Gov’t Mule honor Tom Petty & more at The Wiltern

Gov't MuleBy Josh Herwitt //

Gov’t Mule //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
September 11th, 2018 //

It’s hard to believe that summer is already over. Just a few months ago, we were celebrating the start of the season at Arroyo Seco Weekend (read our festival review here) with modern-day guitar royalty as Jack White, Gary Clark Jr., Neil Young and more highlighted what was mainly a rock-centric lineup in Pasadena.

Thus, it was only fitting that we closed out summer the same way we started it, with another legendary guitarist soothing our souls. Warren Haynes has been prolific in every sense of the word, whether he’s playing with The Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead or his primary band Gov’t Mule, and watching him work his Gibson Les Paul onstage always feels like a rare treat as he nears the age of 60.

Gov't Mule

Touring in support of their 11th studio album Revolution Come…Revolution Go that came out last year, Gov’t Mule made their return to LA on a Tuesday night with a solid crowd showing up at The Wiltern. The Southern rock act has been at it for almost 25 years, and even though they’ve been working together for a decade now, Haynes (guitar, vocals), Matt Abts (drums, percussion, vocals), Danny Louis (keyboards, guitar, trumpet, vocals) and newest member Jorgen Carlsson (bass) have offered no signs of slowing down of late. In fact, Mule have put out a new release every year since 2013, and while they haven’t disclosed any plans to do so before the end of 2018, it’s always possible that could change once they’re off the road soon.

Unlike what they did four years ago in LA when they played the Orpheum Theatre, Haynes and company paid tribute to a smaller list of heroes this time around, most notably the late Tom Petty with a cover “Breakdown” coming during an extended version of their The Deep End, Volume 1 track “Beautifully Broken” before transitioning into covers of The J.B.’s and finally Al Green to end the second set. Ann Peebles’ “I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” with a special guest appearance from “Conan” band leader Jimmy Vivino on guitar brought us all the way home, serving as just another reminder that every show Gov’t Mule plays these days feels like a special one.

Setlist:
Set 1
Bad Little Doggie
Broke Down on the Brazos
Rocking Horse
Pressure Under Fire
Scenes From a Troubled Mind
Revolution Come, Revolution Go
Million Miles From Yesterday
Easy Times
Time to Confess

Set 2
Slackjaw Jezebel
Mr. High & Mighty
Steppin’ Lightly
Mother Earth (Memphis Slim cover)
Beautifully Broken (>)
Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover) (> “Beautifully Broken” reprise)
Doing It to Death (The J.B.’s cover) (with Doug Woolverton)
I’m a Ram (Al Green cover)

Encore:
I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home (Ann Peebles cover) (with Jimmy Vivino) (with “Will It Go Round in Circles” lyrics)

Dancing the night away with Cut Copy in LA

Cut CopyBy Josh Herwitt //

Cut Copy with Kauf //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
September 7th, 2018 //

Cut Copy are no strangers to LA. If you didn’t know any better, you might think the synthpop outfit that spawned out of Dan Whitford’s solo DJ project actually lived in the City of Angels.

But the Australian four-piece undoubtedly enjoys coming to California every time it drops a new album, and with the release of their fifth LP Haiku from Zero nearly a year ago now, the past 12 months have been action-packed for Whitford (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Tim Hoey (guitars), Ben Browning (bass, vocals) and Mitchell Scott (drums, vocals).

Cut Copy

For those in LA who missed Cut Copy 10 months ago when they visited the Shrine Expo Hall with De Lux, Palmbomen II and Cooper Saver also on the bill, their headlining performance last Friday at The Wiltern was another chance to dance the night away upon hearing several classics such as “Need You Now”, “Free Your Mind”, “Future”, “Hearts on Fire” and to close, “Lights & Music”. In fact, the last time that we caught them back in March, a mini downpour erupted at Shaun White’s Air + Style (read our festival review here), but it didn’t phase them. Who said playing — and dancing — in the rain isn’t fun anyway?

Nevertheless, Cut Copy always know how to throw one of the best dance parties in the biz, and though they just finished their latest tour with three West Coast shows in LA, Berkeley (supporting Phoenix) and Portland last weekend, it’s plausible that these Aussies could be back in the states next year for some more dates, particularly once festival season officially returns. Until then, this one should hold us over.

Setlist:
Need You Now
Black Rainbows
Visions
Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
Airborne
Living Upside Down
Free Your Mind
Counting Down
Future
Pharaohs & Pyramids
Hearts on Fire
Standing in the Middle of the Field
Take Me Over
Out There on the Ice

Encore:
Meet Me in a House of Love
Lights & Music

Deafheaven continue their evolution at The Wiltern

DeafheavenBy Zach Bourque //

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

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

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

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

Uniform


Uniform

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

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

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

Drab Majesty


Drab Majesty

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

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

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

DEAFHEAVEN

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

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

DRAB MAJESTY

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

Day N Night Fest 2017: From Chance to Kendrick, hip-hop’s finest shine bright in the OC

Day N Night Fest 2017 - J.I.D

J.I.D

By Joseph Gray & Rochelle Shipman //

Day N Night Fest //
Angel Stadium – Anaheim, CA
September 8th-10th, 2017 //

It’s not too often that you’ll walk past a crazed mosh pit of diverse youngsters on your way to church. Nor are we usually witness to strippers and party-friendly political disruption just a few minutes before a bold declaration of one’s self-reflection. Yet, it was this kind of contrast that led thousands to Orange County as music is the ultimate unifier, with hip-hop currently at its forefront.

Not ignorant to this, Day N Night Fest took its rap-heavy lineup outside Angel Stadium for its second go-round. Celebrating what was once thought to be a fleeting fad, attendees fought through heat, long lines and fatigue to keep the energy flowing consistently over three days.

The main stage served as the hub for the vigor — rising (19-year-old!) star Khalid took early precedence on Friday night, bringing pure joy, cheerleaders and raw emotion to the stage, effortlessly running through the hits on his breakout album American Teen. Closing out the first night was Travis Scott, fresh off his support slot on Kendrick’s “DAMN. Tour”, proving that he is worthy of his own spotlight with a voice that reverberated far past the edge of a crowd and at one point, his now-famous mechanical bird in conjunction with his latest LP Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight.

Saturday, meanwhile, featured the vintage gospel spirit and warm vibes that have elevated Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper to superstardom. Earlier in the day, SZA, this summer’s breakout star, delivered her first festival performance since the release of her well-received debut album Ctrl. Swaying, spinning and singing her raw emotions and shortcomings while coming of age, the Top Dawg Entertainment songstress didn’t disappoint. And even after the old folks were admonished to the delight of the youthful crowd, they still danced to 23-year-old Lil Uzi Vert’s melodic pandemonium that was highlighted by his newest single “XO Tour Llif3” and him running and jumping everywhere imaginable.

As for Sunday’s main-stage performers, we were given the full sphere of Compton. YG drove us through his neighborhood and reminded us that his infamous “FDT” (aka “Fuck Donald Trump”) sentiments he put on display last year at The Wiltern (read our show review here) still remain, but he danced, joked and ushered out exotic dancers with a live band behind him, throwing one hell of a political party that resonated with the diverse crowd.

Day N Night Fest 2017 - SZA


SZA

Later on, Kendrick Lamar essentially extended “The DAMN. Tour” for one more night on Day 3. Explosive with his confident self-discovery, K-Dot manned the stage by himself and dished out crowd-friendly tracks like “DNA” and “Element” before treating his longtime supporters to “Money Trees” from his Good Kid, M.A.A.D City debut and eventually closing the festival with literal fireworks following the smash “Humble.”

While the headliners thrilled as expected, it was at the side “Day” and “Night” stages where the festival’s biggest highlights were generated. J.I.D, the rising Atlanta rapper who is signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint, absolutely thrilled during his set. Dazzling with his rapid-fire and agile flow, J.I.D showed off his ability to command a crowd with songs such as “General” and “EdEddnEddy” before jumping into the crowd for the tempo-changing hit “Never” that left the crowd chanting for “one more song!”

On the same “Day” stage, Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar expressed how much he loved being in California and those who flooded the smaller stage to express just how happy they were to hear him say that. Following the release of his well-reviewed Freudian project, the Toronto native was remarkable as he traded frenzied stage dives for some silky-smooth harmonies instead, taking us along his sonically beautiful journey that you will certainly know more about in the coming months.

Vic Mensa, Playboy Carti, Isaiah Rashad and Dom Kennedy were some other notable crowd favorites of the weekend. And though his crowd was far from massive, St. Louis’ Smino had one of the most energetic audiences all weekend, with attendees feverishly singing along to many of the jams off his stellar debut blkswn.

While its organization leaves a little bit to be desired, Day N Night solidified its spot this year as an expansive festival that seems to be growing with the culture. And if the insight of Migos is any indication, we have a bigger, brighter and even more explosive festival to look forward to next year.