Thursday, May 25, 2023

Coming Up

Upcoming shows:
* Taylor Swift/Haim/Owenn, August 4, So-Fi Stadium;
* Be Your Own Pet, November 9, at the Teragram Ballroom;
* Liz Phair/Blondshell, November 10, the Wiltern.

Updates on here:
More posts soon, including, but not limited to, U2/the Lumineers, Blondie/Garbage (again)/Sky Ferreira, FYF Fest '17, Riot Fest '17, Toadies/Local H, Adam Ant/L7, the National/Local Natives, Afghan Whigs/Har Mar Superstar, as well as Pixies, Circuit Des Yeux, Strfckr, Blondie (again)/Adam Ant (again)/Berlin, the Kills, David Byrne, Cowboy Junkies, Massive Attack, Sleater-Kinney, Beach Bunny, Pixies (again), Brad Paisley, Brandi Carlisle, Primavera '22, Afghan Whigs (again), Lissie, L7, Smashing Pumpkins/Jane’s Addiction, Pixies (yet again)/Slow Pulp, Sisters of Mercy, and Leanna Firestone/Abby Cates.

If you just got here, start with the introduction.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

That Dog/Imperial Teen, April 8, 2017 At the El Rey

That Dog just barely missed the big time back in the ‘90s. They were tuneful enough, a girls-with-guitars vibe, and locked into the post-grunge sound of the time. They even got some play on KROQ and 120 Minutes, which was probably my entry into them (not going to enough shows in town to witness their ubiquity), and “Never Say Never” was fun and crunchy enough to lead me to Retreat From The Sun. It was more that the album got into my rotation early when there was less stuff rather than playing it so much because I loved it, but even if it was a little longer than it needed to be, there was still plenty to like (including “Long Island,” which was the most painful earwig I’ve ever had, taking at least one night of sleep from me some years ago). I even followed Anna to her solo album, though the band’s first album, which was even more acclaimed depending on who you asked, was too indie for me. Anna might have been in the L.A. scene but didn't stay as present as her early promise showed she might have been at. So That Dog could have kept being away, but then suddenly, almost at random all these years on (before catching whatever '90s nostalgia fad might have brought them up by default), they had a show. Their getting back together would have been special (or inevitable) enough, but then they were also playing Retreat in its entirety, so we could pretend that album had been a big deal back in the day. I may have passed on a standard show by them, risking that they would play too much earlier stuff that I hadn't been worn into familiarity with, but I'm automatically interested when a band plays an album I've heard as much as I did that one. They only did this one local show, with only one other for the year (which I also happened to be at but didn't need it twice, especially since they played so early), and it didn’t sell out the El Rey, a medium-sized club at best, which goes to show that there wasn’t exactly a crazed demand for them, so they might as well have done it when their schedules met up. It was a casual rock show without pretension or concern that this could lead to something bigger, like it might have seemed earlier on, and with a crowd that didn’t pack out the place, and maybe a bit older, made it actually fairly intimate, like they were doing a show for friends and family, and some of those finally got to bring some people to see them play after all these years, but not necessarily the usual fans (though also eschewing that it would be a show to make money at, given how long that guest-list must have been), balanced by those who have been obsessed with them since back when. They probably worked that album so hard back then trying to break through that it was a stroll to play it, and they, and the audience, now could have a good time with it. They even did one new song, as if to show that they’re still in it (though that one could have had a long time to sit around). The album sounded great even without the polished production (maybe the result of Anna’s connections rather than paying to position them), showing that they could be carried by good songs veering close to what pop back in the '90s (though not as always as rock-out as “Never Say Never,” a misrepresentation that might have peeved some fans expecting more of the same (like me, though I found more than I might have thought)). She even sweetly dedicated a song to her husband, from Redd Kross, since they’re a cute, L.A.-scene couple that's also lasted. Imperial Teen was another band that missed being a big deal, despite getting around here and there (though Roddy had things to do with Faith No More). They were coming back after the same post-’90s hiatus, and it could have been a toss-up who headlined this show, though each were friendly enough that they probably would have been happy to give it to the other. Less the theme of two groups sharing low-key reunions that didn't need to go anywhere and more a group of friends hanging out on stage and rolling through some hits that didn't make it, together with the fans that saw them through originally and family that had seen them since, or at least getting out just because they want to, without expectations.. They all had some years on them, but they still knew their way around some tunes that deserved more than simple nostalgia.

That Dog’s set-list:
“I'm Gonna See You“
“Never Say Never“
“Being With You“
“Gagged and Tied“
“Retreat From the Sun“
“Annie“ (original version)
“Every Time I Try“
“Long Island“
“Did You Ever“
“Cowboy Hat“
“Until the Day I Die“

“Just the Way“ (new song)
“She Looks At Me“
“Old Timer“
“He's Kissing Christian“

"Our Time"
"No Matter What You Say"
"You're One"
"Yoo Hoo"
"Room With a View"
"Million $ Man"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bash & Pop/the Yawpers, March 7, 2017 at the Troubadour

It’s no surprise that I followed Tommy Stinson after the Replacements, through his various post-’Mats bands in whatever form they took. I didn’t find them until well after they’d stopped doing anything, being behind the curve on my Replacements obsession pretty much down the line, but I caught up eventually. His post-'Mats' band Bash & Pop's Friday Night Is Killing Me is a gem that I would have missed if not from the association. No matter who else Stinson had behind him, his groups were the familiar, scrappy bar-bands, though without the achy ballads and poppy tunefulness that Westerberg could bring to their former act, but it was still Stinson getting out and being a presence. I would have seen his solo shows (including the one at Spaceland with Alien Crime Syndicate opening, which still perplexes me why I wasn’t there), but even having been in a legendary band (two, if you count GnR), it still didn’t often get out that he was playing a show. I never would have thought Bash & Pop (or whoever that could be) would have played another show, because they weren’t a musical entity or Stinson had moved on, using a new name if he wanted a new band (though he had also been using his own, solo), but there it was, and the listing for the show actually got to me (from an e-mail mailing list if not the newspaper). I was working the late shift at the time but it was a friendly gig and I took one night off in the six months I was there (finding from that that I had PTO, but too late to do anything with it). And it was outside of the wife’s wheelhouse, as well as being a show during the week, so I went solo, flowing with the ease of the Troubadour. The night was so open I even treated myself to not making a mess of getting to the show, being there early enough to see the openers, the Yawpers, a bar-band in the usual tradition, and solid enough to be a good lead-in to the main act. The 2017 version of B&P might as well have been the same or completely different, with as much as anyone could remember about them from 24 years before (or, for me, no memory at all), and whoever was still a lingering fan enough to bother to show up (and judging from an energetic reaction to a casual mention to his former partner, likely the ‘Mats fans are still hanging on (like me, of course)). Stinson might have had a reason to keep the name even without the line-up, but he was still the draw. He could have played all the B&P stuff in a solo show (and probably had), but it was only half the set anyway, with his solo stuff and covers thrown in. Though it was still scrappy, even for Stinson’s legend, and we were still in a bar. It might have been all that Stinson had left after the lackluster Replacements reunion that was either too late or too ambitious and Duff went back to GnR, but he did it with a grungy panache. As long as he kept making music (especially if Westerberg wasn’t going to) he could call it whatever he wants.

Bash & Pops’ set-list:
“Not This Time“
“Rip This Joint“ (The Rolling Stones cover)
“On the Rocks“
“Bad News“
“The Kids Are Alright“ (The Who cover)
“Breathing Room“
“You're My Favorite Waste of Time“ (Marshall Crenshaw cover)
“Tiny Pieces“
“Anybody Else“
“Zero To Stupid“ (Tommy Stinson song)
“Come To Hide“ (Tommy Stinson song)
“Midnight Rambler“ (The Rolling Stones cover)
“Not A Moment Too Soon“ (Tommy Stinson song)
“He Means It“
“Unfuck You“
“Anything Could Happen“
“Never Aim To Please“
“Friday Night (Is Killing Me)“
“First Steps“
“Fast & Hard“

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Deafheaven/Health, January 12, 2017 at the Echoplex

Shortly after I met Carla she got me into the Song Of The Week group, an e-mail circle of friends who would share music. Not every single thing was life-changing -- there were tracks that weren’t to my taste, some stuff I hadn’t acquired the taste for, a few things just for musicians to appreciate -- but there was overall just some good, new music, and, with some frequency, some tracks that stood out and made me have to pursue them. In our post-radio/post-music-magazine (sometimes even post-blog) world, I don’t pick up on a lot of the new stuff, even enough of it to sort through to find the really engaging stuff. But a track jumped out at me from Deafheaven. I’m not always taken by scraping, screeching metal, but anyone knows I love shoe-gaze, and somehow they not only somehow make melding those two make sense but they also make it tuneful, even poetic. It’s a lot of elements, with barely a semblance of traditional song structure, that pull a minor miracle of being anything listenable. They even did it for more than one album, like they know the trick and this is their thing that they’ll keep doing. And the first one still hasn’t been touched by anyone: Sunbather is still a maze to me no matter how many times I’ve gone through it. We missed the band at FYF due to working the next day so there was an obligation to finally see them, and playing the Echoplex made it an easy sell. It wasn’t exactly a metal show with a bunch of headbangers, but some indie heads and modest, conservative appreciators of alt-metal, the kind that would have been as into Helmet if that wasn’t now their dad’s music. It got hot and sweaty in there but there was barely a pit. The singer could have looked the part, with the long hair, and as magnetic as he’d need to be to get something so “screamo” -- as Carla called it, surprised this was that kind of band -- even facing toward anything resembling approaching the mainstream. If that guy had to front some kind of band, it might as well be screeching metal (or “blackgaze” or “post-metal” or whatever). The rest of the show was an electric grind through a lot of show cuts, constantly being interwoven and recombined into a lot of new things, showing off the newest album, New Bermuda. and layering on thick slabs of noise that might have wandered forever if the riffs didn't wear out  Like their albums, there weren’t a lot of actual songs but the sound was in massive chunks of emotive metal. Truth in advertising: there was heavenly bliss in going deaf (as if that has never been printed in a review before). We had to leave just before the last song, which could have been half the show for all we knew, but for all the force and intensity and volume, we’d gotten a lot. The openers were Health, some local fellows who have gotten around but we’ve already missed. They had their guitars but they were jauntier (as anything would be, compared to the headliners), even dance-y at point. They didn’t even have to play their “Blue Monday” cover (even if that was my only connection to them, on the Atomic Blonde soundtrack). They might have been prized for being available rather than being in line with Deafheaven, but they were a good warm-up and maybe a band we won’t miss at festivals anymore (though I might still run into at O'Hare airport). WIFE and Chasms might also have opened, but we didn’t get there that early.

Deafheaven’s set-list:
“Brought to the Water“
“Baby Blue“
“Language Games“
“Cody“ (Mogwai cover)
“Dream House“

Health’s set-list:
"Men Today"
"Die Slow"
"New Coke"
"L.A. Looks"
"USA Boys"
"Courtship II"
"Dark Enough"
"We Are Water"
"Perfect Skin"

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Helmet/Local H, December 1, 2016 at the Roxy

Local H seem to take any tour, since if it gets them out and makes them a relevant, active band again, especially when albums don’t sell, and it makes it so that we get to see them, no matter that it’s been a lot by now. Coming up with a combo tour is like a slot-machine, possibly even making it so we don’t have to risk seeing Everclear with them, and they come through L.A. as frequently as anyone does, even though that city would seem too easy to stoke their persistent ire. They’re even pissy about it in an out-dated, grunge rock-star kind of way, though they might or might not be like that anywhere, and it’s gotten a certain charm about it, especially when no one seems to be grumpy about rock anymore (and inspiring just for someone to be emotional toward it). It was time for another loop into the city, this time pairing up with Helmet, another band relying on anyone remembering them from the old stuff rather than knowing anything since 2000, but putting them together could make for a compelling bill, even to see how they’ve updated anything. I’m always in to see Local H but to miss them this time would be to have the opportunity to catch them again in a few months, but still it was a good package for a weekday night, enough to even get a second ticket. Carla might have been persuaded to go if she hadn’t already seen Local H before but she stayed out, so instead I got Vanessa to go, and it gave us the chance to catch up before the show at the pizza place a few blocks away, along with hashing out our very dire concerns for the future after the recent election. Local H had just been at the Roxy the previous June on their tour playing As Good As Dead, probably the best draw they could make on their own, and here they were opening a show. Sure, they could say the bands were co-headlining, but Local H went on first and they played a much shorter set, enough to be openers by any measure. Yet, they were still explosive, as forceful as any other show they’ve done, and more impactful for the smaller space, which was packed and hot, even in December. Surely loud, too, as their system may not differentiate between wherever they’re playing, and they might as well turn the volume all the way up. We might have also been standing as close as we could to the stage, since there wasn’t too much further to the back from the front, and it’s a rock show. They even played some tunes I wasn’t familiar with, reminding me I hadn’t been keeping up with them enough, but good to hear something fresh (and being one time they didn’t bother dredging out “Bound For The Floor” yet again). Helmet once again sounded like crap, with lackluster new songs and Page not singing with the grit or even tune that he once had and now doesn’t even try when recording. I thought maybe they could make something of the junk newer stuff or lean on the reliable old stuff but what we got was a lot of sludge that wasn’t even entirely well-meaning. We had some drinks but there wasn’t any point in staying so, assuming “Wilma’s Rainbow” was only a brief aberration and there wasn't going to be a miracle to redeem the rest, we took off. We got enough of a show, with a furious if short Local H set and enough to know that we didn’t need to bother with Helmet anymore. This is the one time that worked against me, as I gave in to my curiosity to see how close we were to the end of the show and see what else they played. That’s when it got me, that they were saving the best (or just good) for the end: every song I could want to hear them play (save for all of Aftertaste) is what they did, only after we left. Whether they were finally free of the new material they thought they had to get out to consider themselves still relevant or they begrudgingly played the stuff that anyone knew and wanted to hear, they brought out material for a good show in a long encore and maybe they rocked it. Page’s voice probably didn’t do the stuff any favors but it was the effort that (would have) meant something  At least the music could cram the room with some heavy, pounding sound. So their case could still be open, that maybe there could be a reason to see them, but I wouldn’t bet much on it, and they would need a good partner to make it worth risking some cash for it.

Helmet’s set-list:
“Give It“
“Life or Death“
“So Long“
“Bad News“
“Drunk in the Afternoon“
“I ♥ My Guru“
“The Silver Hawaiian“
“Red Scare“
“On Your Way Down“
“Bury Me“

“Sam Hell“
“Wilma's Rainbow“
“Just Another Victim“
“Turned Out“
“In the Meantime“

Local H’s set-list:
“Nothing Special“
“Fritz's Corner“
“Paddy Considine“
“Stick to What You Know“
“Jesus Christ! Did You See the SIZE of That Sperm Whale?“
“The Misanthrope“
“Hands on the Bible“
“California Songs“
“That's What They All Say“

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Car Seat Headrest, November 15, 2016 at the Teragram Ballroom

All I knew about Car Seat Headrest was that they/he was getting some love from KCRW and the name was fairly ridiculous. It could have been some indie rock that might have pulled me in at some point but I didn’t necessarily have a connection to it save from noticing they were playing it on the radio when they’d say they had. This was when indie was so obscure that any success no matter how minor was a big success, even if it didn’t mean that they could get out so far but they could fill a venue most of the way. So seeing them was a show that wasn’t sold out when schedules aligned. Just a Thursday night out with Tana and the drinkers, and drinks consumed, but not too much to get too rowdy, since that wasn’t the vibe anyway. It wasn’t too exciting, but it didn’t try to be, as the music was more grainy than peppy. Introducing a Leonard Cohen cover as an opener was a nice surprise (as a tribute after the legend’s passing or just a respectful part of the set), even better if it had been a more familiar song, but it was a promise of some pleasant, smart tunes ahead, even if they were forgettable later. And so it was a night at the indie-rock show in the indie venue and a stop along the way as the act got bigger (if slightly, if at all)), but we can say we saw them when they soundtracked a night out and we could focus on our drinking.

Car Seat Headrest’s set-list:
“Field Commander Cohen“ (Leonard Cohen cover)
“Cosmic Hero“ (with Velvet Underground’s "Sweet Jane" interpolation)
“Fill in the Blank“
“America (Never Been)“
“Unforgiving Girl (She's Not An)“
“Sober to Death“
“Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales“
“Destroyed by Hippie Powers“

“Five Years“ (David Bowie cover)
“Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)” (With Them’s "Gloria" outro)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rolling Stones, October 22, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas)

In all my years and all the concerts I've been to, I've never seen the Rolling Stones. For a lot of my life my interest would be out of an obligation to seeing living legends while they were still around, to not regret missing them later on, but for all that it was a very expensive proposition for not having a better reason. But then I had a Stones phase, and they were still alive and doing shows, though sparsely, but I only needed one. I could have put it off again, especially with the assumption that later I would be able to better afford it, but it could happen suddenly a missed chance could be a point that couldn't be returned from. Desert Trip was out of the question -- I can't imagine any band we could have considered doing it for (since we'd already seen McCartney and Dylan), for all the things we didn't do Coachella anymore for and amplified, especially the price -- but the Stones were doing a few shows around it, though obviously none around L.A., but Vegas could easily be an option, if not an ideal one for anywhere outside our home range (especially since I could stay with my mom while there). Getting tickets started with me staying up all night after working until dawn on the first day of a gig and coming up with nothing for my efforts. Another attempt for the next date came up with a pair that weren’t great, though the most affordable (and still plenty expensive), but it would be more about being at the show than being close enough for the best show. Carla balked at the price, but she had seen them before, so she passed, which didn’t seem like a big deal when I figured I could sell what I had (and maybe even make a profit). In the meantime I bought another ticket just for myself, planning to go solo, and it turned out to be a little closer to the stage, or at least not as far to the side as the pair were. I posted the originals but they didn’t move, then I lowered the price  within a week of the show, and still nothing, then finally the day before I got them down to face-value, which I would have been happy with, just to get my money back, but even then they still didn’t move. Even after they canceled their other Vegas show, my tickets wouldn’t go. Finally, about an hour before the show, while at dinner with my mom (after driving up solo the day of), I got a notice that the last one sold, for about half of face, but I decided to count myself lucky for that. In all, I lost close to a week’s pay, not counting the price for the other ticket, but maybe that’s the price of seeing the biggest rock n’ roll band in the world (and the luck that they're still alive and doing it), and it would only be once. On top of the ticket misfortune, I had the wrong time in my head and only got lucky when my mom dropped me off at T-Mobile arena (a cleaner copy of the Forum) just in time. I just barely got a tub of popcorn (making this one of the best shows ever) and missed only half the opening montage -- videos going through their history showing how great they are  -- when, fairly (and a little un-rock-n'-roll-y) punctually, the Stones took the stage. It wouldn’t be hard to consider that this was a cut-out show like most in most of our lifetimes. They’ve done this long enough, and they’re rich enough to pay people to figure it out, to come up with the formula for the fans to feel they got value from the ticket (though assuming those fans are of fortunate means), including not bothering with a marathon show to pack in more than a just-enough amount of songs. Getting deeper into my Stones phase, I may or may not be a particular fan of their singles, putting their more obscure stuff on equal footing, making them for me more of an album band, which becomes a problem when they’re making a point of sticking to a prescribed set of hits. It’s not a crime for a band to trot out the same set, since you’re probably there more for the band than the songs, but they packed it with enough hits that the most average fan couldn't complain (leaving the obsessives for whom this is a much more serious deal, and even though the band throw in a swerve or two, sometimes even a deeper album cut (though, for this show, not “Shattered” (which my brother told me sucks live, and wouldn’t make much sense outside of NYC) or “Monkeyman”, which might be a little too deep)). But regardless of what they played, I was there and I can say I was there and I saw them, and it wasn’t a bad show. They know how to work, even at that age, and they know how to work it, even if at this point they're only doing it to dare the others to be the first one to drop and finally end the band. Still an extravagant expense, even without with the problems I had, but once in a lifetime it was like being charged for a necessary life experience. And for the record, there were other chances to see them after this, especially for the Sticky Fingers tour that stopped in San Diego, which would have been been some choice, deeper cuts (though I would have preferred the Exile or Some Girls tour), but I can’t fault what I got. It worked out, I got what I wanted and needed, and it even made for a minor story (to get something from losing that much money).

Rolling Stones’ set-list:
“Jumpin' Jack Flash“
“Let's Spend the Night Together“
“It's Only Rock n' Roll (But I Like It)”
“Tumbling Dice
“Ride 'Em on Down“ (Eddie Taylor cover)
“Paint It Black“
“Honky Tonk Women“ (followed by band introductions)
“Slipping Away“ (Keith on lead vocals)
“Little T&A“ (Keith on lead vocals)
“Midnight Rambler“
“Miss You“
“Gimme Shelter
“Start Me Up“
“Sympathy for the Devil“
“Brown Sugar“

“You Can't Always Get What You Want“
“(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction“

Friday, October 21, 2016

Garbage/Cigarettes After Sex, October 21, 2016 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

I’d gambled on missing Garbage at the Jack FM show, betting that they’d be back later in the tour, and it paid off when they played at the cemetery, a much better choice, for the venue, for getting a full set, and for getting to not have to see House of Pain. This was on the tour for Strange Little Birds, a fair effort well after we expected the heights of their earliest stuff, and the comfort of playing a home-town show once they moved here (to whatever degree that was, but their mailing address was on Edgemont, also not far from there). We had been to the cemetery frequently in the summer for movies, and we had been to the lodge room for a smaller show, but not a full concert on the main lawn. We knew to take a picnic, not expecting to move too far up to get into the claustrophobia of bodies jockeying to get close to the stage (if they have fans still young enough to want to get so close and sweaty). It turned out the stage was expansive enough to afford a view from the comfort of the back, as close as we needed to get, and the music sounded fine. On a cool early-autumn evening shortly after the sun went down, it was a singular environment, with much of the moody material from their newest album making for a lush atmosphere. There was still plenty of rock and pop in there, too, the mixing of which is only one of the great things they’ve always done. Shirley was in fine form, being in vamp mode, maybe with the focus of a bad mood, on display when she got into an altercation with someone in the front of the crowd, an incident we only found out about afterward (like finding that it wasn’t Butch on the drums). Another club show would have been redundant, and frustrating for them and us since they deserved to play somewhere bigger on their own, that seeing them in this unique venue that doesn’t regularly have concerts in the first place made it seem like a special thing. Even if the set was unexciting with familiarity and the new stuff still needed more time to sink in, their experience as veterans paid off in a slick show, even if it became just another show for them.

 Not knowing the set-times we showed up early enough to see the openers, Cigarettes After Sex. They were locals who started getting around shortly after this, but at the time just sounded like Slowdive, which was actually fine, for easing into the evening.

Garbage’s set-list:
“I Think I'm Paranoid“
“Stupid Girl“
“Automatic Systematic Habit“
“Blood for Poppies“
“The Trick Is to Keep Breathing“
“Sex Is Not the Enemy“
“Shut Your Mouth“
“Even Though Our Love Is Doomed“
“Why Do You Love Me“
“Night Drive Loneliness“
“Bleed Like Me“
“Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)“
“Vow“ (with "Don't Hurt Yourself" snippet)
“Only Happy When It Rains“
“Push It“

“#1 Crush“

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Kraftwerk, September 18, 2016 at the Hollywood Bowl

Jen sometimes has extra concert tickets, and I like going to concerts with Jen, and we didn't have anything going on on a Sunday night, so I was in for seeing Kraftwerk. I wouldn't have planned on the show because I’ve never been much familiar with the group, but I knew they were influential enough to be something I should know (and with the cred of having Kim Deal more excited to see them than play with the Pixies at Coachella). And it’s hard to come up with an excuse to pass on a Hollywood Bowl show on a summer night (and then so many friends and so much cheese beforehand). Every cool (almost cold), angular song seemed at least familiar, as most of their stuff has been appreciated and lauded then mined and swiped and sampled for longer than I’ve been alive, leading up to “Computer Love” which has been outright stolen by Kanye and Coldplay, just to name two (and my entry to the original, and more than one Google search to dig up what cover the newer acts were playing). The vaunted 3D aspect of the show could have been cheesy and even tired for any other group, surely not a component that would at all be necessary for a concert, but for them it worked. It was a visual for four German dudes who didn’t move from their synthesizers, without even the energy of a drum-kit, and making it extra-dimensional gave the show another level, and actually kinda cool to watch, though it could far too easily be overdone if everyone else wanted to try to make it work (and the paper glasses were a nice souvenir). I can’t tell if there was much deviation from the studio versions of the songs, especially when they could have had all the music tracked ahead of time, so I don't know what seeing them in concert had really done, save for being in their presence, but I can now say that I paid respect to our ancestors and heard the originals performed by the originals, who are still active and moving (except in concert) and iconic enough to get to play the Bowl a decade after their last recorded effort (or a generation and a half if that was considered a token)).

Kraftwerk’s set-list:
“Computer World“
“Home Computer“
“Computer Love“
The Man-Machine“
“The Model“
“Neon Lights“
“Geiger Counter“
“Electric Café“
“Tour de France“
“Tour de France Étape 1“
“Tour de France Étape 2“
“Trans-Europe Express“

“The Robots”

“Aéro Dynamik“
“Planet of Visions“
“Boing Boom Tschak“
“Techno Pop“
“Musique Non Stop“

Saturday, August 27, 2016

FYF Fest 2016, August 27 & 28, at L.A. Sports Arena and Coliseum, Exposition Park

By this time we knew how these festivals work, and FYF Fest in particular, our big, local fest, and what we could get away with in our day(s). We’d gotten the hang of getting to shows just in time to see the headliner (a scheme that often worked), and we applied the same thing to a weekend festival. Once the set-times came out (an event second only in excitement to the line-up reveal) we could make a plan, a necessity when there are other adult concerns in life (which could also be a friends’ kid’s birthday party). As much as we go to festivals and FYF to hang out with our people as much as see bands, we don’t usually bother to get there early without reason, and sometimes we get fairly surgical about it. There’s also the consideration of leaving two hours to get in, so it might necessitate using up a lot of the day and being there early but just not getting to see bands right after parking (which can also take a while then the walk from). Sometimes going one day is just an obligation for the two-day event and since we planned for the whole weekend in the first place. And so was our Saturday at FYF that year. We’d planned the whole weekend for it anyway, and had the headliner we most wanted to see, even if it was just because we probably wouldn’t see him anywhere else outside of a festival. So, after the walk from the parking and the line (both just as we’d planned), we got in to wander, to see where we wound up, which initially included some of Shellac, maybe just to establish seeing a band even if it wasn’t anyone we planned for; it was late in the day/early in the evening, with the sun going down, and without much of any other draw on our attention we just wandered, ending up for a minute at Air, who hadn't much advanced beyond their sound but still had the merit of establishing it in the first place, and Ty Segall, who we always seem to wind up near anyway, whether we know someone in his band or not; we finally got around to seeing Kendrick Lamar, the big draw, by far, for the weekend. It wasn’t too long before then that I had discovered To Pimp a Butterfly and found out the hype about him was true, if not understated, and that his stuff was too good to be pigeon-holed as just “rap”. FYF had progressed far beyond just being a punk show, even branching out to include hip-hop groups not just as novelty, so Kendrick might have been reaching to win over the indie and punk kids, and headlining the bill was at least enough for all the cred. He put on a full-blown show and pulled a lot of the crowd at the fest, though we didn’t see the beginning and left before long to beat the crowd out. It might have been a truncated day but for the event we got enough out of it, especially with a bigger day behind it.
Missed: Peter Bjorn, & John (probably just as well since we didn’t keep up after “Young Folk”), Diiv (I had the album ahead of time but it didn’t do much for me), Vince Staples (a renowned local guy but no one I knew), Grimes (who I should have known but didn't bother with at this one), Oneohtrix Point Never (if only by the association of having remixed a NIN track, but no reason to see even with the remote possibility of that in the set), Hot Chip (who perpetually have never done anything for me, even if they were lumped in with a lot of other acts that I’ve liked), Explosions in the Sky (who could probably be great if their songs had words), Moby (who I didn’t realize had some valid work, even after Play, but not enough of a pull to see).

Sunday worked better for us for the fest, being the day we could focus on and make more of an effort to take in, including leaving for it earlier and working some luck to only spend 30 minutes getting in. I got into Preoccupations when they were Viet Cong (a spectacularly ill-advised name, the story of which is probably less interesting than why they chose the name in the first place), and thanks to Tana on our camping trip, and they got out an early-day set that didn’t need to stand out one way or another; if it were up to Carla we might have missed Banks & Steelz, flying under the radar without their recognizable names as Paul from Interpol and the RZA. Luckily I caught it, and they ended up being a high-point for the fest. The angular music set to hip-hop beats and rhymes was disconcerting coming in on it cold but anyone can trust either of those guys to do something worth the time. They both went back to their own projects after that, but for us to get them even for a moment was a treat; soul-legend Charles Bradley was making a name for himself with the indie crowd when soul might be a harder sell to a modern audience that could be looking for it in R&B more attuned to hip-hop. But the guy was the real deal, and he brought as much energy and grit to the stage as anyone half his age. We got lucky to see him since it wasn’t much later that the passed, so we got a performance that became more special looking back; Father John Misty was arguably at the height of his fame, after the “Real Love” single, and I had been on the train, after being unable to avoid him in association with everything else I listen to. We, as a group, also couldn’t avoid the dudes with bushy beards and shaggy, long hair, which seemed to surround us, so we got back by naming them all "Misties". The man himself put on a sufficient high-afternoon set in sunglasses and a lightweight, open shirt, and spinning his cynical but tuneful songs for his flock, of girls too smart to go for that kind of thing and the dudes who may or may not be hipsters but still openly cop his look; it wasn’t until I was killing time and had randomly wandered to Ahoni that I came on the realization that it was Antony from Antony & the Johnsons. I wasn’t a big enough fan to be into more than his first albums but I had assumed that I would catch a new project (though it had been a big deal on eMusic, I figured it was for a reason beyond me). As it was I didn’t have enough time to get much more out of it than the recognition, but it was good that the new project could get a prominent place on the schedule, as well as being accepted with what could be a challenging or at least non-conventional character, though that would be the crowd to start; I never got how Mac Demarco was such a big deal. He was a dude who kept popping up on the FYF line-ups but he didn’t seem like he had much reason to have a place there. Maybe a local guy, sure, but L.A. has plenty of musicians that would kill to get in to that fest. He’s a tuneful guy but, really, just a dude with a guitar and a cap. But whatever it is I didn't pick up for the few minutes as we passed by, and if there was anything there I knew I could get it at the next one; Beach House are another band that always seem to be there, even when they don’t need to be. We might have caught a bit of them as we passed by, but by then I’d had enough of them. Haunting but not gothy light rock and I had parted ways by then; we caught a bit of Grace Jones while we were waiting, and I realized that it was probably a distinguished and distinctive appearance and we were lucky to get it but I only knew her from the weird, arty TV appearances back in the ‘80s (probably commercials, for what I don’t remember). That she was a musician was a level beyond to me, and nothing I could get my head around, in spite of it being more performance art on a large scale which could be more accessible, or because of it being such. As it was I figured that if I got it later a recorded performance could be just as good, and I could always say I was there anyway, but maybe there was just something mildly frightening about it -- and her -- coming in without proper preparation; LCD Soundsystem were the big deal for the day, finally earning a name big enough to headline, after being on the under-bill of pretty much every festival when they were originally together. It didn’t hurt that that this was part of their big, ballyhooed reunion, even if they’d only been gone five years, the length of time some bands take between albums as a matter of course (and LCD taping their last shows as if there would never be another and not just a cash cow to pay for their next side-projects). It hardly seemed like they had been gone anyway, with just a few new songs to mark any difference, and while it was good to see them back as a musical and cultural force and hopefully not leaving again any time soon, it also made it easy for us to check in and get a few songs before heading out since there was work the next day. Such was our surgical strike for FYF, knowing exactly how to hit what we needed and get in and get out, filling the time between sets with whatever friends rotated in and out of our mutual presence, and maybe picking up some new music if not a new experience, then entrusting next year's fest to come soon enough and getting on with our lives in the time until then.
Missed: the Black Madonna (who I didn’t know, but Jenn said was great, and she has a great stage-name), the Black Lips (another “Black” band that get mixed up with a lot of others if they’re not the Keys or Rebel Motorcycle Club), Young Thug (who had been getting some press but didn’t have a reason to stand out for me), Chelsea Wolfe (whose full show we’d seen, without really knowing her, and who plays more local fests than she doesn’t so we went somewhere else).

Kendrick Lamar’s set-list:
”untitled 07 | 2014 - 2016”
”Backseat Freestyle”
”m.A.A.d city (Part II)”
”Swimming Pools (Drank)”
”Collard Greens” (ScHoolboy Q cover)
”THat Part” (ScHoolboy Q cover)
”Free Lunch” (Isaiah Rashad cover) (with Isaiah Rashad)
”These Walls”
”For Sale?”
”untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.”
”Complexion (A Zulu Love)”
”Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe”
”Money Trees” (with Jay Rock)
”m.A.A.d city (Part I)”
”King Kunta”
”For Free?”
”Wesley's Theory”


LCD Soundsystems’ set-list:
”Us v Them”
”Daft Punk Is Playing at My House”
”I Can Change”
”Get Innocuous!”
”You Wanted a Hit”
”Someone Great”
”Losing My Edge”
”New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down”
”Dance Yrself Clean”
”All My Friends”

Father John Misty’s set-list:
”Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
”When You're Smiling and Astride Me”
”Only Son of the Ladiesman”
”Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow”
”Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”
”Bored in the USA”
”Holy Shit”
”True Affection”
”I Love You, Honeybear”
”The Ideal Husband”

Charles Bradley’s set-list:
”The World (Is Going Up in Flames)”
”You Put the Flame on It”
”Love Bug Blues”
”Heartaches and Pain”
”Let Love Stand a Chance”
”Changes” (Black Sabbath cover)