05/26/2011

Quinto Sol will be performing at The M Bar this Friday, May 27th, bringing their “Razteca” reggae stylings to the stage the way only they can.  Their history in the neighborhood, their politically conscious lyrics, and their reggae grooves make them a great pick for Friday night, not to mention the fact that they can really get a dance floor moving. Their influences range from th Latin music they grew up around, to Marley style reggae, and even a bit of Rap-Rock ala Sublime. Their awareness, and willingness to discuss real issues through their music has made them culturally relevant, but their music, and the feel good tunes make them a show to catch.  Doors open at 8p.m.

Feeling a little saucy? Go out and catch yourself a good old fashioned burlesque show at Mr. T’s Bowl when Yadi and Judy Luck present… Girls! Girls! Girls! A Night of Music and Burlesque! Live music will be performed by Los Brigands, Vagrant Dead, Rundown Kreeps, and Jersey Trash, accompanying dancers Devin Marie, Jessabelle Thunder, Holly Rock-It, Delilah Demilo, Olivia Bellafontaine, and Judy Luck.

The Vagrant Dead are Highland Park locals, and should be bringing a good party with them. Their sound is an old school psychobilly romp, but delivered with an extra raunchy twist.  A eclectic mix of all types of Rock and Roll, lead singer Jesse David Cane’s eerie, howling vocals fill the songs with a presence that translates well on stage.  Tightly slapped upright bass along with vintage instrumentation are important to the Vagrant dead, and their sound reflects it.   Shows at Mr T’s usually kick off at around 8:30 on a Saturday, and the show is 21 and over only.

Saturday should prove to be busy at the Echoplex, as they will host both the Spring Beer Fest as well as the Dub Club’s Saturday Night Rub-A-Dub. The Beer Fest will feature live music by The Dustbowl Revival and The Silent Comedy, and there will be food deliviered by three of LA’s favorite food trucks: Calbi, Grill ’em All, and Meet N Potatoes.  The brews will flow from noon to 4p.m. so make sure to arrive early, and thirsty as this festival of gastronomical proportions also features unlimited pours.

Sounds like a good opportunity to dance your beer belly off with the Jamaican sounds of Sister Nancy, Madoo, Soom T, and Ranking Joe, all brought to you by the now famous Echoplex staple Dub Club.  The Dub Club has become a reliable haunt for the high end end of the reggae spectrum. At times their bass woofers can be heard overpowering a softer act in the Echo upstairs.  If you’re a fan of dub bass, reggae, rocksteady, classic ska, or just about anything soulful and Caribbean, then this is your spot.  For Soom T and Madoo, the show will be a Los Angeles debut, so expect fireworks on the stage, and a performance to remember.  The show is $10 until 10 p.m. when the cover goes up to $20, and the bass volume goes up to eleven.

One of the biggest things happening this weekend is not for the faint of heart, or for those who wish to retain their hearing in any reasonable fashion.  Threat Fest IV will be shredding vocal chords and eardrums at the Boulevard Cafe and Bar, as more than 15 bands take it over for two days of heavy mayhem after dark.  Out of town bands making the include Asta Kask from Sweden, Germ Attak from Canada, the “Fuckheads” from Boston, and Dresden, from  Appleton Wisconsin and fresh off of a brutal set at the Midwest Hellfest that found its way onto youtube.  From Friday the 27th to Saturday night, Threat Fest will be there for all your uber aggro needs.

The Eastside Luv has a couple of their regular events running this week, with Cabaret Con Carolina Cerisola and the Walter Davis Band on Saturday the 28th, and the Blue Agave coming back for another set on Sunday the 29th. Saturday night the show is $10, and kicks off at around 8p.m.  Sunday is free, with both nights under the Eastside Luv’s dress code. As they say on their site, “Look Hawt”

05/12/2011

Visit The Eastside Luv on Thursday May 12th for a performance by Fernanda Ulibarri.  The Mexico City native has spent the last 13 years in Los Angeles as a student of music.  Her studies have paid off, with touring slots on a Julieta Venegas tour, and a slew of gigs throughout the Eastside, including a performance May 2nd at Cal State L.A.’s Student Union Building.

This Thursday’s show is the premiere of a new video for her song “Se Satura Mi Cabeza”.  The song is a poppy, piano led song that really shows off Ulibarri’s songwriting style.  Most of it is set to a dance beat, very radio friendly.  The hook is almost bigger than the song, and takes the listener somewhere they didn’t expect to go. Be sure to catch show up early as the ESL site says she really packed the house on her last night there. 21 and over only, doors are at 8p.m., and the show is absolutely free.

May 12th through May 14th the guys from Old Time is A Good Time will be hosting their 6th ever Los Angeles Old Time Social.  If you’ve ever been to an Old Time Is A Good Time event, then you know it’s like being transported back to simpler times, when the only way to listen to music, was live.  I spoke with Ben Guzman, one of the organizers for the event, and got some details on the days’ events.  There will be Square dancing, homebrew, workshops on how to actually play the different instruments and styles, and of course, MUSIC. Lots and lots of music.

Old Sledge will be one of the featured bands, hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this group performs old time music the way it was intended.  I had a hard time placing the time period for old time music, as it certainly wasn’t that old timey.  It wasn’t classical, or native music, so I needed help delineating that time line.

Guzman gave me a very interesting way to define it.  “Most folks think Old Time is bluegrass.  The truth is, old time is the ROOTS of bluegrass. . . The easiest way to say it, is it’s from before the radio, and thus before the radio stars were born. Some of the tunes and songs played in old time can be traced back over 200 years to England and Scotland!”

The event kickoff party is on Thursday, May 12th, at HM 157, in Lincoln Heights at North Broadway and Eastlake.  This show will feature Walter Spencer, The Driftwood Singers, and others.  The show continues Friday the 13th in central L.A. with a concert at the Panorama Theatre, and returns to our northeastern corner of Los Angeles for a finale at Nomad Studios in Frogtown. There’s so much to see and do, so much historic music, this will be a learning experience for even the most seasoned music lover. For example, Guzman told me about one of the performers, Tom Sauber, who has been performing his set of songs for over 50 years.  He said, “Tom knows songs that nobody sings anymore – and he can pick a guitar better than most. It’ll be a treat to see him on stage, front and center, guitar in hand!” The event ranges from $5 to $15 depending which show you attend.  See flyer for full details here.

Also this weekend, The York will feature the Sarah Kramer Project on Sunday, May 15th, a jazz ensemble fronted by a female trumpeter, you guessed it, Sarah Kramer.  She has been featured on the title track of Leonard Cohen’s “Dear Heather”, invited to perform with such renown musicians as Bo Diddley, and now featured in our own neck of the woods.   The York had been without live music for some time due to a construction project, but now that it is complete, they are ready to get the tunes rolling out and the live  music on calendar for this hometown pub.

This little local favorite spot has quickly absorbed the Highland Park crowd that doesn’t venture out towards Figueroa.  They have been hosting musical performances for some time now, and with the neighborhood lacking in venues for local talent to perform, it will be interesting to see what The York can put together for the Highland Park locals. I didn’t get a lot of information on the two bands performing, and ran into the familiar problem of not being able to get any more info from the bar’s website.

Thing about the York is, this is a spot for locals. It’s not exactly the kind of spot you would drive across town for, unless it was a really special show.  Still, it is the kind of spot that a local can grow to love, as many in Highland Park already have.  Many in the neighborhood swear by this bar.  The argument would be between Johnny’s bar, down the Street, and The York.  If the York adds a solid music calendar without interrupting the gastropub, they may have a winning formula on their hands.

The Death Set will be performing at the Bootleg Theater on Tuesday May 17th, just one stop on their 22 date tour of the US with opener Win Win, who it appears will join them on all dates. The Death Set is a mix of electronic music and punk rock that takes noise and melody and uses them as instruments.

It’s difficult for a lot of people to see noise in music as a good thing. The Death Set bridges the gap nicely with their layers of heavy guitar and electronic effects on just about everything, synth sounds and microphones customized for the singer’s sound. The feel of the music is not as far from the catchy pop of the charts, but the DIY noisy approach this group takes to their music, is what makes it art, pure and simple. This show is $10, 21 and over.

05/05/2011

Cinco de Mayo is here, along with Mother’s day and with it Fiesta Broadway.  Every year about this time, Los Angeles gets a little more colorful, and a lot more Mexican, as the Southland celebrates some of the people that make up its rich, mixed heritage. Let’s see what is out there this week to help the party along.

Thursday, May 5th, Cinco De Mayo is being celebrated all over the city, particularly on the Eastside.  Eastside Luv Wine Bar y QUEso will be rotating the mariachis from the plaza in and out of the bar from 6pm to 9pm, along with DJ Bryan, and rumors of free Pozole for some of the Early Birds. I might show up with my olla and see if I can bring some home to momma. There is no cover charge all night, and you can actually hit up the bar for a “Pozole Pass” @ http://www.twitter.com/eastsideluv13 .

Also on Cinco De Mayo, Calexico will be performing at the Echoplex along with Mariachi Luz De Luna.  Calexico is a group who’s forays into music have collected steam and depth over the years as they experiment in different genres.  Their ominous spaghetti westerns full of nylon string guitars meandering around the minor key intonations give a feeling of dread at times.  Other times, for example, say a Cinco De Mayo show, they blast out songs to dance and celebrate things like unexpected victories 149 years ago against the French.

The Rhythms are unmistakably Latin, and the idea of mixing a full mariachi band behind them sounds like a party. Mariachi Luz De Luna has joined them on the stage before, and as you can imagine, the mariachi sound overpowers the quieter acoustic guitar duo. If you can imagine a mariachi band at full volume, blasting horns and rhythm, abruptly breaking that blasting sound down to a single pair of acoustic guitars, barely audible above the crowd, and building back up to that blast, you will have an idea of the dynamics in this incredible show.

Calexico’s recognition of that dynamic is what gives the music it’s texture.  Range of style and tempo keep the mind interested, and the feet dancing.  Tickets are available via Ticketweb the show begins at 8:00 pm, cover is $20and the venue is 18 and over for the night.

Friday May 6th, Mr. T’s Bowl will host a night of Surf rock with The Insect Surfers, Thee Swank Bastards (From Las Vegas) and Ghosts of Searchlight. Also performing are The MuerTones, with your humble author on the bass guitar.

The Insect Surfers are regulars in the surf scene in SoCal, but Thee Swank Bastards are a group you dont get to see all that much outside of the Las Vegas area. They’re an extremely talented group who are known for wearing suits, performing with a hula-hoop spinning go-go dancer, and doing whole album versions of your favorite music in a surf style.  I’ve heard them play a Black Sabbath set completely surfed out, and as much as you may think you’d have to soften it up to make it happen, they kept the songs true to their original themes and feel.  In other words, the Sabbath songs  retained their creepy, bite the head off of a bat feel.  These guys are one of my favorite surf groups around, because they prove that you dont need to bubble gum up your sound to play to a crowd. It might not be widely accepted to add that much grit to a surf song, but then again this isn’t pop music, and Thee Swank Bastards have definitely found that nice middle ground. The venue is 21 and over only, and usually around $10.

On Saturday May 7th, Zola Jesus will be performing at The Satellite.  The sound of their music is big and spacious, using layers of vocals, keys and effects to produce ghostly screams placed carefully on top of noisy room sounds and stacks of reverb. At times it sounds like the band recorded in a church, with all the space you feel on the record.  Very artistically made recordings.

The sound almost reminds me of Concrete Blonde or Siouxsie and The Banshees, updated for modern ears and amped up a couple of levels. Music people constantly argue about the usage of digital vs.  analog recording media, and listening to Zola Jesus, you can only wonder where older performers would have taken their music, if you had an unlimited number of tracks and effects to play with. Zola Jesus explores that depth, and dives in headfirst.  Also performing are Naked on The Vague, and Hive Mind Doors open at 8:30 p.m. $12 advance, $14 at the door. 21 and over only.

Alberta Cross will began a residency at The Satellite on May 3rd, and will continue every Tuesday in May.  This is a band I’ve been really excited to see, blending all forms of rock and an extra touch of the blues into their mix.

This is your chance to catch the group all month long, and for only $5.  Also, I imagine this will be where the band hones their sound into a package which they will present in June at Bonnaroo, where they are featured performers.  Emotionally charged music, getting ready for a grand stage, this sounds like it will be a chance to see them at their best. Doors are at 8:30, and the show is 21 and over.