Concerts reviews brought to you by the 987FM staff and our friends at Moheak Radio. Since 6/5/12
Music nerd. DJing all over California since 1991 (I was really young) and currently found on Moheak.com. I unabashedly love both Duran Duran and Pixies equally. Follow me on Twitter @shebmo
Legendary indie rockers Yo La Tengo came through LA recently and treated devoted fans to a long set spanning their nearly thirty year career. Based on the husband wife duo Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, joined by James McNew to make that magic number of three, they’ve released thirteen albums now and the setlist at the Fonda reflected all of it. They spilt the show in half to showcase this massive catalog in the best way possible. The first batch of songs were done in a more stripped down manner, offering several from their latest full length Fade and some older tracks (“The Weakest Part”) and even a Beach Boys cover (“I Can Hear Music”). After lulling an adoring audience, they busted out the rock and roll with a rowdy set that included classics like “False Alarm” and “Autumn Sweater” to rile up everyone. New track “Ohm” opened and sort of closed the show, and the encore was full of covers (the Beach Boys showed up again) as well as a somewhat fulfilled request from an audience member. The whole show was intimate and friendly, despite the fact that it was in a full capacity venue of 1000+ people.
Chad Valley is the name of Hugo Manuel’s solo project (he also fronts a band called Jonquil), a sometimes breezy sometimes ‘80s chillwave pop confection. How can all those adjectives fit into one act? Sometimes well, sometimes a bit clunkily. Those who came to see him perform at the Echo recently were treated to a fun evening as the Brit ran through tracks from his first full length, Young Hunger. At times, it was a dreamy thing, the twinkling notes of “Up and Down” entrancing the audience. His Animal Collective sound as filtered through ‘80s Top 40 went over well, and hit a crescendo when one of the guest vocalists from the album joined him onstage. George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, reprised his role on “I Owe You This” to balance out Manuel’s sweet falsetto with his grittier, soulful sound. A pretty night of bouncy mellow indietronica for the Brit-o-philes in the house.
The Postal Service released Give Up in 2003, back when people still bought CD’s and the only ones taking pictures at concerts were the photographers--now ten years later, CD’s are being used for D.I.Y. art projects and Google Glasses are being used in the audience. Times have definitely changed, (as the LA Times have referred to The Postal Service as “indie classic rock”) but an iconic album is not affected by time. As soon as the doors opened at the Fox, you felt the energy.
Out walked Ben Gibbard through blue lighting like an iridescent rock star--soon followed by Jimmy Tamborello, Jenny Lewis, and Laura Burhenn. The crowd actually went wild. The show started with “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” and the audience instantly became a choir. Ben worked that stage like it was his last show. Towards the end of the show, the not so well known song “Such Great Heights” started and if the energy was at 100, it was now immeasurable. They played one more song, “Natural Anthem” and then it was over… until the encore. With the audience stomping, screaming, cheering, and clapping for what seemed like ten minutes, (but was actually more like one) the gang walked out ready to knock everyone off their feet again. The encore started with “(This Is) The Dream Of Evan and Chan.” This is the first track Ben and Jimmy worked on together and marks the birth of The Postal Service through Jimmy’s musical project Dntel. Ending the show, with the one song you wish someone would romantically sing to you: “Brand New Colony.” It could have not ended more celestially. Was it worth the ten year wait? Yes. Should you be sad that you weren’t there? Yes. Will The Postal Service release another album? Let’s hope.
The latest batch of young fussed over Brits to crash the pond with that hot SXSW buzz and bleed over into Coachella and continue to impress would be Palma Violets. Four UK lads doing that edgy kind of Britpop (the kind that means they obviously listened to lots of power pop and punk growing up) have developed a reputation for a blistering live act, and between Coachella weekends, they brought that act to Silver Lake’s The Echo. Working material from their debut, 180, they filled the tiny stage with enough rowdiness to make the whole room sweat, tossing off rocking little gems like “Tom the Drum” and “Step Up for Cool Cats.” They are sassy, smart, spunky, and most of all… really really fun.
– Mo Herms for Moheak Radio (photos by Zowie)
Franz Ferdinand were kind enough to treat the people of LA to a show that didn’t require standing in 100+ degree heat or possibly weathering a sandstorm by having a show in town between Coachella performances. The fantastic four played a good 90 minutes (way more than you’ll get at the festival) to a crowd of fans who were beyond excited to be there. And the band was having a blast too! Dropping their swanky indie pop to an appreciative bunch, the Scots previewed new tracks from their next album too. People danced to the classics (“No You Girls,” “Do You want To,” “Take Me Out”) and even to some new ones (“Fresh Strawberries” and “Love Outsiders”) before being treated to an epic encore. The band ganged up on their drummer for a percussive love fest and shook fans’ hands as they smiled wide for everyone. Because who doesn’t love a night out?
FIDLAR seemed subdued on The Echo's stage but they had only returned to
Wavves built nail-biting anticipation as they fought over dribbling a green & yellow basketball while tuning their instruments. They kicked off their set with "Idiot" and "King of the Beach" to illicit immediate sing-alongs from the crowd. Bassist, Steven Pope, proved to be the most charming untamed beast you can lay your eyes upon, whipping his golden curly locks as hard as he shreds, throwing in a maniacal smile and tongue wags. Its no wonder he was front and center. Nathan Williams didn't offer much banter but his onlookers were so mesmerized by being within breathing distance that shying behind his long bangs hardly affected the momentum. One thing is for sure, where the recordings may fall flat, the live performance picks up and chucks like a pro pitcher. Williams' untreated vocals are hardly ear-piercing and rather captivating, likely due to the overall genuine passion shared by the entire band.
Bottom line, aside from all the hair-pulling, crowd leaning, and fancy dance moves (this is all just the band, mind you), a live performance from Wavves transforms their sound from plain ol' stoner surf jams to intricate, intimate, and sincere music. The phantom rhythm guitarist pulled out riffs you never hear in the recordings, layering on top of rest of the instruments to make for a full sound that is embellished with unexpected and very welcomed grungy nuances. The 14-track set included songs off of the new release Afraid of Heights like "Beat Me Up" but also old favorites, "Bug" and "Super Soaker".
Electro-pop trio, Chvrches, was greeted by a sold out crowd and a standby line down the block at The Echo - not a bad way to spend your first time in
Mayberry's vocals are even gentler live, underlined by her regional Scottish accent. Between songs, the individuals had a sense of humor, pointing out how sweaty one guy looked and a note from Cook dedicating a song to "the people of
When Morrissey was living in Los Angeles, he could frequently be found hanging out at the Cat & Fiddle Pub on Sunset Blvd, watching soccer games or having a cup of coffee. One has to wonder if he was strolling past Hollywood High School, just a few blocks away, and thought, “I think that one day I will play a show in their gym.” A place that boasts alums like Lana Turner (famously “discovered” while ditching class), Laurence Fishburne, and Ricky Nelson is good enough for The Moz, right?
Indeed it was. After a sold out show at the Staples Center, Morrissey invited a few hundred lucky fans to his prom. The entire school showed up and waited for blocks to muddle through the entry, but eventually got in and waited for the king. No one cared about any of the inconveniences once he hit the stage (after a gushing intro from Russell Brand) – that was when the full on devotion began. And why not? His voice is one for the generations, a crooner who can sing a lullaby (“Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want”) one moment and become anthemic (“Irish Blood, English Heart”) the next. Opening with “Alma Matters” and diving headlong into a vast selection from his entire catalog (including the Smiths), the man could do no wrong. He even tricked the audience into practically weeping in the dark when he ended “Speedway” and the lights went out as then sang “Asleep” acapella. Everyone sang along. His onstage theatrics and frequent disrobing (oh, the lucky fans that got his shirts thrown from the stage, unless they were shredded to bits once they hit the ground) only served to fuel the fire, as screams of “I love you” careened off the walls. The Moz also occasionally handed his microphone to audience members (which led to more of the same vocal adulation). “Meat is Murder” was done with the expected slaughterhouse video accompaniment (PETA was also an invited guest that evening), and he closed out with the dreamy “Let Me Kiss You.” By then, the crowd was in such a frenzy that when he came back for his encore of “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side,” people were literally launching themselves off others to land on the stage for a handshake or a hug. But a young boy was lifted up and placed next to Morrissey, among the tossed roses and other gifts, and he took the lad’s hand and picked him up to finish the night and truly melt the hearts of everyone in sight.
Willy Moon has got that something. He’s a good looking Kiwi currently residing in the UK, with a sound that got both Apple and Jack White interested enough to back his music. What is it exactly? A hybrid of retro rock and soul with the intensity of hardcore hip-hop? Maybe? His debut album Here’s Willy Moon comes out March 10th, but Angelenos got treated to a special show at the Bootleg recently to check out what he has to offer.
Charisma. Lots of it. And a talented showman to boot. Since he doesn’t have much out yet (and rumors say his full length is barely 30 minutes long – how punk!) the show wasn’t very long, but it certainly packed a punch. Dressed stylishly in a retro-ish suit, he commanded the stage like a veteran, striking dramatic Elvis poses while crooning out the rock. His most recent single, “Railroad Track,” was absolutely thunderous as Moon wound up lying on his back and practically convulsing while his drummer stood and thumped furiously on her kit. He closed the short set with the Bo Diddley–esque number, “I Wanna Be Your Man,” with more Little Richard theatrics and it rocked the house. There was still an encore, which brought his most familiar track (thanks, Apple) “Yeah Yeah” to the now thoroughly excited audience and the dancing did not stop. The next time he plays will not be in such a tiny place, so everyone in the room knew they had just watched something special. And awesome.