours of 12 and 3 p.m. are still relatively unknown.

But for some on the come up like Klangstof, who this year became the first Dutch band to ever perform at Coachella, just the opportunity to play one of the oldest and biggest music festivals in the U.S. has already paid huge dividends back home.

“We’ve never really been big in our home country,” says bandleader Koen van de Wardt, who started Klangstof as a solo project when he was 14 years old and living in Norway at the time. “Being the first (Dutch) band to play Coachella gave us that boost.”

It’s only been a little more than a couple weeks since Klangstof hit the stage for Coachella’s second weekend, but since returning home to Amsterdam, van de Wardt says the response has been palpable.

“I hope it’s a start for more Dutch bands to play big U.S. festivals,” he adds. “We have a pretty cool indie scene. I hope we’re a band that can get things going for Dutch indie culture.”

So far, they’re off to a strong start. This month van de Wardt (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and his colleagues — Wannes Salome (keyboards, vocals), Jun Christian Villanueva (drums, programming) and Jobo Engh (guitar) — kick off a 21-date North American tour that will see them open for The Flaming Lips and Miike Snow and make appearances at other major U.S. festivals like Sasquatch!, Bonnaroo and Firefly along the way. That’s not bad for a new band with members who have only been playing together for a year.

As van de Wardt explains, turning Klangstof into a touring outfit wasn’t his intention. When he first started writing the demos for what would become — over a seven-year stretch — the group’s 2016 debut LP Close Eyes to Exit, it was simply “out of boredom.”

Yet, everything changed for van de Wardt when he uploaded “Hostage” as the first Klangstof song to his Soundcloud account in 2015. Two days later, he picked up the phone in the middle of the night to learn it was David Dann from Mind of a Genius, the London/Los Angeles-based indie label that has ZHU, Gallant, THEY. and KWAYE currently signed to its roster. Dann liked what he had heard and saw Klangstof as the next addition to his growing list of clients — and van de Wardt was more than happy to oblige to deals with Mind of a Genius and subsequently Warner Bros. Records months later.

“I never thought something like that would’ve happened,” the 24-year-old frontman admits.

It was from that point that van de Wardt had to consider something he hadn’t had to quite yet: How was he going to play his music live? He spent the next six months searching for the right musicians to join him before settling on Villanueva and Engh, two of his friends from Norway, as well as Salome, whom van de Wardt had only “met” through Facebook but knew to be one of the “top synth wizards in The Netherlands.”

“It has been a pretty weird journey because I never wrote the record as something that I was going to play live,” he says. “I just did everything myself.”

And while turning his solo project into a live band was an adjustment for van de Wardt, it’s not like he hadn’t played in bands before. In fact, just a few years prior, he had moved from Norway to The Netherlands to join Dutch indie band Moss, which he says ultimately helped him decide if he wanted to pursue music as a full-time profession or not. Even more, it gave van de Wardt the confidence to start his own project and eventually assemble his own band, the same one that he’ll bring this week to The Theatre at Ace Hotel in LA and Fox Theater in Oakland as opening support for the three-time Grammy-winning Flaming Lips.

“I feel now after one year with the band, I know what the Klangstof sound is,” he asserts.

Such a sound, with its alt-rock roots and electropop tinges, has drawn lofty comparisons to Radiohead, a group that van de Wardt cites as one of his major influences, but you can also hear hints of other prominent UK “indie” bands, from alt-J to Foals, in the finished product. Meanwhile, onstage it’s been an exhilarating experience for van de Wardt, who can’t wait to jump back in the studio with his bandmates once they’re off the road at the end of this year.

“I’m really excited to go in and record the second album because I feel like all four of us know what we’re doing and how it should be sounding now,” he says, and hearing that from van de Wardt should be music to any Klangstof fan’s ears.

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

Nick Murphy shows he’s the new-and-improved version of Chet Faker to close out 30 Days in LA

Nick MurphyBy Josh Herwitt //

Red Bull Sound Select – 30 Days in LA: Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) //
The Theatre at Ace Hotel – Los Angeles
November 30th, 2016 //

When Nick Murphy dropped his debut LP Built on Glass (read our review here) under the alias “Chet Faker” in 2014, the Australian singer-songwriter was relatively unknown outside of his home country.

Sure, his cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” reached No. 1 on the Hype Machine charts and made an appearance in a Super Bowl commercial, but Murphy’s popularity had been mostly confined to the land Down Under, with a list of accolades including “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” at the Australian Independent Records Awards and “Best Independent Release” at the Rolling Stone Australia Awards.

Built on Glass changed all of that, paving the way for Murphy to sell out shows in major U.S. markets, including two in LA at The Roxy Theatre (read our review here). With the 12-track album boasting three singles — one of them being “Talk Is Cheap”, which shot all the way to No. 1 in the 2014 Triple J Hottest 100 countdown — the Melbourne native was quickly headed for mainstream status.

Since then, he has made an appearance on “Ellen” and this year headlined music festivals up and down California, including CRSSD Festival (see more photos here) as well as Lighting in a Bottle (read our festival review here), where he reaffirmed that moving to a full live band was one of the best career moves he has made. In fact, ever since his set on the main stage at FYF Fest (read our festival review here) in 2015, Murphy has taken his live show up a few notches.

The Theatre at Ace Hotel


The Theatre at Ace Hotel

But that was a different person; Chet Faker is now a man of the past. Nearly two months ago, Murphy made the announcement on Twitter, revealing that “there’s an evolution happening and I wanted to let you know where it’s going.” It was his way of telling us that he no longer wanted to hide behind the moniker he spun off in reference to famous jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. From here on out, his real name would be attached to his music. And as cheesy and cliché as it might be for a musician to change their identity for artistic reasons, Nick Murphy — the one who sold out another show in LA last Wednesday — is an extension of Chet Faker more than anything else. Call him Chet Faker, Nick Murphy or whatever name you want — it doesn’t change the fact that the 28-year-old Aussie always pours his heart and soul out when he’s onstage.

At The Theatre at Ace Hotel, the gorgeously ornate, Spanish Gothic-style movie house built in 1927 and owned by United Artists, Murphy put a stamp on Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA, which after only three years is becoming a November staple for the city’s booming music scene. From opening night with Sampha at the Palace Theatre to Murphy’s series finale just a few blocks down Broadway, Red Bull continues to seemingly outdo themselves year after year with a month full of shows featuring top-notch talent at an affordable rate (all tickets were $15 or less before taxes and fees).

But unlike many of the series’ other shows, Murphy didn’t just hit the stage for an hour and call it a night. Instead, his 90-minute set extended past midnight as he dove into newer cuts — “Bend”, “Stop Me (Stop You)” and “Fear Less” — from his forthcoming sophomore studio album (release date TBA) and played older hits like “1998” and “Gold” off of Built on Glass. There were also guest appearances by Marcus Marr, the English DJ/producer whom Murphy worked with on last year’s collaborative EP Work, and Dave Harrington, the Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist who is best known for being one half of the now-on-hiatus electronic music duo Darkside that includes Nicolas Jaar. Murphy might be filling seats thanks to his uniquely soulful voice, but it’s his propensity to surprise that keeps them filled at bigger venues each and every time he performs in LA.

Murphy’s music, both new and old, can be difficult to describe. It’s equal parts electronic, rock and soul, a hybridization that accessibly encompasses all three genres. And while his latest material follows along a similar sonic path, Murphy continues to prove that he isn’t afraid to take risks with his honest, heartfelt songwriting. So, who really needs Chet Faker when you got Nick Murphy now anyway?

The Regent Theater brings new life to LA’s music scene

The Regent TheaterBy Josh Herwitt //

Say what you will about Los Angeles — maybe the traffic, the pollution and the people aren’t your cup of tea — but the city where the Kim Kardashians and the Justin Biebers of the world happen to roam is still one of America’s most important music cities.

With its ties to the film and entertainment industries, LA continues to be a hotbed for young, emerging artists and well-established stars across all genres, whether it’s hip-hop, electronic, punk or rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe it’s why we have more music venues than we know what to do with here. Sporting music venues of all shapes and sizes, LA has no shortage of options, particularly between Hollywood and downtown.

But it is downtown where LA continues to thrive at an exponential rate these days, marking one of the most exciting times in the city’s history, certainly when you consider what downtown LA looked like 20 years ago. One of the latest examples of the gentrification process downtown comes along Main Street, where sought-after, forward-thinking restaurants like Bäco Mercat and Pete’s are now calling home.

Yet, the facelift Main Street has been undergoing over the past five years wasn’t completely solidified until last month’s official opening of The Regent Theater, a 1,100-capacity venue with a gourmet pizza joint (Prufrock Pizzeria) and trendy watering hole (The Lovesong Bar) right next door.

The Regent Theater


Inside The Regent Theater

While it’s not as if Main Street was completely missing a music venue prior to The Regent’s opening, the new space provides a much different dynamic than what came before it. Just a few blocks up the street and tucked away in an adjacent alleyway, The Smell has long catered to underground punk and weird, experimental electronic acts as one of the few all-ages spots left in LA. But with no bar inside, it boasts an attitude unlike most music venues today, dating back to a time when punk was sweeping the nation for the first time.

You won’t find those anti-establishment vibes at The Regent, where local promoter Mitchell Frank, who also operates The Echo and Echoplex, and his company Spaceland Presents have already sold out shows for Death from Above 1979, Cold War Kids and FKA twigs (two nights). And although there are other suitable options nearby with historical movie palaces like The Orpheum Theatre, The Tower Theater and the newly renovated Theatre at Ace Hotel all lining Broadway within a block of each other, The Regent has quickly found its place amid the crowded, yet booming confines of downtown LA.

Cold War Kids


Cold War Kids at The Regent Theater

At first glance, the venue has everything to make it a successful addition to LA’s live music scene. Once a grindhouse and adult movie theater before more recently serving as a pop-up store/venue for Jack White’s label Third Man Records and his band The Dead Weather, The Regent fits in quite nicely with its immediate surroundings, evoking a feeling of “old downtown” (the building celebrated its 100th birthday this year, in fact) despite it still bearing that brand-new look and smell. Its sloped dance floor, perfect for any vertically-challenged music fan, is a refreshing change to the club-style venues that dominate LA’s scene. Though the floor area can become difficult to maneuver throughout when shows sell out — as I found out for myself during Cold War Kids’ headlining gig one night — the horseshoe-shaped balcony provides some respite while offering a close view of the stage. There are even a few high-top tables near the stairs for those needing to take some weight off their feet. No need to worry, though. The Regent’s custom-fitted sound system makes it plenty easy to hear the performance from the very back of the room.

If there’s one thing The Regent has going for it, it’s that there aren’t many “bad seats” in the house. Yes, the bar downstairs can easily become inundated with thirsty patrons (quick tip: you’re better off going to the bar upstairs) and the lack of air conditioning at times can make things uncomfortable for some, but with any new music venue nowadays, there are always pluses and minuses. Instead, it will come down to how The Regent resolves these smaller — however, noteworthy — grievances that will determine whether or not it becomes a favorite among LA music fans.

The Regent Theater