Posts Tagged ‘Silver Lake


Culture Collide Blowing Up the International Indie and Alternative Music Scenes in Silver Lake: Sunday

Sunday was the last day of Filter‘s Culture Collide following 4 days of music, movies and art events, Sunday’s performances ends Culture Collide’s second year as a festival. I was running late, due to blogging, on Saturday’s intinerary of band performances when Scott alerted me to the fact he was already at the festival via email. He was already to assist me in documentation all of this international music and wasn’t there yet. I was a little unhinged upon arriving at Taix, the hot spot for this festival. Scott and his friend Kristi met me in the parking lot of Taix. We pow wowed for a minute. I decided that Chad Van Gaalen was the band to give the once over twice.

Chad VanGaalen offered a nice soft Alternative Rock. There was no theatrics or onstage mayhem as the quartet strung us along from one melodic moment to another with the occasional whistling solo. It was one of those things that eased you into the mid-after noon. Interesting enough VanGaalen plays in a side project called Women. You’ll get my drift when your read just below here.

Soon came Men on the Antics Stage 1 and yes there were! While, I can’t say whether it is a declaration or celebration of their gender or their desired gender of interest. In either case they were energetic and very upbeat. They had matching shiny metallic jump suits with a purple and black zig zag print on their jumpsuit’s jackets. They were very uniform if appearance. It was Rockish Dance music presented with athletic histrionics and they were manic to say the least. I lasted 3 songs and then drifted to the chaos inside Taix to take’r easy.

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Once refreshed, I sauntered casually over to see Echo Park locals Rainbow Arabia on the Antics Stage 2. I think we all know what local means here: the band moved to Silver Lake/Echo Park in the last 3 or 4 years to be a part of the Hipster phenomon. Tiffany Preston, the lead singer/guitarist, has a presence similar to Patti Smith: Her hair in her face and they share a long and lanky look. There music they were playing is called electronic, but I found it to be filled with overtones of world music influences, extracting indigenous sounds found in South America and Africa music. Their approach to music blends light keyboard sounds, ethnic and tribal percussion, utilizing the guitar in riffy and slightly percussive manner with Preston’s lingering vocals over the soundscape. It was a good solid show and a fine warm up leading to finally seeing Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

I checked in to see Avi Buffalo for a short time. I’d already seen their performance on Friday in the Champagne room of Taix. I took it upon myself to shoot another video for better audio quality over that of Friday night’s performance. Avi Buffalo’s show was good enough Friday to return to document a cleaner, less noisy version of them playing. Then there’s the plus getting them up on the big Antics Stage with a large adoring crowd.

Next to come up on Antics Stage 2 was The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, a Danish band, brought their version of European Neo Soul to the stage. Mette Lindberg, appears to be channeling Hipster meets a blend of Debbie Harry and Princess. It was the gold mic that added the Princess flavor to my analysis. The band has a Soul/R&B sound with mid-tempo beats and a rich horn section with a clean straight ahead vocals, very unlike Amy Winehouse. She knew her stuff and layed it down for the next 45 minutes with me counting down to Clap Your Hands Say Yeah‘s set.

I counted some 25 photogs all in a line at Antics Stage 1. The thickening crowd that had been swelling for 15 minutes before scheduled show was to begin were now enduring the tedium of a sound check. It only proves the pulling power of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to the LA audience. The fans were eagerly waiting and standing as things heated up in anticipation of the show. A show that was to happen at Sunset Junction, then at the Echo, which then was cancelled because of the Hurricane hitting New York. Now, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are finally going to blow up here on the street behind Taix. I mustard a position for best photographic effect, while being squeezed all around by devotees and waiting for the band to launch their set. The lights popped on as Alec Ounsworth pushed up to the mic, guitar at the ready with the band close behind. In a fraction second everyone jumped into the set. The cheers of the fans rose up with Alec’s urgent delivery with hit and run intensity that lasted for the first 4 songs with no let up. The photogs were “all up in it”, all jostling for position to capture the erupting musical assault and on stage energy! The band was busy delivering the experience. Alec led the way as a power packed showman bearing down on the mic with his vocal delivery. Mid-set they played the hit “Satan Said Dance” and the crowd went into a frenzy: jumping and singing along till they were breathless. Alec introduced a new song in their set, Maniac, in support of their new album Hysteria. Acceptance was immediate and everybody was on it with furious feet and gyrating hips! The dancing didn’t stop from then on out. The set was tight energetic and polished, as much as any “Indie” can be polished. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah gave every one that attended exactly what they wanted and then some. I loved every moment of it! It was a great show and an awesome way for everyone to experience a much anticipated band that everyone had been waiting on for such a damn long time!

Datarock then followed Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. So we switched to the Antic Stage 2 where they were set to perform. Scott and Kristi after proving 4 hours of assistance to my every video need had to move on. Once again with the running suits or glamy sweats that Datarock pioneered, as far as I know, were up on the stage giving it. Whenever, I see Datarock in their look I think of Ben Stiller and the twins from the The Royal Tenenbaums. It always creates a smirk on my face. They were active, running all over the stage working the crowd. The sound wasn’t right though for a performance but it turned out well for my video. It was like sound check didn’t pay off for them. The sound was dull, lacking brightness and volume I had heard all day long at other stages. But that didn’t deaden the enthusiasm the band or the faithful as they hammered away at the show. Nonetheless, the audience thinned a bit and the devoted were hooked on every song. Towards the latter part of the middle of their set they hit on their hit of “Fa Fa Fa” re-energizing the fans. Like Felix the Cat and his magic bag of tricks Datarock kept going for the one up on their previous effort ranking on themselves at every step. Fredrik Saroea declared that Jerry Casale of Devo was directing Datarock’s new music video for their song California.They were shooting footage right there live too. The band introduced Jerry to the audience. A group of people would barely know who he was and yet they were enthusiastic, releasing a festive cheer for him as Datarock launched in to song California. Jerry jumped in and powered a duet with Fredrik as the band posed and preened to the music soaking up all that Devo glory. At the end Fredrik declared that eveybody will be in the California music video. I was thinking, everybody in the front rows will be in the music video. Those like myself, who were in the dark, have little to no chance of being seen in that video. But I’ll buy in on the level of Sunday evening fun and I love a good pitch. Datarock closed out their set with cheery satisfied audience. At this point I’d had scored a totally awesome performance of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on video. It had been along weekend of friends, fun and great music. So I could call it a day without any guilt and chalk this Culture Collide up to another exceptional weekend of above average music and general frivolity.


Culture Collide Blowing Up the International Indie and Alternative Music Scenes in Silver Lake

I recieved  an invite from Filter Magazine, of whom I’m a subscriber to their email updates, for the kick off of event for Cultural Collide Music Festival for the concert feature Nirvana: Live At The Paramount. A concert filmed in 1991 had been forgotten till recently. Once found it’s been cleaned up and edited from 16mm down to 1080P High Definition. While the invite suggested I should post this invite to my page with a “like” I couldn’t bring myself to do this. I did share it with a few of what I’d consider devotees of Nirvana or true music fans and close friends. I couldn’t stand the idea of fighting people to find a seat or standing in any line that were a quarter mile long. Thankfully, the tactic paid off making entrance easy and more exclusive. So the lesson here is if you want to be in the know you need to get your finger is the pie or you’re going to have to get your toes wet if you want to be in the action! This Wednesday at the Vista the showing took place with a sizable crowd but no nuttiness. I was very impressed with the feature. It was a perfect time capsule of the band represented and the Punk Rock culture of the time. First point of interest, for me, was when Kurt referred to was when he referred to the music he made as Punk music, not Grunge. So Kurt saw what he was doing as Punk and being true to those ethos. Awe, Grunge you are such a lovely marketing term. Another point of interest was the band’s dress or “Look” was composed: there was no stylist there throwing furs, bedazzling thingies or designer gear on them. Kurt had a sweater with a few moth holes in it, a tee and jeans. No dressing for success here! The sound of the feature was superb and the imaging was superior. For those who weren’t there when it happened it will be a revelatory experience, or others this will be a reminder of how genuine and real music performances were and can be. I left satisfied with the nearest thing to a live Nirvana concert one can receive now. It’s worth giving it a view.

Come Friday I was ready for some live music action and so directed myself to the hot bed of activity of Cultural Collide at Taix for a mixer featuring a number of Dutch bands, in this case it De Staats. What a surprise there were, delightfully quirky and I think there was a socio-political message too. They had this odd charm, the lead singer in proper business dress, while the rest of the band were in musician gear. I think he would’ve dropped the look if he had known how hot Taix was going to be. The lead had presence and knew how to keep it moving and to keep it interesting. There sound was with filled  tinkling keyboards and at had a military cadence at times that bring to mind bands like Wall of Voodoo, Pulp or Oingo Bingo but with a less stylized or quirky vocal approach. I felt, had I been from the Netherlands, I would have picked up on a lot of satire and humor in their presentation. Nonetheless, they were a wonderful way to start the evening off in the right way.

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WIM was the next band on my itinerary or should I say, I stumbled upon them in the Champagne Room of Taix. Hum, happy endings… I was immediately struck by the front man’s presences: vocally gifted, very emotive and dramatic in his presentation. He was captivating, moving and gesturing in a very interesting manner while delivering impressive and stylish vocal performance. I thought at first they were some nutty Eastern European band that was branded as being folk glam. Is this a departure from Freak Folk? He approached the mic like a Silent Movie Star would approach a love interest: brooding, steamy and filled with dark lust. By the second song I was sold and the ladies there had been on board long before I showed up. They temperture raised a few degrees while the band slyly slipped their had up out skirts, musically speaking, while we fell into a trace of ungarded pleasure. WIM is a remarkable band and a must see!

I arrived in time to catch Portugal’s The Gift. The lead singer, has an exotic look and a lively stage presence. She dances and takes dramatic poses, while she delivers a poppy Alternative Rock. Not quite No Doubt, not quite Lena Lovich nor quite Loop Guru, The Gift delivers a tuneful dance Rock that is closer to mainstream or Euro pop than what I’d consider alternative, but lively in any case. Their sound is lush with keyboards, riffy guitars and power drumming. During the last song they the keyboardist used a theremin to great and dramatic affect bumping the overall energy and excitement to the show as a whole.

Next on my wish list was The Morning After Girl. These guys were great, providing dense dark hypnotic melodic alternative Rock to a ever growing crowd. The buzz I had received was on target and they delivered. Somewhere in the realm of Spiritualize, Pink Mountain tops or the Verve this band was a knock out pulling off an awesome interpretation of Neo-Phychedelic Rock. I could have listened to a longer set and nested there for the rest of the night had I not had more trouble to get into. The Morning After Girl knew their instruments had good stage presence and the lighting only made the experience richer and put this band on my hit list to visit again.

The local buzz on Avi Buffalo had drawn my attention to what all the hub-bub was about. So, I trekked back Taix’s Champagne room for my last show for the night. I’d say what Avi Buffalo is somewhat like Darker My Love but referencing more of Bob Dylan and less of Tom Petty with a big dip in to Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the tiniest dash of White Strips. The sound is folkish but in an electric way and in a singer song writer way too. The lyrics are thought driven and introspective. The audience were composed of Hipsters and young locals. It reminds me of how I’d often go to see Tell Tale Hearts in San Diego part of the Garage Sixties sound that was a subculture to the Punk subculture.  I found them to be more rewarding than Darker My Love: more song craft and musicality. I look forward to digging deeper with this band as time goes on. Cultural Collide has curated so far some memorable and amazing talent. I can’t wait to get my Rocks of fop the rest of the weekend here i Silver Lake.


Sunset Junction Media Mixer: Gala Extraordinaire!

After 2 music showcases and a trip to Oakland I had to have a moment to gather myself for rest and reflection before a huge and significant event that celebrates, dominates and defines the Eastsider’s sensibilities and lifestyle choices like no other event:   SUNSET JUNCTIONWhile Sunset Junction may polarize those who are proor-con, there is nothing on the “Eastside” that so clearly defines our hopes and dreams more than The Junction. Sunset Junction clearly celebrates diversity by creating commonality between us all, as it has for the last 30 plus years.  My first Sunset Junction was way back in 1986 with the focus on local, alternative and ethnic musicand lifestyles.  It was The Junction that offered openness to us all by bringing together the Latin and Gay communitiesamong others, to celebrate the amazing cultural richness of an amazing and picturesque part of Los Angeles.  I have fond memories of seeing Dezz Cadena announcing the bands year-after-year and hanging out backstage with Candye KanePatrick Mata’s The Legendary Wrong People & Kommunity FKThe Muffs, Luis Güereña of  Tijuana No and the legendary Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks.  The Junction holds great meaning to me and to manymany others too.  These are all very rich and wonderful memories deeply engraved in the community from years past.  They include all the delicious Queens like TanjaJohnny and the many others who “Brought it!” with flair and drag-a-licious marvelousness every year in late August!!  For years The Junction became a home for Punks and Alternative types like myself, who blended in well with the Latin and Gay communities.  It gave us all a forum of self-expression and creative individualism on the streets, when no one else would have bothered todo so.  This is enough of a legacy for me to hold on to, one that revitalizes the Eastside community as no other entity could.  However, even more important to remember is the year-round, community outreach and good works provided by Sunset Junction founder/organizer Micheal McKinley and his team.  Proceeds from the annual event benefit the less privileged of our community, while continuing to promote understanding and tolerance among such adiverse population.
With this in mind, there has been an upswing of interest focusing on Sunset Junction over the last couple of years.  The shift has moved it beyond the spread of misinformation and negativity, while ushering in an exciting  “rebirth  to a whole new generation as we approach its   31st Anniversary.  I was fortunate enough to observe this new push and believe as never before that the best is yet to come An important indication of this renewal was clearly signified with Sunset Junction’s 2011 Media Mixer last Wednesday at Silverlake landmark El Cid Part of the buzz started when it was announced that El Cid is partnering with Sunset Junction to present a SixthStage called “Locals Only”  that features home grown talent.  Three snaps, it’s on!  Essentially this mixer brought together a whole new synergy for The Junctionby illuminating all of the marvelous talent in our community that wewill be sharing this year at El Cid.  The mixer demonstrated how The Junction is an important player in fortifying, building and maintaining the Eastside community, hands down.
I arrived at El Cid promptly at 7PM to start the photographic work in documenting this milestone event.  I arrived in the golden light of  the late afternoon sun, ready to knock out hundreds of shots of local personalities, community leaders, and established and emerging local musical artists. The patio was serene as I walked in to see Sunset Junction’s Micheal McKinleyThe Hotel Cafe’s Marko Shafer, El Cid’s Julianna Young and The Satellite’sJennifer Tefftthe team responsible for producing this year’s music and entertainment. They were prepping for the necessary photos opps, as a sea of photographers surrounded them.  The table to my right was set with a redtablecloth along with tons of goodies to eat, for the crowd that would soon descend to this historic site.  Besides the food, there was an Open Bar — to further promote the good vibes and celebration for this special evening.   The MediaMixer also showcased the Eastside’s wide reservoir of talent, including well received performances by Left Over Cuties and Peg Leg Love.  This allowed the media to get an advance preview of what the team had in store for this years festival.   Thanks to Karen Sundell from Rogers & Cowan (a fellow eastsider), whose deft planning skills supremely provided the necessary touch of elegance that made El Cid totally ready to party!

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Some of the first folks to celebrate were Steve Chagollan of VarietyHarlan Lansky of Seany RecordsAndy Sternberg of LAistTanja Laden of Flavor Pill and Brick Walh of LA Weekly, Andrea Dominack of LA WeeklyKevin Bronson of Buzzbands, Jessica Wedemeyer  of People Magazine, Jose Martinez of Venice Magazine, Abigail Parsons of Young Hollywood/Central Talent booking, Ronna Bronstein-Trumfio of Kingsize Sound Labs, reps from CBS Radio, The Huffington Post and a wide assortment of tastemaker/bloggers in support of the event.  The artists, musicians and personalities in attendance were many and that included, Stuart Johnson, Shirli McAllen, Ryan Feves and Mike Bolger of Leftover Cuties, Marie Hall, Daven Hall and Jasmine Ash of Oh Darling, Travis Moore, Ilir Zeneli and Henry Lopez of Peg Leg LoveDJ Morgan Page, Nicole Eva Emery, Summer Spiro and Ruby Spiro of Ruby Summer, Jacob Maltinsky, Adam Kurtz, Sean Johnson and Maria DeLuca of The Damselles, Kate Flannery, Aaron Finley, Erik Desiderio, Steve-Z Brenner and Andrew Van Baal of Big Dick,  Mike Hopkins, John Graney and Jake Gideon of The Californian, Nick Sandler, Mike Goldman, Matt Schwartz and Drew Beck of Chasing Kings, Matthew Teardrop and Katya Arce of Manhattan Murder Mystery, Steven Scott and Brian Canning of Shadow Shadow Shade, Alex Staniloff, Geoffrey Halliday and Sean Hess of HandsGraham FinkJimmy James and Calixto Hernandez of Barrio Tiger Holly Conlan, Carina RoundDan Burns and Zack Rae of Early Winter, Betty Kelly of Martha and the Vandellas, Bob Lee and Jon Wahl from ClawhammerMike Fong, East Area Director for Los Angeles City for Mayor AntonioVillaraigosa, Native Wayne representing Indie 103.1 and Kat Corbett representing KROQ.  On a side note, the Black Lips crashed the party, to hang out in the courtyard and soak up the radiating afterglow.  Surely, there weremany more in attendance, but your eyes and my eyes would suffer from fatigue in viewing a longer list.

The atmosphere was more than gregarious:  it was a blend of class reunion, a shindig, a hootenanny, a POB (Part Out Of  Bounds)  as we all mingled, greeted, got to know, laughed, shared storiesnoshed from the fine dining spreadset before us and bellied up to El Cid’s comfy open bar.  The craziness had gone on for hours and would have done justice to El Cid builder D.W. Griffin’s classic Hollywood standards.  It was Ten-ish when Team Sunset Junctionthat is: Micheal McKinley Julianna Young Jennifer Tefft and Marko Shafer took the stage to make announcements regarding this year’s Sunset Junction and to take questions from the audience.   Michealwas channeling the excitement he’s held for years about The Junction to an extremely engaged audience.  Micheal is a huge fan of Motown Soul, so he couldn’t hold back his excitement as he exuberantly introduced everyone to Betty Kelly of Martha and the Vandellas to a loud round of applause.  It was a sweet and classic moment as Betty rose to receive some much deserved praise and recognition.  This was also near the time Micheal and Juliannaannounced the news that El Cid would host local music artists as the the Sixth Stage of Sunset Junction.  There was crowd pleasing cheers from the audience.  There were a few more announcements, including the “Win A Slot”at Sunset Junction contest, in which bands compete to win a much-coveted performance slot this years festival.   For more details, please visit Micheal then opened up the stage for Leftover Cuties and Peg Leg Love to perform and close out the mixer.

Leftover Cuties performed first, bringing a hipster vibe to the El Cid stage that was reminiscent of bands like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or Amanda Jo Williams,with a Freak Folk sound that went over well with all attending. Then it was Peg Leg Love’s turn. Peg Leg Love rocked the house with some hard-driving blues/garage oriented rock.  They occupied the stage for nearly 45 minutes delivering power to their hot licks and kicks kind of sound.  Soon, I drifted out in the courtyard to cool off and take a break.  I saw Zack Rae (keyboardist Alanis Morissette, Carina Round and Early Winter) first and then Carina Round near the stairs.  It had been months and it was great to see her!  We visited for nearly a half hour.  I learned that she has been very busy and that’s why I and others in our circle haven’t heard a peep from her for the last few months.  She’s been traveling, has been deep in the recording process for her new CD, and regularly gigging with Early Winter,  a band she sings with on the side.

It was nearing the witching hour and the party had thinned.  I was finally able to kibitz with Karen on how stunningly the mixer had turned out.  There were a lot of  great things that had transpired that evening because of her very capable handling of the landmark event, in a landmark space.  That evening at El Cid demonstrated a most favorable precursor to this year mighty Sunset Junction Street Fair and concert event.  The mixer highlighted how stunning and innovative this year’s musical line-up is becoming and really got everyone pumped and excited for this year’s much-anticipated event.  I predict it’s going to close out this Eastside summer with an appropriate bang, thatcan only lift the bar that much higher for every other party or event for the rest of the year!

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