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
Last Thursday, the 98.7 studios were visited by Denmark’s New Politics who gave an intimate performance at a station listening party. Fans sat in while the pop rock trio gave an exclusive, acoustic performance of 4 songs, including hits “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and current single “Harlem”.
The band has the pop rock formula down, edge enough to be on alternative charts and melodic enough to have you instantly singing along. Each song exemplified the bands’ enthusiasm to perform.
While chatting with Tobi between songs, their humorous banter and witty outlook were a highlight of the performance. The members (Soren Hensen, David Boyd and Louis Vecchio) shared amusing tour stories, things they miss from home while on the road, and their appreciation for the creative freedom that is encouraged in the United States as compared to hometown, Copenhagen.
In keeping the audience on its toes, lead singer David Boyd had some questions thrown his way regarding his love for breakdancing and surprised everyone in the room with an impromptu breaking session. And that’s not even all! In anticipation of their new record, an invitation was made for fans to tweet new album titles to the guys, so fans – get creative and send those suggestions!
This British quartet has hardly been on the scene two years, but my, what a long way they have come! When the Vaccines released their first album in March 2011, they came to LA playing small venues and shyly presenting their big sound, one compared to the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and the Strokes. Cut to now and they are back supporting their 2012 sophomore effort Come of Age, a strong and straight up rock fest.
Another change from past visits would be the packed house at the large Fonda Theater and the commanding show these now very self assured lads put on that night. Singer Justin Young practically swaggered onto the stage to kick off the show with “No Hope” from the latest album, a song that crosses an anguished Pulp with the spunkiest of Undertones vibes, and got the crowd bouncing up and down right away. Following up with “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” was shaggariffic as Young and bassist Árni Arnason shook their mop toppy heads wildly to the screams of fans while guitarist Freddie Cowan owned his whole corner of the stage. The apprehensive players of just last year were gone, and these confident rockers tore the Fonda up, from the sinister pop punk of “Teenage Icon” to the mean spirited but wackily anthemic “Post Break Up Sex.” Rounding out the first set with their melodic and upbeat “If You Wanna” gave drummer Pete Robertson a chance to show off and also gave the audience some time to harmonize with the band.
There was still an encore to go, though, as they veered into Ramones territory with bouncy punk that erupted into rabid pogo-ing and a little crowd surfing, ending with the energizing ditty “Norgaard.” For a band that has received accolade after accolade in their homeland, it’s great to see that the Vaccines translate across the pond, as they owe much of their sound to our punk rock roots as well.
Atop the Hollywood Tower, the 98.7 Penthouse was filled with the upbeat and happy vibes of Blondfire and The Mowgli’s.
Blondfire began the night with their casual, synth-infused pop rock. Having been around for quite a few years, the band has had success despite having to convert their original band name, Astaire, to the current moniker Blondfire. Lead singer Erica Driscoll’s light, melodic vocals made the tone of the songs very welcoming. The set opened with a brand new song, never before played, and continued with ‘Waves’, a single off their upcoming album ‘Young Heart’.
Throughout the set, interjections by 98.7’s Tobi encouraged the band to indulge the crowd with some information about their new record and growing success. The set ended with the hit single ‘Where the Kids Are’, featured in a currently running Honda commercial, the video for which is available and thoroughly recommended by the band to take a look!
The set continued with the highly spirited and eclectic The Mowgli’s. The sheer number of band members and their positioning atop the quaint Hollywood Tower rooftop stage was initially impressive.
Despite their ‘Edward Sharpe’-esque, 1970’s Folk throwback appearance, the 8-piece band produces a classic, full rock feel with high-energy and feel good tunes about togetherness and self-empowerment. Guitarist Michael Vincze set off the mood of the set by taking off his shoes and lighting up the incense while singer Colin Dieden kept the crowd interaction going and vocalist Katie Earl added a much appreciated femininity to the stage. Peppered with conversation by 98.7’s Darren Rose about the band’s inspirations and retelling of recent Grammy party experiences, The Mowgli’s presented a very likable set and the entire show was a great collaboration by both of the bands.
Long Beach quartet the Cold War Kids are another one of those local bands done good for us Angelenos, rising up through the ranks about 7 years ago with their particular style of indie rock. Like a bluesy tent revivalist punk band, they confounded and enthralled crowds on the small stages until Downtown Records picked them up and put them on the national stage. And for good reason – their unique sound is ultimately catchy and engaging, while live they can be pretty show stopping.
The sound has changed a bit over the years (the band too, as founding member & guitarist Jonnie Russell has recently retired with friend Dann Gallucci taking over), blending in more garage, harmonies and less quirk. But the soulful croonings of vocalist Nathan Willet define the sound, and that continues to lead the band. They recently did a surprise warm up gig at the Bootleg Theater, playing lots of new tracks from their upcoming release, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (which is also the song that opened the show). They rocked out with the new single, “Miracle Mile,” which sounded tight, crisp, and fun. Of course, the reaction was biggest with their first LA favorite, “Hang Me Up To Dry,” which inspired group singing while bassist Matt Maust (who also does all the design for the band) prowled over the stage with his head bobbing, as he is prone to do. Drummer Matt Aveiro pounded furiously on “Minimum Day” and “Louder Than Ever,” both of which were greeted enthusiastically as well. They closed out the show with “We Used to Vacation,” another nod to their first self released EP from way back when, and definitely another crowd pleaser. The Bootleg, now adorned with the somewhat landmark SALVATION sign from the Silverlake Lounge which was a reminder to everyone there of where the Cold War Kids started, served as a lovely homecoming venue for another act Los Angeles is proud to call their own.
LA’s own Local Natives recently played two sold out nights at the El Rey theatre, celebrating the release of their second full length, Hummingbird. The band released their first collection 3 years ago, and the quirky folk, lilting harmonies and indie take on world rhythms made them festival darlings right away. These shows were just the start of a slew of sold out gigs nationwide, and the new record picks up right where the last one left off.
With a perfect mix of the two albums so that no one felt left out, the five piece took the stage to screams and shouts from an extremely enthusiastic crowd. Live, they got down to business, and their earnest delivery was not lost on the audience. When they get into that harmony thing, though, people go nuts. They opened with the first track of the new album, “You & I,” and went into the single “Breakers,” which elicited a whole lotta “woos!” every time they reached a harmonious and musical crescendo. “Airplanes” and their now somewhat standard Talking Heads cover of “Warning Sign” (and they do it so well!) were big favorites, but it was great to see new tracks like “Ceilings” and “Heavy Feet” get lots of love too.
The encore, though, absolutely wowed as they saved a couple party tunes for last. After the grand sing-a-long of “Who Knows, Who Cares,” they busted out “Sun Hands” and the whole place blew up. Hands in the air, clapping ferociously (I swear, it had to hurt sometimes), and after the vocal breakdown (which had the entire room shouting), Local Natives burst into a rock frenzy and people were almost crowd surfing. (Or maybe they actually made it and I just couldn’t see them? They sure were close.) These local boys definitely done good, and they have thousands of local fans that came out to show them so.
– Mo Herms for Moheak (photos by Zowie)
CAPITAL CITIES SHOW SYNPOSIS:
Easily, Capital Cities provides the perfect soundtrack to that weekend dance party you’ve been planning. Formed in Los Angeles, Ca, the band falls into the pure dance, synth-pop category featuring songs with fantastically catchy hooks and even catchier beats, infectious enough to make the most modest spectator want to sign up for the nearest dance competition after leaving the show.
Atop the Hollywood Tower, in an intimate but high energy courtyard area, fans and Rockaholics gathered as 98.7 welcomed Capital Cities. Outfitted in matching chartreuse blazers, the band look was just as fierce as the dance moves the members flaunted. The set opened with a mellow yet danced-out Sinead O’Conner cover, “Nothing Compares 2 U”.
Frontmen Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonia really led the pack with their crowd interaction and, of course, a dance tutorial for the “Capital Cities Shuffle” instructing the crowd on the required steps for the 3rd song, “Kangaroo Court”. After everyone got the chance to show off some skills, trumpeter Spencer Ludwig stepped in for an appropriately sizzling solo.
The set was kept fun and lively throughout and was wrapped up with a band Q&A by 98.7, certainly a mid-week treat. If you’re looking for an excuse to put your dancing shoes on and be visually entertained at the same time, be sure to catch a Capital Cities show.
-Blake V for Moheak (pics by G.A. Luna)
Swedish duo, Niki and the Dove, last came through LA as part of the Culture Collide festival last fall, selling out the Echo and promising to return. As the slow burn reaction to their summer release, Instinct, continued, the band toured some more before heading back to Stockholm. They did keep their promise quickly though, returning to Los Angeles to pack the El Rey with people who couldn’t wait to dance to their particular brand of indie electro all night long.
The charming vocalist Malin Dahlstrom immediately engaged a happy crowd which was kept bouncing by the production work of her other half, Gustaf Karlof working the electronics. Their brand of electronica is not your typical Swedish dance pop, as Dahlstrom’s breathy and sometimes childlike vocals contrast with Karlof’s sometimes off kilter yet big sounds. Tracks like “The Fox” shouldn’t inspire dancing, but somehow it still does. The anthem of “Tomorrow” filled the space as did “DJ, Ease My Mind, “ which gave the folks that huge dance song they were craving all night.
Ok so the last time I saw Pennywise, I was 14 and it was in a dirt field in the Inland Empire and it was RAD! For some reason, this LA show was just OUTRAGEOUS...in a good way of course.
The stage attire was "We Are Not Your Slaves Banners" and the hype in the room was phenomenal. Fletcher Dragge kept yelling "BELIEVE IN YOUR F*CKING SELF, LOVE YOUR F*CKING DREAMS AND FOLLOW THEM" Right before they played "Bro Hymn" Dragge handed a random audience member his crews' $400 camera so the dude could take it in the circle pit and get outrageous footage...and the dude brought back the camera!
They did numerous covers of Black Flag and Circle Jerks and demanded the audience to deliver the biggest circle pit ever...and they sure did.
Dudes were walking out of the show in just their underwear, no shoes and blood marks on their faces...which...at a punk show makes for a great night.
If you have never been to a punk show...next time Pennywise is in town, you need to go. Period.
(987fm online girl)
(Photo by Zowie)
When Josh Tillman released Fear Fun back in May of 2012, he also started doing little shows around town to promote the Sub Pop release. By the summer, this current Angeleno (and former member of Fleet Foxes) had graduated to the festival circuit mid day slots. At the end of the year, he had conquered the US and Europe, and landed on several Best of lists, making his sold out homecoming show at the El Rey that much more celebratory.
Bringing a string section to join this already razor sharp band for the special occasion, Tillman kicked off with the opening crooner, “Funtimes In Babylon,” which repeats the now prophetic, “Look out Hollywood, here I come.” The album is extremely LA centric, both in loving and jesting ways, and the audience was thrilled to be a part of his lyrical fun. “I’m Writing a Novel” had folks dancing and “Nancy From Now On” remained a number to make them swoon. Tillman is entertaining whether he is singing or speaking – his stage banter is now legendary, a Dean Martin for the indie set tossing off wicked one liners and charmingly self-deprecating comments. But at the end of the night, it’s all about the music, and the closing the set with his big track, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” inspired everyone to sing-a-long while the band went nuts with a guitar freakout of the ages.
Father John Misty has been performing inspired covers during his sets too, and this night brought an encore that closed the night with a Canned Heat track, “On the Road Again.” Appropriate, as they are about to get back on tour opening for the Walkmen. But for now, he’s still ours.